Guinevere Gets Sober

Recovery news, reviews and stories, by Jennifer Matesa.

Suboxone Detox and Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

We seem to have opened a little tin of worms here with the posts about Suboxone, starting with my interview with Dr. Steven Scanlan, a Florida detox doc who uses Suboxone and Subutex to detox patients off opioids.

People are writing in about Suboxone. It’s great that folks are asking questions! I need to emphasize (this also appears in my “About” page) that I’m not an expert or practitioner. I don’t dispense professional advice; I share personal experience. I’m a person with addiction who has been through the mill. I write from the place of “beginner’s mind.” The experience of detox—choosing a method; committing to it; literally waking up and smelling the roses—is still fresh for me, and the feeling persists in my daily life of being lucky to be alive. I write this blog because I used to take so many different drugs, and had lost control, and am now able to stay sober. I know there are solutions out there, some of which don’t involve being on drugs for the rest of one’s life.

And I seriously used to think I’d just have to be on drugs for the rest of my life. I’m only 46.

So a reader wrote in with a question about feeling really crappy post-detox. This person had been taking OxyContin for a little over a year, at between 90 and 400mg per day, but usually around 90-120mg. They ran out of cash and got their doctor to prescribe Suboxone. They were able to taper from, as far as I can tell, 16mg per day to one-quarter of a tablet or a film (they used both)—which, depending on whether they were taking the 2mg or the 8mg formulations available in the U.S., means they were dosing at either .5mg or 2mg per day at the end. It’s unclear from the way the email is written exactly what dose they jumped from at the end.

This is important, though: the jumping-off dose. Get to that in a minute.

They write:

In the last two days I have altogether stopped taking it. The problem is I have been experiencing extreme tiredness; major digestive issues, especially gastric reflux and an on and off “lump in my throat”; and muscle weakness. I am a middle-aged cardio athlete and I now have extreme sensitivity to air conditioning or temperature change between rooms at the gym. Overall I feel like I gotta be dying of cancer or something is really wrong with me! I am not sure how long this is going to last and have yet to come across an article describing Suboxone withdrawal and how long it may take for me to feel “normal” again or if that is even going to be possible? I am kind of determined to stay off the Suboxone as I believe is causing me lots of physical problems I don’t read about in the “side effects” articles. Is what I am experiencing “normal” and if so how long do you think it may be until these awful sensations and other problems go away?

The experience this person is writing about is called “post-acute withdrawal syndrome” (PAWS). What this means: after we’re done with the “acute” detox—the period of time in which the body is getting rid of the remnants of drugs still in our systems—there can be another phase of detox that is “post-acute,” when the body is still working to heal from the effects of our addiction.

Suboxone, like methadone (or any drug with a long half-life), takes a long time to be excreted by the body. It’s not like the day you stop taking it, your body is free of the drug. One nurse I know who detoxed from Suboxone put herself through urine tests, and could detect Suboxone in her blood up to three weeks after jumping.

One critical thing to remember about the healing process after detox: Opioid drugs hijack our body’s ability to make its own opiates, called endorphins. When we’ve hijacked our body’s ability to produce endorphins, and we detox, it takes a while to heal.

So ALL withdrawal symptoms mean the body is healing. Withdrawal is a healing process. (It sux, but it’s healing. :))

The symptoms of opiate PAWS include some of the ones mentioned in this email:

  • Persistent fatigue: endorphins help regulate the body’s energy; when we take extra opioids, it can affect our endocrine systems, which regulate our metabolism and sex hormones (many opiate addicts have experienced lack of sex-drive, women sometimes go into menopause, and men sometimes demonstrate low testosterone levels). When we detox, these systems don’t just switch back to “normal” immediately.
  • Digestive problems: this person has gastric reflux and a feeling of a lump in the throat; other people have persistent loose bowels and lack of appetite. Did you know that the brain isn’t the only place that has opiate receptors?—the entire GI tract is lined with them, especially the “gut” or intestines. Which is why opiate addicts usually experience constipation: opiates slow down the body’s “autonomic” functions, including digestion (and breathing, which is why ODs can be lethal, and why morphine is standard treatment for people at the end of life experiencing “dyspnea,” or breathing problems). When we detox, suddenly the GI system is shocked back into action, because there’s nothing numbing it anymore. It takes a while to settle down.
  • Temperature sensitivity: endorphins help regulate the body’s thermostat. When we take extra opioids, the body’s ability to perform this function on its own is compromised; when we detox, it takes time for the body to regain this function.
  • Sadness, anxiety, and pessimistic feelings: This person says they feel like they might have cancer, or that “something is really wrong.” Just as opioids numb certain physiological systems, they also numb our feelings. (Candace Pert, the neuroscientist who discovered the opiate receptor, calls opiates the “molecules of emotion.”) One of the main reasons opiate addicts choose opioids over other drugs is because these drugs are so efficient at numbing emotional life. But when we detox, all the feelings numbed out by the drugs come back, and because our native endorphin production is out of whack, it takes a while for our body-mind to begin to “feel” in normal ways again.

Who gets PAWS: There’s a ton of stories from people who have detoxed or tried to detox from Suboxone demonstrating that many of us experience PAWS. On the other hand, some people don’t experience much PAWS at all. A great deal depends on the differences between each of our bodies and minds, as well as how long we were taking drugs, what level we detoxed from, how low a dose we tapered to, how well we’re taking care of ourselves, and how much support we’re getting.


Tae Kwon Do

Tae Kwon Do: “Lies My Mother Never Told Me,” a memoir by Kaylie Jones, describes how the author recovered from her alcoholism in part through this discipline.

