My Suboxone withdrawal diary (2016)

Suboxone is the hardest thing in the entire world to quit. I’ve been addicted to methamphetamine (also really hard but mostly psychological), heroin (very hard but it’s short, less than a week, so you can knock yourself out with benzos for 3-4 days), benzodiazepines (probably the second hardest, the withdrawals are fucking out of this world), and OxyContin (don’t even know why this is legal, you basically go into withdrawals within 12 hours after the dose so it’s so compulsive).

Suboxone is so insidious coz it’s very long lasting. You don’t even feel proper withdrawal symptoms until 72 hours after your last dose. Of course, you won’t be pleasant to be around after 24 hours but it’s not that bad until the 3rd day, when hell really breaks loose. The withdrawals are VERY intense and VERY long. It’s the longest opiate withdrawal you’ll go through. I read a lot about people withdrawing from Suboxone and it really helps to see their progress so I can also look forward to feeling better.

I’m going to start my own so if anyone comes across this while you’re sick, tired, unable to sleep, crying, going crazy, just wanting to drive out to score some heroin, thinking of heading to the ER with some bullshit ailment to score some opiates to stave off withdrawal, about to kill yourself etc – STOP!

It really can and will get better. It’s the thing where one day at a time really holds true.

I have been taking 16 mg of Suboxone daily since 2011. I was on OxyContin (oxycodone) before that, around 240 mg per day, before I switched to government approved Suboxone at RM 40 (USD 10) per 8 mg tablet or film. I was taking tablets before but switched to Suboxone film before switching back to the tablets coz it was easier to split. I tapered down to 8 mg this year (2016) before tapering down to a further 4 mg.

I quit at 4 mg, which in hindsight was a bit of a bad idea, but I wanted to do it and I want you to know it’s possible. It’s really hard though, so try tapering from 1 mg or 0.5 mg if you can.

Day 1

I have used a wide range of opiates in the past. In light of the nature of the post, which is about recovery, I won’t be linking my old experience reports on drugs and pharmaceuticals coz it might be relapse triggering if you’re in a particularly sensitive time. You can search for it if you want to read them (Caution: All drug reports have photos/videos of drugs and use of said drugs) but take my word if you don’t want to, I’ve been hooked on a lot of different shit in the past. I quit benzodiazepines earlier this year and I’m quitting Suboxone now. After this, I’ll be totally clean, with no illicit or prescribed drugs and medications. Day 1 doesn’t feel bad at all.

To be perfectly honest with you (and I’m sure you’ve done it too) Day 1 is a walk in the park. I do it sometimes if I want to lower my tolerance – just stop taking it for a day, and the usual dose will feel EXTRA WONDERFUL the next day. I know what to expect. I’m a little grumpy. I feel minor aches. I’m horny. I’m more buzzed and alert. It feels like a mild dose of meth but it’s actually just your body acclimatising to reduced opiates. It can honestly be quite fun if you like a more stimulating experience. It’s not tough at all.

I slept 7 hours and woke up feeling refreshed.

Day 2

Suboxone lasts really long in your system so you won’t feel the full brunt of withdrawals until late into 36 hours or so. It’s supposed to last 24-48 hours but for long term and high dosage users like us, it doesn’t, coz our bodies have tolerance and clears it faster. Today is the start of bad feelings. My body hurts. My muscles hurt. My joints hurt. I’m sniffing and I have a runny nose. I also have a mild fever. I had diarrhoea and felt like I needed to go every hour. My asshole feels painful from the toilet paper friction.

I spent the day feeling very sorry for myself but it wasn’t bad until the 36th hour or so. One of the worst things about opiate withdrawals is restless leg syndrome (RLS) – nothing I do feels right. My thighs feel like it needs a long, good stretch but when I stretch it, which will normally make it better, it feels worse instead. I feel like squeezing my toes together and contorting my legs into strange and interesting positions, not coz I want to, but coz I NEED TO.

I thought I could sleep like yesterday. Alas, I couldn’t. Not even a few minutes. I tossed and turned and got angry at myself for the insomnia.

Day 3

I feel exhausted from lack of sleep. My body hurts and my brain is screaming for opiates. I CRAVE opiates. Anything would do. Even shitty codeine with paracetamol (APAP). I just want to feel better again. I want to feel like a human being so I feel like I’m in a body which is not my own. Everything hurts. I called my better half and nearly cried coz I felt so bad. It’s emotional lability, also another symptom of opiate withdrawal.

You’ll cry often and much during these few days.

Don’t worry, it’s normal to have wild mood swings and jagged crying fits. I’ve seen tough guys bawl their eyes out when I gave them benzos after a hard meth smoking session (which also causes emotional lability). It’s interesting to note that common people who don’t know this thinks the drug user has “turned over a new leaf”. Bullshit, don’t kid yourself. I hear that so often in church last time that I want to puke. Please guys, don’t fool other people, it’s not about turning over a new leaf and regretting the past, it’s just the chemicals in your brain getting all messed up. That’s why you’re crying. Not coz of anything else.

