My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

How to stop Suboxone? How long should I be on buprenorphine? Is Suboxone withdrawal bad? How do I detox?
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My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by walk_in_the_sky » Mon May 22, 2017 6:35 am

Hey guys,

this is my first post in this forum, but two years ago I already read a lot of your posts, which really inspired and motivated me a lot. I'm 31 years old, female and live in Germany. I have a long history of drug use, but I was never addicted to heroin or other high-potent opiates (like e.g. oxys) - rather is Subutex my "heroin". But I was addicted to other opiates before and already have some "succesful" tapering experiences.
But yeah, it's obvious - often I just switched the drug, so I'm still not drugfree.
I'm using Subutex now for ~ 4 years, but before that I was using Kratom and Tilidin also for a few years. So all in all I'm maybe for ~ 8 years addicted to opiates on a daily basis now. (Wow, this number is quite shocking. :shock: )

Two years ago I succesfully ended the uncontrolled nasal consumption of Subutex (~ 4 mgs/day), took control of my use and started a liquid taper down to 0.9 mg. Since then I'm stable at this dose and stabilized myself and my life (there's still a lot of work to do, but I'm on a good way). Also for ~ 2 years I'm hardly never using any other drugs than Subutex - no alcohol, no other stuff. That's really a great achievement for me.

In the last time my thoughts often went to the idea to continue my tapering process, because for me it's a clear fact: I don't want to use Subutex my entire life. I want to be free, I don't want to need any substance to cope with the daily life. So I want to make some more progress, I want to reduce my dose, but slowly. Subutex isn't the main topic in my life, I have also other problems/projects, which need my energy and attention - but in the end it's all "one", I believe. So when I make progress in one area, it also has positive effects to all other areas.

I don't have any external pressure regarding the time (I don't get my Subu from a doctor) and I really try to be patient, because I know that unneccessary rush just increases the risk of failing. This is (and has to be) a longterm-project and much more important than any wishes like "I want to be sober in X months" is my goal to really stay sober and not just switch the drug again.

I want to give myself the time that I need to adjust to every decrease of the Subu dose. The second really important aspect for me is to stay mentally stable throughout this process - I don't want to go back to where I come from (depression etc.) and I don't want to let the tapering have a negative effect on my other goals (I'm planning to start my own business etc.). So my journey will take some time and I will just drop the dose every now and then and will just see how it goes. I have no tight schedule (but of course I calculated a bit how long different decreases might take) and I plan to decrease my dose by 0.025 or 0.05 mg steps.
Almost two weeks ago I reduced my dose from 0.9 mg to 0.875 mg a day (= ~ 2,77 % decrease) and I really felt nothing. But of course it would definitely prolong the process a lot if I stick to 0.025 mg steps, so maybe I will try 0.05 mg steps until I reach 0.5 mg (because then the percentual decrease exceeds 10 %, so the withdrawal effects will noticeably increase). But one step at a time. My first "bigger" goal is to reach the 0.5 mg/day and it would be great if I reach it this year.
I will stay at every dose for at least two weeks, but that's just a rough idea and I will give me more time, if I need, so let's see how it goes.

I want to update my process in this thread regularly (not daily but at least monthly) and would appreciate it, if you check in sometimes if you like. :)

So, that's it for now - I wish you all a great day!

(And sorry for my English, I nearly never write in English, so I really lack of practice, but I'm trying my best! :))

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by SisterMorphine » Tue May 23, 2017 4:02 am

hi there.
there is more to sub if you go thru a dr. you would also get therapy which would probably help you understand your addiction and what triggers you. i've quit cold turkey before, but this time using subs and therapy i've learned a lot about myself.
you english is very good! i took three years of german in high school and i know NOTHING!
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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by Opiateslave » Thu Jun 29, 2017 6:01 am

Hey guys. I'm new here. I might have just missed it. Could you explain how to do a liquid taper? I'm trying to make my zubsolv last at small doses and get as much absorption as possible.

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by Amy-Work In Progress » Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:08 pm

Welcome to the forum, Walkinthesky!

Are you still on a tapering path? Let us know if we can help!

