For the last few months I've been reading threads on this site, finding lots of support during the end of a 5 year suboxone addiction. Thank you all for your help, this post is my experience and suggestions for anyone that is struggling and needs help getting clean. I was prescribed suboxone for opiate addiction. Although I had taken pain pills recreationally for years, at the time I had only been taking 100 to 300mg of morphine for about a month. Don't get me wrong i was and am an addict, my point was that, in retrospect, I feel that the 16mg of suboxone a day was excessive and ended up causing a lot more problems than it solved. i wish that I had just sucked it up for a week and gotten off the morphine without help.
During the 5 years I was on suboxone I tried to stop cold turkey a bunch of times. My best attempt was 13 days, most of which I spent in a xanax coma, at the end of which I had no more vacation time and was just starting to get to the worst of it. In my personal experience taking lots of xanax to sleep through my entire withdrawal was not helpful and I would even say it felt like it just postponed a lot of symptoms until I woke up.
After 4 years of taking suboxone I finally figured out that with this drug you need to taper before you jump. At this point I was taking between 6 and 8mg a day and after 6 months of tapering I had it down to 1mg and thought I was ready. I only lasted 2 long, hellish days before giving up, again. That was about the time I found this website and realized that 1mg is still a lot of suboxone stop from. I kept going with my taper until I was on about .25mg a day. By this point I was miserable, i had felt like shit for so long and felt like it was never going to end. I was on .25mgs for over 3 months. I obsessed about stopping and kept finding reasons to take a little extra every few days and then struggle back to .25mg over and over.
What finally saved me was loperamide. I started skipping days by using approximately 20 to 30mg of loperamide with lots of grapefruit juice. Besides feeling an extreme sense of heaviness and having to drink liquids constantly, it was pretty easy. It took away 90% of my withdrawal symptoms. I would like to add that taking all of the lope at once gave me a slight stomache ache and nausea so I learned to take it in small doses- 4 to 8 mg at a time, every couple hrs over the course of the day to avoid this reaction. Once I had four days off suboxone I was done with it and took lope every day for about 2 more weeks to be sure that I had passed the worst of the suboxone withdrawal. At this point I had no idea what was going to happen because of the conflicting reports on using loperamide. Was I postponing my withdrawal, was I adding to it, etc.
Once I stopped the loperamide, I experienced the following: one day of moderate withdrawal followed by about 5 days of full on opiate withdrawal. I assumed that at some point Id have to go through something like this because the lope made it feel too easy. But the 5 days of bad withdrawal were very different from when I had stopped suboxone in the past. It seemed like the second half of normal withdrawal, I didn't go through that beginning stage where you feel like youre in a constant state of panic and you feel like youre plugged into an electrical socket. I had mild RLS for about 2 days, the main symptoms were insomnia and that prickly, burning, sweaty, too hot, too cold feeling. The most amazing part was my head was clear, almost no mental symptoms at all besides boredom.
On day 6 of being off everything, I turned the corner and had my first day feeling slightly better. This was the day I knew I had finally done it. l am now on day 12 and my symptoms are lessening (very slowly) each day. I still feel cold really easy and get sweaty pits and palms. I feel exhausted all day and then sleep only an hr or two at a time, but mentally I feel great because of what I just accomplished. I hope this is helpful to someone out there struggling like I was only a few short weeks ago. I didn't go into detail with exact amounts of time and mgs of sub during my taper because I knew this would be a pretty long post but I'd be happy to do that if someone is interested or to clarify any other details if they would be helpful.
1. Drinking grapefruit juice or something else containing quinine before or with your dose of loperamide is important, I tried it without and it was ineffective. I felt this was a safer alternative to taking tagamet or any of the other lope cocktails but I really don't know too much about it so maybe its not safer.
2. During the last 5 days of heavy withdrawal I took melatonin before sleeping. When I woke up in a cold sweaty mess every hr or 2, marijuana was a lifesaver.