Become a member of Allies in Recovery and we’ll teach you how to intervene, communicate and guide your loved one toward treatment.Become a member of Allies in Recovery today.

He’s Withdrawing from Suboxone at Home!

withdrawal man at window
An Allies member is looking for guidance on supporting her boyfriend. He was released from a 7-day detox but is still withdrawing from opiates. He says he already knows what to do since he’s been through this before and plans to go to 90 meetings in 90 days. He’ll also meet with an addiction-specialist therapist once per week…What can his partner do to support this withdrawal process?

*This post originally appeared on our Member Site blog, where experts respond to members’ questions and concerns. To sign up for our special offer and benefit from the Allies in Recovery eLearning program, click here.


Dominique Simon-Levine guides this young woman through the process of detoxification and how she can support her boyfriend

An opiate detox is difficult. The protocol drops the person to 0mg on day 7 (a 200% drop from day 6). The high-percentage drops toward the end of the protocol (whether it’s a quick detox like your boyfriend just finished, or a slow titration off of suboxone maintenance), are hard to tolerate. The person feels it more at the end. Because buprenorphine (the agonist in suboxone) has one of the longest half-lives—much longer than illicit opioids—your boyfriend is going to experience withdrawal over a longer period than he would the heroin. It can be a nasty surprise. He’s going to have to hang on.

The symptoms, especially the insomnia, can last 2-5 weeks for those coming off of maintenance therapy. Discharging people precisely when they’re experiencing the hardest phase of withdrawal has never made much sense to me. Detoxification units are medical units designed to rid you of the drug, not necessarily its after effects. Insurance doesn’t pay for harmless physical withdrawal symptom supports in a medication unit. This is one huge reason relapse rates are so high when the person stops MAT (medication-assisted treatment). It’s a critically missing component in the system of care for people with opioid dependence. Reimbursable supportive inpatient care for this stage just doesn’t exist.


How to care for him during this withdrawal

I hope that just knowing this will be of help to both of you. As the family member, you are the unpaid, untrained person that will need to care for your boyfriend.

A few things that may help to ease his withdrawal at home:

  • Sitting in a hot bath alleviates the twitching body and joint pain.
  • I’m sure you’ve thought of what is available over the counter, sometimes referred to as “comfort medications.”
  • Exercising, despite the fatigue, will settle the anxiety to some extent, and the aches.
  • Eating despite the upset stomach will provide needed energy.
  • Knowing it will pass should help the depression. Each day should bring a little more relief.

Sitting in a 12-step or other peer support group every day will help your boyfriend stay motivated. Perhaps you drive the two of you to open meetings for the next couple days. Sitting at home staring at the wall is very dangerous in this moment. It sounds like your boyfriend has a plan, a good plan. He is fortunate to have someone who cares and isn’t judging him.

A membership at Allies in Recovery brings you into contact with experts in the fields of recovery and treatment for drug and alcohol issues. Our learning platform teaches you the CRAFT method and guides you through the best techniques for unblocking the situation. Together we will move your loved one towards recovery. Learn more here.

image © public domain pictures 18042 via pixabay

Loading

Related Posts from "Recovery"

He’s on Suboxone and Hiding Away for Most of the Day. We are Worried.

Her son was using heroin, and he just got out of jail. He reached out for mom’s help and asked to live at home as he starts recovery, and he is getting MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment), specifically Suboxone. But he’s secluding himself so much at home she can’t tell what he’s up to. He’s accessing counseling and groups remotely, but he stays holed up in his room all the time and rarely emerges. Mom worries about his isolating so much and whether he might be using. We weigh in with some thoughts about the varied aspects of early recovery, and with some reminders about practicing CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training.)

Real Allies in Recovery Success Stories: Families Share How CRAFT Helped Their Loved Ones with SUD

Read real success stories from families who used the CRAFT approach to help their loved ones with Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Learn how CRAFT helped them engage their loved ones into treatment, and how it improved their relationships and reduced stress levels. Discover how you can use the CRAFT method to help your loved ones find recovery, and visit AlliesinRecovery.net for more stories and resources.

He’s in a Recovery House and Struggling. What Can the Family Do?

A mom is worried about her son who is struggling in his recovery house setting. The family has been practicing CRAFT when engaging with him, in hopes of continuing to steer him towards recovery, but still feel this is a dangerous time for him. They would like to make their continued help with the rent contingent on some sort of counseling if he’s not using, or detox if he is. Or let the consequences happen…

“Heads Up” Tips for Those New to SUD

Have you ever looked back on a particularly stressful time in your life and wished you’d known a few things ahead of the struggle? Or maybe you were offered some “heads up” advice when enduring a hard time and found that the advice you received drastically empowered you through the situation. This blog shares some helpful tips for parents and other family members who are new to facing the crisis of addiction, alcoholism or Substance Use Disorder (referred to as “SUD”) with a loved one.