Some common-sense tips for managing PAWS:

  • Shorten your detox: If you want to use Suboxone to detox, try to stay on it a minimal amount of time. The many personal accounts I’ve heard, as well as some professional opinion, suggests that people using Suboxone to detox should try to use it no more than three to four weeks. Beyond that, the body begins to get used to Suboxone (just as it becomes used to any opioid after such a time), which can become a problem in and of itself. Again, this doesn’t seem to be the case for everybody.
  • Taper as low as you can before jumping, especially from long-acting drugs such as Suboxone. In Europe, buprenorphine is made in doses of .2mg, which is helpful for tapering to minute doses. In the U.S., tapering this low has to be done by splitting 2mg tablets into slivers of a quarter or an eighth-milligram, or securing the films, which can be cut to facilitate very low tapering. As an example, I tapered to .125mg (one-eighth) before jumping. Those who jump from even 1mg usually have a rougher ride. It’s estimated that 1mg Suboxone equals about 33-40mg morphine (in binding power). I wouldn’t want to jump from 35mg morphine.
  • Begin serious daily aerobic exercise, as soon as you know you want to detox. Exercise is one of the best ways to help the body restore its own endorphin production. … I detoxed in the fall. I was exhausted, but I loaded upbeat songs on the iPod and dragged myself for a 20-minute walk every day, going as fast as I needed to go to sweat. I also rode a stationary bike. My sleep and temperature regulation wasn’t great when I finally jumped off Suboxone, but today I sleep normally. Even better, I can cycle 30 miles, play 2 hours of tennis, clean the house; and two days ago I scored my first pull-up. (Yaaaah!) We do heal.
  • Ask for some kind of 3-D support. Work some kind of program of recovery. The way I look at it: when I broke my elbow, I had to do PT, right? I can’t numb out my body and feelings without doing some kind of repair work. I started going to 12-step meetings, and sharing my experience with and learning from others who had been through the same thing helped ease the anxiety and let me know I could get better. It doesn’t have to be meetings; it could be therapy, or a spiritual community, or a physical discipline such as Tae-Kwon Do—anything that helps us enlarge our perspective and grow.

A great resource and support for those detoxing from Suboxone is the Suboxone Forum at Opiate Detox Recovery.

Please share your experiences here, too. And if there are any physicians or researchers who can point to studies about PAWS and Suboxone, please give us a heads-up. I checked Ovid this morning and couldn’t find any. … Not that studies tell the whole truth, but this reader was looking for “articles.”


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  1. Hey Subhell,
    Man I feel all that you are saying but please hang in there for my sake. This site we share our nightmares with subs, we are all common yet unique in our experiences of getting through. Nothing replaces live conversation but in a way it is very much like a meeting. My hope is in you getting well and my hopes are strengthened by successes and even momentary failures because we all have the desire and willingness to beat this and get well. We are each others strength in many ways. I learn I live it I share it and somewhere in the clutter of all this a light shines for me knowing I am not alone. Hang in there and even if there’s a slip come right back ’cause everyone on this page needs hope for the battle to be won. And cliche or not brother there is strength in numbers. Simply Black
    I’ll have started a prayer list you are on it!

  2. A good evening to all of you. This will be my last blog for a time. I saw my addiction doctor and told him I want off. His plan is @ 16 mg to take 2 mg away every other day. And then they will continue that each month. Do the math it will take two years to get tapered off. I told him sounds like a plan and told him to look at this web-site. He told me he knew better than things I shared with him. He was the expert. Yeah we’re just the people trying to tell a horrific story of us, THE TRUTH!!! So little does he know I am only doing one 8 mg film each morning. Will taper myself. This site is a God send. Then I went to my primary doctor afterwards and tried to express the truth of this drug and he began in a sense defending suboxone to a degree. They now give it to me for pain – doesn’t matter that I said drug maker site says NOT TO BE PRESCRIBED as a pain medication.
    I can’t find any sanity. I am not sleeping. So here’s my plan tonite. Making dinner and at the twelve hour point since doing my fun film I am taking a zanex and getting much needed sleep. Why all the lie’s and cover-up for this drug? Please someone tell me.

  3. mchorseguy – please e-mail me if you would be so kind. . I would very much appreciate that. Simply Black

  4. Guinevere – Have to share my visit Friday to the suboxone doctor. He asked me if 16 mg a day was enough to with my pain. I told him no and I want off. His taper down plan would take two years for Gods sake. I said there are people that believe 16 mg is too large for a maintenance dose. He asked me where and who and I gave him this web-site. He said they are wrong I am the expert. Then he asked me about meetings and I told him when I say I’m on suboxone they say I am not clean and by their rules I am not allowed to speak. They say very kindly. Now my doctor says that I am to tell them to tell my doctor ’cause he wants to know why they’re so busy in my fourth step. I respected these people and I liked what I heard – I would never ask such a stupid question of them. They explained it to me with love and kindness merely stating the obvious – I am not clean. I wasted 28 days being lied to straight face while I cried. That line holds more meaning today.Simply Black & completely amazed at what these doctors are getting away with. Of course I’m the stupid one for saying uh huh everything is just dandy now.

  5. I have questions regarding detox and suboxone but would like to speak privately. Please email me. Thanks. :))

  6. I’m on day 4 and everyday is getting better. I realized quittin pills cold Turkey mighta been a better idea, not sayn i wldnt do it all again perks and roxys have ruined my town and friends. But glad to see other people optimistic on the other side of tha fence.

