Suboxone is a powerful drug for eliminating opiate withdrawal symptoms; however, Suboxone is an opiate itself (buprenorphine), which means your not off of opiates if you’re taking Suboxone. Depending on how much Suboxone you take, the intensity of Suboxone Withdrawal will vary when you finally make the move to quit completely. Usually the withdrawal symptoms will be less intense from quitting Suboxone than from quitting another opiate drug such as heroin or oxycontin; however, if you take a large dose of Suboxone every day and don’t properly taper down before quitting, the withdrawals can be worse and last longer.
Here Is How I Successfully Got Off Opiates
The Easy Part
1. I got a subscription for Suboxone to start my Suboxone therapy
2. I started out taking 1/4 of a 8mg/2mg Suboxone Film twice per day for 2 weeks
3. After two weeks I went down to 1/5 twice per day and after 4 weeks I was down to 1/4 per day
4. I set a date to quit after 6 weeks (at this time I was down to 1/6 of a strip per day). I gave myself 10 days of doing nothing but getting through the withdrawals (sorry, this part is necessary if you really want to get clean). I used vacation time from my job (there is no way I could work going through the Suboxone withdrawals).
The Hard Part
1. I got all my supplies before my quit date and mentally committed myself to quitting.
Advil, Tylenol, Theraflu, Advil PM – These are for reducing body aches and pain and helping with sleep
Bananas – To help reduce restlessness in back and legs
Hot Foods (soup, oatmeal, tea, etc.) – Just because it’s easier and more comforting to eat when you feel this shity
5hr Energy – For energy when you really need it (this was day 4-7 for me). I would only drink half a bottle at a time to avoid getting jittery.
Xanax – To help with anxiety and depression during the first 5 days (you can request this from your Suboxone Doctor and let him know you need it to help you quit)
2. I spent a lot of time in the jacuzzi and taking hot baths (this really helps sooth the pain)
3. I tried to do at least 30 min of exercise each day (this helps speed up the recovery process and reduce your body aches…and helps you not feel like such a helpless piece of shit!)
4. the nights I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t even try (this was day 4 and 5 for me). I just went to 24hr fitness and chilled in the jacuzzi and sauna – this really beets rolling around in bed all night suffering and never sleeping.
5. I would take the Advil and Tylenol throughout the day and take the Theraflu and Advil PM at night.
6. On day 8, I took a tiny little piece of Suboxone that I saved (this is a trick I learned from a friend, for some reason it works and does not cause your withdrawal symptoms to start over or get worse the next day, it does the opposite). The next day, I felt much better and hardly felt any withdrawal symptoms at all.
7. By day 9, I was just about back to normal and loving it. I didn’t wake up in the morning needing opiates to get out of bed.
8. I immediately started a regular exercise routine to give my body a natural dose of endorphins every day which kept the restlessness and opiate desire away.
9. That’s it.Was it hard? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes. Was it necessary? Yes.
I should also let you know that this was my 3rd attempt at quitting Suboxone. I think the first 2 attempts failed because I didn’t give myself a dedicated window of time to quit and I didn’t get the supplies listed above (which really help). Also, I tried to sleep when it was impossible which caused me to go insane and relapse. If you can’t sleep, don’t. Get yourself into a warm environment like a jacuzzi, hot bath, or sauna. Don’t let the few rough nights make you fail. You have to think of yourself as a champion during your withdrawals, it’s your way of paying for all those highs you got to enjoy in the past. You have to accept the fact that the drug party is over, opiates can no longer be a part of your life.
I’ve been clean now for over a year and have since built my own business, quit smoking, fallen in love, and found new hobbies. When I look back at what I was, totally dependent on opiates in order to live, it just discusses me. It was so worth it to go through a little pain for a week to get clean.
If I did it, you can do it. Just set a date, make a plan, and stick to it. And give yourself all the tools and supplies that will make it easier. Good luck!
-Chris Weber, San Diego, CA