After reading many helpful threads on this site I decided to finally join and admit to someone, other than myself, that I need help. I'm serious about coming clean and don't want to start taking more than the 3 Vicodin a day that I already do. I don't like it!
Here is my story, I'll try to make it brief:
Five years ago I had minor surgery in which the dr. prescribed Vicodin 5/500 (generic) afterward for pain. I easily became hooked and have been taking 1-3 everyday since then. I continue to get scrips from my dr. for back pain and headaches. It sounds legit to him but I'm really not in that much pain.
Like many others, I get a burst of energy when I take 1 and they help me sleep at night. I space them out apprx. 5-6 hrs. each day. I do drink some alcohol 1-2 drinks 3 or 4 times a week. Usually hours after a pill. Rarely do I take a pill while I'm drinking. But yes, I've done it.
Some reasons why I'm here:
#1 I NEED to tell someone! I'm going crazy feeling like I'm a failure that I have to depend on these darn pills every day. I need help and support to try to get off them. Mostly, I'm scared to death of withdrawals. My fiance knows I take them but not every day. When he threatened, in jest, to take the bottle away, I silently panicked! How stupid is that?!!
#2 I want to know what I've done to my body since taking them for 5 years on a daily basis. I'm really concerned about that. (talk about an oxymoron...take drugs but worried about health) What have I done to my liver and kidneys? It scares me terribly but at the same time I can't stop. It's a vicious cycle but they're controlling my life. I'm constantly looking at the clock to see if it's been long enough to take another one. (I've never taken more than 3 in one day.)
#3 I've read the detox thread and plan on going by it. I need to set a date to slowly taper off. Is this the best way? I've tried countless times to cut back to 1/day. Then I can't sleep so I go back to 2 or 3.
I know there are others who take many more than I do. I sympathize in their addiction and struggle to stop. But am I looking at the same type of withdrawals? What can I expect?
I would really, really appreciate any advice. I think I've finally hit bottom and that's why I'm here. I've already cut off years of my life by smoking. I don't want to die from a little white pill.
Also, would it be wise to quit smoking at the same time as trying to stop the pills? I 'really' want to stop both!
Last edited by ashamed101; 08-02-2008 at 09:08 AM.
You're story sounds somewhat like mine....being the meds were prescribed for medical conditions. Also, the way we administer our DOC is the same. I see that you have a plan for stopping and that is the first step.
Personally, I think that since you are only taking 3 pills a day, your withdrawals may not be as bad as others have said theirs were. When I stopped (cold turkey) I didn't have the WD symptoms that everyone said I would have. I was cranky, but that's about it. I guess it's better to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Hopefully, you won't experience the worst.
The hardest part for me is the mental symptoms. I think that if you are able to get past them, you'll do awesome! What helped me was writing an "intention statement" each day and sticking to my intentions. I got a journal and at the start of each day I grab it and write "Today I intend to...." then fill in the blank. I also don't dwell on it, in my case, if I focused all my energy on the pills, I wouldn't have energy left for anything else. I think that a positive outlook helps immensly (sp?). I'm not new-agey, but I have a full schedule and just plain don't have time to dwell on things.
Keep yourself busy for the first few days, they'll be your hardest. You'll need to relearn how to do things without the pills, but I have confidence that you can do it. If you need help, there's no shame is asking for it.
All of us are different and have different ways of coping with things; this being said, not all recovery methods will work for everyone. There are many people here who have been through a lot and have great advice to offer you. Do what you can and forgive what you did yesterday since you can't change it.
I'll send some positive thoughts your way. You CAN do this!!
Thanks so much for replying, Mags. We 'do' sound very much alike. I read your OP in "My New Day" and it was very touching. I got all teary. It really gave me a lot of inspiration. You're a very strong person; not to mention positive. What a great thread for everyone to read. I hope you are doing well. How many days have you been clean? What was the worst part of w/d? Do you have any advice on quitting smoking at the 'same' time as detoxing or should I hold off on that?