Opiates make you feel good and emotionally distant. Now your brain don’t have the usual opiates anything and everything seems ultra emotionally intense to you. It’s fine. Cry and bawl your eyes out.

I also couldn’t sleep at night and I got so frustrated I cried in anger and hit myself (also coz I was hurting all over). The restless leg syndrome has spread to my whole body. I can’t sleep coz I feel muscle tension all over. I had to stretch all the time and maintain the awkward pose so I feel better. I was contorting my body in interesting ways the entire night, tossing and turning.

I nearly gave up.

It’s so hard. So fucking tough. Your body screams for the blessed sweet release of sleep.

The insomnia is the worse part coz if you’re able to sleep, you’ll feel much better. I did on the first day and I was ready and raring to go on Day 2. Sleep solves things, rests your mind and body and lets you approach the beautiful new day with newfound energy. Suboxone withdrawals cause terrible insomnia so it saps your willpower and it makes you want to give up.

Hold on.

I’m not going to say the toughest times are over coz it’s not. There’s more to come.

Day 4

I feel drained after 72 hours of no sleep, not even an hour or a few minutes or a cat nap like some nights when you feel you haven’t slept but you actually did for a while. Not here, not with opiate withdrawals, you won’t sleep one wink. It’s so hard, this insomnia totally breaks you. It makes you feel so tired instead of optimistic you feel depressed and pessimistic and just want to give up. Everything sucks.

My record was 7 days without sleep in Melbourne while on a wild drug binge with dexamphetamine but I regularly went for 3-4 days without sleep in KL and Kuching when I was on methamphetamine. It’s very easy when injecting and smoking meth – time flies, it feels like hours instead of days and when it was time to crash, I just swallowed a handful of benzos and slept for 12-24 hours before doing it all over again.

This is nothing like it. You feel like shit the whole time coz of the withdrawal aspects. It’s so hard. I was so ready to throw in the towel. I want to drive out to the pharmacy and get some 30 mg codeine tablets. Anything, anything to make me feel human again.

I don’t even want to get high. I just want to sleep. I want to rest and feel better.

In desperation, I took 2 x 1 mg of Xanax and 10 mg of Valium. I quit benzos earlier this year but I still have a lot of pills lying around the house. I’ve never been tempted to take them and was about to throw them out when I moved but I thought I might need them when I kick Suboxone.

It made me feel worse. The emotional lability became magnified 100x. I felt several times worse than before – my aches were more prominent and my stretching grew more crazed and compulsive. I spent 4 hours hitting myself just so I didn’t have to feel the muscle cramps and the restless legs.

I punched myself in the head. I slapped myself hard till my ears rang. I hit my legs and went at my stomach. I even (accidentally on purpose) gave myself a hard sock on my heart and solar plexus. That was painful but it wasn’t as painful and annoying as the muscle aches. I also won’t stop crying. I cried for almost 12 hours until the tears wet my pillow. I felt sooooo sorry for myself and I felt soooo, soooo, sooooooo bad. It’s a million, a billion, a trillion times worse than dengue and benzodiazepine withdrawals combined with aspects of both.

I was drained. I needed help.

It’s 3 am and I was losing my willpower from lack of sleep. I didn’t know what to do. What am I going to tell my partner? That I gave in again?

I can just imagine the conversation:

Dear, so sorry but it’s really so hard and it’s so bad. I can’t do it, it’s impossible, I gave in and just got a few Suboxone from the clinic. I’ll quit next month k? I’ll be sure to taper down to 0.5 mg so it’s easier next time and I know what to expect. I quit from 4 mg and it was so hard, I really can’t take it dear. Hope you won’t be disappointed…

Yeah, like I haven’t done that or said that before already. Sick, sick fucks, us addicts. We’re sick, manipulative motherfuckers. I wouldn’t say it’s malignantly manipulative, it’s just real hard to quit and I already tried once in 2014 and failed after the 3rd day. I’m at the 4th day now. I won’t give in.

I just need to wait it out till dawn. Things will look better in the daylight.

I took a cold shower to see if I can feel better and to take my mind off the pain with some cold instead. It didn’t help much but it’s good to shower.

I tossed and turned and cried some more. The benzos didn’t help. I’m not going to take anymore, even if I don’t sleep for a week. It made things so much worse and it made my body feel so much more pain. I also was a little afraid coz 4 hours after the Xanax hit, I felt the familiar calmness which I liked and I don’t want to get hooked on it anymore. This will be a no supplementary drug withdrawal, it’s going to be pure willpower from now on. Fuck it, if I don’t sleep, I don’t sleep.

