5 Actionable Steps To Reduce Or Prevent Opiate Withdrawal

Matt:                     What’s going on guys? Matt and Greg here with Project Unbroken. In today’s video we want to talk about the five steps you need to take before you start tapering off to reduce the effects of withdrawal. We’ve got a couple things here that I think are really important, but before we get into any of these steps I think the biggest thing we want to address is you have to start this earlier on in the process than I think people understand.

Greg:                     Yeah.

Matt:                     You don’t want to wait until you’re hurting before you start putting these things into play, because as we all know, nobody wants to do anything when they’re withdrawing.

Greg:                     Oh, no.

Matt:                     These things aren’t going to work unless you start them before that point to avoid that point. The whole purpose of this video is to show you guys things that we did to minimize the effects of withdrawal tapering off a maintenance program like Suboxone or Methadone.

Greg:                     And really this can work for any drug, like people who were on Xanax and they slowly taper as well. But we’re mainly talking about Suboxone and Methadone here.

Matt:                     Yes. Well I’ll get right into it. The first one, and Greg and I reference this in a lot of our videos, is you’ve got to separate yourself from any and all temptations.

Greg:                     Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matt:                     I’d say specifically people who are going to be-

Greg:                     Definitely.

Matt:                     Kind of dragging you back into it.

Greg:                     Yeah, because as you’re coming down, as you start getting to the point where you may feel a little bit of withdrawal, if there’s any sort of easy way to get it to kind of fix how you’re feeling and you know that fix is there, you’re a lot more likely to go back to it. Whereas if you kind of get rid of that before you ever start that and it’s not really an option … I mean, it’s always an option, but if it’s a much harder option and it takes a lot more work and effort to get to that option, then you’re just going to increase your chances of success.

Matt:                     Yeah, I remember when I was coming off of Suboxone completely, I was pretty far away from the whole lifestyle that I was in with heroin. But I remember just thinking, “I don’t even know if I could really find heroin easily-”

Greg:                     Yeah.

Matt:                     “If I wanted to.”

Greg:                     I mean you’ll pretty much take … For me, at this point or beyond where I quit and got rid of all my numbers, like going to the block.

Matt:                     Yeah.

Greg:                     You know what I mean? Which is a pretty substantial step. I’m risking a lot there.

Matt:                     Yeah, absolutely. Of course, it’s not easy and lot of people write in because we talk about this in some of our videos and they’re like, “Well I can’t get away from this person. I can’t away from that person.” You can-

Greg:                     Yeah.

Matt:                     But right now it might not be a priority for you. So we know, best friends, family members, significant others, spouses, these are a lot of times the people that are holding us in our addiction. Yeah, that’s one of the hardest steps to take, but if you really want to move forward with your life there’s no way around this one. It’s step one, you got to get rid of that. It’s really hard, but sometimes it’s like ripping a Band-Aid. You just got to cut those ties and separate yourself. Who knows, Greg and I had to do that. Now, we’re best friends again. We were lucky it kind of came full circle. It always doesn’t work out like that, but you’ve got to be willing to cut it loose. In order for anybody to get better, at least one of you has got to get better, and you can go from there.

Greg:                     For some people, a great option is if you have maybe a mom and dad, and mom lives further away, if you have an aunt who lives maybe a state or who cares across the country, if you have a situation like that, consider that. Where you kind of move somewhere else for a little bit. That completely eliminates any-

Matt:                     Yeah.

Greg:                     You know what I mean? Well, not completely, but a much higher elimination of chances of that happening. So consider that as well if it’s an option. Neither of us had … Actually, I moved to Vegas with an intent to do that, but Vegas was a horrible place to move because I just fell right back into it. But again, it is a good option if it’s there.

