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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:53 am 
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Hello,

I have been on Suboxone for about 4 years now. I started off by taking only 4mg per day, and it was more than enough to stop my opiate addiction. Over the years, I have grown accustomed to waking up and looking forward to taking my Suboxone. I feel like it wakes me up in the morning, and motivates me for the day. I generally take 4mg 4 times per day. I can admit, most of the time I don't even need to take it, however if I have to do something, I always prefer to take the Suboxone first. I feel like I can focus much better, have more energy, and am much more comfortable. I got married during this period of time to a woman whom I initially met during the early stages of my Suboxone usage. I sometimes worry that our whole relationship is based on this false concept that I have of life. I love her, without question, but I'd by lying if I didn't say that I do think about what things would be like if I wasn't on Suboxone the whole time. Would I still be the same person and would she still have been so interested in me.

My main reason for posting is because she has started to really put pressure on me to stop taking these pills. Deep down, I want to stop, mainly because I just want to be able to look at myself in the mirror every day and know that I don't need some stupid pill to function. Obviously that is much easier said than done, however I am actually starting to get concerned over my health. I am 29 years old, and over the last 4 years my health has basically gotten worse. I know that it is partially due to the fact that I stopped working out and being active, and my diet has never really been good. My cholesterol is really bad right now, as well as my testosterone level being very low. I did take anabolic steroids years ago, and I do think that also has had an impact on these things, but the question still remains about what impact Suboxone has and is having on these types of issues. Aside from the minor side effects like headaches, and constipation, do we know of any serious side effects that Suboxone has? I worry that my liver probably isn't going to be happy after taking Suboxone for almost 5 years.

I am dreading the thought of the withdrawal that I will have to endure when I do decide to stop taking it. Right now, I am in a very important part of my life. I am about to graduate school and go out and start a career for the first time. I worked my whole life up until 2 years ago, for a family company, and decided to go back and get my degree. I believe none of this would have been possible without the motivation and focus that Suboxone gives me every day. With the pressure from my wife, it is very hard to decide between stopping and risking a loss in motivation at this important time. I feel like I should graduate first, get a job, get settled and then try and really slowly ween myself off of it. I always think about when I do stop, how much time will I need? I know from opiate experience that I basically will need a good 2 weeks that I can just do nothing and sit in my house. Going to work or doing anything is just not an option while trying to detox.

I am really concerned about my long term use of this drug, and as much as I like the way it has changed my life and allowed me to get married and obtain a degree, I also want to have children and lead a normal life someday. It is just a question of when and how. I am not very good at dealing with pain, and I just can't imagine how hard it is going to be to come off of this. I've heard mixed stories on how bad it is, however I do know that the longer you have been on, the harder it will be to come off. My biggest problem is that every day that I take another pill, it just makes it that much harder in the end.

Anyways, not sure what thread this should have gone under, as it touches on a few different areas. My heart goes out to everyone who knows what I am dealing with, and I wish you all good luck with your future.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:45 am 
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Hi Prolifik and welcome,

First I want to say there is no evidence whatsoever that the longer someone is on suboxone the harder it is to come off of. The only difference is the higher the dose you're on the longer it would take. If I were you, the first thing I would do is NOT to give yourself an end date to be off suboxone. I wouldn't even focus on stopping it right now. That will take a lot of pressure off of you and should reduce your anxiety.

What I would do is to start by simply reducing your dose. Unless you are dosing for pain, it's a bit unusual for one to be dosing 4 times a day. It's the norm to only dose once per day and forget about it. So I would start by cutting out those extra doses, maybe go from 4 doses to 3 for awhile, then to 2. Allow yourself to adjust slowly in between. You're currently at 16 mg. If you go about it slowly you should be able to go from 16 to 12 to 8 (in that order) with a couple/few weeks in between with little to zero w/d symptoms. It's my opinion that it's the best way to start. After that, give yourself plenty of time to do a long, slow, low taper. I mean get down into the micrograms before you stop altogether. Most people agree that the slower and lower you get before jumping and the less you feel each drop the less acute and post-acute withdrawals you will suffer.

As for your wife putting pressure on you to stop taking suboxone, it really depends on why she wants you to stop. Is it because she doesn't understand addiction and how suboxone works? Does she need some education on both? You might need to sit down with her and explain how you plan to do this. It's normal after you've been on it for 4-5 years to be a bit nervous/anxious about stopping it. Tell her that and after you decide how and when you want to go about it, just explain that to her. I'm sure she'll understand.

