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Any methadone success stories?
I have been going to a methadone clinic for about 10 months, and I'm going to phase 3 on 1-26-09. I want to start going down on my dose when I get my next phase. I'm at 110 mg now and it holds me fine, I just don't want to take this any longer than I have to but I also don't want to get off to soon. I was wondering if anyone has any advise on how many mg to go down in a week. I thought 10 would be good and some people thought that would be way to much, I know it's up to me, I guess I would just like some advise and to hear someone who has actually done it. Most of the people I know don't seem like they will ever get off, especially when the state is paying for them. Counselors at this clinic are more worried about getting you to sign their sheet once a week and writing 1/2 hour for an appointment when I see them for 2 min. It has changed my life and made it so much more manageable and for that I am thankful, also if anyone has any feedback on how it was when you stopped taking the methadone all together, how were the cravings, did you want to go back to the streets or did the fact that you were taking actual medication break that habit? I have a lot of questions and this thread is all over the place but if anyone can offer me any advice I would be very grateful. Thank You
I am a certified methadone advocate, and moderate/administer three methadone support forums as well as working nationally with the major mathadone support organizations, and have a background in nursing and training as a chemical dependency counselor.
You are trying to taper too soon. Most professionals do NOT recommend tapering until you have been stable on treatment for at least 2-3 years. The reason for this is that for those leaving treatment, the relapse rate is 90% in the first year--and this is even for those who taper as advised! So you want to give yourself the best possible chance of success.
Once you do begin a taper, the suggested rate is no more than 10% of your dose every 2-4 weeks. You can probably drop every 2 weeks at first but may need to stretch it out to every 4 as you drop lower. Realize that this means 10% of your CURRENT dose, not your starting dose.
For example--if you are on 110mgs, your first drop would be 11mgs, putting you at 99mgs. Your next drop you would round off to 10mgs, putting you at 89 mgs. Then your next drop would be rounded up to 9mgs--and so on.
Many people try to taper off too soon due to people in their family, or at 12 steo groups, etc pushing them to do so. Most folks do not understand MMT and how it works, or the nature of brain chemistry and addiction. People who have abused opiates long term often (not always) sustain permanent damage to their natural opiates (endorphins). These are chemicals the brain makes that enable us to feel pleasure and happiness, control pain, and regulate mood. When we take outside opiates, this suppresses the production of the endorphins--the brain senses there are plenty on board so it ceases production. However, when you cease taking opiates, in some patients, the damage done is permanent, and their brain NEVER produces endorphins normally again. In others, they never produced endorphins normally to begin with, even before they became addicted, and their opioid use was an attempt at self medication a horrible depression/anhedonia.
Methadone replaces the missing endorphins without causing a high or euphoria, in the same way that insulin replaces the natural insulin no longer being produced by the pancreas. Living without endorphins causes severe depression, inability to feel pleasure or happiness, exhaustion, irritability, cravings, etc. and results in patients relapsing over and over again in a desperate ettmpt to feel normal again.
For these patients, methadone may need to be taken long term--even for life--and that is ok and nothing to be ashamed of. But there are many others who DO get off methadone and have their endorphins return after a few weeks or months of abstinence, so it never hurts to give it a try. In fact, methadone is unique among opiates in that it does not connect to ALL the opioid receptors in the brain, but leaves about 30% of them open, which encourages natural endorphin production even while still on treatment.
Please do yourself a favor and take it slower--there's no reason to race through this and every reason NOT to.
Two years is the MINIMUM amount of time they suggest to be on methadone before you start your taper. Contrary to popular belief, it's not harder to get off the longer your on. It's actually the reverse. The longer you stay on, the more stable your dose becomes and the more your life is back to normal-the better your chances of success when you taper.
When you do taper you MUST go slow enough that your symptoms of addiction don't return. If they do, stop the taper and hold. You may even require going back up a few mg.
Addiction is going to be with you for life. You can not fix "what ails you" in 10months. If your on methadone for two years and take two years to taper-BIG DEAL~! That's four years out of your entire life span. That is four years "lost" in order to gain twenty, thirty or fourty (depending on how old you are!). Even if you had to be on methadone for ten years, it's a small price to pay to have the rest of your life to live, right?
