A running diary of suboxone withdrawal

August 12, 2018

I’m in the third day of my Suboxone withdrawal and starting to feel it. I have night sweats, my appetite is diminishing and I’m only sleeping five hours at night. I’ve gone from three Suboxone a day down to one-half of a Suboxone a day. It’s a familiar feeling because I used to withdraw from heroin all the time.

I’m doing this because I just got sick of being locked into the Suboxone regimen. I decided to drop it as a way of life. I don’t feel like using at all but I am mildly sick and at the age of 72 that isn’t easy.

August 13, 2018

Day four: I’m sweating a bit and feeling tired. I’m not sleeping that well, but at least I am sleeping. I took 1/3 of a Suboxone yesterday and I’ll take 1/3 of a Suboxone today. Tomorrow I will take the last 1/3 and then drop it altogether. We’ll see what happens.

August 14, 2018

This is the day where I take my last 2mg of Suboxone. Had night sweats and morning sweats today. I see my therapist at noon and I’ll tell her what I’m doing. Haven’t seen her in a while because she was on vacation. This is the trickier part where I leap off the cliff and see if I have wings.

Just to be clear, I was on 24 mg of Suboxone a day for about 8 years, then dropped to 16 mg, then dropped to 8 mg, then dropped to 4 mg over a period of time. Things have speeded up since then. I wake up periodically at night and have trouble sleeping. I have a feeling that this is the beginning of my sleep troubles, which will continue for a week or so after I stop completely. I’m just guessing that, though.

August 15, 2018

The milestone day! The beginning of no Suboxone at all. I am prepared for any eventualities, having talked to my therapist for about 20 minutes last night.

August 16, 2018

Last night I slept fitfully, but I did sleep. I was still tired when I got up but I ate fresh fruit and yogurt for breakfast and a half of a sandwich for lunch. I’m sweating like crazy but it is 90 degrees with a lot of humidity. It could be worse.

I’m glad I didn’t wait until it was colder. I’ve kicked heroin and methadone back in the day and I was always freezing if it was winter. I haven’t felt tempted to use Suboxone anymore; I’m dead serious about this detox and I want to be done with it. I’ve reached the point where I don’t fantasize about getting high.

I just had a bout of the withdrawal sneezes and that was familiar. Well, I’m going to go back into the air-conditioned bedroom and watch a movie. Boy, how I remember those sneezes from previous detoxes! It’s been over ten years now but I never forgot them.

August 17, 2018

Well, this is day three, drug free. I have major sweats but it’s close to 90 degrees and humid anyway. Slept fitfully last night. Had some minor leg cramps. But I feel like I’m doing okay.

I even took my wife shopping and then bicycled into Harvard Square to pick up my writer’s check at Spare Change News. I’m hungry right now so I’m going into an air-conditioned room and eating something.

I ache a bit all over, especially my back.

 

August 18, 2018

Day four without drugs. Whew. Rough night sleeping last night. Fell asleep around 11pm and then woke up just after midnight. Didn’t get back to sleep until after 2:30 a.m. Then slept fitfully with weird dreams.

But it’s morning and I was able to eat a healthy breakfast—fresh fruit and yogurt. I ache a bit but I’m going to do some chores. Over and out!

Got some stomach cramps but I’ve had worse when I was kicking methadone. That was worse than heroin. People say the Suboxone withdrawal is the long road. Well, I’m on it and I’ll just keep going. Saw a good movie today called The Meg. Took my mind off things. Then tonight I’m watching a show called Longmire—about a sheriff in Wyoming. It was great but gut wrenching. Saw some things that made me cry. I haven’t cried like that in a long time.

I think this is a good thing I’m doing. Nice to have feelings again. My wife tells me that I’m talking more and acting more engaged in our life together. Just hope the night goes well with sleep. That’s the hard part.

August 19, 2018

Day five, drug free. Terrible night sleep. Sweats, awake from 11:30 p.m. to nearly 3 a.m., then had a dream-filled sleep (they were not nice dreams). Ate breakfast this morning and my stomach is cramping up. Suboxone withdrawal is no joke.

This afternoon my wife and I meditated to a reading by Buddhist monk and activist Thích Nhất Hạnh about being inter-connected with our parents and everything else. I’m no stranger to meditation, but was surprised how different it is when I’m not on Suboxone. I thought of my mother when she was in hospice and felt sad that I never really got to know her because of the fractured interactions of my nuclear family.

August 20, 2018

Day six, drug free. Dropped off the edge last night. Could hardly sleep and had waking dreams of my life running through my mind. Like they say, when you are dying your life passes in front of you. That’s how I felt but the picture stopped at about my mid-twenties so I’m still alive. Feeling very tired this morning but glad I made through the roughest night yet.

This afternoon I’m having a hard time getting out of my chair. All I want to do is sleep, which means I’m not talking or bonding as much.

August 21, 2018

Day 7. Totally exhausted. Any little action is a big effort. Desperately need a good night’s sleep. Fell asleep during the day and the phone rang and it was a person collecting money for some organization I never heard of. I hung up a little angry because I needed that nap they interrupted. This is some ordeal. I’ll be grateful when it ends. So will my wife. She’s proud of me but finds it difficult to watch me being sick and tired.

 

(To Be Continued)

Marc D. Goldfinger is a member of the board of directors of the Homeless Empowerment Project, which publishes Spare Change news. Formerly homeless, he serves as the paper's poetry editor.

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