Can I ever get off methadone? How?

Bill, a long-time addict and alcoholic, has cleansed himself of all chemical dependencies, except methadone, which he cannot quit below a certain level. Apparently driven to try, he asks for advice and help. Two contrasting responses are provided by me and Robert Newman, a long-time methadone maintenance advocate.

Further Reading

Hello Stanton, I seem to have a problem. I want to know how to get off methadone. I have been a severe alcoholic and drug addict (mostly heroin and pain killers but there were years of crack, smoking coke, and everything else). When I reached 40 years old I was about to die from drinking , I was diagnosed with hepatitis C and my life was so unbearable because of severe stomach pains all day, every day.

I decided to try to quit everything , but the pains were constant and severe in my stomach for years, so I kept up a little bit of pain killers to function. After awhile they didn’t work of course and I got on a access medical program to find out why my stomach was so painful, after every test I can think of and cameras up my rear they could not find any actual reason and settled on the fact I was an addict and there was my reason for anything else that could possible happen, and the tests stopped, and it did seem they tried at first to find a reason.

Well I started buying methadone on the street to kill the pain, and it worked, so I bought it on the streets for about a year and finally got on a methadone program. On the streets I was taking 100 to 140 a day or sometimes every other day depending on my pains. Eventually the pain went away, I settled down and dropped to 85 mgs and my life got excellent, I was happy again, no pains, worked all day (started my own business which is successful for all purposes, which took hard work 10+ hours a day with very few days off ever ,and my life was good for the first time since I was eleven (when my addictions started).

Well it has been 6 years on methadone now, and after about 3 good years I decided I was fine and and could start the withdrawal process. By the way I had stopped all drugs and drinking and was clean completely since almost the very start of methadone! So the first time I tried to stop methadone I dropped in groups of 5 mgs or sometimes 10 mgs a month till I was down to 28 mgs. Well all of a sudden severe depression set in I started having stomach problems and after months of that I went back up to 35, even though I wanted more. It did help and I was ok mostly again, so from there I dropped slower down to 10 mgs, well that was a struggle and at 10mgs I tried to stop completely.

Well after 4 weeks off completely, I was so sick and life seemed worthless again I raised my dose back to 28 mgs and it went ok again. I decided that next time I would drop slower like I should’ve and try that. I desperately wanted and still want to be drug free, but normal feeling. Well I dropped 2 mgs, a month which took forever it seems, and I am at 8 mgs. The problem is I am very sick almost always, I feel like I have severe arthritis and my stomach is going off the roof, just like 7 years ago when I started for that reason, although it isn’t quite as bad as it used to be.

I am confused, I am doing this just like they said to and I can barley take it, shouldn’t my withdrawing be much less painful as I am going slow? I keep thinking I am very sick and need to get to a doctor but then I start thinking it is just the dropping and that’s what happens. Like so many I have had bad problems with doctors after they find out I was an alcoholic and drug addict, on methadone, then that’s always the reason for everything and they don’t do much to find out or seek an alternative reason for me being sick.

It seems like when I try to get off the methadone everything from years ago starts coming back, even though I been clean for 7 years. I am confused and am wondering how long does this withdrawal take approx. And should I be sick at this small drop for so long? I been dropping for almost 2 years now, and if and when I reach 0 mgs will I eventually get back to feeling better after a period of time, or am I just what I am and maybe I will never be well again, or just to wake up without being very sick, because as much as I want so bad to be finally off everything, could it be I cant function without it? I realize this was a long question but it is an important one to me, and I find myself confused and unsure of my future, when it was so good for so long. Does it happen sometimes people need to stay on this methadone forever, or am I at just the worst part of a very long battle?


Dear Bill:

You are interesting person. And I admire you. You have been addicted all your life, and you want to change that. I admire people like that.

Some methadone maintenance advocates say that you always need to be on methadone. But you don’t buy that and want to fight it. I can’t speak about your individual situation, because I am not your therapist. But I like to believe it is possible.