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  8. Hi people. I am at around three weeks, I think. I quit subs cold turkey. Im a vet who was prescribed it due to PTSD. I dont know what my doctor was thinking. Suboxone is a very VERY, powerful opiod antagonist. After reading as much as I could about the medicine, I realized its true purpose and was shocked that I was on it at all. So now I find myself among all of the people in this same dishwasher of pain and discontent. Im on here to help anyone who needs it. Im sure helping will help me just as much. I physically and mentally couldnt even type on this site until today. The foggy brain was unbearable. I couldnt get up. I couldnt concentrate. I have also been dealing with a severe cold. Pray you dont compound the problem like happened to me. A cold really made things worse. But I have an incredible woman by my side! She has literally saved my life while I have been fighting this. Im not sure if Im turning the corner for good or if its just a good day, but today has been incredible. I can actually look straight at things and see them. If your having trouble simply looking at things for more than a half second, than I suggest you check your pupils.. they may be dilated and sensitive to light and have trouble focusing. Its not permanent and its not something to be scared of. Also everyone talks about the cold sweats. The chills. Regulating body temp. The most likely cause of this is you may have a constant fever. Check your temp. If your having a fever you need to continuously monitor yourself and drink half water, half gatorade. Drink it cold if possible. I did spend one day in the hospital when my fever spike to 102 I had my gf take me to the hospital. I realized I was in bad bad shape. It helped me allot though. Human beings need to be loved. I dont care how tough we think we are. Our endocrine system is tougher! And the suboxone has shut down a very important naturally occuring happy drug we create, shut it down completely. You have to always remember you are in charge of your fate. Are you going to let this beat you? NO. Do whatever it takes. Immodium AD can change your life! Having loose bowels is also common. Its also another way we become dehydrated. Take Immodium AD and keep hydrated. Tylenol is best for any fevers and body aches. With the constant leg aches, I found Bananas can help allot. Just like bananas help with sore muscles. All of the things you experience through this painful process is simply your body kick starting (in a panic) all of the naturally occuring things your brain has not been able to do while we were taking the subs. Our entire body goes into a very long and slow state of SURVIVE. Its the survival response that makes us feel so badly. Its possible you may be fine all by yourself. But like before I can not reiterate enough, we need someone to help with this Hell we have gotten ourselves into. If you are currently feeling like your never going to feel normal again, just remember that all the stories on here say “you will be ok” This will all pass. And your next month should be better. Then the next month will be even better. Until we are in a state of mind where we never forget the Hell we survived! So fight ladies and gentle men! There are many of us out here in your same shoes. Even though every experience will be different, the facts about our health while going through this applies to everyone. Keep hydrated. Keep your electrolytes up. Eat whenever you can. Use Immodium AD. And find a way to stay motivated.

    Thanks for everyones time
    God Bless

  9. I am around day 7 of coming of subs. I took about 4 a day for approximately 2 year (way too long). I weaned myself off thinking I was doing the right thing. I got down to 1/4 of a tablet an it has been hell for 7 days. I can’t eat, I can’t get out of bed, I’m freezing and sneezing all the time. And the depression is awful. I actually came home from the grocery store 2 days ago and pulled in the garage. I cut the car off, and I just sat there staring straight ahead. All I could think of is cranking the car, and letting it run and just sitting there with the garage door closed. That would end all of this misery I’m feeling. Of course I didn’t do it, I have children. I’m not that selfish. I just don’t know how long I can take this. I have thought about getting just one bottle of lortab and taking once a day. Has that helped anyone? Or is that just trading one evil for another? I need help. I thought about going back on subs but I don’t want to do that. I feel like I will never get off of it.

  10. Good early morning to all, I have not blogged for three months. I refer to my suboxone doctor as my nut doctor. At 16 mg a day I began having such vivid dreams that lasted 15 minutes after waking up. Serious crap that the FDA recorded. My nut doctor believes that as I deal with pain from so many surgeries that it would help to increase my dosage. Another man prescribing without any real knowledge of subs and their effects. I dropped to 8 mg pr. day. Once in the morning. It has been 6 weeks now and I am feeling more in control. At my appointment after countless times of trying to talk I now just say – Uh huh yep everything just great – Pain – nope ain’t got none. I am getting off slowly as they could care less. Oh yeah the company that makes this crap (160 billion last year)
    can’t or won’t answer any legitimate questions – folks we are on our own. I am lowering to 4 mg starting today and expect and plan on things going just as well as the first drop from 16 to 8. When I said we are alone – we are not. Aside from my spiritual beliefs I have many people I talk to and this wonderful site to air out. God Bless each of you – comrades in this battle to defeat this cure all drug suboxone. Oh yeah – everthing just great – uh huh – no pain – uh huh – I just love my healing so well because of your great help with subs. Uh huh I am soooooo grateful – uh huh yep
    see ya in a month. OK that’ll be 100.00 please!

  11. Amen!! Praise the Lord!! I feel exactly the same way <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  12. I am praying for you Simply Black. The Lord bless and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace and joy <3

  13. If you take any opiate with Suboxone….it will throw you into withdrawals. Please be careful <3

  14. Amen!! That’s basically how I got to where I am at! I just do not have the will to only take half twice a day. If I have 10 vicodins, I would take every single one at once!! I would not recommend this to anyone <3

  15. This is the way I am trying to look at it. I know most don’t believe in the power of the Holy Spirit but GOD is real! I was baptised in the Holy Spirit about a year and a half ago and I truly believe that this is the only way I will be able to kick Suboxone after being on it for 6 years. I quit one time for 6 days, trusting in Jesus but I lost my faith too quickly. The crazy thing is that I didn’t have ANY withdrawals and still gave up. I am hoping and praying that this time I can keep my faith in Christ and not give up. I am praying for every person on this forum and who suffer from addiction. The Lord bless and keep each one of you and may He give you peace, joy, and strength that you need to get through it all <3

  16. “Come back in a year and tell us how it’s going.”


  17. WOW – on day 8 or 9 and had avoided ALL posts bc I can watch a commercial about to email fungus and swear, next thing you know, I’ve got it. The point, at day 8, being unable to muster the energy to lift the remote for a bit, I searched, read THIS, am done and outside walking and texting. Thank you – boxing gloves on bc no one and nothing is gonna call me or make me a wuss! Seriously – thanks and gratz on your battle!