Greg:                     The next thing on our list, number two, would be to taper slowly. I think a lot of people, they comment on our videos and they misunderstand the slow taper. I had a guy comment on one of my Methadone videos and he was like, “There’s no way. I know this venue is fake because you said what you experienced-” No, I didn’t say no withdrawal. I said very little withdrawal. He said, “There’s no way that’s true. I’ve tried coming down a milligram every other day.” I’m like, “If you watch the video, I came down a milligram a week and then when I hit 10 milligrams, I came down a milligram every two weeks.”

Greg:                     So I went extremely slow with my taper, and that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to come down really slow. Same thing with Suboxone, but obviously the milligrams and the amounts are different. Coming down a milligram on Suboxone is much quicker. You may need to eventually go to coming down a quarter of a milligram, or a half of the milligram. Take it very slow and it’s going to work out much better.

Matt:                     Yeah, I think a lot of people understandably want to rush this process because yeah, we’re all familiar. You get to the point where your life’s unmanageable. You don’t want to be stuck in this shit anymore and you’re ready to quit. When you’re at that point you just have to understand, all right now we’re in the recovery process which is awesome. Don’t feel like you need to rush that though. I think a lot of times people try to rush it, or they just get Suboxone off the street in an effort to move the process along.

Matt:                     You’ll realize that you’ll be stuck pretty quickly. Find a reputable doctor or program that is willing to work with you on a timeline that has a little bit of flexibility, that will allow for you to kind of steer the ship and go off of how you feel because stressful situations happen. This is already a stressful period in your life obviously. You just have to be patient with yourself. Slow, but steady is absolutely the way to get there.

Greg:                     Yeah, and again at some point I think you were on half a milligram or a quarter of a milligram for a couple of months-

Matt:                     Oh yeah.

Greg:                     When you made the dip.

Matt:                     Yeah, yeah. For sure.

Greg:                     You said at the end you kind of did the dust. Like you had the little dust there and you do a little dust to maybe like less of a quarter of a milligram.

Matt:                     Exactly. Again, we’ve had arguments in the comment section flare up on this. It’s hard to tell. I remember doing that where I would get that orange dust from the pill bottle and just kind of hid it under my tongue where you put the pill to let it dissolve. I’ve said before, I don’t know if this is placebo or if it’s really working, or what. My doctor said at that point, he was like, “It’s placebo. You’re good.”

Greg:                     You know what? I think that helped you, but I think also the next step in our list helped you more than anything.

Matt:                     Yeah.

Greg:                     I’ll let you introduce that since you know a lot more about it.

Matt:                     I’m going to again preface by saying you have to start this stuff early on in the maintenance program for it to be effective when you need it, which is coming off of the maintenance program. The next two of my … I think are really important, but this one is huge and it’s diet. It’s what you’re putting into your body. I have a video where I go in depth on this, and I’ll talk about it again in depth now. What you’re putting into your body has a lot to do with the way that your mind works. Greg and I probably didn’t figure this out until a little bit later in this whole process.

Greg:                     Well what’s crazy is I watched that video. You know, Matt shot it by himself and I watched it. Even though I knew the information, like hearing him say it I was like, “Oh shit. That’s so true.” Even now out of addiction, I feel great all around. I have days where I eat like shit and I feel like shit you know what I mean?

Matt:                     Yeah.

Greg:                     If you’re putting a whole bunch of processed food and you’re eating a bunch of sugar, you’re going to feel like shit and that is not going to help your recovery at all.

Matt:                     No. And there’s a lot of things that go into it. I mean one, what you eat has a lot to do with inflammation in the body and inflammation in the brain. It just really affects your cognitive ability. That’s one huge part of it. A lot of what we talk about that foggy feeling, or that hazy feeling, a lot of that has to do with just how you’re eating. I’ll get that if I eat shit over a weekend. I’ll feel like I’m just in a daze for 24 hours. Also, serotonin is the hormone produced and stored in the gut.

