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mtnclimber 03-02-2005 09:55 PM

My vicoden detox...
 
I've always been a competitive athlete reaching the highest level in many different sports all of which were ended with injury. Needless to say I've been on and off pain meds much of my life. Now I have no disk at L5/S1 which is causing chronic pain. I need a fusion but I'm trying to put it off as long as possible. In order to pursue my current outdoor passions, I've been taking Norco 1.0/325. Over the last couple years my doses got large, 10-12 per day. On February 1st I decided to quit cold turkey and here is what I experienced.

Day one was pretty easy. Slept ok that night.

Day two was real bad. Time went by so slow I wrote down every hour. I live in high, snowy mountains and I was so cold I couldn't warm up. I took 10 baths a day which gave a little relief. I cried a lot. I tried to get out and go for a walk but I was just so weak. I hurt too bad to watch movies or do anything. About all I did was watch the clock and try to survive.

Day three was the worst. Severe restless legs and pain from my knees down. Couldn't sleep at all. Still couldn't really do anything but watch time slowly tick by. Still freezing all the time and taking 10 baths a day.

Day four was a little better. I stopped writing down hours at 84. Time started going by faster and I was able to get outside but I was still very cold all the time. I should have bought an electric blanket.

Days 5 through 18. Didn't really sleep more than 3 hours/day for 18 days. I had sleeping pills (klonopin) but they did nothing. I'd toss and turn all night until about 3 am and I'd awake at 6 am. During this time I was able to do some activities but I was extremely weak. The good thing was that every day was ever so slightly better and slightly warmer.

Days 19 - 24. I got my first decent sleep after day 18 and have slept well since. Day 24 was the first day that I felt relatively normal.

Now I'm at day 30 and I feel 100% normal. Those days were so awful I'll never go through that again. However, I'm in a lot of pain and I'm aggressively pursuing alternative pain relief methods. I have taken two percocet a couple days and they worked as well as 6 norcos before. I will never take them two days in a row and only after 4pm. My wife is in control of my pills and will not allow me to abuse them again. My doc wants me back on them daily but I won't. I'd rather suffer than be addicted like before.

I've learned some things:

1. Getting off 10-12/day is exponentially worse than getting off 4-6 per day which I've done many times and was just about 3-5 days of flu-like symptoms. This was so difficult I couldn't survive it again.

2. Don't quit a big habit cold turkey. Tapering must be better. Nothing could be worse.

3. If I had to do it over I'd probably fly to miami and hang out on the beach for a week. I don't really have to work much so I had nothing to do but suffer. It would have been much better if I had something to occupy my mind. I couldn't have worked hard or done anything strenuous or complicated but laying in the warm sun, people watching, and drinking pina coladas would have helped.

4. In the midst of my addiction I was extremely effective in business. The fact that they improved my performance greatly is one reason why I was taking so many. My accomplishments during the last couple years were staggering. Now I have to learn to do the same without 12/day.

5. Don't allow your intake to get to this level. You'll be so sorry.

6. Lastly, a friend of mine is on day 3 of a similar habit detox. He tapered for a month and is getting daily O2 treatments, massages, steams, and every thing else you can imagine and was doing much better than I on day 2. I haven't talked to him today so I'm a bit worried but I'm anxious to compare experiences once it's all over.

Good luck to all !

dwp512 03-02-2005 10:20 PM

Re: My vicoden detox...
 
Glad you made it through! I too am a climber and live, well...close to mountains (Boulder). My habit is now down to 1 norco per day, tapered from 3 per day a few months ago. I hope it is as you said and is proportionally easier to withdraw from....with will have to wait another week or so due to work committments. The taper's not fun either, but sounds easier than your ct. Good to have you here..stick around, you're story will be an inspiration for people including me. I'm trying to excercise to lose the deporession that has been sitting on my shoulder the last few days. Can't sleep much either.

mtnclimber 03-02-2005 10:45 PM

Re: My vicoden detox...
 
[QUOTE=dwp512]Glad you made it through! I too am a climber and live, well...close to mountains (Boulder). My habit is now down to 1 norco per day, tapered from 3 per day a few months ago. I hope it is as you said and is proportionally easier to withdraw from....with will have to wait another week or so due to work committments. The taper's not fun either, but sounds easier than your ct. Good to have you here..stick around, you're story will be an inspiration for people including me. I'm trying to excercise to lose the deporession that has been sitting on my shoulder the last few days. Can't sleep much either.[/QUOTE]

You'll do fine. I was really shocked at how difficult this was. My wife was traveling for five days and I really thought I'd be clean when she came back. WRONG. I've jumped cold turkey off 3/day in the past and it was much, much, much easier.

Thank you for the welcome. I live in Breck.

Twinlynn 03-03-2005 06:35 AM

Re: My vicoden detox...
 