  18. Hello, I am so glad to hear from another that had the identical experience. I was on Sub. For a little under 6 years, I jumped a 4 mg. I had to check in to Detox after day 6. The first 14 days was hell. I am at 35 days, and a lot of the intense withdraw has subsided. I am finding that everyday at this point, that I feel better in the morning, after only 3 hours of sleep (Somnipure helps) and it last a little longer every day. By the end of the day, the withdraw seems to be at it most uncomfortable point, then the cycle of trying to go to sleep starts again.
    But gets minutely better everyday. I have been told that after 45 to 50 days a lot of the discomfort subsides. Fingers crossed, for a happier future. Hang in there it does get better.

  19. So, if you were serious about getting off suboxone, why did you keep the sock full of them?

  20. Thank you for posting the truth, FINALLY, about this death drug. It is ruining my marriage. I was ready to leave my husband and he is now getting off, however, the damage may already be done. I am, though, willing to wait to see if our relationship can be mended. But the anger, oh the anger inside of me is bubbling. I KNEW this stuff was a short term fix and told my husband so, but he kept listening to this quack of a doctor. Two years has since past and I have had enough. I told the husband, “its me or Subs.” Being a reasonable man, he chose me, thank God. He is now down to 1.5 mgs from 6 mgs. The doctor tried to make him take more than 6 mgs but the hubs always refused. Thank you for posting this, as it makes me able to move on. If it were not for these sub sites, I would have gone crazy months ago. These sites have helped me to cope with my pain and loneliness.

  21. Hello out there… This is day 17 for me. I’ve been on subs for about 7 years, due to the fact I was hooked on Methadone. Ok. I just want everyone to remember that we each experience a different detox. I was on day 6 when I got some Demerol. I think it helped me a lot, I only hope I’m not switching addictions. So, I’ll keep y’all posted on that. I only take a few, and only in the morning. But last night was Hell! My lower back was killing me. I’m drinking plenty of water & Gatorade, eating healthy like bananas, soup, and grapes, and trying to get as much exercise as possible. I am fortunate enough not to have to work. But my husband is going through the exact same thing & he is at work. Anyway, I am still having the chills & sneezing like crazy. I thought by this time I would be up & moving. But, I’m not. Just no energy & no motivation & very depressed. I guess this is one of the stages I have to go through… Has anyone gotten off of long term sub by taking Demerol or pain pills? Am I only hurting myself? And would someone plz tell me when this shit is gonna end? I’m starting to loose it!!! I’m 35 & way too old for this shit. Help Someone, please? I’m begging for answers. I can’t get anything to help with the pain in 3 days, so the next few days are crucial.

  22. Ok, well no one has answered my questions. So I’m here to tell you if you’ve been on some type of opeite ( I have accute suboxion w/draw due to the fact I’ve been on it for 6-7 years), your gonna detox either way. But the sub detox is horrible. I’m on day 19… I know right, I should be feeling better? So while I’m kicking the box, I’m taking a little Demerol. I’m here to say it works. Get it in your head that you will no longer take box or pain pills. You can easily get off Demerol, and I’m not addicted to it. Don’t need it today. Yesterday I forced myself to go to the gym & work out. So, exercise, eat bananas & grapes seem to help, take a walk and get some sunshine, and drink half water & half Gatorade & you will feel like I am finally feeling. It’s hard, you gotta want it!!! No turning back now that I’m on day 19, cause I refuse to put my body through this again. Pray for God to give you the strength to carry on… God Bless Everyone & Good Luck!!!

  23. guinevere

    November 28, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Ashley… glad to see that you’re starting to feel better. You say at 35 you’re “way too old for this shit,” but I was 44 when I detoxed off Suboxone and it can be done at any age. I used to tell myself I’d gotten sober too late in life, but wtf??—should I have kept using just because I was over 40? I recently turned 50 and am in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life. … Some people use short-acting opioids to ease the transition off Suboxone. For me it would have been very dangerous to do that because of the temptation to keep using the short-acting drugs. But your advice to eat bananas, drink Gatorade, exercise OUTDOORS, which is so important—all that is great stuff. And your determination and spirit is the best thing to see. Let us know how it goes. with every good wish /G

  24. First, I’d like to say thank you to Guinevere (lovely name by the way) for creating this page and for sharing her story for the benefit of everyone going through the hellish nightmare of Suboxone and or opiate addiction/withdrawal. I have read many of your posts, and it is bittersweet to hear the agony along with the hard-earned triumph. I’m so grateful that all of you who have contributed to this forum have been candid and brave enough to “tell it like it is” in an effort to support one another and help bring hope to others who are struggling and stumble upon this website.

    Though I have never experienced addiction personally, my boyfriend of four years is currently attempting to detox from Suboxone. He’s been using it for five years, so the withdrawal symptoms are horrific. He’s tried to taper and jump off several times over the past couple of years, but is so miserable by day 5 or 6 that he just gives up. This time, he is on day 6 and is determined to kick the addiction once and for all. He has also abused other pain killers in the short term, when the subs weren’t available (mostly oxycontin and oxycodone) with Klonopin and Xanax here and there to help with the severe anxiety. He is a professional and has a child to support, so he feels that being out of work for an extended period of time is not an option for him. In addition, he is from the type of family that would be shocked and appalled if they discovered his addiction. He’s kept it well hidden for many years.

    Among a myriad of concerns, my greatest one is this: I took him to the ER on day 4 of detox, due to excruciating abdominal pain and vomiting. Not only was he dehydrated (they gave him IV fluids) but his potassium blood levels were elevated, which can be very dangerous to the heart and kidneys. Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Tomorrow will be day 7, and his stomach pain is still too intense for him to go to work. He is worried about running out of sick days and coming up with excuses for his employer, but I’m more worried about his heart function with these high levels of potassium in his blood. I feel like he needs to go back to the doctor in a day or two to have his levels checked again, but it’s nearly impossible to even get him off the sofa or out of bed. I’m sure that all of you understand all to well the depression and lack of energy/motivation that goes along with this horrible withdrawal. He’s shutting down emotionally and cannot even force himself to answer a phone call or send a one-word text, though I can tell that he’s at least trying harder than during previous attempts. I understand that he feels to miserable (physically and emotionally) to even breathe, but I’m so worried that something terrible may happen if he isn’t supervised by a doctor. I’m 100% committed to standing by him and helping him through this, as he wants it so badly, but I can only do so much when he’s so lethargic and unresponsive. When do the physical symptoms begin to subside after 5 years of continuous use? And how can I keep him from losing hope? Any insight you could provide would be most appreciated!

