Greg: What’s up everybody? It is Matt and Greg here. Back for another video. As you know, we’re both former heroin addicts and we’ve been clean about 10 and 7 years. We covered a video already on heroin withdrawal. In that video, we talked more about I guess like what we experienced when we went through heroin withdrawal. This video, we want to talk more about how we actually don’t have to really go through the withdrawal. When we got clean, the time we actually got clean, we didn’t actually go through withdrawal, right?
Greg: So, there was many times where we tried to quit heroin where we couldn’t and we would go through the withdrawal. We would give in because withdrawal is horrible and we’d be back in the cycle and we did that probably 100 times.
Matt: Oh yeah.
Greg: It’s horrible. But what finally got us clean and we didn’t even have to experience withdrawal, we’ll post all the videos below and talk more about this was getting on maintenance programs.
Greg: So, I’ll let Matt start. What do you think the benefits of getting on a maintenance program are?
Matt: Well, the big one is it kind of gives you a blueprint of how you’re going to start the process. How you’re going to go through the process and how you would eventually end the process with getting off of suboxone or methadone or whatever maintenance program you decide to use. So, it gives you almost a road map and that’s really helpful. Because I know that when Greg and I would try to just quit cold turkey or wean ourselves off of heroin or whatever plan we had, we were just kind of shooting from the hip with no idea of how we would feel or what we would do when we came up against a lot of stressful situations where you really want to use or relapse.
Matt: I did suboxone as my maintenance program. Having that program kind of lined up by a physician and in my case, a psychiatrist, they were a team, it was nice because I had structure to show me how I was going to quit. So, if I ever felt stressed out, I was like, “Alright. Just stick to this plan. It’s working. You’ve made it this far.” Again, when we were just quitting dope, I would just be hurting so bad three days in to it. There was no light at the end of the tunnel. I didn’t have anything to fall back on like suboxone. I just had no idea what to do. So, it kind of just gave me a blueprint.
Greg: So, just to kind of back up a little bit, Matt’s experience with suboxone, his whole timeline, how he did it, how he got off it, I’ll put a link below for that. I use methadone. I’ll put a link for my whole timeline below. I go through the whole thing. We both go through the whole thing of how we got through it without really withdrawing so I’ll put those below. Also, I’m going to put a link below to the video on the steps to get off heroin addiction because I think one thing getting on a maintenance program does for you is it allows for you to follow the steps that we created in that video, right?
Greg: So, if you’re just trying to jump off, there’s a lot of problems that creates. Number one, you got to get through the withdrawal. The initial even week is horrible, right? Then after that we’ve talked about how the mental stuff doesn’t go away right away. Especially when you’re just trying to hop off like that.
Matt: It’s just getting started.
Greg: Right. Then number two, you haven’t followed other steps that we talked about in these videos where you’re distancing yourself from people who use, right? So, if you jump off, likely you haven’t gotten rid of other people who use in your life, right? It’s not like you just stop using. Those people are gone. When you get on a maintenance program, it’s a lot easier to get used to living without heroin in your life. Whereas with heroin, you jump off in a week or two you get through the initial phase, but then you still have all the same people. You still live the same lifestyle a lot of times and it’s easy to jump back in to it. Wouldn’t you agree with that?
Matt: Absolutely. Yeah. The chances to slip up are a lot easier. So, Greg and I for instance, one of the biggest catalysts to us finally getting clean I think was us ending all contact and communication with each other. We were best friends for a long time. You can see it in our other videos.
Greg: We were each other’s worst enemy too.
Greg: With addiction.
Matt: So, if I was trying to quit or if we were both trying to quit, it would not take much for one of us to be having a bad day or to maybe just bring up hey let’s go get a bag. If anybody brings that up, especially early on in your recovery, you’re in trouble. Will power is just not there yet.
Greg: Even now, we used to be hanging out and you were on suboxone at the time and I was still using and you knew where I was going. You knew I was going to get dope. You’d be like, “Well, I guess just get me some.” It’s just anytime there’s someone around you that’s using it’s constantly in your head, they have to be gone. That way it’s out of your head. When you go on a maintenance program, that allows you to start making that transition a whole lot easier.
Matt: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. It gives you almost like a buffer zone between you and your drug of choice, heroin we’re talking about for Greg and myself. And from those people. It’s just you know that it’s not going to be a good situation to put yourself in while you’re on this maintenance program if you’re still running with the same crowd.
Greg: What do you think the downsides of the maintenance programs are?
Matt: The downsides are I think a lot of times, and when Greg and I finally got to the point where we were really serious about quitting, we were just at the end of our rope with heroin, we were ready to quit. I think a downside to a maintenance program, specifically suboxone is somebody could probably get a prescription or whatever and just use it to not get sick when they can’t find dope. Yeah. It almost just kind of let’s you not withdrawal. Let’s you not suffer when you can’t find heroin and it makes it a little bit easier to maintain that lifestyle if you can’t always be getting dope all day every day.
Greg: Of course, it’s a longer process. If you check out his story of suboxone, it took you a year and a half. For me, for methadone, it took me two and a half years to do my weaning. Again, full timelines are below. So, I mean it takes time, but I think it’s a lot more then the success rate is going to be a lot higher because of the things we’ve talked about earlier. You’ve distanced yourself. You’re getting used to a life of being sober. Well, somewhat sober. At least away from heroin. You can kind of get used to that lifestyle.
Matt: Yeah. Yeah. I 100% agree with that. It’s all relative on the time thing. Because I guess I’ve never found much success with this, but I was trying it but if I just quit cold turkey, I don’t know. Maybe I got a week.