Matt:                     That is the feel good hormone. That’s what allows us to feel happy, to feel a sense of accomplishment, to feel good about ourselves. That is crucial when you’re going through a maintenance program or coming out of a maintenance program. If you’re not able to have the gut bacteria, or the gut biome to have a good place to grow or to produce serotonin, you’re just … it’s a nonstarter. You’re not going to be able to make any traction. So even the things that you’re trying to do to make yourself feel better aren’t going to take hold.

Matt:                     Diet has a lot to do with that. We need to have a good environment in our bodies to have our bodies, and our minds behave in the way that they’re supposed to. Like Greg said, if you’re feeding yourself just junk and sugar and soda, and the things that are a pleasure in our mind and think we want to eat, it’s going to really mess you up in kind of moving forward.

Greg:                     Yeah, one of my favorite sayings is, “For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction.” You put junk in your body, you’re going to feel like junk. You put good stuff in your bod, you’re going to feel good. You treat people good, good stuff’s going to come back to you. It just with that. We got an email, someone who watched Matt’s video about that. He’s been an addict for 20 years and he’s like, “Holy shit. I’ve been talking to doctors and everyone for 20 years. I’ve tried what Matt said in his video,” which was specific diet stuff. He was like, “I feel the best I’ve ever felt.” And this was three days later.

Matt:                     Yeah.

Greg:                     Three days after eating good. So I mean what are some of those changes they can make? I know one of the first changes you told me was just drink water. Don’t drink a whole bunch of sodas, and tea and all that type of shit. He’s like, “Cut all that out and just drink water.” I think my next step was getting rid of the processed food, which was anything that’s like packaged. Eat more fruit, vegetables, meat, nuts, things like that.

Matt:                     Yeah, I mean it’s definitely all of the above. Mostly vegetables is huge. I get it. A lot of people, it’s crazy to me, but Greg hated … Like, you didn’t drink water at all.

Greg:                     Even when at one time I remember sitting in a circle during group. I was like, “Matt, what about Propels?” You’re like, “Motherfucker, man up. Just drink some water.”

Matt:                     You got to drink water. Again, people will write in. They’re like, “What about this? What about that?” Just drink water. [crosstalk 00:11:17]-

Greg:                     You can put some lemon in it and stuff.

Matt:                     Yeah, people put cucumbers and lemons and shit in there. Do what you need to do. Or just chug it and get it over with. It will absolutely be a game changer for you. As far as food’s concerned, I get it. A lot of people don’t like eating fruits and vegetables, which again, is crazy to me. I think only because I’ve been doing it for so long now [crosstalk 00:11:39]-

Greg:                     -How they make you feel now.

Matt:                     Right. And now I like the way they taste because I like the way they make me feel. Again, it’s almost something in your brain that switches.

Greg:                     For me, it is still hard with the sugar and stuff. There’s cookies out there in the fridge right now, a whole bunch of Christmas cookies. I walk by I’m like, “Shit I want one of them.”

Matt:                     I know.

Greg:                     But then I also know that I’m going to pay for it. You’ve got to obviously draw a line and find a balance, but I think to start, just drinking all water. Give up all the other drinks you’re drinking. Get rid of as much processed food as you can and just eat as much fruits and vegetables-

Matt:                     You know what was big for me when I started drinking water? Get a water bottle or just like a gallon jug, and for the gallon jug make some markers on it. So make a mark up top where it’s like you need to be here by 9:00 a.m. Make a mark here and say you need to be here by noon. Set goals for yourself. Carry that thing around all day. It’ll really help. If you-

Greg:                     Definitely.

Matt:                     If you just tell yourself, “I’ll drink water when I see it,” you won’t get enough in you and you’re going to just get something out of the soda machine.

Greg:                     Also, when you drink water it makes you feel more full. So people who are overeating and kind of making themselves feel like shit that way, it’ll help you not overeat, eat less.

Matt:                     A lot of times when people think they’re hungry they’re just thirsty and they just need water.

Greg:                     Mm-hmm (affirmative), definitely. Well like Matt, I carry around a 40 ounce thing and I drink at least three a day.

