106 Days Off Suboxone...MY FIRST POST EVER

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joedadio
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Re: 106 Days Off Suboxone...MY FIRST POST EVER

Post by joedadio » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:42 pm

Hello all...
I wanted to update everyone on my tapering process. I have weaned down to what I call "a period" marking. Essentially, if you look at the actual period at the end of these sentences, and double the size of the period...that is my current dosage. I cannot even begin to measure the amount. What I can say, is every 8 to 24 days (all depending on how bad the last drop was) I would slice a little bit off the strip. Before I knew it, I found myself breaking an 8mg strip into 5 pieces and each of those 5 pieces were broken into 8 pieces. Clearly, a miniscule amount up until the point I have reached now...a large period marking.

So here is my struggle. I have now been on this dose for quite some time. Probably going on day 26. Around 9 pm every night, I start to yawn (withdrawal yawns which are a bit different from regular yawns). Many days I am completely dragging but I do seem to perk up at night. Everything seems to be more than bearable and is NOTHING like my first experience. However, I also know it's not possible for everyone to have an endless supply to perform this type of taper.

Continuing with my struggles...my sleep is incredibly poor. I am up several times at night although this time around I awaken with ZERO anxiety. Last go round...I was an absolute anxious mess all night long. Around 4 am, I actually feel my jaw being to crack each and every morning. Kind of like TMJ. By 445 I can no longer lay in bed and my eyes POP open as I crave that tiny little ridiculous amount. It's actually mind blowing to think something that size would have such an effect on my mind and body.

So, here's the big question. Am I allowing this drug to take over my psychological state of mind? At this point, should I just call it quits? I am absolutely scared to death that I won't make it through the day without this little amount. I'm scared to death of depression as I was severely suicidal for a period of 3 months (at least) last time around.

For what it's worth, for the first time in my life I have my Bipolar Disorder under complete control. My medication cocktail is perfect and my mood is relatively stable. My psychiatrist struggles with my diagnosis as she is torn between the Bipolar diagnosis and schizoaffective disorder. Regardless, I'm in a really good place right now. I've even started back at the gym as of yesterday after a 3.5 year layoff from a neck injury. I've now been podcasting for several months as a means of coping with my addictions, Suboxone usage, and mental illness as a tool to better cope. I have over 300 thousand listeners which results in a number of emails, questions, and opportunities for me to help and guide others...yet I can't seem to figure out my own situation.

Plain and simple...is it finally time to go for it and stop? I absolutely listen to everyone on this forum. Many of you have gotten me through my deepest, darkest days and I'm forever grateful. Depending on your feedback, which in my opinion is more valuable than ANY doctor I've ever met...I'm either gonna stay on this dose or jump ship. What would the benefits be of staying on? Peace of mind?

Would ending this now eventually put all these subtle symptoms to rest? Should I anticipate depression? I know everyone is different and it's incredibly hard for someone to predict what might happen. However, knowing the tiny dosage that I am now on, maybe someone can offer me their feedback and opinion.

I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Sorry for the long rant!

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Re: 106 Days Off Suboxone...MY FIRST POST EVER

Post by jennjenn » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:24 am

Hey joe!

That is a tiny amount! It’s amazing how a tiny amount like that can still be so important. Only you can decide if this dose you’re on is maintainable or you think it’s ok to stop completely. I don’t personally see anything wrong with this being a maintenance dose for however long you need it. If you need it then that’s ok. If you think you would be happier being totally off it then that’s ok too. Imo there’s no wrong or right answer because it’s all about what you and what is going to work for you. You talking about peace of mind..... that is a huge important thing to me. If that tiny period amount kept me at peace then I would be perfectly ok staying on it. If you wanna try to just stop taking it and see how you do like that, while keeping your options open with going bk to the medicine if it doesn’t work out, you can do that too. Some ppl may think you should just stop since you’re on such a low amount, some (like myself) may think you should do whatever is going to work for you. I don’t think there’s a wrong or right way and it’s whatever is best for you.

I have that problem of clenching my teeth at night. I had to just recently get a mouth guard to stop because I was clenching so hard that I literally broke a couple teeth! It’s something I couldn’t stop because it happens when I’m asleep. It’s awful but the mouth guards do help.

Good luck joe!! Keep us updated on what you decide :)
Jennifer

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Amy-Work In Progress
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Re: 106 Days Off Suboxone...MY FIRST POST EVER

Post by Amy-Work In Progress » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:03 pm

I agree with Jen, Joe. I think you should do whatever you think is best.

With that said, I don't think you should be anticipating depression when you step off! You are on such a minuscule amount that I don't think you'll notice much of a change at all, physically. I do think you have some mental work to do though. I think it's not likely that you are having much of a physical response of withdrawal. I do think it may be psychological. If it IS physical, you can find out by taking your dose at night. Then if you're still jonesing for a morning dose, it's probably a mental stumbling block.

