Benny is a professional in the IT world, a father of two, and a husband of 10 years. He has also suffered from Substance Use Disorder. Prior to coming to Coleman Addiction Medicine, Benny had been prescribed Suboxone® to help end his reliance on opioids. He was on this Suboxone® prescription for 8 long years.
Suboxone® is a brand name for a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, which, at the time, was the perfect medication to transition him from using street drugs and to stabilize him as he grew into his recovery.
Throughout the years, Benny developed a strong presence and involvement in recovery meetings as well as a solid meditation practice. He was in a good position to stop taking Suboxone® so he came to Coleman Addiction Medicine for our Suboxone® Detox Program.
Is Suboxone® a Life Sentence?
When patients come to Coleman Addiction Medicine for our Suboxone® Detox Program, we hear the same complaint. When they started Suboxone®, there was no discussion about when or how they would stop taking it. Yes, Suboxone® can help people stop using opioids; however, buprenorphine itself is a narcotic.
Many patients have expressed concern when their prescribers implied they felt they should stay on it for life. Others have shared that their doctors were reluctant to have the discussion or didn’t seem invested in helping them reduce their reliance on Suboxone®.
Benny was able to take himself down to 3-4 mg of Suboxone® for periods of time. But at the same time, he felt like he was in a constant state of withdrawal. Finding our outpatient accelerated opioid detox facility was exactly what he needed, and indeed, he was off Suboxone® and onto naltrexone (an opioid blocker) within 8 days.
Life Without Suboxone®
Benny’s sleep is almost back to normal. He rarely uses the non-addictive sleep medication we prescribed to help him through the first several weeks when getting a few hours of sleep in a row was almost impossible.
As a full-time father, employee, husband, and homeowner, Benny’s plate was full. He didn’t realize how much his body relied on Suboxone® for energy. Because his body had been receiving dopamine via Suboxone® for 8 years, he no longer produced dopamine on his own. “Not only was the lack of sleep tough, the lack of energy just about killed me,” Benny said.
Energy Without Opioids
When asked about his energy levels following the completion of his Suboxone® Detox Program, he said “That’s finally getting better, too. There were a few moments when I wondered if I’d made the right decision to get off the Suboxone® — it is so easy to let life just continue, and not rock the comfortable boat…but I knew I didn’t want to be on this stuff forever, and I knew my recovery was strong.”
I also asked Benny what advice he would give to people who were experiencing the same difficult post-opioid-detox energy slump he did. Here are his suggestions:
- Drink lots of water.
- Resume (or start) an exercise regimen.
- Keep a journal.
- Try meditation.
- Consider vitamins and probiotics.
- Prioritize sleep.
- Lean on your recovery community.
It’s a big decision to stop taking opioids, especially if you’ve been on them for a long period of time. We can help you figure out if an accelerated outpatient opioid detox is a good option for you or your loved one. Schedule a callback below.
Joan R. Shepherd, NP