Originally Published on Opiate Addiction Support
In this article, you’re going to learn how to stay as healthy as possible while taking Suboxone. Many opioid-dependent individuals choose to get on Suboxone Maintenance so they don’t have to worry about opioid withdrawal symptoms or cravings.
There are many opinions about this subject.
Some think Suboxone is a “Miracle Medication.”
And some think it’s just “Trading one addiction for another.”
The truth is that it can be both… depending on how the person uses Suboxone.
I’ve seen people use Suboxone addictively, and I’ve also seen people use it for the purpose intended.
Which is to:
- Take what I call a “Therapeutic Dose”, which is just enough Suboxone to avoid withdrawal symptoms and cravings, but not enough to get high.
- Stay on Suboxone daily and not take other opioids while on the medication.
- Avoid what I call the “Suboxone Merry-go-Round,” which is switching back and forth from Suboxone to other opioids… over and over again.
Countless individuals are using Suboxone in a healthy way that is enabling them to abstain from the use of other opioids.
If this sounds like you, or how you’d like to be, then read on to learn 10 extremely effective ways to keep your Body, Mind, and Spirit as healthy as possible while undergoing Suboxone Maintenance Treatment.
1. Focus on Nutrition
Consuming nutritious foods and beverages is a proven way to get into — and stay in — optimal health while taking Suboxone. Everyone is biochemically unique, so there isn’t a “Perfect Diet” for the general masses.
However, there are certain guidelines that nearly everyone should implement for increased health and wellness.
When it comes to staying healthy on Suboxone, the following suggestions can help in a major way:
- Focus on organic whole foods, with lots of fresh veggies and fruits.
- Consume at least 20-30 grams of protein 2-3 times per day to produce mood-enhancing neurotransmitters in the brain.
- Make sure to consume healthy fats.
- Drink plenty of water (at least half of your body weight (lbs.) in ounces per day).
- Free-range meats and wild-caught fish are recommended for animal proteins (if you eat these).
- Don’t chew your food to fast (most of the nutrition from food is not absorbed if you don’t chew well).
- Sip on beverages (don’t chug).
- Wait at least 30 minutes after eating to consume beverages (liquid with meals dilutes digestive juices).
- Don’t drink ice cold beverages (this slows digestion).
- Take high-quality supplements to avoid nutrient deficiencies and optimize your health.
- Eliminate or decrease sugar, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, nicotine, and alcohol.
Exercise is a crucial part of staying healthy on Suboxone. In my opinion, Nutrition and Exercise are the two most important things you can do to optimize your health.
When it comes to choosing how to exercise, make sure to pick a type of exercise that you enjoy, that way you’re more likely to stick with it.
Some great examples are swimming, walking, jogging, yoga, and weight-training.
Make sure you exercise at least a few days per week to get the following benefits:
- Improves mood
- Boosts endorphins (natural pain-killers) and other neurotransmitters
- Improves sleep
- Reduces pain (both physical and emotional)
- Promotes well-being
- Reverses anxiety
- Reverses depression
- Increases energy
- Improves physique
- Boosts confidence
3. Optimize Sleep Habits
While taking Suboxone, make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night on a regular basis. Additionally, you may want to focus on getting to bed between 10-11 pm, and waking between 6-7 am.
Great quality sleep gives the body a chance to recover, repair, and heal.
The physiological recovery period is between 10 pm and 2 am.
The psychological and nervous system recovery occurs between 2 am and 6 am.
One of the main reasons people wake up sore, tired, and not mentally alert is because they’re going to bed late.
If an individual is habitually going to bed at 12 am, they are missing out on two hours of repair and restoration every night.
This compounds over time and can lead to many health problems as a result.
Another great way to improve your body/mind repair is to sleep in a room that is totally dark, with no light whatsoever.
And finally, to totally optimize your sleep even more, make sure the temperature is between 63-68 degrees.
This helps your brain’s “glymphatic system” run its sleep-time process… allowing your brain to repair as much as possible while you’re sleeping.
Meditation is immensely beneficial for keeping your Body, Mind, and Spirit healthy while taking Suboxone. Quieting the mind and focusing on slow, deep breathing can create a superabundance of positive mental and physical health benefits.
Meditation allows you to go to that peaceful place within, the True Source.
You can deeply connect with yourself and the universe in a cohesive way that integrates the Mind, Body, and Soul.
With all of the stress that often comes with living life, meditation can provide you with a sense of peace and fulfillment that nothing else comes close to.
- Sit in a quiet room on a chair or cross-legged on the ground or a bed.
- Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply in and out through your nostrils.
- Clear your mind of all thoughts.
- Whenever you have a thought, simply clear your mind again.
At first, it can be quite difficult, but with regular practice, you can really transcend reality into the void.