Greg: At the most.
Matt: At the most and it would just be overwhelming and I would relapse. So, I think without suboxone for me, I’d probably still be doing that.
Greg: Yeah. Just so to note, what happened with me with suboxone is like Matt said I would use it as a crutch. So, basically I would take it for a little bit and I would be sober for a week. I’d be like, “Well, I haven’t used in a week. I can control it. I’ll do it one more time. I got my suboxone.” Then it would just steamroll, right? I would be right back into the cycle. So, eventually, I was like, “Alright. Well the suboxone isn’t working. Let me try methadone.” The good thing about methadone is it’s a stronger blocker. So, I would do the same thing where I would take my methadone, I would try to use again. I’d be like, “Fuck man I’m not even getting high.” Eventually I was like, “You know what? Why am I still using when I’m not even going to feel it.”
Greg: So, eventually I did make the transition where I had to stop using altogether because it wasn’t worth it. I was like, “What the fuck am I doing? I’m taking methadone to get off this stuff and I keep trying to mess with it. So, that’s why I think methadone is a stronger blocker, but I think it’s a little harder to get off.
Matt: I’ve never ingested any methadone but that’s definitely what we hear from a lot of people who have gone through that route is it’s really difficult to get off of. Where for suboxone, you can see it’s some people have a stronger I think psychological connection to suboxone than others, but it’s not that difficult to get off of if you have a decent game plan set in place.
Greg: You know what? We did a previous video, it was one of the first videos we did and I was talking about methadone. I was saying I have trouble recommending it because it’s so hard to get off. I was thinking about that and I’m like, “It wasn’t that hard for me to get off. I think I’m just saying that because everyone says it.” You know what I mean? I think that people need to get out of their head that mindset this is so hard to get off. Luckily my personality, luckily for me coming off methadone, my personality is if you’re telling me I’m not going to do it, watch me fucking do it. You know what I mean?
Greg: So, luckily that’s my personality, but I got to tell you, coming off for me when I go back and think about it, I had the video on it. It wasn’t as hard as I expected. Not nearly. I withdrawaled very little. The biggest withdrawal problem I had was no sleep for a little while. That was pretty much it. Again the full timeline is below and you can check it out, but it’s not as hard as everyone says.
Matt: No. We talk about that a lot too. I think a lot of times when people are approaching quitting heroin or getting off of their maintenance program where there’s zero outside chemicals coming in to your body, so many people for so long have been saying it’s impossible. The failure rate is 98%. Everybody goes back to it. I think that just puts the seed in everybody’s head where they’re like, “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do this. I think it sounds really difficult.” When in reality, if you have patience and you have a game plan and a support system, it’s not that bad. It’s really not. Especially when you look at the alternative which is maintaining the lifestyle of an addict is brutally difficult.
Matt: That’s way more hard. Living day to day, try to find money for heroin, behaving in a way that doesn’t align with your morals or ethics, that’s way more difficult than getting off of a maintenance program 100%.
Greg: Yeah. Definitely. So, this whole video is about the heroin withdrawal everyone is so scared of, you actually to get off it, you don’t need to go through it because neither of us did. You have a low anxiety coming off of suboxone. I guess I had some problems sleeping which I guess you could call a withdrawal symptom but for me, I’m comparing that to heroin withdrawal. I’d be sick, throwing up, legs aching, not being able to sleep at all. Everyone knows what heroin withdrawal feels like if you’re watching this video. That horrible death feeling.
Matt: It’s the flu on steroids.
Greg: I couldn’t sleep a little bit. I was like, “Fuck. Really? I’m getting away with fucking murder here.” Actually I made a forum post as I was coming off methadone. I was down to one milligram. I was so confused. I was like, “Am I going to start feeling really bad withdrawal symptoms when I go from one to zero because I was really scared about what was going to happen. I went from one to zero. It was the same thing. It was a little bit of no sleep. I was like, “Fuck. I got off Scott free.”
Matt: I’ll between honest. I understand a lot of people when they’re done they want to be done. Again, where you get to the end of your rope and you realize your life is becoming unmanageable. And heroin is the culprit for making your life unmanageable. People just want to cut ties with it and not be dependent on anything, but it is so fucking hard to do that. It is painful just going cold turkey. I don’t understand why people wouldn’t take a maintenance program. Especially suboxone. Again, I don’t know about methadone. People say it’s difficult. Whatever, but either way, it’s so much less painful than just going cold turkey.
Greg: I still highly recommend trying suboxone first. I definitely recommend a maintenance program. I think we both do. I think you should try suboxone first. Try. Give it a serious effort. Try and do something like Matt did where you find a physician. You’re on a game plan. Make sure you get rid of people who are using. Do all those steps and see if it works for you. If it doesn’t, maybe you go to methadone because for me, it worked. It’s going to be different for everyone, but I think starting with suboxone is a safer option than going to methadone next would be the final step like it was for me.
Greg: That’s the way really to avoid heroin withdrawals. Go on a maintenance program and then come off that maintenance program very slow which we both have detailed videos on I’ll put below.
Matt: Yeah. Well, I think that about covers it for at least what our thoughts are on getting off of heroin, not having to deal with a serious withdrawal problem. Lowering your chances for relapse. If you guys have any comments or question about suboxone, methadone, withdrawing, whatever. Please leave us a comment. Let us know what you’re thinking. Greg and I love to kind of dive in to topics a little bit more in depth. There’s a lot that goes to addiction and recovery and all the stuff in between. So, we’d love to hear some feedback from you guys. Thank you.
Greg: See you guys soon.
Matt: See you.