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by Amy-Work In Progress » Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:10 pm

Opiateslave wrote:Hey guys. I'm new here. I might have just missed it. Could you explain how to do a liquid taper? I'm trying to make my zubsolv last at small doses and get as much absorption as possible.
Use the search function at the top of the page to find "liquid taper" posts. And welcome!! Let us know if you need more help!

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by walk_in_the_sky » Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:11 am

SisterMorphine wrote:hi there.
there is more to sub if you go thru a dr. you would also get therapy which would probably help you understand your addiction and what triggers you. i've quit cold turkey before, but this time using subs and therapy i've learned a lot about myself.
you english is very good! i took three years of german in high school and i know NOTHING!
Hey, thanks for your response!
You're absolutely right, it's extremely important to understand the own addiction for really staying sober in the long term! In fact I already have a lot of therapy experiences and last year I founded a self-help group on my own (not for drug addiction, but for another psychological disease). I'm really very active regarding my psychological/mental growth and self-reflection and I think that I am on a very good path in this area! :)

(Ich bin mir sicher, dass du immer noch ein bisschen Deutsch verstehst, oder? ;))
Amy-Work In Progress wrote:Welcome to the forum, Walkinthesky!

Are you still on a tapering path? Let us know if we can help!

Amy
Thanks Amy!

Yes, I'm still on the tapering path - at the moment my daily dosage is 0.625 mg! I continued to reduce my dose every couple days by 0.025 mg and that seems to be perfect for me! The reduction is super soft, I never had one single withdrawal symptom like sleeplessness or muscle pain (or - way worse - depression).
And because it's going so well, I got really motivated and reduced faster than planned. (I want to use the summer months for getting as low as possible.)

So all in all I'm really happy with my progress so far and my first big subgoal (reaching the 0.5 mg per day) is getting nearer and nearer! :)

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by Amy-Work In Progress » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:25 pm

Congratulations, WitS!

You are doing so well and I'm glad to hear it! I do hope you will continue to stop by and keep us updated on your progress. We appreciate it these personal stories so much.

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by walk_in_the_sky » Sun Mar 21, 2021 12:35 pm

Sooo, it's been a while, since I stopped by...

As you can read in my post above, in 2017 I was super motivated to get off of Subutex. In fact I was so motivated that in the end I totally overwhelmed myself and fell in a depressive phase and ultimately stopped the tapering process. Over a period of ~ 4 months I got down to 0.575 mg (from 0.9 mg). Most of the time it went really well, but then I just rushed it way too much, so in the end it was simply too overwhelming, I got mentally unstable and finally decided to stop the tapering process and settle at ~ 0.6 mg.

Since then for the most time I stayed at that dose, just last year (which again was a really depressive period for me) I went up to 0.65 and currently I am at 0.7 mg daily (since January).

For the last 3,5 years I thought I would just stay on Subutex "forever", but during the last months the thoughts about tapering down have been coming back. This week I had an appointment at a drug/addiction-counseling center here in Berlin, Germany. I felt this increasing need to finally talk openly to someone about my addiction. It was kind of a surreal feeling to just put it all out in the open, but it was also a huge relief. For ~ 12 or 13 years now I am addicted to opiates and for 8 years I'm on Subutex. I haven't been sober for a single day since 2013!

I'm still not sure what to do, but I'm definitely thinking about tapering again. And I'm thinking about attending addiction psychotherapy, as soon as I'm off Subutex. (In Germany you can't start therapy as long as you are still using - a fact I really find counterproductive and discriminatory, but that's what I have to deal with.)
On the one hand I don't want to overwhelm myself again by going down to fast, but on the other hand I don't want to taper down for 1-1,5 years (which would also mean that I wouldn't be able to get therapy and work on my addiction before that...).

So, yeah, right now I'm just thinking and reading and consider what to do. Next week I have another appointment at the counseling center and I'm really looking forward to it. It feels good to talk to someone about all that, because for many years I have been completely alone dealing with my addiction (since I have nearly no using friends anymore, which is kind of good, but also annoying in other ways).