Obviously, others will look at your efforts and say, “When Randy gets below a certain level of opiates, he can’t function. He becomes depressed, his body fails him, and so on.” This seems to be what doctors are telling you.

But one thing you are set on doing is improving your life, and there are many ways to keep doing that – methadone or not — things you don’t talk much about, like exercise, family, friends, work, helping others.

I am copying this e-mail to a couple of people who advocate methadone maintenance, and have much experience with it, to see if they have additional advice or referrals for you.


Dear Bill,

A somewhat different perspective than Dr. Peele’s. My view is that when someone has had a problem of life-and-death significance (as you had with opiates), which has made it essentially impossible to function normally (as in your case), and precluded great personal and professional success (as it did in your case), and then that person has the enormous good fortune of finding a medication that has essentially no side effects and that reverses all of the terrible consequences of the condition (as has been your experience with methadone), and then finds that as this safe and effective medication is withdrawn the pain and fears associated with the underlying problem return – then the question for me is why in the world would you want to risk everything by persistent effort to stop the medication?

Yes, there are dumb people – including without question a great many healthcare providers – who view methadone as an evil substance and those who receive it as stupid or weak of bad people. But hell, life is full of dumb people, but why seek to gain their approval by putting one’s very life on the line?

No one “likes” to take medicine. Who “likes” taking insulin, or antidepression meds, or cardiac arrhythmia or hypertension meds, or even vitamins for that matter? And almost everyone on those meds knows that there are folks with the same problem(s) who manage to overcome the need for the meds (e.g., diabetics can overcome their insulin dependency by exercise, diet, stress-reduction, etc etc etc). But while it’s nice to do what one can to be free of the medication, is it worth risking one’s personal and professional success, happiness, health and very life? I don’t think so.

Obviously, if a patient – any patient – wants to overcome the need for a medication – any medication – physicians should do all they can to assist. But at the same time, it would be unethical not to ensure the patient has thought through the potential benefits and the potential risks of such a course.

My own views reflect the fact that I draw absolutely no moral or medical judgments based on whether a former heroin user is living a healthy, self-fulfilling, personally gratifying life with or without methadone or other medication, any more than I consider a recovering alcoholic a better or healthier person if s/he does or doesn’t attend AA meetings, take antabuse, rely on yoga, or whatever. If someone who was largely unable to function with heroin and whose life was at risk several times a day with each and every shot of the drug is today leading a good life, I could care less as a physician, friend, employer, father or whatever whether that person is a graduate of a residential treatment facility, was or is taking methadone, found the way to abstinence through Christ (or through Islam), or just plain stopped without any support at all.

Whatever you do, I wish you the best.

Bob Newman
Director, Chemical Dependency Institute
Beth Israel Medical Center


Thanks for taking the time to give your inputs. Bob, you don’t think I’m one of those dumb people, do you? The only thing I think you miss in your heartfelt answer is Randy’s own repeated drive to get free of drugs.



Never (hell, it would cheapen greatly the meaning of the Lindesmith Award which you and I both received – the dumb people are those Bill refers top in his message – the doctors and others who blame whatever difficulties a person has on the methadone. You can use my response in any way in any forum you wish – it’ll be an honor.



  • Whit says:

    Hi Bill! I have been going through the exact same thing. I did a treatment call ibogaine. If you would be willing to leave the country… It’s illegal here because they consider it a hallucinogenic even though I didn’t at all… they have clinics in Cancun and Costa Rica but this stuff is amazing. It is the only way I got off methadone. I stayed clean for a year after I did the treatment and unfortunately I took on too much because the ibogaine makes you feel that way. It completely takes away your cravings for a good 3 months so you can get through the hardest part of detox. Not to mention it completely clears you mentally your mind feels so clear…when I’ve tried to detox off methadone by myself doing the clinic but slowly tapering… I was sick for 2 months straight… Two months straight… and all my friends who have been on it say the same thing… It is a horrible long long detox and it could even take up to a year after stopping at before you feel normal again but with the ibogaine it changes it and it makes it possible. Please look into it

