Greg: All right. What’s going on, everyone? It is Greg, Matt here, from Project Unbroken. Today we’re going to be talking about Suboxone withdrawal. This is an interesting topic because we both have experience with Suboxone. Matt has more experience. He used it to get off heroin, and he was on heroin for four years. He got on Suboxone with a plan in place, and he was able to get off the Suboxone with pretty much no withdrawal after a year and a half of being on it and coming down with a slow taper. If you want that full story, I put a link below of that exact timeline he followed. The video for that is below.
Greg: But today I want to talk about Suboxone withdrawal, because I find it interesting a lot of people have been commenting, saying they’re having trouble come off, and they’re worried about it, and even in a recent comment, someone said the jump from two milligram to one milligram is really big. It’s scientifically proven. He said he’s done a lot of research, and the reason he has is because he had trouble coming off Suboxone.
Greg: I was finding it really interesting because you had no withdrawals coming off Suboxone pretty much. I mean, you said you experienced a little bit of anxiety …
Matt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Greg: … which is expected …
Greg: … but nothing major.
Matt: No. I think this goes a lot to how you are putting your recovery in perspective, how you’re putting your maintenance program in perspective in your mind. And a lot of times, I mean, we know that there’s a lot of anxiety around getting off of heroin, getting onto Suboxone, or maybe methadone, and then eventually just getting off of everything. I think a lot of times we can build up the anxiety or the fear in our minds of getting to that point where we don’t have anything to rely on. No crutch, no nothing.
Matt: So just kind of based off this person’s comment … and first of all, he had a lot of good points. I mean, he was talking about brain scans showing what the opiate receptors in our brains show from a drop from two milligrams to one milligram of Suboxone, which I think all that makes a lot of sense. And just a side note, I did, and I don’t know if I misspoke in my video about Suboxone, but I did get below one milligram of Suboxone. It went from two to one, which I didn’t personally think was a big jump, and then I even went to less than one milligram on my tapering off method.
Matt: But that being said, I think there’s a danger in looking at maybe scientific studies that say, like, “Hey, this is a pretty dramatic decrease,” or “This is going to be a serious drop off and you’re going to notice receptors …” whatever the case may be. That’s just pouring fuel on that fire, where you’re like, “Fuck, this is a big deal.” I never had that knowledge of the brain scans that this guy had mentioned, but for me, I was like, “Two milligrams to one milligram doesn’t sound bad.”
Greg: And you said, you even said your counselor and the psychiatrist told … or psychologist, whatever one it is … told you that you should be good, like you’re going to be good, and I think that had a lot to do with it.
Matt: Some positive reinforcement.
Greg: Right. And this person who commented about the scientific stuff, which is awesome, he mentioned he did a lot of research, maybe that’s part of the problem is he’s thinking about this too much, and everyone’s telling him how bad it’s going to be.
Greg: It’s like when I came off methadone, everyone was like, “Methadone’s impossible to get off.” So I’m like, “Fuck. Shit.” Then I’m down to one milligram, I’m freaking out. Guess what? It wasn’t that bad. I mean, I think a lot of it has to do with how your mindset is.
Matt: How you’re framing it up.
Greg: Think of it this way. Look, you got scientists telling you that, great. That science stuff is awesome, but we’re telling you from experience, you know? Like we went through it, we’re telling you how we felt, and we’re telling you trust me, it wasn’t that bad. Even methadone was not that bad. I didn’t really withdraw that much, and you didn’t withdraw at all, pretty much.
Matt: Yeah, not at all. A good way that I heard somebody describe what’s going on with this psychologically is Greg and I both have children. My daughter’s almost four. If she falls over and scrapes her knee, and I’m like, “You’re good. Don’t worry about it. It’s not that bad. Not a problem. Get back up. Go play,” she gets up and she goes back to playing. If she falls over and scrapes her knee, and I’m like, “Holy shit.”
Greg: Holy shit.
Matt: “We’re going to have to cut your leg off. That’s a serious cut. It might get infected.”
Greg: She’ll freak out.
Matt: “You’re probably going to be dealing with it for the rest of your life.” In her head, it’s like, “Fuck, this is a really big deal.” I think there’s a lot of that going on in the recovery community in general. There’s a lot of talk in … I mean, that’s why I left rehab early, is because they were like, “You’re going to be a drug addict forever.” What? Because I fucked up for a little bit and caught myself in a bad situation? I, in my head, I was like, “I’m not going to be a drug addict forever. I’m fucking done with this. I’ll fix myself,” whatever. I left rehab and I never participated in any of the traditional recovery institutions, whatever. I did my own thing. But I told myself, I’m like, “You’re good. You’re going to be fine. You’re going to get through this. You’re going to go back your old self. You’re not going to rely on this. You’re not going to think about it every day.”