What you can do is learn to live differently, responsibly and stable. Once you've gotten that down then you can taper knowing that if your craving and obsession with drugs returns you will at least have the rest of your life in order so that you have all your energy to devote to staying off opiates....and it may require all your energy for quite a while.
Try not to look at methadone as just a continuation of your addiction. Look at it as a way to control some of the bad things that addiction can cause. Look at it as a way to STOP the progression of your addiction before it ruins any more of your life and health.
Your addiction isn't going anywhere. It will be with you whether you taper off methadone or not. How will you treat your addiction once your off methadone? That is a very important question you have to answer BEFORE you even think of tapering AND you gotta have this "treatment" in place and working before you think of tapering. It can be ANYTHING (doesn't have to be 12 step programs) that will help you get through each day without using. Exercise will be VERY important to get your own endorphin function going.
I know the clinic is a pain in the ass...but other than that is being on methadone ok? There are those that do not feel well on it and those that feel great on it--which are you? If your the first, perhaps your best bet right now is to do a quickish taper to 30mg and then get on to Suboxone for a while? That will get rid of the clinic as well.
Congratulations on getting better. Try to remember that it doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you do it. Do what YOU need to do to make your life better and go from there!
Sorry! I guess Zenith was posting at the same time about the same things!
PS-what the counselors at your clinic are doing is ILLEGAL (giving two minutes of counseling but charging for a half hour?) and it's what gives clinics a bad rap. A reputable clinic would be more worried about getting you better than getting you to sign a piece of paper. There are MANY MANY good clinics and there are bad clinics. They know they can get away with it because people don't have the time (or inclination) to sit with a counselor and so many patients are scared to make waves. Many patients are more than happy to sign off saying they've been seen.
That is the problem with "mandatory" counseling regulations. Counselors spend so much time chasing people down who don't really want counseling and who aren't benefiting from it, that those that really want and need it get neglected. OH how much easier it would be if people that wanted counseling could have all they wanted, and those that did NOT would be required to be educated on methadone and treatment and then told they could come when they felt they needed it.
Either way, you need to report what is happening to your clinic director. You can do it anonymously, but you still should do it. If medicaid is paying for treatment it's called FRAUD.
Last edited by clinilab; 01-21-2009 at 07:27 PM.
Iv'e been on the program 9yrs. 3yrs ago at 140mg I started detoxing 1mg every 22 days
I got to 40mg and stopped. I ask myself do I want off. Will I start drinking again, looking for my next high. To tell you the truth I think I'll be on it or something the rest of my life. I do like the lower dose better. Not constipated, sexdrive is back, etc.
Yes, it's nice to read about some successes instead of the bad press that methadone often receives. I've been on methadone for 24 years, clean of all other drugs for the last 20. I was addicted to percodan (later percocet), >>>>>> (sniffing), tylox, #4 codeine dots, any opiate I could find. When I got on a clinic I was originally on 100mg/day, for the last 5 years I've been stable on 30mg/day. I have a good job, great wife and family, and look at taking my daily dose of methadone just like I take a daily dose of lisinopril for high blood pressure. Because I've been clean and compliant for so long, I only have to go once a month to my clinic where I receive my medication in pill form (40mg diskets scored in 10mg sections).
I considered switching to buprenorphine but it's very expensive. In fact when I went to an OBOT (office based opioid therapy) doctor in Maryland, I only had to pay $80/month, now that I live down south and have to go to a methadone clinic to get my meds (once a month), I now have to pay $392/month. I've asked doctors about OBOT (any doctor can apply to provide both methadone or buprenorphine), but they all shy away from methadone and only work with buprenorphine (suboxone).
So many people wrongly equate methadone with methamphetamine (they use the prefix 'meth') and the press doesn't help in that regard. Again, I look at my taking methadone no different than a diabetic who takes insulin which they'll do for life. 30mg/day of methadone works best for me, I have no desire to quit just as I have no desire to quit taking lisinopril.