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by rule62 » Sun Mar 21, 2021 5:46 pm

Good luck with your struggle to be opiate free. I am going to disagree with your terminology about being "addicted" to Subutex. Isn't it really a dependence instead? Addiction to me is continually seeking to get high no matter the consequences and that doesn't sound like your story. Yes, I'm just changing words and we all know what you mean. I too am on a dependent dose and do not feel like I'm using at all. The buprenorphine is used to keep me in check and not to crave opiates. Would I like to eventually stop taking it? Sure, but not today. My dose is low like yours. 1mg per day. Some days 2mgs depending on my need. My doctor prescribes 2 mgs per day and so I end up with extra at the end of the month. Sooner or later I'll have to face reality and get off it. That I do know. You are just a bit ahead of me.

We wish you success on your journey and once again please keep us posted on how it's going.
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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by walk_in_the_sky » Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:20 am

Thank you, rule!

In general I'm afraid there might be some misunderstandings due to my lack of English language skills and thus my inaccurate choice of words. I'm just trying to not let me stop by this, because (as far as I know) there isn't any German speaking internet forum specialized in buprenorphine topics.

I think I get your point. If I'm getting it right addiction means "Sucht" in German, while dependence means "Abhängigkeit/Abhaengigkeit", which are different concepts but are often used synonymous. We are dependent on water, but most of us aren't addicted to water - they don't crave drinking more water than it's healthy for them. Right?

I know that for many people bupre isn't a drug, but a medicine. A medicine, that helped them to let go of drugs like heroin etc and sort their life out. Often it may have saved their life. Which definitely is really great.

In my case bupre isn't a replacement for another, more destructive drug, but it's my primary drug. It's an opiate itself - a pharmaceutically manufactured and therefor unadulterated and manageable opiate - but still an opiate, that can cause addiction itself. Bupre for me is what heroin might be for many other persons.

That doesn't mean that I think bad of bupre, not a bit! I think it's a great and really important substance!

The first two years of my bupre addiction I used it in a totally uncontrolled, unstructured way. I consumed it through my nose and wasn't on a stable daily dose. I just took it whenever I felt like taking it, which was multiple times a day. I then started to regulate my use through dissolving the bupre in water, dosing it accurately (with the help of a syringe) and consuming it the way it's supposed to (sublingually). I reduced my dose from 4 mg (nasally!) to 1 mg (sublingually), which was a huge change for me.

Since then (all that changes happened in 2015) I used bupre as described in a controlled way, I stayed on my reduced dose and reduced it even more in 2017.

I've never been in any sort of medical substitution program (I'm not sure how you call it in English, I mean the official medical program, where a doctor prescribes the bupre officially to you due to your drug addiction), I always bought my bupre otherwise. So there never was a doctor who regulated my dose and who kind of forced me into a structure (no judging, this force definitely can be very positive if done right!), but I built this structure completely on my own and maintained it for several years now. In that point I would agree with you that I'm not addicted in a way where I just use without thinking about the consequences.

But I still wouldn't say that I'm just dependent on bupre. I don't just take it like a medicine at a specific time during the day and then forget about it the rest of the day. I'm often kind of "craving" (not sure if this is the right word here) for the next dose, I definitely want to feel a high, when I take bupre. I also take it two times a day - not just once. And the second time isn't right before bed (because if I went to bed right after taking my dose I wouldn't consciously feel the effect of the bupre, which would be like a waste to me), but in the afternoon. So that I'm "pushed" for the second half of the day.
Taking two doses a day isn't to prevent me from withdrawal symptoms or something like that, it's just because I want to feel the high I get from bupre. I also plan my activites around this two moments in every day, when I take bupre. If I want to meet a friend, I would always time it right after my second dose of the day, so that I feel good during the appointment.

Those are just a few aspects, I could continue it, but I just wanted to explain why I think of myself as an addict, not just as a person who is dependent on a medicine. Sure, my use is pretty regulated and in general I live a normal, structured life, I managed to get my uni degree while being on bupre, I got a good job and have a clean and tidy apartment - but many addicts do so, I think. The extreme image of addicts who use in a wild, unregulated, self-destructive way are just one version of addiction. But there are many different versions on a wide range.

I definitely have a huge tendency towards addiction. Not just bupre, I was addicted to other drugs before (and last year I drank way too much alcohol, smoked a lot of pot and started smoking cigarettes again - all while being on bupre; I then stopped all that at New Year). I tend to eat too much junk food just for emotion regulation (I'm not overwheight and normally I eat really healthy with lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, but throughout my life I had recurring phases of overeating and also of starvation), I also at times tend to workaholism and then again to the exact opposite. And there are a lot of more examples like these.

