What's the difference between someone being completely “sober” and being on suboxone?



I’ve heard this medically assisted treatment is the golden standard of treatment for opiate addiction recovery. But I’d love to learn more about what the effect of using suboxone is like, given I’ve also heard best results are seen when it is used for years before tapering off.


@jane When my BF came home from rehab in Nov 18, he was not on anything. Granted he had relapsed early on from coming home, but I think he was depressed and the transition home was hard. His moods were always low and he was hard to communicate with. He transgressed back to what he was like before the rehab.

On subs, his moods are totally stable and normal! He actually is going to treatment and working on himself. I feel like it’s totally bc he is on the subs. It’s almost like a motivator to get better yet it helps transition from his DOC to being sober. He is sleeping better. He doesn’t seem depressed. He’s communicating with his family and myself. To me, the difference is night and day!


I think this is a good point to highlight - my husband was extremely depressed after rehab. While the brain is healing from addictive substance use it is depleted from the dopamine rush it has grown used to via substance use. I just think this can be helpful to know and remember because that post-rehab time can be really tough to weather :heart:


@polly It definitely is tough. It felt like I was interacting with another person completely. However, while my BF is on subs, he seems more like himself. He is cheerful and is seeming to maintain a good sense of self rather than being depressed, sleeping in or not sleeping unreasonably, not communicating with family or myself, etc.

I think I also have grown too since his last time in rehab. I’ve realized I need to back off a little. When he 1st came out, I was totally on top of him. Now, I let him come to me. I occasionally ask him if he took his meds or how program was today, but nothing more than that. I think me backing off takes the pressure of him and in turn, actually allows him to want to grow on his own.


This is really good to hear. My boyfriend is about to try out a suboxone program and I am praying it works. He has tried rehab through the Salvation Army multiple times and he told me he doesn’t want to go back because he thinks that means it’s not working so he needs to try something new. I hope he follows through and sticks with the program.

How has your BF been doing so far?


I can’t speak fully to the effect of the drug, but I know when my husband forgets to take it he gets very tired and even starts to feel withdrawal symptoms. And of course it’s different for everyone - while @stayhopeful244’s is more cheerful and less depressed (that is great news!), my husband is still susceptible to bouts of depression even while taking his suboxone. That’s why it’s so important for his recovery to use suboxone along with other treatments such as therapy and connection with others.

And I just want to note that while my husband isn’t technically “sober” - he is on suboxone, medical marijuana and other medications for ADHD and depression - it doesn’t take away from his recovery. Yes, he is dependent on drugs for his health. But he’s clean from heroin, he rarely drinks, his addiction is no longer eating him away, and our family and our marriage continues to move forward. That, to me, is more important than whether or not he is “completely sober.”


I so agree, thank you for sharing @momentsandlight !
My husband still drinks. And though I find it a bit problematic, because once he starts he more often than not goes overboard with it - which I am sensitive to but in comparison to society’s standards of drinking it is relatively normal - and more importantly, it is light and day between how he was with his cocaine addiction.


I love what you said about the little steps your husband is taking to move forward rather than focusing on being “completely sober”. Sometimes it is so easy to focus on sober or not sober that you start to forget all the little victories in between. Thanks for the reminder @momentsandlight!! <3