Everyone is different, and there is much more to treatment than taking medication. Drug dependency is a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual disease. Frequently, it has taken years to get to treatment, so the idea that it should only take a few weeks to recover is not realistic. Ideally, once you are on a stable dose and not having withdrawal symptoms, you should quickly become free of opioids. With the help of your counselor, you should also become free of all illicit drug use and free of alcohol. Once the drugs are out of the system, treatment can truly begin. The goal of medication-assisted treatment is long-term abstinence from mood-altering substances and a rebuilding of a healthy mental, physical, emotional and spiritual lifestyle. Rarely does a patient accomplish this task in less than 6 to 12 months. Once healthy and solid in your recovery, the decision to become a maintenance patient (one who remains at a stable therapeutic dose) or to taper off can be made. For someone tapering from methadone, we recommend no faster than a one- to three-milligram reduction each week with the goal being no withdrawal symptoms. This can take a long time but has been found to be the most successful. If a patient insists, they may taper at a quicker rate.