Note: This is not advice but sometimes quitting with another substance can be easier and thus more beneficial. I quit methamphetamine by switching to opiates. It made it a lot easier. I quit benzodiazepines also by using Suboxone (was taking both before) and with the opiate calm, it makes it easier although you’ll feel really bad withdrawals. I had one really bad seizure when I quit benzodiazepines earlier this year when I was alone at home. Please be careful – benzodiazepines and alcohol are the only two things where withdrawals can kill via seizures.

Day 5

I know I won’t die from opiate withdrawals but it feels sooooo bad. Words can’t describe it. Think of the worse pain you’ve been in. I would gladly take that instead if you’ll switch with me. Today is worse than yesterday. Isn’t the worse supposed to be 72 hours after you stop taking your last dose? No! It depends on how much you’re taking, it’s all about bio-availability and half life. To put it in simple terms, if you took 4 mg as your last dose, you’ll still have 2 mg in your body 72 hours later, 0.5 mg at 144 hours etc.

This was my worse day. I don’t know what to say. I fear I wouldn’t get through it, that I would cave in.

Would I suck dick for opiates? No, but that’s only coz I have money and I have connections to get the drug. If I didn’t, maybe I would. That’s how bad opiates are. The only other thing which has made me ask this question was during my methamphetamine abuse days. Most people would suck dick for meth. You feel the cravings so badly when you’re coming down. Again, life has been lucky to me. I was a (small time) dealer at the time so I had my own supply. I partnered up with a few old friends and we’ll drive to Kota Kinabalu from Kuching and pick up 1 kg of methamphetamine for RM 35,000 (it was that cheap in 2004). The stuff came from the Philippines and it’s really pure, we’ll break it up and sell it in sets (5 grams) for RM 1,200 (again that was the price then, you won’t get that now). Needless to say, the profit margin was insane but so were the risks – I got caught and lost almost all my earnings to the police in bribes so I only got a fine and conviction instead of jail time. In a way you could say that the police ended up being the big time dealer raking in all the money. *shrugs*

Back to opiates, it also causes the same desperation for relief, for a high, although for me it was more of a need to sleep. I know if I can sleep I would be able to see things clearer, to attack the day and to soldier on.

I still cried a lot out of frustration and have HUGE cravings where I just wanted to get some opiates, any opiate from the ER or clinic or pharmacy. I didn’t. I held on till 3 am and then went out and got coffee instead.

Coffee helps a lot.

Let me tell you something interesting but again I really don’t recommend this. You remember what I said about using another drug to quit one drug? I’ve been in drug rehab 3 times and I met a lot of heroin addicts at my first whose stomping grounds were Chow Kit. It’s common to use meth to make the withdrawals from opiates more bearable. I used to be really addicted to meth though so I’ll never try that again. However, caffeine is also a decent stimulant and if you drink a lot, you’ll feel much better.

Better at not having slept anyway. It makes the insomnia easier by waking up your mind. I almost feel human again. It doesn’t last very long though and drinking more doesn’t help much. It’s just the initial rush of chugging coffee that gives a mild high. Damn drug addict thinking. Fucking disgusting. Actually no, that’s what I imagine my emotionally abusive mom would say, I don’t think it’s wrong to use chemistry to hack things at all. Of course, it’s not good but hey coffee is legal, what can you say?

It kinda helps with the cold too. I’ve been shivering and needing a blanket the since Day 2. It’s SOOOOO COLD! That’s a strange thing for me to say coz I always hate the heat but again this is also normal. You’ll have cold shivering spells (actually for most of the day) while withdrawing. Get a blanket, it helps.

I also learned that I shouldn’t force myself to sleep. I’ll just stay up since the time tossing and turning and feeling miserable doesn’t help at all and ends up making you more frustrated. You’ll get wild sleep deprivation hallucinations like on meth runs so be careful driving and such coz sleep deprivation can be worse than drinking and driving.

I read that it’s the insomnia that really does you in. When you’re awake for days, your brain accumulates more waste, you turn moody and you start being more impulsive (it’s well documented, probably why meth users are so messed up). It does a number on your thought process and it’s why you feel so shit. Most people don’t know this coz most people can’t stay awake for days, but with constant meth use, you’ll be awake for days. This is similar, if only I could just get a couple hours of sleep. Even two. Please. I just want 2 hours of sleep after so many days with no sleep.

Day 6

I haven’t slept since Day 1 but I feel slightly better. Not a lot better, just a fraction. If the pain and suffering yesterday was at 120%, it was 119% today. I feel like I have rounded a corner. I’m sure the nights will still be sleepless and miserable but at things seem to be getting better now. I need to soldier on.

I need to be strong and take it one day at a time. I don’t believe in that NA stuff, I quit all my addictions by myself, but that’s just me. I’m not extra strong or extra special but I noticed that as I got older, the things that seemed impossible are much easier now. It’s not easy (hell, not at all) but it’s slightly easier e.g. it’s doable. I also feel hungry again. I had to force myself to eat something so I feel more energetic the past few days and I had to shove Mars bars down my stomach without liking it (it’s my favorite candy usually) for so long that I was surprised I actually wanted chicken rice today (though I could only eat less than half.