All in all addiction (in various manifestations) is definitely something, that has been present during my whole life. Bupre is just one variation of it. And it clearly isn't the worst one. For years I was glad to be on bupre, because it definitely was way more tolerable than most of the other drugs I had been addicted to before. It actually helped me to stabilize mentally and for that I'm grateful. But nonetheless there are some major aspects that restrain and bother me and that can't be solved while on bupre. That's why I'm here and am thinking about stopping. Maybe it's just time.

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by wannaBdrugfree » Mon Mar 22, 2021 1:56 pm

walk_in_the_sky wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:20 am
I definitely have a huge tendency towards addiction. Not just bupre, I was addicted to other drugs before (and last year I drank way too much alcohol, smoked a lot of pot and started smoking cigarettes again - all while being on bupre; I then stopped all that at New Year).
Like you and many of us on this site, we want to be free from bupe. Myself can see similarities to your thoughts. I too consumed nasally in the beginning and even continued to use oxycodone nasally while on bupe. After a period of hard work on my addiction problems I cut away the the old habit of snorting the drug, and consider this a major positive on my road to becoming sober.

Nothing but sublingual use now and only bupe, thank God my conscience informed me of my need to reform. Down to 3.25mg per day now split 2 doses a day, so 2mg early morning, then 1.25 afternoon. I also rely on bube for energy or a boost of some kind, like you said if you have a meeting with a friend or some event to attend, I consider the bupe as a kind of aid or crutch.

I quit drinking and smoking cigarettes over 10 years ago. Last year my father at age 88 passed away and he was my hero, I was very close with him and still grieving. Because the grief was so awful, I reverted to drinking beer again. So, I am working on this too. I would like to stop the beer completely, but it is no different than the bupe being addiction related.

The beer just tastes so good and I do limit myself, I like Heineken and Guinness and usually have 1 of each plus a pabst or Budweiser, so about 4 beers per day, I know it is to much. I do not smoke pot or cigarettes or vape, no tobacco. Not using any other drugs prescription or street. The bupe is prescribed. I feel pretty good most of the time but realize I must not give up on controlling my addictions. And like the gal from Germany, I have other addictive behaviors besides those being disclosed.

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by Rdphish73 » Mon Mar 22, 2021 2:52 pm

You too can be Buprenorphine free if you want it bad enough. After 5+ years of Bupe....I've got 3 weeks completely off. I tapered down only over a few months. And I jumped from 1mg/day.....Still having some rough days, but I that's life. After all, we can't feel good all the time....that is not reality. Yet, I can already feel my old self waking up. It's glorious. I'm rooting for you.

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by walk_in_the_sky » Tue Mar 23, 2021 8:52 am

So sorry for your loss, wannaBdrugfree! :(

I understand that the loss of your father makes it hard for you to stay away from the alcohol. Of course it's no healthy coping mechanism, but in the end it's really challenging to consciously apply a healthier way of dealing with it, when you are in such an exceptional situation emotionally and when using has been the no. 1 "strategy" for years.

In 2019 I was going through a difficult separation and after that I fell in this depressive state that I've been in since then. So I started drinking and smoking almost on a daily basis for over a year (well there were some weeks where I didn't consume anything except bupre, but especially during the second half of 2020 there was hardly a day where I didn't drink or smoke). Obviously it didn't really help with the depression and so I stopped the drinking and smoking pot and cigarettes altogether on New Year.

My mother is an alcoholic and during my childhood she was really abusive towards me - so I never really learned healthy strategies to cope with emotions etc. I don't write that as an "excuse", but as an explanation. It's just a fact. But of course that doesn't mean that I don't want to change and learn new strategies. In fact over the last 20 years (I'm 35 years old now) I already changed and learned a lot, I did several psychotherapies and worked hard on changing these unhealthy patterns I've learned during my childhood. My addiction tendency never really was a subject in the therapies, but now I think it's time that I do something about this really big part of myself.

The counseling centre where I've been last week (and where I have another appointment this week) offers ambulant addiction therapy. It's one "single session"(?) and one group session per week. So two appointments every week. The condition is that I stop using before the therapy starts. I think that's my best shot, so I guess I will try it as soon as I'm off the bupre.