Now the 2nd hard part...picking my start date. I'm going away for a few days and don't want to be sick so.....see? I'm making excuses already. I guess I'll have to wait til I get home. But I'll write out my plan today and stick to it. I'll also start a journal as you suggested. If for nothing else, to go back and read how miserable the first few days were...that should keep me from cheating.
I plan on doing a slow taper. Since I have plenty (NOT a good thing), I think I'll do 2/day for a week, 1/day for a week and then 1/2 a day for a week. Does that sound reasonable and would it lessen the w/d symptoms? The 3rd hard part....I'll then have to toss the other bottles. That's a very scary thought. I really have to get past that. Not having any around? I guess that's the mental part you're talking about.
I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared. When the day comes, next week, I'm sure I'll be online a lot for support. I've read a lot here and the people all seem so wonderful. It was amazing you were my first reply because your "My New Day" thread really touched me most...hmmmm...maybe it was a sign.
So...I intend to stay positive yet take baby steps. One minute at a time.
I intend to stick to my plan and let nothing change it.
I intend to keep busy and exercise more...maybe read a good book.
I intend to eat healthier and stay away from alcohol. (at least during w/d...I'm a social drinker)
I intend to, within 30 days, be 100% free of hydrocodone!
I intend to STAY clean for the rest of my life to prolong my life so I can:
watch my grand daughter go to her first day of kingergarten
watch my grand daughter play sports and maybe a musical instrument
watch my grand daughter graduate from high school and then college
cry at my grand daughter's wedding
cry as I hold my great grandchild
Sorry I went on...that was more for me than for anyone else. You can see my grand daughter is my 2nd reason for quitting...I'm the 1st.
Sweetie here you can go on an on its ok. I too was a vicodin addict. 3 a day is better than the 20 - 30 a day I was taking. I too was terrified of the W/d taking so much you do such damage. Don't quit smoking at the same time. Do things 1 day at a time. Don't get ahead of yourself setting goals is wonderful and helpful. But the worlds record for sobriety is just 24 hours thats all we have is today. But you are taking the best step of your life you are taking control of this monster before it gets worse. Good for you I don't want you to be like me taking so many I literally planning my day taking pills.
You goals made me smile, what wonderful goals. Keep them close you can do this. You will get so much support here this board was my lifeline when I couldn't get to a meeting. I would like to recommend maybe hitting some 12 step meetings, to help you understand the reason you became addicted. you don't have to do it, its just a suggestion. I am just letting you know what has helped me. Take care and keep posting we will share your struggle and we will share your joy, trust me there will be lots of joy.
Nice to meet you. I am sorry to meet you at such a time of turmoil and angst, but so glad you are taking the initial steps to get out from under the Vicodin's hold on you. It can be done! The symptoms of withdrawal can be tough at times, but you know what? They pale in comparison to what we go through in the feelings of guilt and turmoil when we try to hide a tormenting addiction. I can write that with confidence because I have lived through both the secret, agonizing , fearful hiding and finally through the open and honest withdrawal. Today I am a happy woman, enjoying my grandbaby to the fullest, and participating in life again without all the fear and withdrawal from family and friends. I have found 'me' again and I have found that I really like myself pretty much again. Smiles. Without the drugs, all the best parts of me have been able to surface again.
I tapered first off the opiate Oxycodone and then from the benzo Xanax. Opiates can be tapered from more quickly, but truthfully, I believe all tapers must be done slowly for the best success in staying off of them for good. My own taper from Oxycodone took from October through January. My doctor worked out a plan with me. The first cut was from 12 tabs to 8 a day. He also cut my Xanax at the sme time and it was disastrous! Too big in cuts and not wise at all to taper from two different classes of drugs at the same time! ( which is why I would not advocate stopping smoking at the same time as working off Vicodin). I went into full withdrawal and it was pretty horrible. We reworked the plan and while I stayed at those cut doses, the taper continued more slowly and only the Oxycodone continued to be cut.
I cut by 1/2 a tab at one time from only one of my three doses day. Slowly I moved the first morning dose stretching it out closer and closer to noon in small time increments each day... ( 15 minutes to 20 minutes). "Once a cut is made, never go back up...." was a cardinal rule for me. Some cuts were easier than others.