    Best of luck to all of you! I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. You are all in my thoughts and prayers…hang in there 🙂

  25. guinevere

    December 4, 2014 at 1:36 am

    Amy, I received the following responses to your inquiry on my Facebook page. It would be good to know at what dose he was. Please let us know how it goes. And check in to this paper by Dr. Steve Scanlan, medical director of Palm Beach Outpatient Detox. /G

    “I took suboxone for a year and a half before tapering and jumping down. I wonder what his taper plan looks like? The one I used was slow and by the end I was taking the tiniest piece of a strip, .25 of a mg, and then I was taking that every other day followed eventually, when my body felt ready, every three days. Since everyone is different it’s hard to say exactly what would help but I think having patience w the process was important for me. If I tried to stop on to high of a mg the withdrawl symptoms were too painful and I would take a tiny sliver until in a week or two when I no longer needed that sliver to function. I found it important to not beat myself up about how long it took or think to myself that I would never get off but trust that it was just going to take time. The first 2 weeks after jumping were still hard and I flopped like a fish out of water at night. After about day 11 though i felt some relief! I had a dr prescribe me trazodone. Clonodine is commonly used for heart palpataions which seems like it could be useful to your husband. I took a multi vitamin, b complex, potassium, l tyrosine, and plenty of ibuprofen and Imodium. If he or she wants to talk in more detail about tapers id love to hear what his plan was like. And best of luck!”

    “My heart goes out to this man. The only thing I can say is that I have personally been there and after 4 years on subutex, I thought I would die when I detoxed myself. All I can add is that you just have to suffer. I took Xanax and Ativan non-stop to keep myself calm and I am pretty sure I took clonidine to keep my blood pressure under control. I must tell you that it took me at least 5 weeks before I could feel any little bit of energy. I was a size 6 and size 2 shorts were hanging off of me by the time I was completely done. Also, after the upset stomach passes you will need to take colace to keep things moving through your colon. I lived on chips and dip and cheese toast. Here I am two years later and I have damage to my colon due to that detoxification process.”

  26. Ashley here. I lost count but I’m on day 25 or 26. Thanks for the advice. Both my husband and I are almost back to normal. So if your still struggling, get some Demerol. I swear it worked for my husband & it worked for me. Every now & then I will have a sneeze attack, but that’s it… Tell yourself no more opeites & stick to that… God Bless Everyone & remember you need to withdraw to move on. Your gonna hurt, but it passes. Good Luck!!!!!

  27. Hi Everyone. Look, I’m happy to offer any help. Peps, we can do this. Thanksgiving was the first holiday I was sober. I’ve had so many compliments on my skin, hair, body, & overall appearance. So even though we may feel bad, we actually look a lot better. Everyone has to remember, you have to give yourself at least 5 days of total soberiety to detox. After a few days, you can take something to get you through the day. I used Demerol cause I knew i wouldn’t get addicted to that. Try to take something other than pain pills & never take that damn sub or methadone. Their both the Devil. It is hard, I cannot tell a lie. But it’s worth it. No one needs to be stuck in addiction. It sucks cause you can’t just jump up & go on vacation unles you have your “meds”. Bull****!!! Tell yourself your tired of being tied up & trapped. Get out while you still can.

  28. Thank you all so much for your helpful comments and concern! As for the exact dosage when he jumped, I’m not absolutely certain. He’s honestly been tapering for the most part for over a year now. Aside from the occasional major events (family weddings/vacations/etc.) when he felt he HAD to appear normal and energetic, he’s really tried his best to make an 8mg strip last for 2+ days. I’m not too good with the exact dosage, because I’m not sure how many times a day he was taking it. I do know he barely took any on the weekends when he wasn’t working but had to take it to survive his work days. Basically, he was taking it in as small a dosage as possible for basic, human function over the past year or longer. For example, he rarely took any during nights or weekends. He was trying to do a more gradual taper, until he discovered he could no longer get the Subs without finding a new source. At that time, he had five 8mg strips left and decided to tough it out and accelerate the taper instead of trying to find a new source. He figured he had to do it eventually, why not go ahead and bring on the misery? I don’t recall the exact day he was down to 4 strips, but I’m fairly certain it was near the end of October. Basically, he made each 8mg strip last about a week, until he jumped. Obviously, he was taking less than 1mg/day, but I don’t know an exact amount. I do know that by the time he took his last little sliver, it was so, so tiny (almost microscopic). I hope this information is helpful and am sorry that I can’t provide exact dosages. He’s very private with this part of his life, as he’s ashamed to discuss it – sometimes even with me. He says that talking about it while he’s trying to taper/detox just keeps it in his brain even more. I can tell that he tries to do anything he can to distract himself from thinking about craving the subs. I guess the more he thinks about it, the more he is tempted to ditch the detox and begin a desperate search for more subs.