Yes there are those that abuse methadone just as people abuse any drug and unfortunately this is what makes the nightly news. The number of deaths from methadone or even from >>>>>>, is literally a small fraction of the number of deaths daily from alcohol and especially tobacco. It's not even close. But there are constant calls for restrictions for methadone or not allowing methadone clinics to open, the only calls for restrictions to alcohol or tobacco are for higher "sin" taxes.
Again, I'm clean, I don't seek out opiates or benzos from doctors, I just want to be able to go to a regular doctor to receive a methadone prescription (or the doctor can dispense it), leave a urine to prove I'm not abusing other drugs, and pay the few cents that methadone costs. It's one of the cheapest drugs out there, especially compared to buprenorphine which often costs around $25 per dose. OBOT should be more widespread than just limiting it experimentally to a few doctors in New York and Maryland. Again, for compliant patients who have proven they can handle the responsibility. Thanks.
Hello..new to this but I wanted to just extend my version of methadone, not only as a healthcare professional but also as an addict. I have been on the methadone program in the state of Washington for 3 years, Not only has it been a conditioned way of life but you discipline yourself to actually get use to being on this drug and you shouldn't.
Discrimination exists! As you well know in my profession sometimes you need to do a drug test for employment. I have been terminated twice due to a positive methadone level in my UA. On this program I have certainly experienced the negatives but there are positives..
I wanted to just say that I am behind anyone that is trying to lower their dose of methadone and be free of it. Like I said I have been on this program for 3 years and just now getting the meaning of life, putting it all together and getting back the feeling of "I will be okay"! An addict needs to reach the point of being okay. In their mind they need to put themselves into a place of all their triggers and know that they can walk past them and not blink an eye.
I needed to know that if my triggers became a problem that I could find another way to get through it..to move past the feeling of wanting to get high to get through my rough patch. I read a book that had a great impact on me and the state of mind I was in, That state where you negatively self talk yourself into believing that you need a substance to make it through~ The book was called "Everything happens for a reason" by Mira Kirshenbaum. She is a great author and she too has been through a lot. It was refreshing for someone to explain to you how you talk yourself into believing that you deserve all the negative you get in life- that you can turn that into positive and it will work.
Finding out the truth about how you got to the point in your life where you needed a substance to be "you" is quite a journey and In my opinion that is what addicts need to know...is how they got this far...how they can be okay...and how they can stay okay without going to use...
If I could create a blog where I could be there for anyone that needed to use..or felt like they were at the end of their rope..or if they want to get off what ever they are abusing..I would! Maybe I will figure out how to do so..because being an addict it sure would have helped me knowing there were other people out there like me,,someone to talk too because mt family continuously tells me.."If you wanted to get off this stuff you would..." " If you wanted to not be an addict you would just quit taking this methadone". They have no idea the dynamics of those statements!
I would say that it's why my higher power put me on this earth is to help others get through this. In return I think they would help me and my success at staying off the drugs I was taking..
Finding your higher power is a great key to use in all this..I say that I don't believe in the things and people that most do..I am spiritual but not religious but you need to believe in someone besides yourself However; you need to know that your #1 priority is to believe in YOU-
You need someone to pray to when you feel like you can't take another step- If that is someone in the sky just labeled your higher power then so be it- if it is in fact god then so be it- but you need to find it... it will be the greatest thing you have ever done. You need to get yourself a cheap notebook or get yourself a beautiful journal...I got myself a journal and every three or four pages I put a memory, a person's picture, a quote with a meaning, or something that has significance to me right now that will help me remember why I am here. Write...and write and write some more till you get it all out!...have conversations with the ones that broke you down...tell them off...write the people you hurt when you were high...cry... say your sorry do what ever you need to do to move on and most important forgive yourself for all the things you have done to yourself and I mean truly!..because that is the key to getting off this methadone...it's much much more than just getting off a drug..there was a reason you needed a drug to exist at one time and you need to address that as soon as you can. When you finally find that peace, that place where you can finally let go of that crutch...which it all boils down to fear...you will just let go of it and there won't be all that worry about am I going to be okay..or is it hard to come off of it...because if you are not ready it will be the hardest thing you've ever done. We all do not deserve to doubt ourselves that we cannot do this life without being high...we can...and we will...