  • Skydie says:

    Wow!! So many different opinions! I have a very rare disease that effects my spine and my nerves where there are apparently only one out of eight out of a hundred thousand that have this. It is called Syringomyelia. It is extremely painful. I was put on 100 mcg fentenyal patch for the pain for 6 years. And when the government decided that no one could be on 100 unless they were terminally ill and I had to go down to 50 right away, I decided that I had had enough of depending on a very serious drug to live my life, which I was already used to for a long time, so I do not believe that it was helping with pain. Although the disease gets worse each year as I have an MRI and it shows the severity of what this disease is doing to me each year. I am 50 and had a very good career, a lovely house, a truck a boat a snowmobile a husband two children. Due to the fact that I made more money on paper then my husband and although he was having an affair because he said that I was boring now. I just wanted to stay home from being tired with a very sore back when I worked a 10 to 12 hour shift sometimes 6 days a week. And having this disease show up 10 years ago, from being a very active person and mother it was hard for me each year to get things done around the house let alone have any fun. So now I am on disability and have lost my house and everything else. It has been 8 years since my separation from a narcissistic husband who was making more money than me but just wasn’t being taxed. Sorry will get back to the reason that I am on methadone. I didn’t want to go through the withdrawals of going from a hundred to 50 without anything else to help with the pain so I decided to go off it completely and try methadone. I had been on methadone one other time in my life due to a Percocet problem again for my back pain. But at that time I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis degenerative disc disease and sciatica and again wanted to get off taking 12 Percocet a day to survive the pain. And I was in my early 30s and remember being on it for just over a year and the highest dose was 80 mg and tapered it down 5 mg each week until I got to 20 mg and then had it tapered to 3 mg a week until I was at 9 mg and then 1 mg a week. I didn’t have a day of feeling any withdrawal after I was finished it was very rewarding although back to the back pain. I started methadone in July 2017 and now it is April 2018 and I have gone from 90 mg and now I’m at 75 mg. My Dr wants me to go down 5 mg every two weeks where I am pushing him to let me go down 5 each week. So in 3 weeks I’ve gone down 15mg and I am dealing with it just fine. I will always have excruciating pain in my back and nerve damage because there was no cure for this disease and it is eventually terminal. But my reasoning for going down sooner than he would like me to is because of the weight gain I have put on. I am 5 foot 9 and I was 135 lb when I started and I am now 175 lb in a matter of nine months. I would much rather be back to my weight that I kept with eating well and walking everyday for 22 years because the weight gain is causing more pain to my spine and nerves. So I don’t win either way. I can’t be on the methadone to help the pain because it puts so much weight on me like it had the first time I was on it. I would rather be thin and probably be in less pain. But my main reason for speaking about this is that I think especially with such a high dose of fentanyl that I was on for so long that anyone as long as they wean them self properly can do it. I know some patients have had the doctors wean them off it at the pace that’s comfortable and slow but where the doctor doesn’t tell them what is taken off each week so it doesn’t effect them mentally. Good luck to each and everyone of you! And I apologize for such a long history of my health.

  • Craig Cochrane says:

    I live in the UK. I am 58 yrs old and started with heroin at 22 yrs old. In my experience methadone is really difficult to stop. However I just started taking a few months less every now and then. Over a couple of years I got to the point were I would forget to take it in the morning. Later in the day I would feel bad and remember I had to go home for my dose. Without any pressure from my social worker I began to realise that it just kept me comfortable. Then when I was doing 5ml it was so easy to just stop. What was the point of 5 5ml. At first I felt a bit exposed, but it was all in my head. I was given a stop pack , sleepers( 2 weeks worth an some quinine for cramps. I didn’t experience anything like a withdrwall. It was so liberating to be free. I found my love of music again, no anxiety, and as a mega bonus my sex drive returned. It can be done but do it at your own pace , but remember your goal. There is life after the he’ll.