The night is dark and full of tossing but I will wait till morning and I will write in my journal and I will do active things to pass the time. I just need to pass the 7 day point. I know I’ll start to feel better again. Maybe I won’t even need to write here anymore. If I don’t, it means that the pain and the suffering, the tribulations of Suboxone withdrawals have gotten better. I have read that you won’t actually sleep until after 2 weeks and only a few hours at that but even an hour sounds so good to me right now.

The nights are depressing, real bad so watch out for them. Drink coffee, you can’t sleep anyway and it will boost your mood in a very mild way so it might help with staying sober.

Day 7

144 hours without sleep. It’s driving me insane. I would have probably gone insane if I have not had ample experience with sleep deprivation from my methamphetamine using days. Today the sleep deprivation hallucinations are out in force – I can see shadows everywhere, flanging vision like DXM and blurry edges of items which I sometime mistake for something else. I wanted to pick up my electric kettle and recoiled in fear when I thought the handle was the leg of a huge spider. That was the most vivid hallucination.

One time when I was on several days without sleep while injecting and smoking meth, I saw an old woman rocking in my apartment. I live by myself so that was strange. Even stranger, she wouldn’t go away after I blinked. I tried to close my eyes and she was still there. Even after I knocked myself out with benzos, when I had to use the toilet at 2 hours after I slept – there she was. That was the most vivid sleep deprivation hallucination and my (superstitious) friends in Kuching all freaked out. I didn’t though, I even said hello to the poor old rocking woman coz I know she ain’t real.

It sucks though. I’m a little afraid of driving coz my reaction is impaired and I have visual disturbances. I walked to a local shopping mall today for some exercise. I was wearing a tatty shirt, old shorts and flip flops. No fucks given. I rambled like a zombie, forcing myself to walk every square inch of the mall. I stopped by a pet store and saw two kittens playing – that made me smile for the first time in a week so it was good. Didn’t last long though.

I walked for 1 1/2 hours at the mall and felt like giving up and dying each step due to fatigue and exhaustion and muscle pain but I forced one foot in front of the other. I sometimes grunted in pain and exertion. I got weird looks from other shoppers. Moms dragged their kids away from my path. People went to the other side of the aisle to avoid walking past me. I didn’t care though, I just want to exercise so my muscle cramps don’t feel so bad. Also exercise induces NATURAL endorphins, so it’s like a super ultra very mild opiate. Good enough.

I went home and took a very hot scalding shower for 15 minutes and tried to sleep. No luck!

My brain was racing, and my heart was pounding. I had terrible anxiety. My arms ache. My legs hurt. Muscles I didn’t know I had felt sore. I cried in frustration again and after 5 hours of turning I gave in and swallowed 1 mg of Xanax.

It didn’t even make me sleepy. I was so angry I took another 2 of the blue 1 mg Xanax pills for a total of 3 mg Xanax and popped a 10 mg Valium to boot. This might be considered a high dose for most people (hell, 2 mg is too much for most) but I had taken TONS more than this, and I really, really wanted to sleep.

Alas, I had lost all my tolerance coz I quit benzos earlier this year. I totally blacked out after 20 minutes. Well, if you’re familiar with high dose benzos, a “black out” doesn’t mean you pass out. It’s like if you get too drunk until you forget the things you do. It’s called anterograde amnesia. I apparently called my partner but I can’t remember a word I said and I talked for an hour!

Unfortunately, still no sleep was forthcoming.

I tried and tried and tried until now at 6 am before giving up. I must be careful, this is the second time I’ve taken benzos. You can take it for 1-2 weeks before you get addicted but I won’t even chance that. This is the last time, you can’t get hooked if you take it twice in two days.

It’s hardest before dawn. I also heard a bit of bad news today. It’s personal and it really sapped a lot of my willpower. If I had heard this on Day 3-6, I’ll probably have straight up relapsed. But today is Day 7 and things are not as bad as the nightmare in the past few days so I’ll keep on maintaining my sobriety.

Day 8

Fuck me upside down, I still didn’t sleep a wink. I had a bad attack of RLS which even affected by body and arms, just like Day 3. I told myself I’ll go to the pharmacy to get first generation antihistamines to help myself sleep but I read there’s only one which can really help (doxylamine) and the others like Atarax will even make the RLS worse! I wasn’t hungry despite not eating for almost 2 days too (except bananas). I went to get some food and forced myself to eat it down, even though I had no appetite. I want to give a shout out to Wendy’s Creme Brulee Shake – that shit is the bomb! So sweet and nice and nutrient dense.