3 Months into Recovery and He Doesn’t Show an Ounce of Gratitude

This mom has been able to successfully use CRAFT principles to shepherd her son into treatment and to support him during early recovery. However, her son’s lack of gratitude is beginning to feel unbearable. AlliesinRecovery.net Director Dominique Simon-Levine weighs in with a reminder to practice communications skills, and to take care of yourself – all part of the CRAFT curriculum at Allies.

In-Person & Virtual Recovery Resources for Your Loved One

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS (AA World Services, Inc.) Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other, that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. This is an informational website for anyone interested in learning more about their organization, 12-step program of recovery, and how to find local meetings. PHONE: 212.870.3400 Click here for Online AA Meetings What is AA? What to Expect in an AA Meeting  What is Anonymity in AA?  AA INTERGROUP ONLINE MEETING FINDER IN THE ROOMS In The Rooms offers over 150+ weekly live online meetings, a variety 12-Step and Non-12- Step Fellowships, and Specialty meetings. Some of our most popular meetings are AA, NA, ACA, Al-Anon, and Nar-Anon meetings, and much more. In The Rooms has 69 live online AA meetings weekly, so there’s bound to be one that fits your schedule! We have specialty AA meetings too, like AA Pride (LGBTQ). We also have an Agnostic AA meeting, if you’re seeking a meeting without a secular approach to recovery. We have 30 NA meetings on ITR weekly. Like AA, there’s also an NA Pride meeting (LGBTQ) and an Agnostic NA meeting. For support for the family, friends, and allies of those in recovery, In The Rooms has both Al-Anon and Nar-Anon meetings, which each meeting, 1-3 times a week. We also have many other 12-step fellowship groups, like Gamblers Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, and Sex Addicts Anonymous, CODA, Dual Diagnosis, and much more. If you can think of a Recovery fellowship, we probably have it.  FULL LISTING of LIVE VIRTUAL/ONLINE MEETINGS  12Step.Org We strive to provide information, tools, and resources for working a 12 Step program (or any program using 12 step principles for recovery) in as simple and effective way as possible. Online Meeting Calendar Online Video Meetings Phone Meetings Forums, Text Chats, and Email Meetings List RECOVERY DHARMA Recovery Dharma is a peer-led movement and community that is unified by our trust in the potential of each of us to recover and find freedom from the suffering of addiction. We believe that the traditional Buddhist teachings, often referred to as…

His Need for Friends is Outweighing His Desire to Get Sober

It is difficult for our Allies member to see her son struggling to make friends while at the same time using alcohol to overcome his social anxiety. By following the CRAFT principles of effective communication, she is able to step back and allow him to experience the negative consequences of his drinking, and to focus on rewarding his positive choices. This is easier said than done, but her loving support and commitment to CRAFT is guiding him in the right direction.  

He’s Relapsing – Are We Enabling Him? CRAFT and Encouraging Non-Use

A member of AlliesinRecovery.net wrote in to our “Pose a Question” blog with concerns about her son being stuck at home and struggling without his Suboxone program. Relapses continue to occur. His brother has thrown illicit drugs in the trash and insists that the family be stricter. The parents are feeling torn about whether they are enabling. Can the family be of any help? Read this blog for our insights on how applying CRAFT strategies and “encouraging non-use” through your actions in the face of your loved one’s substance use disorder can be helpful.

My Loved One Also Struggles with Mental Health – Is CRAFT Right for Us?

One of our long-time Allies in Recovery members wrote in to our “Pose a Question” blog with an update on her loved one – her husband – who has given up harder substances but continues to struggle with alcohol and marijuana. Since our member first discovered CRAFT, her husband was diagnosed with serious mental illness. She wonders if CRAFT is a compatible approach to support his mental health issues.

Our Son Moved Back Home But He’s Using: My Anxiety Is Off The Charts!

Her grown son has moved back home and is using cocaine, alcohol, and marijuana — and angrily denying it. Her husband has had enough and is ready to kick the son out. Our Allies in Recovery member wants peace for her family and healing for her son. To call the situation in this home stressful is a huge understatement. We help her sort through the challenges of her situation and offer guidance with communication using the time-tested strategies outlined in the CRAFT approach.

9 CRAFT-y Guidelines to Break the Cycle of Addiction

An Allies member has her daughter living with her, which felt like a relief, at least at first. She had kicked her methamphetamine habit and completed detox and treatment. Now, they’ve slipped into a dance that doesn’t feel so great. She’s using less, but is substituting fentanyl for the methamphetamine. Mom sees that there’s a cycle that needs to be broken, but she wants to keep building on the positive aspects of their relationship. She’s also not sure if having her daughter at home is too enabling, but she promised to let her stay. 

Working on my Own Recovery

She is facing some hard truths as she looks back on the past ten years of her husband’s addiction. He is finally sober, but he has yet to acknowledge what he put the family through. What should she expect at this point in her loved one’s recovery.

We Thought we Had Lost Her, but CRAFT Worked

This family member had given up on ever getting her daugher back again. Her powerful tale of hope credits CRAFT with helping turn things around. We are so grateful for her sharing this story with the Allies community.