Matt:                     Yeah.

Greg:                     Actually I fill it up at least three times.

Matt:                     And you’re good, yeah. Everybody in here has a water bottle. They carry it around all the time. Invest in one. It’ll do you a lot of good for sure. Next on the list is exercise-

Greg:                     Hand in hand.

Matt:                     Yeah. Diet and exercise, man. These are the two big ones. The video Greg just referenced that I shot talking about some of this stuff, just start anywhere. You don’t have to start in a Cross-Fit gym or at any gym really. Just start tomorrow. Do 10 burpees, or do 10 push ups.

Greg:                     Go for a walk. Anything.

Matt:                     Go for a walk. Whatever it is. Then the next day, do a little bit more. Give yourself a 10 minute window, a 15 minute window, and just get the blood pumping a little bit. Like I mentioned, serotonin in the diet and why that’s important, exercise … you’re hitting all of the other ones. You’re looking at … endorphins is a huge one. Dopamine-

Greg:                     Which are extremely low as you’re [crosstalk 00:14:00]-

Matt:                     Extremely low.

Greg:                     As you’re starting to withdraw on stuff that’s because you don’t have that dopamine.

Matt:                     This is the whole reason I started exercising in the first place. Dopamine and endorphins. Exercise is a great way to naturally produce those hormones, and they just really make you feel good. It’s 100% worth it. Again, you almost have to bio hack your body a little bit. You have to trick your body into producing these chemicals that you were getting before through some sort of substance: heroin or whatever it is. Now you’ve got to find ways to create them on your own. Exercise is a really simple way to do that. I’m not going to say easy because it’s not.

Greg:                     Well you made a great point early in this video when you said, “Start these things before,” because we get so many comments. Like we’ll talk about exercise and people are like, “Man I feel like shit. I don’t feel like exercising.”

Matt:                     “I can barely move.”

Greg:                     Yeah, that’s why you get yourself in the habit of these things before because people are like, “There’s no way. You guys are fake. There’s no way you’re not withdrawing.” Well I didn’t do the diet as much, but I did the exercise. I did that all before I started getting to the withdrawal process, so by the time I got there I felt much better. Even [inaudible 00:15:06] a little bit, not like I am now. But I did these things before to make the withdrawal easier. Again, it’s not that I didn’t withdraw at all, but it was a lot easier than it probably would have been.

Matt:                     Absolutely. When you get yourself in habit, any habit, it’s going to be easier to hang on to. You can’t start a habit when you’re withdrawing-

Greg:                     From that.

Matt:                     You know that’s not going to happen. Start it on the front end. Get yourself in this groove. You’re going to be feeling better about yourself. You’re going to be seeing results. You’ll see this stuff working. So then when you’re starting to come off, or taper off completely, you’re already going to have the momentum to help push you through this thing.

Greg:                     I would even go as far as saying if you’re in a low dose where you’re not really feeling great, I would say increase your dose. Start diet and exercise. And then come back down again.

Matt:                     Absolutely.

Greg:                     I think that’s going to help you a ton.

Matt:                     Yeah, 100%. Everybody, all the comments that we get people are like, “I’m good on Suboxone from 16 milligrams all the way down to one milligram, and then I fall apart.”

Greg:                     “I can’t.” Or two, yeah.

Matt:                     Yeah, with Methadone the same thing, “I’m flying the whole way, tapering down. But I can’t get off.” It’s because you can’t go from … well, you can but it’s very difficult to go from heroin to nothing-

Greg:                     I couldn’t do it.

Matt:                     Yeah. Me neither.

Greg:                     We talked about that this morning, because Matt was sick over the weekend with like the flu-type stuff and he’s like, “I don’t know how people do it. I couldn’t deal without a maintenance program.”

