I was moved to write a letter to a patient who completed an Accelerated Opioid Detox off Methadone last week. She is in the Post Acute Withdrawal (PAWS) stage, which can be very challenging. I have changed the name of the patient, but wanted to share the sentiments with you—or a loved one—who might be considering life without opioids, but are fearful of taking the plunge.

Dear Catherine,

I enjoyed speaking to you, and I hope you continue to feel better every day, if only in the tiniest of increments, and that you are able to appreciate and savor the progress you are making.

I have never gone through what you are experiencing, so all of my encouragement and advice come from being with people in similar circumstances for over a decade; witnessing their struggles, and celebrating their ultimate success to be finally free from opioids.

I heard something yesterday that immediately made me think about you and our conversation. It’s from BJ Fogg, author of Tiny Habits. He was being interviewed on a podcast I like called The One You Feed. The host is a guy in long-term recovery and he interviews all kinds of inspiring guests.

Here’s the quote that made me stop and find a pencil:

"Hope and fear are vectors that push against each other and the sum of those two vectors is your overall motivation level. If you can remove the vector of fear, then hope will predominate and your overall motivation level will be higher.

Speaking with you, I could hear the fear in your voice. I heard your concern about never being able to feel "normal" again, to sleep well, to focus. Your feelings and emotions are all over the place, you are exhausted, and your beloved partner doesn’t know what to do. You are filled with remorse when you lash out at her because "she doesn’t understand."

Medications for sleep and anxiety are minimally helpful.

You finally wept when you told me you don’t believe you have the tools to deal with this situation.

Over the years I have come to learn from my patients that using mind- or pain-altering substances serves a purpose, even if this is not always well thought out, and even if only briefly. Over time, the substances often exacerbate the very conditions people used them for in the first place: anxiety, depression, loneliness, boredom, despair, pain.

How to get off of Methadone Safely

Many individuals become enrolled in Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) plans to treat opioid addiction, yet are unaware of best practices to come off of Methadone. While a period of methadone treatments tropically consists of a 12-month cycle, many service providers rely on keeping patients continually on Methadone treatment to prevent relapse. The problem with continual use of Methadone that many patients fail to realize, is that it is incredibly difficult to detox from the drug, even harder, than heroin or opiates.

Although there are tapering options available for Methadone use, research does show that success rates range only from 25%-50%. With much discouragement on the right treatment and risk of overdose, relapse, or death; the journey towards recovery can seem daunting. Fortunately, there are safe treatment options available, specifically for Methadone, that keep patients comfortable and leave little disruption to day-to-day life and activities.

Coleman Method for Methadone Detox

At the Coleman Institute we understand the importance of a safe and effective means for recovery from substances like Methadone. Which is why we have carefully created an Accelerated Opioid Detox program to meet the needs of our patients, families, and loved ones. With this detox program, our patients first are introduced to non-addictive drugs and sedatives, in order to completely remove the narcotics.

While most other detox programs typically offer treatment for patients currently on 30 mg of methadone or less, our outpatient program at the Coleman Institute can detox patients from methadone doses up to 300 mg.

Then, because Methadone stays in the body for longer periods of time, we extend the outpatient treatment to eight days (in most cases), rather than three. However, because the overall treatment takes days instead of months, patients experience very little interference with daily life scenarios. Once the treatment is complete, the Coleman team continues to work alongside the patient to ensure the best continual plan is set for further healing and recovery.

Additional Methadone Continued Treatment Programs Include:

  • Counseling
  • Healthcare Services
  • Psychiatric Therapy
  • Life Coach
  • Housing Aid


    For Catherine's scenario, I want to reassure you that after working with her I was totally confident in the ability to not only get her through this difficult phase in her life but to be all the stronger for her and support her struggle. When she told us that she had lined up counseling and already attended a local recovery meeting, we initiated her like many others to incorporate journaling and find like-minded people to help her through this phase. She remembered what we talked about and acknowledged that she is serving a higher purpose to give her peace instead of angst. While it is normal to experience the physical, emotional, and uncomfortable feelings during recovery; it always comes as a surprise to many in turning the fleeting sensation into a focused and present initiative for change.

    Methadone Detox and Rehabilitation Centers

    The Coleman Institute has been helping people get off addictive substances for over thirty years. We specialize in Accelerated Opioid Detoxes, which include hydrocodone products, oxycodone products, heroin, fentanyl, kratom, buprenorphine, and methadone, to name a few.

    Our programs are unique in many ways, perhaps most notably, due to providing one of the only outpatient detoxes in the country specializing in the use of naltrexone.

    If you’d like to know more about what we do and how we do it, please call our contact center at 877-773-3869.

    Joan Shepherd, FNP