Mtclimber -

Thank you so much for taking the time to describe your day-to-day CT withdrawal. I was unable to face that. (Am on Subutex now for oxy addiction.) The "medal" you should be awarded for doing all that on your own must certainly top any other sports medals won in your life! I'd give you the Gold!! :-)

I often wonder if any scientific tests have been done comparing the physiological and mental state of addicts and just how it influences their choice of how best to get off drugs. We're all going for the same goal--but in so many varying ways. Our own bodies and our "head" states produce so many differences amongst us all. Anyway! You are doing great! Welcome to the Board. :-)

I'm jealous mt.climber and DWP that you live in Colorado. I'm a skier in NYC, who breaks out of city jail once a year, to ski out West! :-) Years ago, when I lived in England, I did a lot of hiking and scrambling up mts in N. Wales and The Lakes District. I miss it! I now make-do by collecting antique and modern Himalayan climbing and expedition books--but "bivoacs"....are strictly in my dreams! LOLOL!!

Congratulations, again, on your success.....and if the "cravings" start in....just come back here on the Board! best, Lynn

mrgrateful 03-03-2005 09:19 AM

Re: My vicoden detox...
 
Bravo mtnclimber!! Thats an incredible demonstration of willpower! My habit was the same as yours, i tried to taper but couldn't, you are extremely courageous. after 15 hours without norcos I would be unbelievably anxious and in pain, I couldn't deal with my job, I am in a very high pressure service and deadline oriented job. i had to go the sub route. You are truly a very strong person I congratulate on your resolve. Make sure your wife holds on to the pills real tight. GOOD JOB!!

mtnclimber 03-03-2005 10:20 AM

Re: My vicoden detox...
 
[QUOTE=Twinlynn] I'd give you the Gold!! :-)
[/QUOTE]
Thank you Twinlynn. It's definitely one of the hardest things I've done.

[QUOTE]
I'm jealous mt.climber and DWP that you live in Colorado. I'm a skier in NYC, who breaks out of city jail once a year, to ski out West! :-) Years ago, when I lived in England, I did a lot of hiking and scrambling up mts in N. Wales and The Lakes District. I miss it! I now make-do by collecting antique and modern Himalayan climbing and expedition books--but "bivoacs"....are strictly in my dreams! LOLOL!!
[/QUOTE]
Skiing and mountaineering is what I do now. Surprisingly, skiing doesn't hurt my back very much until afterwards. I'm been climbing 60 peaks a year for a while. One side effect of vicoden that really messed me up is that I couldn't sleep in cold camps well because for some reason the hydrocodone changed my body's ability to deal with cold. But then I couldn't deal with the pain without them either.

mtnclimber 03-03-2005 10:25 AM

Re: My vicoden detox...
 
[QUOTE=mrgrateful]Bravo mtnclimber!! Thats an incredible demonstration of willpower! My habit was the same as yours, i tried to taper but couldn't, you are extremely courageous. after 15 hours without norcos I would be unbelievably anxious and in pain, I couldn't deal with my job, I am in a very high pressure service and deadline oriented job. i had to go the sub route. You are truly a very strong person I congratulate on your resolve. Make sure your wife holds on to the pills real tight. GOOD JOB!![/QUOTE]

Thank you. You're doing it the right way. My doc freaked when he found out I was off cold turkey. Good luck!

Twinlynn 03-03-2005 11:35 AM

Re: My vicoden detox...
 
Mtclimber - You live the life I'd like to (tho as the first of the baby boomers--I find it a heck of a lot easier now to ski down hill than hike UPHILL anymore! LOL!)

Skiing, miraculously, does not hurt my bad lower back either. I can be lying in bed groaning with pain--but prop me up on the mt. in a pair of skis...and I don't feel a twinge. Parly psychological I'm sure--but also, those ski muscles are such different muscles than the ones I use twisting my back!

I still managed to have great yearly two week ski trips when I was only taking about 3-4 Vicodins a day.....but when I moved up to Oxycontin--I had the most depressing, dismal, out-and-out sad, pitiful ski trip last year. I didn't want to leave the room, was so weary and was too morose to ski more than 3 times. Unlike the year earlier when I was in heaven in Alta. :-( I think that realizing that drugs were affecting my skiing--was the worst possible punishment for me--and one of the stronger reasons for stopping the insanity! I already can't wait until next Winter!

By the way--I was always chilled when taking pills....so I can understand your problem. Chilled and weary.

Anyway, just keep up the good work--and feel good! :-) Lynn

dwp512 03-03-2005 12:02 PM

Re: My vicoden detox...
 
Lynn and Mtn...vicodin abuse has changed my internal thermostat as well. I get cold walking around the block. I look back on my ice climbing days and think...'that was a different person'. I hope that warm blooded person returns...maybe improvements in gear will make up for my lowered pain threshold. Now I stick to warm rock to climb...

Twinlynn 03-03-2005 04:02 PM

Re: My vicoden detox...
 