I also forced myself to eat some meat coz I read iron deficiency will also contribute to RLS. I felt cold and shivered while waiting in line and then noticed that the worst of the cold shivers have passed! I have gone to the next stage! I still get it sometimes but it’s mot like hot and cold flashes instead of just pure cold flashes.

I also keep on sneezing for no reason and had explosive diarrhoea. Today was the worse in terms of shitting – pure liquid and bits of fecal matter, totally unlike the first few days. I also feel drained, tired, and depressed. No motivation at all. I wonder how long I still have to stay awake with no sleep coz I feel like going crazy already. I know the world record is 11 days but I need sleep.

I took benzos again for the third and last time. No more Xanax coz that’s too short acting and strong. I took Valium instead. 15 mg at first – 3 x 5 mg pills. Nothing. I found my 10 mg blue diazepam pills and started to push one out…then another, and another. I was angry at myself that I was doing this stupid thing in an effort to sleep. I swallowed 50 mg of Valium, 65 mg when you count the 3 I took an hour earlier.

I felt drowsy and calm but not at all sleepy. I threw away all my benzos already, it doesn’t help and honestly, it feels too nice. The calmness I mean.

Now to concentrate on kicking Suboxone unassisted.

I feel so nauseous and threw up twice despite not having much food. On the plus side, I have lost a lot of my belly fat. On the down side, I probably lost a bit of my hard earned muscle too (have been working out lately). My stomach just cramps and I don’t feel like eating at all (or drinking for that matter) but I’m dehydrated and I should eat something.

I also talked to a good friend and that helped a lot. Man, if I didn’t have support and people willing to listen to me complain and moan and bitch about my pain and suffering I might have given up long ago.

Day 9

Today was both a good and a bad day. I wanted to do something so I don’t feel sorry for myself and feel sick and have muscle cramps and RLS at home so I decided to go out. I felt better when I forced myself to walk around malls and since there was an interesting event today, I thought I’ll go and spend some time there. It’ll be good.

I drove out and nearly had 4 car accidents within 2-3 minutes. Fuck me, I haven’t slept for 8 days and I was starting to microsleep. I didn’t even realize when I was at home but when I was driving out this morning, I went up the curb and swerved back to the road. I had fallen asleep for 1-2 seconds WHILE DRIVING. That’s stupid and dangerous.

I told myself I’ll do better and started doing all sorts of things to keep myself from microsleeping again. I sang, I shouted at myself, I sat up in uncomfortable positions…and I microslept again…and again! I’m thankful there aren’t a lot of cars that early but during the 3rd time I nearly swerved into another car beside me and I didn’t even know until he/she leaned on the horn.

Too close for comfort right? Not going to happen again right? If you’ve experienced extreme sleep deprivation like I have you know that’s not going to happen. I tried so hard to keep myself awake that my hands are full of bruises from pinching myself. Didn’t matter, I drove over the curb and swiped a tree the 4th time I fell asleep. -_-

It’s a good thing it’s a short and thin shrub. I told myself I’ll park my car and take a Uber back. I haven’t slept for more than a week and I shouldn’t be driving. I should have taken Uber here. I didn’t know why I didn’t think of that – your mind stops functioning well after so long without sleep.

I felt better at the event and managed to feel human again. They (meaning people who have successfully withdrawn from opiates before) says it helps if you’re in public and with people. I think it’s true too coz I barely felt much withdrawal symptoms except a bit of joint pain, muscle pain, RLS and of course depression.

Hey, even my depression wasn’t bad coz I was doing something I enjoyed. I felt better than normal at times. The worst part was my insomnia, I couldn’t sleep and it affected everything I did and my state of mind.

I felt like I was really getting better and except for the insomnia, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I felt very positive. I even felt a little sleepy (for the first time in 8 days) and decided to sleep for a while at home.

It turned out to be a false positive. I was tired. I was sleepy. I even microsleeped while fucking driving. But I couldn’t sleep normally. This was the start of the bad times, it was even worse than Day 3-6.

I think that I’m starting to get mentally affected by being unable to sleep for 8 days. I had a bit of a psychotic break. It was quite ugly.

I trashed my entire room. I kicked my TV, smashed my notebook, tore my clothes, bit anything I could from pillows to my arms in anger. I have A LOT of bruises on both arms. Some aren’t bruises but open cuts. I don’t know what came over me. I don’t do this rock star trashing of rooms and I love the data I have on my notebook and computer so I’m not sure what happened.

I think it’s kinda like the psychotic breaks you have when you stay awake too long on methamphetamine.

It’s dangerous and it’s unpredictable and you have a high chance of hurting yourself. I did things as strange and curious as throwing new, unopened packs of spicy Korean ramen to the ceiling fan for it to smash and scatter everywhere. I punched walls, I screamed and shouted and threatened and causes enough of a ruckus for my (usually) tolerant neighbor to say he’s going to call the police if I keep it up.

