The Most Painless Suboxone Taper on the Planet
Using the experience from hundreds of clients at Nashville Suboxone Recovery, the best taper is a long, slow taper. All three of our physicians believe (as I do too) that a long, slow Suboxone taper is also the most beneficial for lifelong sobriety. People who attempt short Suboxone tapers typically go through a lot of unnecessary discomfort and withdrawal and are far more likely to relapse. We’ve witnessed this over and over again with hundreds of clients.
There’s science behind why we need time on Suboxone and it’s pretty simple:
Your body needs time to replenish depleted chemicals that were drained by opioid use and abuse.
When you stop or reduce opioid intake, your body goes into a bit of shock. Your body needs some time to begin creating important chemicals and hormones that it stopped manufacturing during your years of abuse. These are important chemicals that make us feel good, happy and healthy. This rebuilding process takes time. Our lead addiction physician tells me it takes about a year for your body to fully reset chemically after stopping opioids, and I believe him.
I first tried to quit Suboxone using a 10-day taper. This, was how I was going to quit my 13-year addiction to oxycodone and OxyContin? Needless to say, it didn’t work. I felt like utter hell for over two months. My solution was to relapse, which is not a solution at all. Thankfully, I was able to get back on Suboxone, take some time to get my life together, and then do it right the next time.
“When I first tried to quit Suboxone using a 10-day taper I felt like utter hell for over two months. My solution was to relapse.”
A long, slow Suboxone taper gives our bodies time to make these important adjustments so we’re feeling good, happy and healthy at the end of the taper, vs, totally depleted. Our physicians always tell people this one thing: Do your Suboxone taper right and you’ll only have to do it once.
How long should I stay on Suboxone?
Your Suboxone experience will be unique to you and your drug use. The right time to get off of Suboxone is when your life has been stable for a period of many months. If your life is still a mess thanks to your drug use, then you need to consider staying on Suboxone until things at least get somewhat balanced. The people we’ve seen who do best in recovery are those who stay on Suboxone at least one full year.”
Also, the time length you used opioids has an effect on how long you should stay on Suboxone. For example, if you used drug for 10 years, then you can’t expect to get clean in 30 days. It’s just not realistic. You need time to get your life back on track and your body needs time to replenish very important chemicals and hormones that help you feel good, happy and balanced.
“Things like divorce, moving, new career, getting married, etc. are all things that can trigger relapse.”
People relapse, and have to start all over again. The last thing you want to do is to try and taper off Suboxone when you’re not really ready. It simply won’t work well.
When is the Right Time to Begin My Suboxone Taper?
If you’re not ready to taper, don’t do it. You’ll know when you’re ready. Give yourself plenty of time before you begin your Suboxone taper. After all, living a good, clean life on Suboxone is better than using drugs. There’s really no reason to hurry off of Suboxone, especially if life is getting better and things are stabilizing. When you are truly ready you’ll know it.
“The people we’ve seen who do best in recovery are those who stay on Suboxone at least one full year.”
Your life should be settled down. You should not be going through any big life changes when you taper. Things like divorce, moving, new career, getting married, etc. are all things that can trigger relapse, even if feeling happy and healthy. We’ve seen too many people “think” they’ve fixed everything in their life only to taper too soon.
“The length of time you used opioids has a direct effect on how long you should stay on Suboxone.”
If you or anyone you know is struggling with opioid abuse, be sure to download and read our free book, The 4 Hacks to Getting Clean. This free resource provides a step-by-step approach to opioid dependence and recovery. It’s a complete roadmap for choosing the right path for getting clean and staying clean for life. You can download it here: The 4 Hacks to Getting Clean
Download The Most Painless Suboxone Taper on the Planet Worksheet
You can download and print The Most Painless Suboxone Taper on the Planet worksheet here: The Most Painless Suboxone Taper on the Planet
Remember: Take your time. This is a solution to make the rest of your life drug-free. If it takes two years, then it takes two years. Do it right and you’ll only have to do it once…
I have my cousin in treatment. She has detoxed off everything but her Suboxone, which she has been taking at a 12mg dose for a decade. They have her tapered down to 6mg, but are pushing her to go lower and she is starting to get a bad attitude about staying on treatment. She is miserable and uncomfortable at lower than 6mg; however, the Suboxone has not kept her from using illicit drugs and she has been on it for at least 10 years. Do I support her staying on the Suboxone during treatment, or do I push her to get off it all while she’s there? I don’t want to sabotage her recovery, but I don’t want to enable the Suboxone dependence either- it hasn’t helped things get better for her at all. Help.
This is a fantastic question. Thanks for reaching out. Suboxone is a tool, and it’s just one tool in the toolbox of recovery. How long someone stays on Suboxone has become irrelevant as of late due to comparison with a diabetic. Addiction is a disease, just like diabetes. Like a diabetic needs insulin, some addicts require Suboxone to operate normally. However (and this is a big “however”), Suboxone alone is not the solution. Suboxone combined with therapy and group recovery is a requirement for anyone who wants to get healthy, Suboxone or not. Many addicts (including myself) thought Suboxone was the key – the drugs are the problem – when the drug problem is gone, I won’t have any problems. Well, that’s a huge lie. The drugs are the symptom of bigger, deeper emotional problems such as trauma, abuse, etc. Therapy is the place where people discover the drivers that cause them to use drugs (to feel different / escape pain). Group recovery is where people find out they are not unique. Everyone has problems, and in group recovery you get to work on them as a team with tons of support and guidance. So – to answer your question, I have a question: Is your friend doing therapy (weekly) and group recovery (daily) in order to change the internal issues that drive them to abuse drugs?
Not being smart here, just being honest based on personal experience. I didn’t start getting better with Suboxone. I started getting better (mentally healthy) after months of therapy and going to group recovery meetings every single day for many months. I continued going daily for almost two years because I was starving for change / to be better person. The simple truth is this – Get your friend into therapy and group recovery. They may hate it at first, but most people have a lightbulb moment when they realize this is their only path to feeling like a normal human being. That’s why groups like AA have been successful since the late 30’s – They actually work. Best of luck and God bless my friend. Hope it all works out.