    On a positive note, it’s day 9 of detox, and he does seem to be doing the slightest bit better. The doctor gave him something for nausea, which has enabled him to at least go back to work for the past couple of days. I know he’s watching the clock intently while surviving each work day, but at least it somewhat occupies his mind and is better in some ways than sitting home and obsessing over his constant misery. I’ve never been through addiction/detox, but I imagine the “mental” part of it to be much like the depression/agony of losing a loved one/going through a divorce/etc. and trying to get through the days/weeks/months/ that follow without wanting to honestly die from the pain, heartbreak, and sense of loss of everything familiar to daily life. I have experienced those types of pain/suffering/loss, and I feel like you kind of have to “Fake it ’til you make it.” The difference is, you can’t bring back a lost loved one, spouse, etc.; therefore, you must force yourself to cope with the misery until you eventually recover naturally. With opiates, you always know you can get that feeling back again, even if you must do it illegally. In that sense, burying an addiction takes an infinite amount of willpower.

    At any rate, I don’t mean to ramble on about willpower and motivation. It just gives me hope to hear all of your success stories! I hope I am able to add my significant other to your list of successes! I’m really trying to stay positive and strong in the midst of all this chaos. The hardest part is feeling like he is drifting away from me, though I know he’s still here. Actually, the worst part is the not knowing…how long will the detox/recovery last? When will things get better? When will life seem “normal” again? Will his feelings for me even be the same once he is completely sober? Or will he be such a completely different person on the inside that I won’t even know him anymore? Would anyone be willing to shed some light on emotional/relational aspect? Suboxone has turned our relationship into a roller coaster over the past few years. I’m just wondering if our love can survive the test of detox and recovery. I’m doing my best to be patient, kind, loving, supportive, etc. Sometimes it’s difficult though when he is extremely withdrawn, irritable and very self-centered. Do former addicts ever come out on the other side to truly realize and appreciate the hell they put their loved ones through in the process? Does life without the subs restore a sense of empathy in the survivor? These are the burning questions I keep asking myself. In the meantime, I strive to stand strong, hoping my efforts are not all in vain.

    Hope everyone has a great weekend! May God bless you all as you work to overcome and break free! Stay strong – you can do it 🙂

  29. Hey everyone. Ok, I am now on day 28. This sub detox is horrible. I have good days & bad days. Today is a bad day. I’m very mad & very sad. I want to get out the bed, but I have no energy. I need to get out the house & go for a walk or exercise. PAWS sucks! It’s mostly mental now. But detox for 5-7 days without anything. Then get some Demerol or a mild pain pill. Remember to eat bananas, soup, & stay hydrated. I took my last Demerol pill 2 days ago & my legs were killing me last night. But I took some ibuprofen & fell asleep. There is hope. And I hope most of my systems are gone by day 30… If not, can anyone answer a question for me? I want to take an addarol for some energy, will that hurt me?

  30. Hey all! Just a little history before I explain my detox. I took pain pills for 2-1/2 years and didn’t want to be addicted to them anymore but I knew I couldn’t afford regular in-patient detox so I went to my PM doctor and asked for help. He originally put me on Suboxone (when I had insurance) then when I lost my insurance he put me on subutex. I had taken subutex for almost 4 years. During that time I started tapering from 4 mg twice a day to 4 mg a day then to two then to one. For the last two weeks I tapered to 1/8th of a pill. I decided it was time to stop altogether. All I can say is it was rough! For the first 8 days I was always tired and had heavy duty flu symptoms, gastric problems, sweating and insomnia at night. Obviously I still had to function because life doesn’t stop, but it is now day 11. I have more energy, and sweating has stopped. My only problem now is my stomach and feeling like it is always rumbling so it keeps me up at night sometimes. I still haven’t regained my appetite (kinda a good thing I needed to lose weight anyway) I have to force myself to eat something. BUT what Advice I have to offer is this, try to stay active as much as possible and realize that everyday after 10 will probably be an improvement from the day before. Don’t give up.

  31. Man I been clean from Subs for a month and am still suffering extreme temp fluctuations and stomach problems and nervous all the time. I was on 16 msg for twelve years sometime as much as 32 mg if back hurt. I be honest this acute withdrawal and paws are bye far worse than when I stopped drinking. They say opiate withdrawal can’t kill ya, but you will wish u were dead, but being a life long type 1 diabetic I starting to believe this withdrawal may kill me cuz my blood sugars are going from 6 to 700 to 30 it is a killer.
    I will say though that being clean for this long is something I never thought I would ever see so I am up for this challenge along with my sponsor and 12 step today I am clean.
    Please folks if ur using Suboxone use it fast and as least u can handle then start tapering fast to get to ur jump off. I jumped from 2 mg and I was in extreme pain and sick for a week so ween as far as u can and good luck

  32. you know what I don’t understand is why all of us addicts think we can take pain pills to get off subs, shit we got on the subs for a reason right? at least most of us did for the same reason, to try to get off other opiates.

  33. I was on soboxine for 4 years I’m on day seven today… I’m not sleeping my legs feel better and a lot of hot showers. Now i have flexeral and five mgs of percs to take edge off. If i wanted to get high they would of been gone but i only take when needed. This is my third slip up so I know what to expect my eyes are huge my sleeping sucks i jumped off 2mgs. I never could cry on soboxine more i can’t stop crying even with a low dose of percs here and there its been twenty hours since i took a perc whenyour ready to stop you’ll know it and just remember time keeps moving forward my last slip took me 62 days till i felt better.

  34. I am really nervous. I am getting close to jumping off but I have kids and can’t afford to be sick. Suboxone has made me feel crappy the whole time I have been on it. I have had anxiety attacks and feel like I am tired all the time. I have always been an active person, running 3 miles a day and working out. Suboxone took that desire to be fit away. I struggle to get out of bed, even though I have weened myself to a low dose. I take between 1-2 mg a day. I have had so many psychological symptoms on this medication that it is scary for me to continue to take it. I wish that I had went to detox instead of taking suboxone. I had only been an addict for 1.5 years, pills and heroin. I have now been on subs for 1 year and I want my life back. This med has turned me into a hypochondriac. I have digestion issues now and all kinds of problems I have never experienced before.