  • Nigel kenneally says:

    I came of methadone after 22 years, 15 months ago (10 of those 22 years were spent on Heroin ).
    I am still at these 15 months, suffering from severe depression. I for one wish that i had carried on a methadone script.

  • KP says:

    It can be done! Years ago while fighting RSD, I was given it for pain relief. Within a month, I was starting to nod off during the day, yet still had constant pain. I up and went cold turkey after 6 months of use. It was hell, the first two weeks sucked. But by week three, the feelings of withdrawal was gone. I started using different forms of treatment to control the RSD, it’s an awful disease, with no end to the pain. I held my own for the next 6 years, then had to seek a pain control Dr, I could no longer walk, and my back hurt 24/7.
    Slowly but surely we tried it all, Vicodin, Oxys, Percocet, Morphine, finally landing on a cocktail of fentinyl and Percocet for breakthrough. I survived on that for the next five years. And actually had a good life, at least I was living and able to function. Then came the downfall
    Of pain management clinics, they were forcing clinics to cut everyone’s meds regardless of what disease you were fighting, the only group not affected was the cancer patients, since they were dying anyway! By then, I was using 150mcg every 48 hours of fentinyl and 2 percs three times a day. Again I got mad, and went cold turkey on the fentinyl. It was a month of hell and I darn near killed myself in the process, but I made it! Next was the Percocet! I now take one twice a day if, the pain is just too much for me to be able to function. I have found that CBD, without THC helps alittle. I use the cream on my back if needed. I know of three people whom are being treated with Methadone for pill addictions, all have been in treatment for 8-9 years, and everytime they attempt to drop down in their doses, at the very first twinge, and they are back to full dose. One who had a addiction to Vicodin refuses to even try, he is happy going to the clinic every week, and as long as he can pay, the clinic will keep him on it, guess it’s a good thing he has weatlthy parents! To all seeking help, I wish you the best! Addiction is a beast, but one I believe you can beat with the right tools. If I was not fighting a terrible disease, with no cure in site, I would never touch another pill in my lifetime. What I have found through treating patients over the years is, that the fear of the withdrawal process is what most fear the most. They convince themselves it will go on forever..and I’m here to tell you it won’t, and yes you can do it!

  • SIAN says:

    Luis, I too have been on Methadone for 20yrs. I am a mother to a 17 year old son and the only time I was able to get off methadone was while I was pregnant. It’s amazing the motivation not to curse the little life growing inside you with your disease is. I was very lucky, I found out I was expecting when I was just 4 weeks gone, at the time I was on 50mls of methadone a day. I bit the bullet and quit cold turkey it was hellish, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. My son was born healthy as a horse with no problems at all, as for me, my doctor put me back on methadone 5 days after the birth and I’ve been on it since. I am now on 115mg per day and have been at that level for the last 15 yrs. I don’t get ‘high’. I wake up in the morning take my vitamins and my methadone then forget about it until the next day. It enables me to lead a normal life, I’ve always been high functioning, always worked, kept a nice home, been a good (hopefully) mum. Some people are born deficient in certain chemicals in the brain, opiates fill that void and for the first time those people feel ‘normal’ and it’s wonderful. I hate the way Methadone and it’s users are looked down on. You only need visit a dentist or the hospital, they are civil and respectful till you fill out a medication sheet and suddenly you’re scum, an addict, less than them, it sends me off the deep-end. Forget trying to get pain relief for an accident you get ibuprofen and sent home. I had an accident 2 years ago, An SUV hit the passenger side of our family car and I damaged my legs quite badly. I spent a short time in the hospital. One nurse, in particular, looked at me with disdain and said she didn’t want to encourage ‘drug seeking behaviour’ so I was to try to make do with my daily dose of Methadone. I never once asked any nurse or doctor for that matter for any medication including painkillers. My own GP was disgusted and sent a letter threatening to report the nurse in question. It’s difficult, whether you stay on Methadone maintenance or try to come off of it, do what is right for you, don’t be bullied or shamed into doing something you are not ready for. I actually know only one person who has used Methadone as long as I have and funnily enough they are extremely high functioning too. It pokes holes in the dirty, stupid, junkie image that some would try to impose on us. Good luck in whatever you do.