I would make a cut every 7 -10 days or so. When I felt I had leveled out enough, the next cut was made. As the end of the taper neared, the cuts got smaller and smaller.... 1/4 tabs instead of halves. At the very end, I measured in crumbs. I would smash the tabs, eyeball a portion that was smaller than the previous, divide the crumbs with the edge of a piece of paper and then wet my finger to take the dose of crumbes appropriate for the dose. I probably was taking a 1/8 or less of a tab when I finally walked off for good.
I did have withdrawal symptoms throughout the taper, although the intensity of them lessened as I learned how to work through them. Anxiety was about the worse for me. I sobbed through it in the initial stages. Then I began to work with it with breathing techniques, a lot of physical activity, and mostly by understanding that the anxiety was a symptom of my brain healing from the need for the drug. The brain will go through a restoration process as it eases away from lettting the drugs we ingest work for it into working on its own and producing what we need again.
I think Magpie has offered some wonderful advice for tapering. I really like the intention statement everyday. I used a mantra my doctor gave me... "I am getting stronger and better everyday." It helped me through a lot of rough spots for sure.
Like you, Ashamed, I read and read posts here going back months and months and pages and pages. I did not find the site until I was already well into my own withdrawal. Had I found it earlier, I would have been better prepared and knowledgable about what withdrawal encompassed and how to deal with it. Learn all you can, ask every question that comes into your mind.... the help and advice and support I got here was amazing and many helped me walk through my withdrawals. They helped me walk to my restoration. That is what withdrawal really is... the path to restoration.
Wishing you only the best as you find your own restoration to the woman you really are
Logalind and Reach...thanks so much for the kind and supportive words. I truly need this.
I've just returned home from a 4-day vacation. My taper begins today!!! Reach, I think I'll take things a little slower as you suggested. Less chance for failure? More time to find myself and try to gain some confidence. I do know I can do this but the scary part for me is the confidence in myself as a person. (and the pills give me a boost of confidence) I have a job, great fiance, wonderful family.....I just feel rotten about myself. ??? I've always, my whole life, felt like an outsider. In groups, I sit back and listen, laugh when a joke is told, comment here and there, but cringe when someone starts a conversation with me. I get tongue-tied and stumble over my words. When I do talk, I feel like no one is listening anyway. I feel boring and, altho I'm not dumb, I feel dumb. Make sense? Writing this has made me realize I need help in other places in order to stay off the pills. Maybe I'll start with a self-help book on confidence. Hmmmmm.
So.....today it's 2 1/2. I took my first pill 2 hours later than normal. I'll take my second in about 6 hours and then 1/2 6 hours later. I'll go on for about a week and see how that goes. I'm sure I won't sleep tonight. That's usually my first symptom when I cut back. So I'm sure I'll be here on the boards reading more positive things.
You guys are all so wonderful! So many people have been helped by you. I'm so glad I'm a part of this community.
Here goes....my first day of tapering! And I KNOW I can do it!
Good luck to you! It sounds like you have a plan and have your act together. I tried to taper but I couldn't. If I have them I have to take them. I waited till I was out and then just went cold turkey, it's harder this way for some, but for me it would be harder having them and not taking them. I admire your courage and your strength. You will be successful, I just know it!
Admitting you have a problem is the first step in turning your life around. Most of us that become addicts to pain pills do so because like you we love the way they make us feel. We get energy, happy and become super mom. We take our pills around what needs to be done for the day. Most of us think we can't do anything without a pill. We think we will be more social in public or we can do a better job at work or even just clean the house better. That is when you get sucked in. The problem with opiates is that you build a tolerance very quickly and the one that you used to take becomes 30 or 40 a day. You then start finding other way to get your pills. You will then start to do things that you would never in a million years think you would just for a pill. Believe me when I tell you this. It will happen. I am not the person you would ever think would be in the shoes that I am in today all for a pill. You sound like you have a plan and you are doing something about your problem before it becomes a big problem. I congratulate you for this. Please seek outside help is you think you can't do this alone. Never be to proud to ask for help. NA is a wonderful supportive group of people that will understand exactly what you are going through. I'm not pushing NA on you I'm only making a suggestion. Kind of like food for thought if you will. Please keep posting and let the people that have gone before you help you through this. Just remember one day at a time.