DWP -

Hey--maybe climbing gear WILL evolve to give you that extra painfree boost up the mt! Just to feel better, tho, did you ever check the pitons, ropes, etc, etc. that climbers "wore" in the '50's!? I've just read the biography of one of Britain's old "greats" in climbing--Don Whillans--and the photo on the bookjacket, with him wearing all his gear, made him look like he planned to haul a T-Rex up with him!! LOL! (And look at how miraculous ski equipment has become since the 'old days?! Today, your skis turns just by LOOKING at them! :-) Where do you climb? (I saw some incredible ice climbing near Telluride in Colorado.) I never tried this sport! Looks like fun.

Anyway--but back to drugs and internal temps. I think that, just to start with, you guys (uh....just thought--do I have your gender right?? Or are you a gal?) have a disadvantage in that you all have a smaller percentage of good old subcutaneous fat than we women. (Guess we gals were just born "lucky!" LOL! ) I battled constantly with my ex-husband in my struggle to keep the air-conditioning on "high"!

But I'm curious as to whether chilling down faster is a common side-effect for most pill poppers..... I'd never read it listed before. Is the blood somehow constricted by pain pills? Gotta look into that. Lynn :-)

mtnclimber 03-03-2005 06:00 PM

Re: My vicoden detox...
 
[QUOTE=Twinlynn]Mtclimber - You live the life I'd like to
[/QUOTE]
Yep me too. I could never go back...

[QUOTE]
Skiing, miraculously, does not hurt my bad lower back either. I can be lying in bed groaning with pain--but prop me up on the mt. in a pair of skis...and I don't feel a twinge. Parly psychological I'm sure--but also, those ski muscles are such different muscles than the ones I use twisting my back!
[/QUOTE]
My pain is almost 100% from the Facet joints. Therefore, I hurt when I lean back. In skiing you bend forward a little at the waist and absorb everything with your knees. There's no twisting at the waist and therefore it really doesn't hurt me much at all. I'm so thankful b/c I ski 50-100 day a year.

dwp512 03-03-2005 06:21 PM

Re: My vicoden detox...
 
Oh yes...I too have marveled over the 'gear' of yore. I'm actually old enough to remember a day when chalk for hands was cheating and climbing shoes were as stiff a 2X4.

I telemark ski and that pretty much hurts everything...especially if I ride the lifts....of course the huge face plants I make doesn't help.

Tons of ice in Telluride, even more in Quray. Plenty in the Vail valley, Rocky Mtn Park, Boulder and Clear Creek canyons...etc. These are the road side attraction ice...if you have the desire, there's more 'alpine ice' than you can shake an ice tool at.

Mtn...you have a good life. Climbing and skiing...hard to beat that! Toss in diving and mtn biking and that'd would about do it for me. I hope you figure out the pain thing sans the drug thing.

electricguy 03-03-2005 07:54 PM

Re: My vicoden detox...
 
Congrats on the ct program. I had to comment because you said the 12 per day habit made you effective in business - with much accomplishment. Same boat here,s built a 2nd company 4 million rev company while ramping up on the hydro. I broke down eventually at 12-15 norcos per day. Had to quit semit ct / using some suboxone. I'm at 2 weeks from hell HAD TO WORK EVERY DAY- , although today I went to a new doc and he thought I should be on sub 2mg per day just because I was still in w/d. My blood pressure was 170/110. not pretty. The doc office panicked and immediately hooked me up to an ekg when they saw that. Again, congrats and stay clean.

Twinlynn 03-04-2005 07:26 AM

Re: My vicoden detox...
 
Thanks mtclimber for your explanation as to why skiing does not torture my lower back!

And, DWP--I LOVE all those crazed arguments mt. climbers used to have about the "purity" of the climbs--ascending with nothing but your arms and legs....vrs drilling into the mt and making a sort of ladder to get up. And the Himalayan expeditions---"Alpine" style vs.hauling loads expedition style. :-) (I'm old enough to have skied in Henkes first buckle up boots--and those sling-like bindings on lo-o-o-o-o-ng skis!!)

Electricguy--By the way...just thought...be sure not to use the Sub as if it were a regular drug, where you take one to feel good or to feel better. It should not be used like that. Don't mix up your body's adjustment to it. (I know it's tough with two different doctors telling you two different things.)

:-) Lynn

slipperyslope 03-05-2005 05:11 AM

Re: My vicoden detox...
 
your post is very inspiring, thank you for taking the time to post your W/D experiences.. when I went cold turkey off percs and vicadin, I was freezing all the time to, I could not get warm for weeks, it does something to your body. very weird but I can relate.

I am proud of you, and I feel bad that you have to live in pain. having had back surgery I can relate, I also need a fusion and I will not have one until I am crawling around in agony, I refuse to give in to that back surgery for me the first time was horrific.

anyhow, good luck to you and your story is very inspiring.... thanks again!


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