Matt:                     Fucking brutal. But you can’t go from heroin to nothing. It’s very difficult without the maintenance program. It’s also just as difficult, I think, to go from the maintenance program to nothing without something in between there. That’s the diet and the exercise, and the mindfulness, and getting rid of temptation. You have to put these in. You have look at this as your next maintenance program. That has to be the next bridge that you have to cross. That will lead us right into the fifth thing that I think you should implement before your taper. That’s getting yourself into some new social circles. A lot of these, we recommend, had something to do with exercise, or diet.

Matt:                     Essentially, the important part about this one is you’re surrounding yourself with a group of people where heroin, or Suboxone, or Methadone isn’t really on the conversation list. It was good for me to just completely remove myself from that world 100%. I kind of found that through Cross-Fit. I think Greg, same thing. We came in here, nobody’s talking about heroin. Everybody’s talking about dead lifts and exercise, and eating healthy. You just shift your perspective to a whole different world.

Greg:                     Yeah, definitely. Again, we get a lot of comments saying how our stories are ridiculous, and they’re fake. Why the fuck would we shoot videos? Spend our time shooting videos giving you guys to take information?

Matt:                     Right.

Greg:                     These videos are meant to help people.

Matt:                     Right.

Greg:                     We run businesses. We have families. We have other stuff to do. Today I’m sacrificing work time to come in and shoot this video. All this stuff is stuff that actually helped us. These are the actual steps that we did. I just want people to know that because if you follow all these things I’m telling you, you will feel better. I don’t want there to be doubt in people’s mind where they read these comments and they’re like, “Well maybe these guys are full of shit.” There’s no reason for us to lie about this. These are the steps we took, and we’re just sharing what helped us.

Matt:                     It’s huge. We talk about this in a lot of our other videos. When Greg and I first started trying to quit heroin, there was nothing. Dude, we would Google it. There was a couple fucking sketchy doctors around our area that have since lost their license for handing out eight Suboxone pills and never answering their phone again.

Greg:                     Look.

Matt:                     Yeah. It’s a long, shitty road. The nature of addiction … we didn’t want to ask anybody for help. You don’t want to talk to anybody about it to admit that you have a problem, or that you need help. It took us a long time to figure it out. If we knew the shit we knew now from what we went through, it would have been a much shorter, simpler process.

Greg:                     Absolutely. Again, remember these steps. It’s get rid of all your temptations. Make sure you’re coming down very slow. Many people try to do it too quick. They try to rush it. Get your diet and exercise right. Form your new social circles. I’m telling you, it will make a world … especially diet and exercise-

Matt:                     Yeah.

Greg:                     I think those might be the two biggest.

Matt:                     Yeah.

Greg:                     That is what’s the difference between when you guys are getting down to two milligrams, one milligram of Suboxone or the 10 to 20 milligrams of Methadone and saying, “Fuck. I can’t get any further.” That is the difference because if you change those things it’s going to make it much easier.”

Matt:                     Yeah, and again, start this stuff before you need to. Start this stuff way-

Greg:                     Before you start feeling bad.

Matt:                     Start on the front end.

Greg:                     Yeah.

Matt:                     Start putting this stuff in. You might not notice a huge difference at first, but when you start to taper off, this is the stuff that you’re going to have in your tool box to get you through what has typically been a shitty feeling, trying to taper through. It’s not going to be the same. You’ll have a couple of things at your disposal that you can turn to to really help you out.

Greg:                     Cool. Those are some actionable steps. Again guys, we already have people writing in and telling us, “Holy shit I changed my diet, and I feel better.” People who have been addicts for 20 years who have looked elsewhere, who have not been able to make the change. Just try these things. Just give it a try.

Matt:                     Thanks for watching, guys. Do us a favor. Leave us a comment. Let us know other topics that you want us to discuss, or give you our opinion on. Hit the subscribe button. Share the video. We’re trying to get the word out about Project Unbroken just to help people who are going through the struggle. We appreciate you watching. We appreciate all the feedback, and we look forward to talking to you soon.

Greg:                     See y’all.

In Category: Addiction

Greg Morrison

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