    I would appreciate any advice that would help. I want to be off in a month or two. If starting to exercise helps, I will start tomorrow. I still have my p90x dvd’s that I love. Do you suggest weenie down a little more before really jumping off?? Like maybe 1mg for a week or two, then .5 for a week or two? Etc? I get the tablets and they are so hard to break into equal tiny pieces. I have several children and I am afraid of paws.

  35. I’ve been on subs for about 6 years. Before that because of getting constant kidney stones, I became addicted to pain pills. I can break my subs up and make them last 5 days each. I’ve tried to stop taking the subs a few times before but because the symptoms were so bad, I started again. I truly want off these things but the worst thing for me is having small children at home, no one to help, and being a single parent, my income pays the bills. The hardest part for me in the past is the restless legs and arms. It is so bad, I can’t even explain it. The other is my moodiness while withdrawing. Having no energy, or sleep doesn’t help but I can handle all that. Can anyone PLEASE tell me what I can do about the restless arms and legs. After 2-3 days it’s so bad I just want to die it gets so bad I can’t handle it. I know from what I’ve read I need to drink water and gatorade and eat bananas. Any other advise ? I want my life back, I don’t want to have to take something just to function every day. Thanks

  36. Please Help!
    I had severe upper right quadrant stomach pain for 5 months and my PM put me on Fentanyl 75mcg plus Oxy 10 for break thru 4X a day comes to find out after many visits to the ER I needed my gallbladder removed so 3 weeks ago they took it out. Of course after 5 months on the patch and oxys I started to have WD and did not want to raise the patch to 100 or use more oxy so my PM put me on Suboxone 8mg film 3X as day. After 12 hours with no patch or pills I started the Sub now it has been 3 days and I decided to start at a lower dose so I did 2mg then 4mg last was 8 mgs last night for a total of 26 mgs in 2 days.
    I feel very dizzy, sweats, pain in legs, short of breath and pain in back.
    My question is can I stop the sub, because of all the info on the web about sub I feel it really is a bad drug for me or anyone, without withdrawals after using it for 2days and only 26mgs total so far!
    Thanks for all the Help I await you response before I take any more sub!

  37. Sub withdrawal is absolutely terrible. The first week or so may not be as bad as coming off of h or pills, but man this stuff DOES drag out. I’m a month completely clean from suboxone. Tapered to 1 mg and quit, was only on subs for 3-4 months with two months worth of subscriptions from my doctor. I have come off of insanley high doses of opanas and other pills cold turkey. I was hospitalized the first few days and given benzos for two days or so, then cold turkey. I can say that detox roughly lasted a month, for mostly all withdrawals to stop, that includes the sweating and rls and such, which seem to linger longer than any of the other symptoms. I have been off subs, like I said, for roughly a month so far. The issues I still have are extreme fatigue, rls, and extremely sweaty feet and hands and occassional body sweats. It’s also very hard to get my body temperature to stay comfortable, even when everyone else in the room is fine. When I say fatigue I mean I’m probably half doing my work, right now I’m a painter while in between college semesters. So, if this stops within a few days, then I guess it was about like opanas. But, isn’t the whole point of subs to prevent that kind of detox? I was told it was ok to stop at 1 mg when I was comfortable with that dose, that is obviously not the truth. I have detoxed from h, and I might say that is a brutal detox all it’s own. Only lasted two weeks, so I can’t say how long it would’ve lasted. The problem with any opiate detox, especially subs at this point, is they seem to linger for a long time. It’s also hard to gauge from other people’s stories how long their symptoms lasted because I NEVER see stories of people lasting more than a month. I only see people stating their symptoms and asking when it will end on the first week or two, then nothing from them after that. Not to mention, most of the people I’m talking about are not quitting suboxone cold turkey. They are using benzos or soma or damn tramodol or other opiates to deal with the withdrawal. The problem with that, is those things can pretty much completely stop withdrawal. Tramadol and other opiates for sure, even if it’s only a couple hydros a day it is definately going to help. So to me, that isn’t cold turkey, and it’s hard to gauge exactly how rough their detox really would be. The fact is, as an addict, I can not detox off of subs with other opiates, I will never quit, and all that does is delay the detox process. So, from my personal experience, it is very drawn out, and thus far has lasted as long as the worst detox I have ever been through. I have been to treatment twice, and was always told by the guides that subs are just another thing to withdraw from, and they were right. That treatment center did do a two week or so sub detox, and for those who used it, it seemed to work very good. I think it’s important for me to say that I am a very healthy twenty four year old, aside from the damage that I have caused to my body from using, which ultimately is causing this detox. But, what I mean, is I have close to zero percent body fat, and have a healthy diet and workout regimen I follow. The problem isn’t necessarily my body though, it’s my brain. Good luck to everyone out there, not trying to preach just sharing from my own experience. I high suggest trying out aa, and getting a sponsor. I have stayed clean for a while because of aa before, ultimately I hadn’t had enough a** kicking nor did I really want to try and stay clean. This time I’m going for the real deal. So please, don’t give up before the miracle happens!

  38. I have done both short self obtained suboxone detox, cutting down the morph to then the small suboxone tablets, cutting them down to nothing and going cold turkey after that AND straight jump to cold turkey. The latter was the easiest by far. Still taking me 2 weeks to come right but the cutting down, weaning and substitutes are only prolonging your agony. You just have to bite the bullet and do it! Freedom!!

  39. Has any on tried ibogaine? My friend is doing it in 3 weeks. Supposedly detoxes from everything. I’ll post his results when he gets back from center. Only thing is that it’s out of U.S. to do treatment. 1 week max & cures.

  40. I was put on suboxone Dec. 26,2011. Medically dependant I dont think this was the right thing. I’ve been taking 1/2 mg film twice a day for 2306 days. Tue the doc decided to cut me back to 1/2 one a day. I’ve been sick ever since. Now what?