As for the MG you go down... well I went down 1mg every two weeks until I reached 0. It does work...and I believe in you..and that you can do this!
It matters to give yourself a compliment daily..to leave yourself encouraging notes around the house..to journal anytime you need too... then everything else you want for yourself won't feel like it's never going to happen to you~ It will happen because you will have to energy, happiness, and motivation to make it happen. I am reaching that point now and it was hard to get there...I went through the self doubt, the tears, the scary dreams, and I got to the point were I was forgetting to take my methadone, or I didn't want to take the full dose, or it was making me so exhausted that I wouldn't take it at all. There are the signs that you can do this- YOU CAN!
Good Luck to all of you on he program..or those of you doing a program of any kind..good luck to the ones that need help..I wish I could help you.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE~
people who are still on methadone are not clean. and until you are, those issues are not tackled properly. thats for sure.
i was on methadone 7 years first time. about 4 the second. and in between i shot up anything that would help.
i have been off subs one year. i used them to get off methadone...
until you are actually 'clean' you cant say so....
it can be done. and you sure cant help people till you get to that stage.... why would anyone trust someone who is still using...
Being clean is not as important as recovering. Everyone is different. If one person can quit everything and run their life again bravo but if another person needs a maintanance drug to get off rec drugs, hold a job, be a part of their family's life again, etc etc then who are you to judge them? Different strokes for different folks. You arent the be all end all of recovery.
Originally Posted by Anonymous
i wasnt bad enough for methadone in the first place. i havent used any pain killers or drugs for 5 years,and i have no desire to do so! i just stay ...
Last edited by colbykerns; 06-26-2014 at 05:14 AM.
You do not lose your endorphins or ability to create them!
I spent forever registering on this site from my phone, to tell you how awesomely terrific and spot-on that your post was. I related to so many of the things that you said (which are the kind of stories that the original poster said they WANTED to hear (and needed to, from the sound of it)! - not "you'll never be happy again, because you can't produce endorphins anymore. Well, not exactly 100%, you never know" type of propaganda-taught clinic admins. You honestly have changed the path of my life in a positive way by this post and I wanted to thank you. I, too believe that you are here to help people. These are the stories from STRONG people who want OFF of all mind-altering drugs and start living your life again. As a HAPPY person. I am taking the plunge while my wife and kids are away in 2 weeks to detox and live life again. No matter the (SHORT) term pain. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart.$
Originally Posted by free2beme
Before I start I'd like to begin by saying I AM NOT A DOCTOR OR LICENSED MEDICAL PRACTITIONER. i'm just a normal guy that got through the bad and am now starting to see the good.
I've never replied to any posts or anything before and I know this is an old one, but I couldn't find any real methadone success stories. I'm not even 100% if mine could be called that, but I quit methadone cold turkey a year ago last month. I quit roxies and tabs once several years before but that only lasted a few month before I started back up again. Then I discovered methadone lasted longer so I figured "what the hell". Methadone withdrawals are the WORST thing I have ever experienced. I didn't get the puking part, but the shakes, the sweats, the restless legs and body, that ungodly feeling that somethings trying to tear its way out of your chest, those were all there. Didn't start to feel like I could do anything meaningful til about month 6 or 7.
Don't expect this to be over quickly. The only thing that should be going through your mind is that even though it sucks balls right now, IT WILL NOT LAST FOREVER. Man (or woman) up and take responsibility for the fact that YOU, and nobody else, let it get this bad. And only YOU can change it. Accept help and support from your friends and family. I personally didn't get alot of support. Mainly cuz I didn't want anyone seeing me like that, but that was just my preference. You need to KNOW that other people want to see you off the drug. STAY AWAY from your "pill friends". They are NOT you friends. They're around you for one thing only, the possibility you might give them a pill. Or they can steal one from you. I know this sounds cold, but DON'T try to save them. Everyone has a point when they decide to quit and actually do it. Or they don't, and there's nothing you can do about it. It's just that simple.