Good luck to you and if you have more questions, just ask away.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:14 am 
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Yes I agree with Hatmaker about slowly reducing your dosage. You are taking quite a high dose for opiate maintenance. That's okay, because you don't have an absolute deadline, so you can go very slowly. You are taking 16 mg, right? If you want to get off Sub and not have w/d, it may take you a good eighteen months. If you want to avoid the nasty symptoms, it's crucial that you accept the length of time it will take to taper. You can easily drop down to 6 mg, and then it will slow down. I did not truly believe this until I got there. I has taken me a month at 1 mg (from 1.25 mg) to start feeling okay again. I'm not trying to scare you. I just want you to understand that getting completely off 16 mg of Sub is a big thing to take on. It's best to taper to at least 200 micrograms or less before stopping. 200 micrograms is 1/10 of a 2-mg tab/film, and even stopping at that low dose will cause some w/d. Sub is pretty potent stuff.

If I were you, I'd start reducing my dose and not worry about being completely off it because you will drive yourself crazy. Even if you don't get all the way off, at least you will be at a much lower dose. If you get fed up with tapering at some point, please do yourself a favor and just stay at whatever dose you get to. Don't jump way back up. I'm telling you this from my experience at many failed attempts to get off Suboxone. I don't know whether being on a long time makes a difference. I'm surprised to hear, from Hat, that it doesn't. I've been told differently, but I'm hoping she's right, since I've been on 5.5 years.

Be kind to yourself! It sounds like you are leading a fairly normal life. I completely understand wanting to get off Sub and I think you absolutely should get to a much, much lower dose. As far as stopping it completely, you have to want to do that yourself. You cannot do it for someone else (no matter how much you love them), because it takes a ton of discipline (specifically at the lower doses) and if you feel that you are doing it for someone else, you will not have the drive to push through it. Think about why you're doing it and tell your wife that it's not an easy or simple or brief thing. It's a big commitment. You CAN do it. Just be prepared for the whole thing, especially for the fact that once you are off Sub, you will be facing cravings again. From 'watching' other people use again after stopping Sub, I've learned how vital it is to have a strong recovery plan in place for once you are off Suboxone.

I wish you the very, very best of luck!! Please stay on this forum. I think you'll be a bit surprised at how much help you can get here.

laddertipper

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First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald


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 Post subject: Best of Luck to you!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:20 am 
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I agree withLadder and Hatmaker, slowly coming down off of the 16mgs will give you the best results, and the more you go down, with minimal w/d symptoms you will most likely feel less afraid of what is to come. I have found that everyone is very different with when (at what dose) they get the worse symptoms, but it seems like going from the higer doses down to 4 to 6mgs is the easiest of the jump. I however have learned very quickly, that slow and steady wins the race! I say it to myself over and over and over.
I would definitely suggest giving your wife some information on suboxone/addictions. I had to do that with my husband, and it made a huge difference. I also took him with me to my dr who also explained many things to him. He did not have any understanding of what it was, and what I was going through. He was pressuring me almost hourly at one point to stop taking. He would literally say "Just stop taking that junk already" it was very difficult, b/c I felt very scared, and felt that he was going to leave me. I had to make him understand. When he met with my Doctor, and also attended a few AA meetings with me, (we do not have any NA meetings in my area, but AA has been very helpful to me mentally) he completely stopped badgering me, and has been so encouraging thus far. You need support from loved ones and friends to get through this. Atleast for me, that was very important for my well being.
The less w/d symptoms you can give yourself, the less anxiety you will have moving forward. I definitely had to get the "stop date" idea out of my head. It was fogging my process big time, and making me feel like I was failing.
Good luck to you!! You can do this, just be kind to yourself, and give yourself time. You'll find out how your body adjusts, and what is good for you as you start going down, but IMO taking it one step, and day at a time, will be good for you in the end.
Keep posting and sharing your story, it has helped me dramatically!! Oh and one more thing I forgot to mention, is that excersize has helped me a lot as well. Even if you just start by taking walks once a day, I think that will help you with any w/d symptoms too. I've heard from many others who are tapering as well, that it has helped them a lot. Also hot baths, and just generally being kind to yourself, is very helpful!
Again, good luck to you!!
Rain

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We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.
- Joseph Campbell


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