Matt: If you’re looking at what people are saying, what scientists are showing with studies, and they’re making it look like this is a really big deal and 98% of people never get off of methadone and blow, yeah, you’re going to think it’s more difficult because that’s what you’re hearing. That’s how you’re going to frame it in your mind.
Matt: Shut all that shit out. You have to have a way more positive approach to your recovery. It doesn’t need to be unreasonable. It needs to be smart. You need to have a blueprint in place, and hopefully you have a good support system that would include a physician or a psychiatrist or some sort of clinic that will help you find a good way to taper off Suboxone or methadone or whatever it is. But don’t let anybody tell you that it’s super difficult and it’s going to be painful and dramatic, because it’s not. A lot of it is just the way that you’re looking at it and thinking about it, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you think it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be hard. If you think, “I can get through this, and I’m going to be okay,” you’re going to okay.
Greg: Yeah. Another big thing that I think Matt and I both had was something that actually, I know traditional recovery centers, a lot of them recommend against, and it’s replacement.
Greg: We had exercise, and that was my new addiction. My new thing, as I was coming off methadone, was going to the gym, getting in shape, and building my confidence. I was addicted to it. That was my replacement.
Greg: Before, I looked forward to the heroin, even looked forward to the methadone in a way. When I came off that, if I had nothing, I would have been like, “Fuck, like what do I do?” But I had that replacement there where it kept me busy. It kept me focused. It gave me a new goal, a positive goal, and it started pushing me in a positive direction. I think that was a big thing that helped us as well was just having a replacement in place, a positive replacement, and I think that did wonders for us as well.
Matt: Yeah. I mean, we talk about that in a lot of our videos. It’s kind of our third step is having, we call it attraction, something that you’re interested in doing, something that you enjoy doing, something that takes your mind off of whatever stressors you have going on in life, because you’re going to get the stressors and the only coping mechanism that any of us as addicts had in past was our drug of choice, so you need something else to go to. We’re both big believers in that.
Greg: Yeah, so for those of you who are struggling with Suboxone, the withdrawal, again, watch Matt’s video on how he came off Suboxone. All right? He came down very slow. He took like a year and a half to get off, and when you get down to those lower doses, you have to start getting … Or, even before, probably. When they start Suboxone, they can get it in place … but make sure, definitely, as you’re coming off you have a replacement in place, a positive reinforcement that you can go to that can kind of keep you busy and keep you kind of moving towards a positive goal.
Matt: Yeah, not to mention, I mean, we talk a lot about when we started getting towards the end of our maintenance programs, we started kicking in little bit better nutrition, started exercising more, just to create those build up serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, all those feel-good hormones in our bodies. We probably should have started that a lot earlier.
Matt: I think it would have help a lot, but yeah. All that stuff will make a huge difference in you making that shift. I don’t think it’s a big deal at all, necessarily, if you taper off correctly, but having just even that placebo effect of knowing, “All right. I’m being healthier. I should feel better.”
Matt: You’ll see, you’ll have a more positive approach to the whole thing.
Greg: Absolutely. And just to reinforce, guys, we’re not … This isn’t theory. We’re speaking from experience. Matt did this. He went through Suboxone and he came off of it with pretty much no withdrawal.
Greg: A little bit of anxiety, this it. It’s reality. I came off methadone with very little withdrawal. I couldn’t sleep a little bit, but other than that, pretty much had no withdrawal symptoms. So, it’s not like we’re speaking theory or science or anything like that. We’re kind of speaking experience and trying to just help you guys, show you the road map we used to come off it without, you know, as little pain as possible.
Matt: Or at least just to feel confident …
Matt: … about getting off of it. It’s hard to explain, and from those of you out there who are watching this that have kind of successfully made it through the other side of this whole thing, and you don’t have to rely on a maintenance drug or heroin or whatever anymore, you understand the freedom that comes along with it. Don’t be afraid to try to get to that point because you think that it’s going to be painful, because it does not have to be at all. Again, just be smart about it and you’ll be fine.
Greg: All right, cool. If you guys have any more questions on Suboxone, Suboxone withdrawal, anything, the maintenance program, let us know. We’re here. We’ll always answer questions, and we’ll see you all in the next video.
Matt: See you, guys.