A few things I found that helped me ALOT during the heavy to mid part of the withdrawal. Cold baths are lovely and will help with the restlessness in your limbs. Drink as much water as you can keep down and don't fill your diet with garbage. Find a stool hardener and take it religiously, or you'll prolly be able to do your business through a screen door. For those who are vomiting, Phenigran should be pretty easy to get from a doctor or walk-in clinic of some kind. Granola bars are your friends. Multivitamins are your friends. Your body is going to undergo tremendous shock, and it's best to be as well nourished as you can be in that situation. A friend gave me Gabapentin and they really helped during the really bad parts. Pot helps too but that's your choice.
I'm a year in now and one of the things i'm still having problems with are my emotions. While you're taking methadone you're completely numb to everything. You may feel a tickle of emotion here and there, and that may convince you that they still exist. But they don't. For the first few weeks you are going to laugh and cry and rage almost uncontrollably. The stupidest tv commercial will choke you up. Someone asking to toss them a lighter will make you explode. This is pretty normal from what I understand. It feels like adolescence all over again and it sucks, but you'll get a handle on them. If you had a history of depression or bipolar like I do, be prepared for stuff to get REAL real fast. I didn't feel any of that while I was using, but just recently it reared it ugly ass-shaped head. Get help from someone who's been through it before, or find a local mental health program.
I successfully came off of methadone (50mg) after three years on it (back and forth between methadon't and subutex). Prior to that, I was on conventional opiates for 1 year -- all for Lyme induced allodynia. Every time I tried to come off of Methadon't... it was absolute HELL. Unbearable... even at slow tapers. How did I get off of it eventually? Well... 3 years ago, I went down to Costa Rica to receive Ibogaine therapy; AND IT WORKED. I have not had to be on pain medication ever since and my life has been profoundly changed for the better. The biggest miracle of my life. I will cease such language now for risk of sounding like this is some canned blurb designed to drive desperate folks to a website portal to get them signed up for ibogaine treatment in CR. Just know this... unless you have the tools and compounds to address the drought of neurotransmitters that follows cessation... it is EXTREMELY difficult to come off of. Ibogaine addresses this beautifully.
I do have to say though that I strongly disagree with some of the views above stating people need to stay on Methadon't for 2-3 years before even thinking about coming off. I cannot think of worse advice. Get off of it ASAP; responsibly with the right mindset, tools, and assistance. To all those considering attempting methadon't cessation... may God guide and direct your efforts.
Hi I just read your recent post. We've been looking into iboga but then my husband got diagnosed with cancer. Below is my dilemma if you happen to have any insight. Are you allowed to tell me which place you used in CR or what town it's in? Might be the road we take eventually. I think there are some providers who will come to your house in the northeast which might be an option as well as he is all but bedridden a lot of the time.
My husband, 49, is addicted to prescribed oxycodone IR. He has herniated discs, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis. He has been on it since 2009. He got diagnosed a month ago with tonsil cancer. It's serious. He is bedridden due to what I think is the oxy cycle. He has pain constantly at a 7/10 even on the oxy, 100 mg per day. He is in bed all the time, and if not has constipation,diarrhea, anxiety, depression. He's up for a day and all night then sleeps for 2 days. Everything revolves around a bowel movement. He eats one meal then skips 8 of them. It seems he is in withdrawal a lot and dr will not give more. The pharmacy is giving a hard time about filling the script. The biggest problem is he needs to get treated for this cancer, and I can hardly get him to any appointment, he is missing appointments, it's been almost 8 weeks and no treatment. We've been to two famous hospitals and they want to treat him for cancer but can't give him pain meds because pain isn't from cancer. No pain mgmt dr wants him because dose is too high. He says he can't detox now he can't be in any more pain. And the cancer treatment will be painful - radiation, maybe chemo. I think his pain is from unhealed PTSD that has manifested physically but at this point it doesn't matter. He needs detox/rehab and we had him going into a chronic pain rehab center but now they can't take him because he has cancer. I don't know what to do. He was already on suboxone prior to this. Methadone? He tried OxyContin er but it's not covered by insurance and he doesn't like it, moods seem extreme and worse. Are there places that treat cancer and addiction inpatient at once? He hasn't worked for years.