And yet I kept it up coz hey, you can’t control psychotic breaks. The cops didn’t come though, I wouldn’t have cared if they did anyway coz I’m clean with no drugs and part of me wants to go to the ER to get a strong anti-psychotic so I can sleep for at least a few hours. Benzos like Xanax and Valium can’t even get me sleeping, that’s how bad post-opiate withdrawal insomnia is.

Tonight was the worse coz psychosis is setting in. The human mind isn’t meant to be awake for 8 days. I don’t know what I’m going to do if I still can’t sleep. I called my partner and cried and said I want to relapse so badly coz I’m going crazy. I don’t even want to get high, I just want to fucking sleep!

She was very honest with me and said if that’s what I want then she’s not going to stop me. I stopped myself though, I didn’t want to relapse after over a week of being Suboxone free. I know if I started again I’ll be on it for life coz I know how bad the withdrawals are.

I am going to keep being sober.

I really think the worst is over. My restless leg syndrome is getting better. I still have pains and aches but nothing compared to the hell of Days 3-6. I keep on yawning and sneezing but that’s nothing. I have to run to the toilet every hour but that’s expected. Even the depression and anxiety from sudden opiate withdrawals is bearable. I want to say it’s more than bearable.

I’m not sure if I’m kinda used to feeling that way already but if you’ve taken real MDMA (Ecstasy) in ridiculously high amounts, you’ll be quite familiar with post-use depression. MDMA depression is a lot worse than this. Opiates are more subtle, you just don’t feel as happy but that’s fine coz I can still be happy doing the things I like (unlike with post MDMA where even things you normally like suck). There’s quite a bit of lethargy too but it’s not bad.

I still have no appetite. I forced down some salmon today (for the iron) and that’s about it. I have lost weight which isn’t good since guys losing weight means losing muscle. I will hit the gym again this week and swim today. I want to be stronger and buffer coz that’s something I neglected when I was still on Suboxone.

Despite the psychotic break from sleep deprivation, I feel better now. I even managed to sleep 40 minutes just now. It felt so good! This was the longest I’ve slept in 8 days. I already feel better and more positive. I don’t think I’ll update this anymore since I’m pretty much alright except for the insomnia (which is the worst part of this).

Suboxone can be useful for drug users who take faster cycling stuff like OxyContin and heroin but if you already have a stable life and you’re well off enough to afford RM 80 per day (that’s how much 2 x 8 mg costs) I sometimes feel like the addiction doctors just want to use you for a constant income.

I don’t think I’ve said this before but since she’s not working anymore I can feel free to. I started Suboxone coz it was a legal and relatively new thing by the Malaysian government. I went to a doctor at my old apartment – it was a very old clinic with not many patients. I’ve only seen 3 including myself and we’re all either on Suboxone or methadone.

I was the one who brought in the most money for the clinic – at RM 80 per day, I paid RM 2,400 per month and RM 28,800 per year. Minimum. Sometimes I took more than 16 mg daily. I kept her clinic afloat for YEARS coz she didn’t have any other patients.

Guess what? When I started tapering to 8 mg then 4 mg, she said it was bad and that I needed the full 16 mg per day. I didn’t listen coz I know better and when I got to 4 mg and visited once every few months, her clinic closed down. She had lost her #1 customer – me.

I hear stories like this all the time all over the world. The company that owns Suboxone is rich and the doctors that prescribes it are also rolling in dough – your paycheck. What else can make a person spent almost RM 100 each day, without fail, no holidays, each and every day.

That’s not why I quit coz to be honest I can afford it (although being able to afford it and wanting to pay that much are two different things). However, I didn’t want to feel numb (but happy) all the time and mostly I did it for my partner. You’ll enjoy live more without the artificial happiness from Suboxone.

Even better, Suboxone gives a lot of “wrong learnings”. This is what I all the effect – you feel happy about everything since you’re on a strong but legal opiate so everything becomes positive reinforcement. You don’t even know what’s really good for you or what’s a false positive from just being on opiates. You don’t know who your true friends are and who’s just there coz you feel the same both ways with the strong opiate positive reinforcement.

Nobody talks about this which I find strange. Have they not noticed it before or is it just my unique personality? I won’t be falsely modest, I’m very intelligent and I’ve also used so many different drugs and I’ve self aware enough to think, analyse, and reflect so maybe I notice things faster. Humblebrag aside, do think of this little known side effect too and life live with a clearer head without false positives messing with your head coz falsely reinforcing behaviour can cause a lot of bad habits to build up without your knowledge.

Day 10

I’m so happy. I just slept 2 full hours, the longest in the past 10 days. I was so fucking tired, having slept only 7 hours on Day 1 and a combined 48 minutes from Days 2-9 (minus the almost catastrophic microsleeps while driving).

I wouldn’t call a two hour sleep good but for me it was heavenly. I feel so much happier now and I truly think this is the start of better things. I have rounded the corner. Sleep is such a luxury – you don’t even realize how beautiful sweet release is until insomnia robs you of this simple pleasure.