  • Young Corey says:

    You can get off of drugs like oxycodone and heroin even tho 90% of people will get back on but methadone is different. Getting off of it leaves you in a deep depression and anxiety that just seems to stick around and get worse instead of better. Once I was very hard-headed and tried to bite the bullet and kick methadone and I literally went crazy and took awhile after getting back on methadone to regain my sanity. These people saying to get off have never done the same themselves. It’s not weakness or lack of willpower it’s just science and we need to stop letting emotion rule over science. Since I realized that I need opioids to function and will never ever get off I have become much better, wiser and less stressed. Don’t worry just take your dose and kick ass. Peace.

  • Paul says:

    27 years on an average of about ninety MGS. Decided after a removal of brain cyst to get clean of Methadone. 21 months later i’m now at 22MGS. Physically on a scale of one to ten, ten being worse i’d say about six or seven. Mentally is a different story as i feel like i’m approaching insanity

  • grace says:

    when you come of methadone you must do it very very slowly. i mean when you get down to 10ml you cut down to 8ml for 3 weeks then 6 ml for 3 weeks until your down to 5 ml then 1ml a week for 3 weeks until your on none, put it this way your not going anywhere are you so whats the rush.also if your suffering from depression get this addressed as many people treat their depresison with narcotics.

  • Robbin says:

    I would like to quit taking methadone too. I take it for a severe case of restless leg syndrome. My restless leg syndrome wasn’t restricted to just my legs or just at night. I had restless body sometimes, all times of the day and night. After a full year of trying every medication my doctor could think of, he sent me to a neurologist. After an exam and questions, he recommended 5 mg of methadone at night before bed. It worked the first night, and I finally got a good nights rest! That was over ten years ago. I also have fibromyalgia, asthma, severe allergies and petit mal epilepsy as a child. I hate medication but have had to take it since I was an infant.
    Yes, I worry about what people think when I go to pick up the script form the doctor or fill it at my pharmacy. I always explain its for restless leg.
    I have tapered down to 2.5 mg only having to go up to 5 mg when the restless leg gets worse and 2.5 mg doesn’t work.
    After reading many of these posts, I am very concerned. I have been trying for several years to wean off of the methadone. I am very careful about stimulants as I realize they will cause more over active nerve issues, which are not good for restless leg and fibromyalgia. I drink a cup of decaf coffee but not every day. I rarely have a Dr. Pepper. I don’t drink, smoke or do any other drugs. Never have.
    How do I get off of this safely?

  • Gia says:

    I have gone down from 200 mg to 30. I am now starting to feel the WD. I don’t believe methadone should be used as a life long maintenance program and you shouldn’t be using another drug to compensate. I was hooked on multiple drugs. I am currently trying to taper off the methadone as well as benzodiazepines. I want my life back that much. No more dependence on ANY substance. Personally I use exercise, yoga, spirituality, and counseling. If you want it, you will get there. You have to really want to be free. To each is own but I am missing out on life and sick and tired of being sick and tired. I also recommend supplements. Food is natural medicine. Methadone is basically a legal form of heroin and the pharmaceutical companies used addiction to pain medication to their advantage. Sad but true. Find your outlet and your will to be free.