I'm sorry, I don't understand, why is his Oncologist not prescribing him something for the pain?
Originally Posted by Jagger15
If he's in pain, especially Cancer, I don't see why they are not giving him something for the pain?
I was on a methadone program for 10 months. Got my daily dose up to 90mg. Started tapering down 5mg/wk and personally had no problems at all with it.
Had to jump off completely when I reached 25mg for unrelated reasons (was expecting to start on Harvoni, after the methadone residual had run its course).
But overall, through the whole program, I never had any strong desires to return to the drug. Just kept my wandering mind and idle hands busy on anything positive, new projects, etc... All day. Just because. LOL...
I have now been completely free from both the drug and the methadone for 4 months now. And proud to say that, except for the occasional few beers, I'm 100% drug-free! ...
I sincerely hope that this was of some help to you.
Best of luck, my friend!
I wouldn't advise the method I chose, but I did kick 110 mg cold turkey. Started me at 30, and pushed me uo to 110 where i stayed for just over a year. One day it just happened. Same way i quit smoking. One day it was jusy over, and i wasnt intrested anymore. I just focused, breathed, wanted, and in no circumstance would I give into accepting pain. My spine ached mostly near my tailbone, and my legs were insane, but just breathed slowly and distracted myself. Work was insanely hard and still is, but this is an opportunity to feel different. Remember pain is relative !!most important if your coming off in any manner.. Don't whine!! It makes it worse!!! Just suck it up like a big kid, and move forward
Oh and to add to the above post... I DID NOT TAKE 3-6 MONTHS!!!! once the drug is out of you, your body is YOUR TEMPLE!!!! you tell IT what to feel!!!! And when to feel it.
I know this is an old thread but I wanted to share that yes it is possible to stop using methadone. I was on it for 10 years. I was taking 180mg daily. Unfortunately I had to learn the hard way. I was arrested and was forced into cold turkey withdrawal. The withdrawal didn't really start until 3 days after my last dose. 1 week into it I had to be placed into the 24 hour lockdown pod because I started to experience drug withdrawal psychosis. I remember pacing and rocking back and fourth because my legs would not stop moving. I barely got any sleep. I remember screaming in agony in my jail cell. The withdrawal took 6 weeks and the restless legs did not completely subside until 1 year after I quit taking it. The horrible experience shook me to the core. I have been clean from methadone and all other drugs for 4 years. God saved my life. If I wouldn't of went to jail I'm sure I wouldn't be alive today.
In my early 20s, suffering both with both deep depression as well as addiction to opioid pain killers, I needed help. There were a few times I had nearly overdosed, not awaiting easily. I was taken to a methadone clinic shortly after my mom had dropped me off at a rehab centre. At that time in my life, I truly felt hopeless. Opioids were my way to ease my emotional hurt. Even though physically at the time I likely could have easily come off, emotionally I could not. Methadone did safely give me the calming I had needed, as well as wean me from my constant drug seeking. I have been on it for 10 years now. The highest dose for me was 25mg. I have recently made a commitment to free myself from this too. I have been given liquid caries for 2 week periods. This two week period I have taken less and less each night. My dose right now is 0.1mg, probably too tiny for most people to think will have any significance. But for me, I still feel it. I have been very emotional, feeling yucky during the days. But I do know that I am ready to be free.
So for me, yes, methadone did play a key role is helping me to safely recover. And now, I am ready to let this go from my life too.
These kind of comments are what's sad about these forums. If you have an opinion, that is great! But don't give commands or orders...it shows lack of education...I have been on Methadone for many years. I'm extremely successful. It saved my life. I had 12 years clean in NA so believe me I know your whole side of things. I used to say the same things you are saying now. Every person has their own path to success...never stand in the way of others paths...it is addict behavior. I truly hope that, like I have, somewhere down your path you come to realize this. We are all DIFFERENT.
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Before my morphine pump implant, I was on methdone for years. I liked it better than the oxytocin