Meditate for 10-60 minutes per day. Early morning upon waking is the suggested meditation time.
There is also an abundance of “Guided Meditations” on YouTube.
These are great for beginners as you have someone guiding your meditation process.
5. Listen to Music
The benefits of listening to and/or playing music are vast, and I absolutely love Music Therapy as a way to stay psychologically healthy on Suboxone.
Research suggests that music can:
- Reduce the perceived intensity of pain.
- Improve sleep quality – A study on college students showed that listening to classical music helped with insomnia.
- Reduce stress – Research found it does this by triggering biochemical stress reducers.
- Relieve depression and elevate mood – A study done in 2013 indicated that music helped put people in a more positive mood and got them more in touch with their feelings.
6. Work with a Counselor, Therapist, or Recovery Coach
Working with a trained professional can help you improve your mindset, emotions, and life-outlook while undergoing Suboxone Maintenance Treatment.
I’ve found that most opioid-dependent individuals use opioids to cover up emotional pain, stress, and past trauma (though this is not always the case).
Most patients on Suboxone could greatly benefit from seeing someone (Counselor, Therapist, or Recovery Coach) with a specialty in opioid dependence.
I do this type of coaching, and I absolutely love working with people on Suboxone to help them really optimize their lives.
7. Develop Yourself
I’m a strong advocate for “Personal Development.” The obsession to use opioids or other drugs can go away quickly if you focus on growing to become your Best Self.
Personal development refers to enhancing your talents and potential to create a better quality of life and realize your dreams.
It includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Developing strengths
- Learning new skills and improving existing ones
- Improving wealth
- Spiritual development
- Building and strengthening identity and self-esteem
- Improving self-knowledge and self-awareness
- Improving physical, mental, and emotional health
- Becoming a self-leader
Reading books can help to feed your mind and expand your model of the world. One of my sayings is “Personal Growth is the antidote to addiction.”
How do you recover from addiction?
Simply outgrow it.
Personal Development books contain strategies for overcoming obstacles.
They are rich with information and tools for transforming your life.
Keeping a journal and writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you stay psychologically healthy in Suboxone Maintenance Treatment.
It’s a very effective form of self-therapy that costs only a few dollars to start and takes just minutes per day.
The type of journaling I’m referring to is not simply writing down what you did during the day.
Instead, try using some of the following techniques:
- Write out your fears, worries, resentments, and insecurities.
- Set goals and action steps to achieve them.
- List things you’re grateful for.
- Do free-association – write whatever comes to your mind without thinking about it.
The quickest way to get out of your own head and problems is to focus on someone else. Unpleasant feelings like anxiety and depression dissipate while you’re contributing to the well being of a person, a group of people, your community, or the environment.
I urge you to harness the power of contribution as part of your plan for staying healthy on Suboxone.
Contribution can give you marvelous feelings of happiness, fulfillment, and purpose, and these feelings destroy many of the negative feelings that modern-day stress can foster within us.
8. Get out in Nature
I absolutely love Nature Therapy, and it’s one of the most important modalities you can use to stay healthy on Suboxone. Many studies have concluded that being in contact with nature can lead to positive emotions such as happiness and tranquility.
Too often we forget about the importance of nourishing our bodies and minds in the cleansing atmosphere that nature provides for us.
Spending time in parks, forests, deserts, mountains, and beaches can have immediate effects on improving both mental and physical health, thus helping you optimize your health during Suboxone Treatment.
9. Foster Healthy Relationships
The process of recovering from opioid addiction and getting healthy on Suboxone can be sped up if you nurture healthy relationships with family members, friends, and coworkers.
It’s very common for individuals on Suboxone to isolate.
But worse still, some continue to hang out with the same old friends who still use drugs and make other poor decisions in life.
To achieve holistic health on Suboxone, focus on eliminating unhealthy and toxic relationships.
Instead, devote your energy towards spending time only with people that are a good influence on you.
10. Engage in Healthy Recreational Activities
Holistic health while undergoing Suboxone Maintenance Treatment involves spending time doing things that bring you joy. It can be easy to get caught up living in reaction to life.
Responsibilities and demands can take up most of your time if you’re not careful.
Make sure you schedule fun recreational activities into your Suboxone Maintenance Treatment Plan.
Some examples include:
- Going to the movies
- Playing board games
- Playing a musical instrument or singing
- Drawing, painting, or other types of art
- Hanging out at the beach
- Going out to dinner with friends
- Playing video games
You Can Do This!!!
If you follow even half of the above-mentioned steps, you should be well on your way to achieving Body/Mind/Spirit Health in Suboxone Treatment.
I know it’s a lot to take in and implement into your life, so take things one step at a time.
Recovering from opioid addiction and getting healthy on Suboxone is a process.
Be patient, measure your progress, and celebrate victories along the way.
You can do this!!!