  41. Hi. I am Karie. I have been on suboxone for 6 years. I have tried many many many times to detox myself off of this evil drug. Each time the withdrawl symptoms bring me to my knees, and I end up reaching for pain pills. I always end up crawling back to the sub doctor in tears.. Shaking and throwing up. This is the worst possible substance!! This time I have tapered myself down to a teeny tiny sliver. I still feel a high when I take that tiny sliver. I feel like a slave in my own flesh. I pray day and night. My church is praying for me. My husband wants me to go to a 30 day inpatient detox to get off of subs, but I just can’t loose my job and be away from my son for 30 whole days!!! So here I am again. Trying to do this on my own… Again. I’m scared. I really want to be off this drug, but I have a full time job and a 5 year old son. I can’t put my life on hold for this. Help!!!

  42. I was on Suboxone for 3 years! I wish I read into it more because clearly I should have jumped ship after a few weeks. I was dumb and trusted my doc since I felt so helpless. I am very afraid of what’s to come. I started some psych Meds but they can only help so much. I even started drinking Kratom in the am which is def helping but I’m really just swapping out one drug for another at this point. I can’t deal with the leg kicking, sleepless nights, hot cold sensations and extreme fatigue. I’m a bodybuilder and this lack of energy is throwing me into an even deeper depression 3 years on Suboxone I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to get normal if ever. Help

  43. Ok I know this is an older page but I’m hoping for some answers. I was on subutex for about 4 years. I’m 25 by the way. My quack of a dr thought it would be better then pain pills because I used to do dope. I have had withdrawal throughout my life but it has never been like this. I’m on day 7 and I still feel horrible. My work is being effected by it and I don’t want to lose my job over all of this. I have been using clonidine and Valium and that has done nothing. I’m losing hope and fast please if anyone knows how much longer this will go on for because I don’t feel any better. All I want to do on my days off is sleep. And I have a high demanding job in retail so any advice will help. If this is just the beginning I don’t know how much more I can take.

  44. guinevere

    April 24, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Brittany, thanks for reading and for your comment. For anyone to help, it would be good to know at what dose your doctor maintained you, and at what dose you stopped taking Subutex. … Please check out my book, The Recovering Body, for more information about how to help our bodies feel better after detox. Click the link “My New Book” at the top of this page. /G

  45. guinevere

    April 24, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Karie, psych meds (I’m assuming you’re talking about antidepressants–please correct me if I’m wrong), are most likely not going to ease signs of withdrawal, because psych meds work on different receptors than opioids, so they won’t affect your post-acute withdrawal. … Exactly how much is a “teeny tiny sliver”? Which film are you cutting up–the 2mg or 8mg film? Please search this blog for “suboxone detox” and also check out my latest blog post: … It’s best to taper off using the smallest slivers possible. Many people find it helpful to cut down to 1/8mg or 1/16mg, skipping one day, then two days, between slivers.

    You say “Trying to do this on my own,” which is our biggest mistake. Nobody gets free of addiction on her own. Please go to an NA or AA meeting, or whatever community suits you. Especially if you can’t/won’t go to rehab. When you get to the meeting, collect phone numbers of women whose recovery you like and then actually call them between meetings. I found it best to become teachable and open-minded and very diligent. This stuff can be kicked, and there are many of us who are living proof. /G

  46. guinevere

    April 24, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Linda, it would not be good to drink Kratom, which is hell to come off in and of itself. It makes you feel better because it’s filling up the same receptors that were filled up by the overload of opioids you took. So that means Kratom prevents healing. If you want feedback about your problem, it would be best to give an idea of what level of Suboxone you took for those three years, and what level you jumped from (and how long you spent at that level before you jumped). all best /G

  47. How do YOU know if it’s someone’s fault or not? Your post was decent until you started insulting people, btw come of of methadone, you won’t be sleeping for 4-6 weeks and PAWS can last 6 months to a year. So stop talking shit, calling people punks. For example, 95% of people CANNOT quit methadone by themselves. Btw, methadone withdrawal is worse than Heroin, especially because it lasts about 5 times as long. So get off your high horse because you quit. I went cold turkey off 60 mg of methadone and didn’t sleep for nearly 6 weeks. It is INSANELY hard to quit, and while you have some good points, don’t start insulting people, negative reinforcement doesn’t work SON! I’d say congratulations, but I think you’re a narcissist.

  48. I just have to say after reading this. ..I feel like I can conquer it!!!! Thanks so much dude..I was just feeling sorry for myself b4 I read this!!! U r awesome!!!

  49. russellmuscle1

    July 20, 2015 at 10:06 am

    I know this is old but I want to respond for people out there who are quiting. Sorry, but you shouldn’t be telling people to jump at 8mg…..thats crazy. Do you understand how this stuff builds up in your system? I tapered to .125, so where you were after a week or more in your blood levels, I’m at right out of the gate. I’m on day 2 of no mg’s and my withdrawals are very mild. I eat, I sleep, I drink coffee. Thats why your detox was so gruesome, because you’ve had huge amounts a week after you quit. That is cold turkey my friend. 8mg’s is not a taper. Thats why you have paws, your body hasn’t even gotten the full effect for a good week after you quit. There is ZERO evidence that you are giving good advice here.

    In one week, I will probably be 90% myself….but when you go through a taper as long as I have you forget what its like to not be in some mild state of withdrawal. I’m used to this. Life goes on for me.

    Its not a matter of deserving anything, its not a punishment. Its your body’s natural, unavoidable reaction. Perhaps thier are things you’ve done while on drugs that you feel you need “punished” for. I had the same guilt in 2008….yes, I’ve been on soboxone that long and have not had even one relapse since……so I do understand that guilt and self loathing. I get it, and my own guilt pushed me to get in a program as it has helped you to push through.

    I like your spirit and positivity, but telling people that a taper is BS is unfounded and unsupported…..actually its begging for a relapse from sheer exhaustion from weeks of acute and paws. Its too much to ask of people brother/sister.

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