Depression and anxiety levels are pretty bad, I don’t even feel like getting up from bed most days and my mind is dark and bleak but I put on some songs and force myself to face the day and it’s all good. It’s very bearable for me coz I’m kinda used to feeling like shit already. I just hope I can sleep more tonight. That would really make me feel super.

I hear a lot of Suboxone users complain that they still DON’T feel normal after months or years after withdrawals.

Well, duh! That was an artificial feeling! It’s opiates, of course it makes you feel good. No regular human is supposed to feel that good all the time, so you better get used to the more mediocre real world. Don’t keep thinking about the fluffy cloud you experienced in the Suboxone days. It ain’t real yo, and it’s most definitely not “normal”, you gotta live in the real world now. In the real world, happiness is fleeting and sadness is constant. Deal with it.

Ending thoughts:

It help a lot to read other people’s Suboxone withdrawal journals. You can see the timeline and commiserate and best of all, you know what you’re feeling is normal (well, it’s not normal per se, it’s just expected) and you’ll get through it. It’s okay if you don’t sleep for a week, even though you feel shitty, you’ll get over it. The depression that comes after 2 weeks to 1 month can be overcome with exercise and activity. You’ll get over it, just like many of us have. You just need to take the first step. Don’t be scared, there’s nothing to fear but fear itself. It’s going to be bad. It’ll probably be the worst thing you’ve ever experienced. Suboxone withdrawals is hell on earth and it’s not pretty.

I’m feeling better now – this is my last post on Suboxone.

However, try doing some things to take your mind off it. I always thought this was a stupid thing to say but it works. I poured my energy into writing and doing stuff. Do something active, not passive. You’ll feel bad if you watch TV all day long. Go out and exercise. It doesn’t even need to be strenuous, just a walk around the mall. You’ll feel terrible. People will stare at the weird guy/girl shivering and hunched and shuffling along like an old person. Fuck them, you do you and get better.

This journal is also for myself. Don’t forget the hell you’re going through. It is worse than meth, worse than benzos. Just in case you ever think it’s okay to take even a little bit of opiates in the future, stop yourself and read this again. You might think, whats a little insomnia, what’s a little pain in the arms and legs but you’ll want to remember how bad and hopeless it actually feels.

The nights are the hardest and where you will want to lose hope. I don’t know exactly why it’s soooo bad at night – it’s when all the doubts and depression and frustration sets in and you think you’ll never be happy again and you’ll never live a happy life and this fucking hell is all you’ll feel and your willpower is sapped. Try to talk to someone if you need to (you will need to) and you feel like relapsing. I had my dad and my partner who are solid 100% supporters and got me through some real dark times. You will need someone, if only just to bitch and moan and cry and complain.

It’s possible. I hope I helped you get through the hard nights with this journal of my experiences. Life is a beautiful thing, don’t waste it under the influence of Suboxone. I know you’re hurting right now but think about the next day. You’ll have gone one more day in this long withdrawal hell if you just wait it out for 1 more morning. Then set your target on the morning after that and the morning AFTER the other.

You can do it.

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16 thoughts on “My Suboxone withdrawal diary (2016)

    • My liver was damaged from APAP (from codeine tabs without CWE) and kidney was coz I was a stupid little fuck who injected methamphetamine using the cold shake method, and worse, right in the syringe body e.g. I’ll just draw in mineral water (use sterile instead but in my deepest addiction I have ceased giving a fuck), take out the plunger, pour meth directly into the body with a bit of water, shake and slam it into my vein.

      I don’t think I’ve mentioned this but I got a really bad abscess from injecting once and there were red lines going up my arm, which burned and felt hot to the touch. I think my table was dirty and this was not meth, it was from banging heroin. Like another stupid little cunt, I waited very long before I went to the ER coz I was afraid of being reported (this was in Malaysia, not Australia).

      My boss at the time convinced me to go after it got really bad with pus and a stench and the red lines went up my arm and wrist. It was blood poisoning (septicaemia) but I told the doctor I accidentally poked a rusty nail. He didn’t believe me but he didn’t report me either.

      I think they my kidneys should be okay now. The human body is a beautiful and wonderful thing – it can slowly heal if you stop messing it up.

    • I think a lot of people have used drugs before so I don’t think I’m extra special. I have just used more than most people (but not Gods like Alexander Shulgin). Thanks!

    • Nope, but I have experimented with it before. It can’t really cross the BBB effectively so it’s not noticeable for me but another similar type of opiate in the same family can:

      http://sixthseal.com/2005/06/diphenoxylate-dhamotil-experience-report/

      Diphenoxylate is also like loperamide but a lot stronger comparatively since it can cross the BBB unlike loperamide, which can’t really cross it and stays in the stomach.

