Greg: All right, what’s going on everyone. It is Greg and Matt here from Project Unbroken. Today we had a question in, they were kind of asking Matt, how did you minimize your withdrawal symptoms from Suboxone.
Greg: There’s a previous video where Matt said he got down to 2 mg and from there it was minimum withdrawal symptoms but what they didn’t understand is, at that time Matt was actually chopping up the 2 mg pills into smaller pieces, so he was actually on .25 to .5 mg.
Greg: Let’s start from the beginning, so Matt, when you first started taking Suboxone, you were on what? 16mg, 8mg, something like that to start?
Matt: Yeah, it was 16 for a short period of time, quickly brought that down to eight.
Greg: Okay, in that transition, was that about three month period or so, you said?
Greg: Then, in that period, was there any withdrawal symptoms?
Matt: No. Not at all.
Greg: Okay, so you started on about 16, went down to 8, what did you do from there about three months in?
Matt: I kind of took it 2 mg off at a time for, I guess like 8 to 12 week periods, so two to three months, and kind of came down that way.
Greg: All right, and did you feel any withdrawal symptoms when you were doing that?
Matt: No. I didn’t feel any withdrawal symptoms the whole entire time I was on Suboxone. Like none.
Greg: All right, all right cool. He’s doing the slow transition down, which I did similar to [Methadone 00:01:20]. We’ll post another video on that specifically, my whole timeline. From the time you got the 16 to the time you were stabilized on 8, how long did that take you about? I know it’s been seven, eight, nine, ten years.
Matt: That wasn’t long.
Greg: It wasn’t that long?
Matt: No. So 16 to 8 was, and let me back up a little bit. This was when I found the doctor that helped me do this the right way. A couple times, and we’ve talked about this in our other videos, we would find doctors that were kind of sketchy, and give us a month worth of Suboxone, and then not answer their phone again. This was a legit run with a doctor who was invested in my recovery.
Greg: He made you go see a counselor and all that type of stuff.
Matt: I had to go see a psychiatrist. They ran the practice together. To get the Suboxone, you had to meet with the doctor once every two weeks, you had to meet with the psychiatrist once every two weeks. They had a really solid set up for recovery. Again, the deal was, you could take Suboxone for as long as we, me and the doctor and the psychiatrist, as long as we feel comfortable. They didn’t rush me off of it, I’ll say.
Greg: Got you.
Matt: He started me, he said, let’s start with, you’ll have 16 mg a day. I think they gave me a two week supply at first, or something like that. Again, I had to check in with them regularly and I also, at this time, was very interested in getting off of everything. I wasn’t trying to sell them. I wasn’t trying to do whatever. Right away, after he gave me 16, I was like, I don’t need this much. It was too much. I didn’t need it at all. He said, well, let’s see how 8 mg feels. I think it was like two halves a day, or something like that. It was great.
Greg: Okay, so, when you made that transition, can you ever remember being nervous, like, oh my God. I was taking 16 and we’re cutting that in half and going to eight. Were you nervous about that?
Matt: Not at all. Again, because, I knew if I told him, I was like, hey, we pulled back too much. He would have immediately given me more.
Greg: Okay, all right, cool. You said, when you got from 16 mg even down to 2, you weren’t feeling much. How long was that time period, from the time you took 16 to you were stabilized on two, about how long?
Matt: It was about a year.
Greg: Okay, about a year.
Greg: I think that’s maybe one thing people miss, they’re like, Matt talks about how he didn’t really withdraw that much coming off Suboxone. He did it slow. I think that’s a mistake a lot of people make. Yeah, he wanted to come off, but he also knew if wanted to minimize withdrawal symptoms and increase his chances of success, then he had to do it slowly. You were patient.
Greg: That was the same thing with Methadone. Okay, so, when you got down to 2, how did you take it from there and how did you transition off it from there.
Matt: Then, again, I had this conversation with a counselor, with the physician, and I told him, I’m going to kind of take this on an as needed basis. I think he cut me a script for about 2 mg a day, which again, it’s a quarter of a pill, so it’s a pretty tiny little piece.
Matt: I would take it in the morning and I felt fine throughout the day. I would experiment sometimes with breaking that in half and I would take 1 mg in the morning, see how I felt through the day, if I felt anxious or whatever, I would try to do my best to work my way through it with just meditation or exercise or whatever. If I really felt like the wheels were coming off, I would take the other 1 mg, which, again, in my mind, I’m not a doctor, but they both agreed that that was almost, the doctor and the counselor, or the physician and the psychologist also agreed that it was probably placebo at that point, at least that second 1 mg pill.
Matt: I kind of did that on and off, honestly I did that for probably a good three months and then I remember my last day dose of Suboxone was a Friday in March, and that was kind of it.