I understand that ending the nasal consumption of bupre was a major change for you, wannaBdrugfree. For me it also was a big thing when I made that change. That's definitely something you can be proud of!

Rdphish73, congrats on your jump! It's great that you already made it three weeks, that's huge! Jumping from 1 mg for me is unimaginable (I mean I only take 0.71 mg a day and can't imagine to just jump), but I guess it feels pretty low when you've been on a really high dose before. I wish you that the withdrawal symptoms fade fast! (Of course the main work starts after that, but I think we all know that.)

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by walk_in_the_sky » Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:41 am

After my appointment at the counseling centre last week (where I told my counselor that I decided to stop taking Bupre and to start an addiction therapy) I had kind of a setback. After I "officially" made/announced my decision I thought about the Oxycodone I still had at home (which I hadn't taken for years) and about the fact, that I wouldn't be able to ever take it again, when I'm off the Bupre. So I kind of panicked and took the Oxycodone for five days straight until it was empty. To my addicted brain it just would've felt like a huge waste if I would've thrown it away. So it somehow soothes me that it's empty now. I also felt some kind of "fear of loss" after my decision, so I think, that was a reason too.

Btw: For six days now my daily dosage is 0.6 mg (reduction from 0.71 mg). Doing good so far.

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by walk_in_the_sky » Sun Jul 04, 2021 8:10 am

0.25 mg

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by labgirl03 » Fri Jul 16, 2021 10:21 am

walk_in_the_sky wrote:
Sun Jul 04, 2021 8:10 am
0.25 mg
I did a liquid taper for over a year and was able to get down to 0.08mg. of Suboxone when I was able to quit for good that was 19 months ago.
I want to congradulate you for getting as far as you have a encourage you to continue. :)

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by walk_in_the_sky » Sun Aug 22, 2021 9:12 am

labgirl03 wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 10:21 am
I did a liquid taper for over a year and was able to get down to 0.08mg. of Suboxone when I was able to quit for good that was 19 months ago.
I want to congradulate you for getting as far as you have a encourage you to continue. :)
Thank you so much for your response! It's really very encouraging to read something like that. 0.08 mg is a really impressive dose (in terms of being so tiny - but I totally get why you reduced it so far). I'm planning on being on maybe 0.1 mg when I make the jump. How was your jump? Did you have any significant withdrawal after tapering so low? I would love to read more about your story.
And - most importantly: Congratulations on 19 months! That's really just phenomenal!

The last couple of weeks weren't easy for me. I started a huge private project which is really demanding (both emotionally and physically) and which will keep me busy for a longer time (and it's also time-consuming - which isn't easy in addition to work etc). And because of that I increased my sub dose (to 0.35 mg, sometimes 0.4 mg a day). And yeah, for a time period of a month I was thinking I would cancel it all and wouldn't stop using and not starting the therapy.

Then, a couple of days ago, I finally got the response from the insurance: They accepted my request and confirmed that they will pay for my treatment (special psychotherapy for addictive disorders).

I have to admit: When I saw the envelope in the letterbox I kind of hoped, that they would have denied. Because I just wasn't sure anymore if I was really able and willing to do this whole thing. Then I saw that they accepted and for a few days I did nothing about it, I didn't tell anyone, but was rolling thoughts in my head all the time. Then I finally came to the conclusion that I'm going to do it. I'm planning on doing the jump mid of September and then starting therapy right away.

Until then I'm reducing my dose as far as possible. I'm now back on 0.2 mg a day and it would be great if I'd reached 0.1 mg when I make the jump.

I'm really excited and also very scared, but I regained my will and my curiosity of discovering a sober life.

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by walk_in_the_sky » Thu Aug 26, 2021 11:26 pm

0.15 mg

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by walk_in_the_sky » Sun Aug 29, 2021 11:01 am

0.1 mg

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Re: My journey towards freedom - slow liquid taper process

Post by rule62 » Mon Aug 30, 2021 11:01 pm

Congratulations on getting to such a low dose. How does a person cut down a piece to 1/10th of a milligram? It must be just a sliver if you're using the film. Have you thought about just stopping now? It just seems like so little that a body might not even register it. Can you feel that small amount working?

Keep it up, you're doing great!
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