      I used it when I was taking DF118 (dihydrocodeine) and heroin in Kuching and wanted to ease the withdrawals but it mostly gave me more constipation. That’s the only thing I felt. The very mild opiate effects won’t be noticable to a user who’s already on such a strong drug like Suboxone. I may be able to feel it since I’m in withdrawals now but I’ll pass. I have even considered tramadol, which is a lot stronger but I also thought better of it. I’ll just kick it old skool, no additional help (except Xanax, which didn’t help at all for insomnia).

  1. I am really happy for you. I’ve been reading since 2004, so I’ve read along as you’ve travelled some crazy ups and downs. You attacked this last monkey on your back just like you’ve approached everything in your life (that I’ve been privy to through your blog); full-tilt, balls to the wall. If anyone has the strength and willpower to kick addiction in the teeth, it’s you. Long live sixthseal.com!

    • Thanks mate! It’s so tough, a lot tougher than quitting benzodiazepines and methamphetamine. It was even harder than kicking heroin! Heroin is very short acting so I could make myself pass out for the worst few days while Suboxone withdrawals takes weeks. I have my moments of weakness and temptation, and it’s important to have someone to talk to.

      I had a lot of trouble from Day 3-6, that was the absolute worse. The withdrawal felt like no other drug I’ve ever tried. From my basic understanding of chemistry, I think it’s coz buprenorphine (Suboxone) binds so highly to the mu opiate receptors (which is why taking heroin, OxyContin etc while you’re on Suboxone doesn’t work – they’re not “strong” enough to displace the bupe.

      I think this very feature, the intense binding affinity plus the ultra long duration makes withdrawals such a living hell. I wouldn’t want to experience it again. OxyContin withdrawals are hellish too, but it lasts a few days only. Suboxone is several times the intensity for weeks (although it gets better by Day 7).

      Thanks for commenting and cheers for reading mate!

  2. Like Twilight Man, I applaud you for your effort and determination. Ever think of publishing a book about your experience since you have written everything here on this blog? Cheers for your partner and father who are there 100% for you!

    • Thanks Mun! I still feel like shit, puked several times and forced myself to eat a high calorie muesli bar (almost 800 kJ) just so I have something in my stomach. I write so I don’t give up and relapse. It’s easy to do things to keep your mind off Suboxone. Worst still, it’s legal so you can get it in any 24 hour government clinic or hospital so the access is way to easy. I hope I feel better soon but I already feel slightly better today. Just want to throw up real badly and can’t keep anything down.

      This experience is quite common though, I just happened to take more drugs for longer than even the more hard core users.

  3. What a long post but thanks for sharing. It was an experience that you have been through but glad it turn out well. You are brave and determined.

    My husband also took some drug when he was young when he was studying and working in KL. Those party drugs etc. But he came clean and never take them now.

    It is a hard struggle but a worthy one as life is precious. It is not worth to waste your life with drugs.

    • I feel so tired though. Slept 40 minutes in 8 full days. Longer than even my longest methamphetamine run of 7 days. I already feel crazy and I don’t dare to drive coz I’ll most certainly get into an accident. Bad sleep deprivation hallucinations. Also sleep deprivation makes people more impulsive and take more risks.

      Opiates like Suboxone, heroin, OxyContin are painful to quit but not dangerous. Benzodiazepines like Xanax, Valium is dangerous and painful to quit. I had a lot of seizures when I quit earlier this year. However, I personally am able to take more anxiety and panic attacks and depression from benzo withdrawals than the RLS and insomnia from opiates. It’s even worse than benzos.

      Party drugs like weed, MDMA, ketamine doesn’t produce physical withdrawals so it’s easy to quit. I used to take every weekend and never had addiction problems with “party drugs”. It’s only the high addiction liability stuff like opiates, meth and benzos (big 3) that cause people trouble so I would advice anyone against trying those 3.

    • Thanks! I’m getting slightly better day by day. The worst part for me is the RLS and the insomnia. I feel like a zombie and I can’t think. 8 days with just one 40 min session of fitful sleep is cruel and unusual punishment.

  4. So glad you made this far man, you can do it! You’ve got the determination and support to really pull through. Stay strong!
    Your a great writer, this post will help many others who are in similar circumstances. Those opiate-replacement pharmaceuticals sure seem like a dangerous bargain. Best of luck

  5. Wow. HB…I’ve been reading your blog from the beginning since before 2004 when I moved to Japan for 4 years.. I haven’t checked in on your blog for a few months and now feel bad. I had no idea you were on Suboxone. Reading this withdrawal post takes me back to the dark days you experienced way back and I wonder if your blog and posts didn’t prevent me from delving deeper into a more fiendish interest that I did have in many substances. You are an inspiration in all of your traits, good and bad. Thanks for putting it all out there man. I’m sure you know you’ve had such an influence on people’s lives. I actually spent many holidays in Malaysia and proposed to my wife there…which I’m sure was partly influenced by you, your blog and your outlook on life. Peace.

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