  • Jamie says:

    Thanks to all that have shared. This is my second time being on methodone. The first time I was on it 7 months and at my highest dose I was on 50mg a day. I tappered down to the smallest dose & was eventually off of it all together, I had little discomfort & a few sleepless nights.
    I stayed off of methodone for 2 yrs & experienced major anxiety and discomfort basically I went back to how I’ve Always felt ( uncomfortable in my own skin).
    I decided to get back on the methodone &I went up to 80mg. My mind was finally at peace. By the second year of taking methodone I gained 40lbs & my teeth started breaking. My skin is broke out in tiny red bumps & my entire body looks & feels inflamed.
    I have also noticed when I take my vitimins & drink my green drinks in the morning I puke almost every time. It was like taking my tablespoon of poison would only allow me to be so healhy. After a life time of vitimins & several yrs of breakfast green drinks my body cant tolerate it with methodone in my system. My looks & body have changed soo much in the last 2 yrs some people probably wouldn’t recognize me. I’ve been attractive and in great shape my entire life. That’s not the case any longer.
    I decided to start tapering my dose by 5 mg a week. I’m not experiencing any withdrawals & plan on continuing my tapper. That being said i can’t imagine being completely off of methodone. It has made me mentally more balanced & I don’t have paralyzing anxiety attacks & I can sleep ( I never slept before methodone ).
    I’m hoping the most I reduce my daily mg the less side effects I will experience.
    I feel like I must choose between my looks/ weight over my mental well being.
    Even with all the side effects I have I love what methodone has done for me. It’s a wonderful program but I wish I was more informed on all the side effects.

    Also if you are tapering off of methodone their are several different vitimins which can be taken to reduce & in some cases completely demolish some side effects.
    Good luck fellow methodone users.

  • Luis Grilo says:

    what happened to this people…I wonder…this is 2017, somewhere in the future, hope everibody’s doing fine, I’m taking methadone for 20 years now, was looking for some information and saw this ‘conversation’, health to everione.

  • Dag says:

    Amrit, you have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about.

    Not only are you are trying to shoehorn your personal agenda into a discussion that has absolutely nothing to do with said agenda, but you think addicts are “better off in the long term going to jail” which says a lot about your [lack of] education on the so-called Department of “Corrections”.

    You follow that gem by claiming “Na(sic) and aa(sic) don’t want methadone addicts because they know they either die or get back on methadone.”
    First of all, who are “they”? And why do they care what you’re addicted to?

    Seriously, it’s willfully ignorant people like you who make it harder on learned people who just need a little help to get back on track.

    Actually, forget my argument altogether and just dig a hole in your back yard until it’s too deep to climb out of…then dig some more.

  • Amrit says:

    Methadone is much worse than heroin. It’s a disaster for addicts but makes tons off money for the psychiatric field. So you will have people defend it like there livelihood depends on it. Methadone catches the end result of the pharma industry for more people everyday.It prevents the suicide of many drug addicts but anyone who takes it who is not a intravenous illegal drug addict should not be allowed on it. They may be better off in the long term going to jail. Na and aa don’t want methadone addicts because they know they either die or get back on methadone. I started having panic attacks , took klonipin which made the panic attacks worse.
    It is and will be a worse disaster in the future. Do anything to stop these places from opening in your town

  • Dee says:

    i was on methadone for over 10 years on 150 milligrams. I was tired of going to the clinic and depending on something everday just to feel okay. I taped down to 112 milligrams before checking into a detox center in Michigan. I went cold turkey for 4 days and then was on suboxone for 7 days. I have been off methadone for 16 months. It is possible if you really want it. I’m not saying it was easy but it was so worth it ? I did a lot of praying and had a lot of support and that’s very important. Today I feel like my old self before opiates.

  • Amanda says:

    I am in a similar highest dose was 200 (which I was on for 11 years of my 16 years on methadone maintenance)for 3 yrs I did a slow taper and eventually made it down to 50 before the withdrawal symptoms were too much to handle and I was told by our director they couldn’t help with any supportive mess to help until I got to 20 mg and locked into a 6 week final taper.So basically I was told go back up or suck it up.The withdrawal was so bad and after 6 weeks I’d seen no improvement.i had to leave my job because of the back and body aches.i had no choice but to go up.Im now on 100 and manage to be WD free until about 4am.this has been going on a year.So if someone’s body never gets to the place where it stabilizes how is it possible to completely get off without excruciating WD symptoms.I have a small child and need to be able to function.The cost of my treatment is not covered by insurance and is a strain on my finances.And I can’t agree that this medication has no side may not for someone on short term but for those on for many years there are side effects.Ive experienced severe muscle/skeletal 38 I’ve started to walk hunched over.also my brain fog has gotten progressively worse.i will forget where I’m going while I’m on the road.Once I drove home from work after paying a bill on my lunch break forgetting totally I was in the middle of a shift.ive been seen by several physicians who can’t find the cause and the only thing they can find that could be causing these is the methadone(besides other MMT patients with similar Heath issues I’ve spoken to)I’m afraid I will never be free of this medicine.I feel like I’m in a prison with no escape.and because I can’t adjust on the lower dose I don’t even get the benefit of a pain free life like in my first years on MMT.

  • Renea says:

    Hi, I have been reading all evening about methadone and the pros and cons of long term use and what happens when trying to get off the medication.
    I have been a opiate abuser for over 25 years, but when the crack down came along, it was getting harder and harder to get them off the streets and way more expensive. So I found myself in opiate withdrawal and it was maddening. To make a long story short, I ended up on heroin to stay out of withdrawal, but even that was hard to maintain.
    I just could not get past the withdrawals! So I found a suboxone doctor and he started me on 8mg bid, then to once a day. I was fine on 8mg a day, but then the pharmacy flagged my chart and informed my doctor that my Suboxone needed to be tapered further, as this medication was not meant for long term use.
    Well that absolutely freaked me out! I was not ready for that to happen.
    My doctor got me down to 4mg a day, but I just wasn’t ready. I ended up falling off the wagon for a couple of months and knew I just could not live that lifestyle. I am getting old. I am 54 years old by the way.
    Anyways, someone knew I was in the military when i was younger and recommended I go to the VA.
    There they put me on Methadone 30mg liquid and I am maintaining now on 60mg daily and have been for the past 3 years. Now I am wanting off of Methadone so bad because I am afraid that if something happened that I was unable to get my Methadone, that I would go through what I call maddening withdrawals! Plus being on Methadone has turned me into a depressed, Non functioning human being. Oh and I’m also taking 40mg of Prozac daily which doesn’t seem to work anymore.
    Sorry that I am making this so long, but I truly am concerned about Methadone withdrawal and the fear of not being able to function due to long term abuse of opiates.
    I feel if I wasn’t rushed off of Suboxone I would have been okay. With Methadone, there doesn’t seem to be any rush by the doctors to get off of it. They don’t pressure me at all about it. I mean, reading all the comments on the Methadone sites has scared me to death because so many have taken it for years and years. I don’t want to be that person and am tired of feeling like I’m in a black cloud, that never goes away.
    Why is there such a rush to get off suboxone? Well I know, it’s because it is very expensive and the insurance companies do not want to pay for it long term. Yup, that’s it!
    Well I will close.
    Hope you read this.
    Respectfully, Renea

  • Skylar says:

    Bob had some good points about being physically dependant to the more severe drugs. It would take a lot of counseling and therapy to get back to normal life. I need to help my brother get to that point in his life.

  • Birdman says:

    I’m glad that you at least tried to answer the questions of can he get off the drug and how. “But one thing you are set on doing is improving your life, and there are many ways to keep doing that – methadone or not — things you don’t talk much about, like exercise, family, friends, work, helping others.But one thing you are set on doing is improving your life, and there are many ways to keep doing that – methadone or not — things you don’t talk much about, like exercise, family, friends, work, helping others.” Focus on the traits and life situations that lead you to be an addict in the first place. If you have found new avenues for coping besides a substance that is success. Quite possibly that is why you don’t feel the need to continue to take methadone. I am a believer in the fact that your nervous system will eventually learn a new reality and the pains you experience will “go away” so to speak. In 2009 I was in a terrible car accident that shattered my tibia, fibia, and broke my femur into multiple pieces. After 7 surgeries I was left to deal with the pain and heroin withdrawals that were peaked by dilaudid (sp?) in the hospital. For the first 3 years my leg hurt so badly that I could barely walk and enjoy life. It was hell. Today, 7 years later, I am still in pain. But I don’t notice it like I use to. My nervous system has adapted to the new reality and has stopped leading me to believe that the pain I was experiencing needed to be treated. My life is good today. I don’t take any medications for pain…not even Tylenol. You will make it Bill. Steadfast willpower and determination. Strongly you will find freedom from your troubles.