I don't have a specific way for you to change mentally, but positive self talk can work. There is a type of therapy called Solution-Focused Brief Therapy. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to more than a month, but it doesn't drag on past solving whatever problem you may have.

Another suggestion you could try is to start skipping days. If you are wanting to take the taper one step further, you can start skipping. But, it could be argued that there's no point in stretching the taper out anymore.

I would do the mental work first and then step off. Just my opinion. Good luck in whatever you decide. And definitely keep us posted!

Amy
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joedadio
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Re: 106 Days Off Suboxone...MY FIRST POST EVER

Post by joedadio » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:06 am

Jenn and Amy...
Thank you very much for your replies. I know I've said this many times, but I'm tremendously grateful for the support I receive on this forum. There is no way I could make it through ANYTHING suboxone related without you all.

So, ironically, before I even read any responses, I decided to go the route of skipping days. Some time back, a doctor on Twitter (I know, probably not the best source)...wrote me out a taper place. It was about 100 times more comprehensive than any personal doctor I ever used. He suggested that when I get down to the miniscule amount I'm on now, to skip a day. Then dose again the next day. Skip 2 days...and then dose. Skip 3 and call it quits.

So, this Saturday, I decided to NOT take my suboxone dose. Energy wise, I felt like I had concrete at the bottom of my feet. I could legit not move but decided to keep busy (having a 14 yr old, 12 yr old, and 1 yr old helps), rather than isolate myself in bed. My wife didn't necessarily help the situation, as the self proclaimed super supporter decided to fight with me over my "attitude". It's amazing that no matter how many times my wife (or ex wife) promised to work with me, when the time comes, it never feels like support.

Nevertheless, I made it thru day one looking forward to day 2 as I knew I would be dosing. Well, what a difference yesterday was. I felt like a MILLION bucks as expected. In fact, I slept like an absolute baby last night and slept late this morning for the first time in years. Normally, my eyes are wide open at 4:50 but today I slept until 5:45! For the first time in 3 years, I was actually NOT searching for the suboxone! So, I said wow...these next 2 days "off" should be a breeze. WRONG

My morning started off so-so. Enough energy to get ready for work, but quite anxious doing so. By the time I got to work, my brain was in a complete fog. Everything was fuzzy and I simply could not concentrate on anything. The simplest tasks were like running a marathon...even logging into a computer. Then the bowel movements started. 4 intense trips to the restroom (sorry tmi, but we are all family here, right?)...

The stomach issues eventually subsided and my ability to concentrate slowly started to return (enough to write this post). Then the excessive sneezing and FREQUENT urination began). Those symptoms remain as I type in this forum.

All in all, it has been bearable to say the least. Clearly, the key was slowly tapering to the smallest dose possible. While I know I'm far from out of the woods (as tomorrow will be a second day without subs)...it has felt pretty wonderful not sticking that orange dot under my tongue. It's a task to cut it up when it's that small and even harder to get it on my finger and complete the transfer under my tongue. At this point, one can't even taste it so it's always an anxiety provoking set of circumstances. Did I get it? Did I drop it? Did it melt into my finger? Did the dogs lick it up off the ground?

I have a feeling I'm in for it tomorrow. Again, it's simply astonishing how strong this medication is. Nevertheless, I'm going to go for it everyone. I will keep you all posted every step of the way.

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Re: 106 Days Off Suboxone...MY FIRST POST EVER

Post by Amy-Work In Progress » Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:35 pm

You can do it, Joedadio!! I'm so proud of you for all of the work you've put into this taper! I'm sorry that your spouse isn't being supportive. My husband taught me a long, long time ago that I shouldn't count on him for support. I've been on my own emotionally for a long time.

I sincerely hope that your wife is trying to be supportive even if she isn't succeeding. It would suck to find out that she wants you to stay unhealthy. Some people are codependent and can only undermine your success. Hopefully she isn't one of those.

We are very happy to be here for you! It's what we do!

I hope that tomorrow ends up being better than today!

Amy
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Re: 106 Days Off Suboxone...MY FIRST POST EVER

Post by jennjenn » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:13 pm

It is amazing at how a tiny dose like that could be as effective as it is but I figured you’d have some symptoms.... nothing bad but a couple. I personally don’t know because I haven’t tapered to low doses yet.

I think when someone is truly ready, when tapering off buprenorphine they are able to handle any withdrawal symptoms. My only worries for myself would be the mental part of it. I was always able to endure the physical part. Just remember that if you’re ever in a place where you need to start suboxone again, keep your options open and don’t see it as a failure. Nobody gets a trophy and it isn’t a challenge, we all just have to go our own way at our own pace.