Greg: I know we talked about this. You had that, that scary, you’re relying on something for 10 years between Heroin and Oxy’s and Suboxone and whatever else. All of a sudden you’re taking nothing. Did you withdraw at that point? What happened from there?
Matt: It’s not withdrawing the in sense of, I didn’t physically get sick. I didn’t have any shakes. Cold sweats weren’t really a thing. There was serious anxiety.
Matt: I knew I wanted this but it was also, it was like you’re jumping off a building with no parachute.
Greg: Was it anxiety like, you’re freaking out because you don’t have the medicine, or you’re freaking out just in general?
Matt: Because I didn’t have the medicine.
Matt: It was expected. Again, I was lucky enough to have a really great support team who knew what was going on all the time. They knew this was a big, big day. Even the guy I was working for was very understanding about the whole thing. Not that I was taking advantage of it, but I think people kind of knew that I was going through a big transition at the time. I had that in my corner. Yeah, it woke me up.
Greg: I think one of the things, I know Matt pretty well. I know the way he thinks. I think the way you think as you’re coming off plays a huge part into it. I can almost guarantee you that you were telling yourself, well, yeah, I’ve got some anxiety but I’m not on the floor shaking, and I don’t got the shits, and I don’t got the cold sweats, you know what I mean? I think your mindset, he said he was doing meditation a lot. I’m sure his mind was improved. As he came off, there was a very little bit of withdrawal symptoms, but you were able to get through it because you were kind of comparing it and you know it could be way worse and you’re ready to get off.
Matt: Yeah, again, we talk in some of our videos past, a lot of the reason that we are abusing any sort of substance to begin with is because we don’t like uncomfortable situations. That’s something that you just have to expect and you have to learn to deal with without popping a pill or taking a drink, or whatever your drug of choice is. I knew that was coming. I did my best to kind of prepare myself by starting to practice meditation, by exercising regularly. I tried to improve my diet because I knew this was coming. I knew the day was coming and that stuff helped me tremendously.
Matt: When it did some, it’s only natural. If you’re approaching this point in your recovery, where you’re getting ready to get off Suboxone, or you’re weaning off Methadone, use all the tools that you possibly can to make it easier on yourself. Start to exercise a little bit. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Go for a job. That stuff is just scientifically proven to help create those positive chemicals, serotonin, dopamine, all that stuff. It will help you feel better as you start to approach that end date.
Greg: I think one of the big mistakes people make is they’re looking for that immediate, I’m just better. I just want to stop now and I want to be better. People will go and they’ll search for cough syrups they can take to just take away the withdrawal and then they’re going to be fine. It just doesn’t happen like that. I think to break it down, what Matt did is he was very patient. He put a plan in place. He was patient. He took over a year to get off it all together and then when he came off, he started doing more positive things to change his mind. He started getting into exercise. He started doing some meditation. I’ve never done that. It’s something I want to try eventually. He was trying new things and strengthening his mind, strengthening his body, building his confidence.
Greg: He was so slow, by the time he got to that smaller dose, .25 a day half a day, mg. It was so small, and the withdrawal symptoms were so small that he was really able to get through it. Pretty much anxiety was it. A little bit of no sleep, do you remember?
Matt: No, not even. Compared to Heroin withdrawal or whatever it is, it was minimal. Again, it’s just a little bit of nervousness but you’ve got to kind of get used to that stuff. That’s just going to prepare you for life without a crutch, essentially.
Greg: I know when I was coming off Methadone, I didn’t sleep for shit for a long time. That surprises me. I guess that’s how Matt got, time, patience, not expecting it to just happen like that. Just slowly building himself up. Probably not the answer most people want to hear.
Matt: Unfortunately, but there’s an easier way to do it. I know a lot of people that try to go cold turkey, we’ve tried it. You’re jumping and you’re like, no way. This is way too drastic of a change. It’s a lot on your mind. I think you’re just better chances of success with a slower rate.
Greg: We’ve talked about, when you take your time like that, so you’re on it for a year or year and a half. In that time, you will distance yourself from that old life. Even if you jump off your success when you go through the withdrawal. Say you go through two weeks, and after two weeks to a month you’re feeling okay, but that’s really, you’ve only been away from that lifestyle for about a month. It’s really easy to fall back in after that, whereas, if you’re going out of it for a year, year and a half, you’ve put in a lot more time and effort.
Matt: You have new habits. You have new people around you. Hopefully in that time, you’ve been able to get away from bad influences in your life. Yeah, honestly by the time I was getting off of Suboxone, I guess I could have if I wanted to, but it would have been way more difficult for me to find Heroin or pills or whatever at that point.
Greg: Cool. Awesome. You want to say anything else on minimizing withdrawal. That’s pretty much your whole story.
Matt: Yeah, I think that’s about it.
Greg: All right cool. I hope you all enjoyed this video. Let us know what you think. Thank Matt if you get the chance. He’s put his story out there for you all. We’ll see you all in the next video.