First of all, welcome and pleased to meet you. I'd like to tell you about my taper.
I agree with Reach profusely! Slow it down a notch. I just returned home from Rehab, here's how my "medically" supervised taper went...
Day before arriving at Homewood Rehab Facility - 400mg Oxycontin (broken and taken orally)
Day 1 at Homewood - 60 mgs Oxy 4pm and 60 mgs 10pm (taken whole)
Day 2 - 60 mgs morning, afternoon and night (total 180/day)
Day 3 - 60 mgs morning, afternoon and night (total 180/day)
I was stabilized at this point. I felt very minimal withdrawal. I was supposed to have 3 more days at this dose, but told my doctor that I felt great, and wanted to begin the taper.
Day 4 - 60 mgs morning 50 mgs afternoon 60 mgs night
Day 5 - 60 mgs morning 50 mgs afternoon 50 mgs night
Each day after that, my doctor tapered me 10 mgs/day. I felt no withdrawal. The odd time, I'd get a little sweaty, but thats all.
I went down to 10mgs and then detoxed. My detox was great!! Apparently, I was in detox but I didn't feel anything. I even rode my bike (motorcycle) while I was in detox, and anyone who rides, knows its impossible to ride a bike while detoxing lol.
You can do this! The reason I explained my taper, was to show you how easy it can be. I was at a point in my life where I assumed I'd take pills until I was an old lady (lol) but I didn't know a taper could be so easy.
Please listen to Reach - she knows what she's talking about. Reach is the reason I've been so successful. I took her advice and made it, you can too
Good luck to you, and if you have any questions, just ask. There are so many wonderful people on this board who are always there when you need them
Emsmom, Congratulations! I'm so glad to hear your doing well. I've been reading some of your other posts. Kidney stones...oh, no! I will keep you in my prayers.
After reading your taper program, I'm a bit confused on if I'm doing mine slow enough. ?? I only take 3 pills/day = 15mg of hydrocodone. Maybe I'll adjust again. ??
My taper began yesterday so now I'm down to 12.5mg and planned on staying on that for 7-10 days. Then drop to 10mg for 7-10 days, 7.5mg 7-10 days, 5mg 7-10 days, 2.5 7-10 days then 0! I feel like I'm dragging it out too long. You seemed to detox very quickly. That's what I want to do. Get it over with. Any suggestions?
I'm doing this without medical supervision. I didn't feel I needed it since I only took 3 (max) per day. You all seem extremely knowledgeable in the tapering system. Just wondering if my 'new' one sounds OK or too drawn out. Would love advice.
I just want to tell you again thank you for all your support. I wish I was in your shoes and had only been taking 3 a day. I was taking anywhere from 18-25 a day, maybe even more at the end; I lost count.
I wish you the best of luck, and I hope the w/d go easy on you or maybe you won't have much at all since you are tapering. take it easy and go slow, seems to be the best way.
Last edited by mod-anon; 08-08-2008 at 12:35 PM.
Reason: for copyright reasons, poems are not allowed to be posted
That's exactly why I want to get clean...I don't want to get to the 18/day. My goodness...I can't imagine taking that many. I'm so glad you're on Day 7! Way to go! I know you're feeling good (your other posts)...that's the most important thing.
I surprised myself yesterday! My honey and I went out for the day and we were having so much fun...I FORGOT to take my 1/2 p.m. pill!!! So now, I've again changed my taper. I'm down to 2/day. I won't go back to 2 1/2!
So far, the one I seem to want the most is the morning dose. It gives me just the boost I need to start my day. I don't know what I'll do when I get to that point.....but I'll deal with that one when the time comes...just wanted to get that out.
Thanks again for all your support everyone! I know there are so many others in greater need. You don't have to reply but you do. It shows you care and it really makes me feel good.