  • Jamie says:

    Years?? Im also on methadone going down 10mgs a day from 190 and im terrified abt the withdrawals…

  • Dash says:

    PAWS lasts a few years? You don’t know what you’re talking about. I took methadone for 9 years today I take none, zero, zilch. I went through a rough week but that was all. How did I do it? Buprenorphine patches called Butrans and a little bit of marijuana that as a rule I don’t mess with but someone suggested it and it helped. I strongly recommend these two drugs to anyone trying to kick methadone.

  • Icare says:

    @Bob Newman…. Excellent answer… Just excellent. I have been recovering from addiction myself…15 years of off-on again abuse, until I found methadone. I only take 15mg a day. I am a mother of 3, I work and this has tremendously improved my life. I am “me” again. No haziness, no bad feelings…just the urge to want to take narcotics gone. Line you said, if you had diabetes, you wouldn’t think twice about insulin. No matter what anyone says, this is an illness too. If it’s not broke, why try to fix it. Life is hard enough as it is, why make it harder. Of course doctor’s don’t want you to be on it, because if you take that ONE pill that makes everything better, they can’t write scripts for 10 that don’t, and that’s where they make their money.. Anyways…just my thoughts. Hope this helps someone!

  • Tim says:

    Bob, I’ve got almost the exact same thing. Been on methadone for almost 10 years. Going down slowly but every day my right side hurts sometimes badly to the point I can’t do anything. It’s put me in the deepest rut I’ve ever experienced but I refuse to give up and want OFF this poison asap. I’m down to 17 but I can’t trust the clinic because I’m only $ to them and they will stop my taper with out telling me to keep me there. At this point I’m ready to chain myself to a boulder if that’s what it takes. I haven’t worked in 3 years and I want and need a job but this stops everything. I wish you luck Bob. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

  • P says:

    I’d like you to re-read what the commenter above this just said: “You are going to go through PAW’s, which lasts a few YEARS…” …YEARS? YEARS!? No one should have to suffer for YEARS when it just isn’t necessary to do so.

    You should listen to the good Director’s advice. You’re fortunate enough to find a medication that works, is non-toxic, and I’m assuming convenient to obtain (if you’ve been in the program for years you probably have take-homes). Why on EARTH would you even CONSIDER not taking your literally life saving medication?

    My guess is mostly because of the stigma attached to the word “methadone”. If you don’t think that’s true, re-read your original post and every time the word methadone is mentioned, replace it with the word pancakes. You’ll see just how ridiculous the question of “should I stop eating pancakes” really is.

    If you found that pancakes, something that is non-toxic, cheap to make, and convenient to eat took away your desire to do drugs, you would not question it. You’d eat your pancakes everyday and be happy. You might get sick of the same old pancakes everyday, but you’d eat em, and wouldn’t question stopping.

    For you it goes two-fold. You also have a crippling stomach pain issue. Methadone, being an opiate, is also helping you manage the pain from that, whilst not getting you “high”. They say there is no “magic bullet” but you might have come as close as one can to finding one my friend!

    We need to start changing the conversation and let people know that it’s ok to be on methadone for life if it makes your quality of life better. Just like it’s ok to eat pancakes in moderation. 😉

    -A proud, lifelong, methadone advocate.

  • Jason says:

    Get off the done. YOu have to go through some pain to get to the other side. It’s not going to be easy. When you are on the done you are taking Narcotics, which feel good. But, you have to expect some pain. You are going to go through PAW’s, which lasts a few years, but gets better over time. Don’t give up.

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