Great job so far joe!!
Jennifer

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Re: 106 Days Off Suboxone...MY FIRST POST EVER

Post by joedadio » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:55 am

Hello all,

Just a quick update on my progress. It's been about a month since I've been off Suboxone. My experience this time around was NOTHING like my first time coming off. Night and day. I always said, if the depression stayed away, I'd be able to deal with anything. Getting my bipolar disorder under control has worked wonders... however, none of this would have been possible without a SLOW tapering process.

I have no experienced 2 types of withdrawals. One, which was hell...and basically took me 188 days to feel normal again. This occurred by jumping off at .25mg after 3 years of suboxone. I tapered quickly from 1mg down to .25 and it was horrible.

This last time around...I took MONTHS lowering my dose by cutting tiny little pieces off every 8 to 16 days depending on how I felt. While some of those weeks were rough, they were bearable. I truly believe if I was to jump again without weaning off the way I did, I would have experienced the same withdrawal symptoms as the first go around...at least in terms of the duration. I came to the conclusion that all of those ROUGH but manageable weeks when I weaned down slowly, would have ALL added up towards the end if I had jumped at .25 or higher again. Does that make sense? It was almost like I endured pain throughout the slow weaning process, some times worse than others and some times NO symptoms at all. Add them all up at the end had I NOT go as slow as I did and it would have once again been a LONG drawn out process. Hundreds of days without relief can be so much worse than a few days here and there, especially when one gets "breaks" from the suffering. There were NO breaks the first time around. One day, it just got better. And it took what felt like FOREVER.

Now...just to be clear, mentally I've been very good. That's not to say I didn't experience some anxiety at random times throughout the day in which I normally would NEVER have anxiety. I relate that to the absence of suboxone. I had some brief moments of depression, but I am also bipolar...so one never knows. I went back to the gym after 3.5 long years and that has seemed to help. My mind and body craved the Suboxone each morning at 5 am for a few weeks but that slowly went away. I can now sleep until 6 and sometimes even 7am on the weekend! For 3 years on suboxone, my eyes would pop open at 4:45 every single morning to search for the sub. That has completely gone away!

I DEFINITELY have some serious gastrointestinal issues. One of the benefits of Suboxone for me in the past was more controllable bowel movements. Yes, it would constipate me like everyone else...but that was a dream come true as compared to my normal stomach issues. 6 years of suboxone can REALLY change your system...and there is no doubt that this is less enjoyable that the constipation. However, there are good days and bad days in terms of my stomach. Today...well it's a bad day and I've had several trips to the bathroom. I've been to many gastro specialists and they have found no problems. My 12 yr old son suffers from ulcerative colitis and Crohn's so I was sure I had the same. Nope...they attribute it all to my body adjusting to and from the sub. Who knows. What I do know...is it sucks.

My energy was very low for about 2 weeks after stopping subs but that resolved quickly (where as it took about 3 months the first time). All in all, it was a positive experience this time around.

I am living proof that this can be done relatively painlessly. However, I know everyone doesn't have the opportunity to taper like I did. Regardless, I survived both withdrawal periods and I am still here! I hope my story gives some of you hope who might want to come off.

For those of you who are NOT ready and fear a relapse or just don't have the mind and strength to come off right now...stay on! Suboxone saved my life for many years. It allowed me to get my life together. I was bankrupt, jobless at times, stealing, snorting pills in a car, and doing anything I could do to be high. Now, at 42 yes old, I have 3 children with a 4th on the way, a wonderful second marriage (by the way, my 1st was destroyed by drugs and mental illness) and a career (with a brief termination) for nearly 28 years in the field of disabilities and mental health.

You have all been a life line for me here. This time around, I promise to check in. If I can help even one person in some small way, I believe that to be a blessing.

I thank you all for your support and kindness. Not a soul on Earth understands me like you all do...

I am forever grateful for the suboxone forum.

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Re: 106 Days Off Suboxone...MY FIRST POST EVER

Post by Amy-Work In Progress » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:00 pm

You are already helping so many people by laying out your story!!!

Subtaperingnow has a very similar story to yours. The first time he tried to come off he had such a difficult time of it! He mentions that he was not ready that first time because he hadn't done as much recovery work as he needed to. He said that once he was able to do that, the tapering became much easier. He took his time and then stepped off with ease!

I'm glad things seem to be working out for you, Joe!

Amy
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Re: 106 Days Off Suboxone...MY FIRST POST EVER

Post by jennjenn » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:14 pm

Great news joe!! Keep up the great attitude!! Truly inspiring.
Jennifer

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Re: 106 Days Off Suboxone...MY FIRST POST EVER

Post by adriennej » Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:35 pm

This gives me so much hope. I’ve been on a very slow taper for a year now. I’m on 1 mg now and have so much fear about what will happen when they bump me down again. Now at least I know my doctor has some knowledge about it! You’re a miracle to the suboxone community!! Be proud of yourself. It’s a huge deal!

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