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Best Friend 01-06-2004 06:02 PM

"DOUBLE TROUBLE"-TWIN Tales of the Unexpected :-( :-(
Firstly, a huge "thanks" to all posters, here...for your honesty, your good - often-so-eloquent! - information, and, mostly, for your kind support of one another. There is so much intelligence, generosity, compassion to be found on this Board! Makes it a lot easier to 'share one's story.' And my (OUR) story may be a tad 'weirder'...or, let's just say, 'more different'...than some heard here, before. It is a tale of 'TWINS' - tho, thankfully, not as far gone as the poor twins of "Dead Ringers" - for those of you old enough to recall the novel/film! :-) introduction: we are 57 1/2 (that 'half' COUNTS at our what if our 58th birthday is in January!) year-old identical twins. We are also: 'model citizens' (of course! lol); kids but we're deliciously dawg crazy (3 Shih Tzu furkids for me...hence, my 'Best Friend' board handle...I've worked with all 3 in Obedience <smart lil>)...and a lovingly-benevolent-dictator-Lhasa and Peke for my twin; she also has a VERY respectable, responsible job (for a public figure)...and I 'get by' with freelance writing, after a fun career in acting;...we are avid (tho never-in-shape!) skiers; get the picture - we 'seem normal!' My sister is recently separated from her husband of 20 years and dealing well with it. We live in same building, but in different apts. Now for the "weird" part... This whole drug thing began with, (and its continuance is pretty much dependent upon), our cousin, who has been prescribed pain meds (legitimately, for REAL suffering!) for the past ten years. Over this period, she has been received Vicodin, Oxys, etal, and has been "very generous" with them (since my sister and I have occasional back pain). To make a long story short, what started out for us as taking these pills for our 'real' pain, has escalated to us "siphoning out" whatever we can (without being absurdly greedy) from her ongoing supply...which can be substantial. (By the way, we are fascinated that our cousin never seems to suffer withdrawal when she goes off opiates. She has quite an amazing constitution.) We rarely get our own scripts (once in a while, for back pain) and we've never gone online or accessed meds thru 'dealers.' But our cousin's supply has been just enough for both of us to have acquired a serious "habit.' It was so gradual, that neither one of us realized how bad it had gotten. Now, we have admitted to ourselves - and to each other - that these drugs have changed our lifestyles quite dramatically. The need to feel "medically warm and fuzzy" has supplanted so many of the 'real' activities we once filled our lives with. We used to love wandering the city, enjoying its varied cultures, it's wonderful ethnic areas...and we'd rent cars and drive miles to see friends exhibit at out-of-town dog shows...and checked out any interesting new eateries... Let's just say, that before drugs, while we may not have "gotten high on life" each and every day, we never 'needed' those "highs" to simply "get ON" with life...(to function)!'s mostly about hanging out alone or with each natural goals. "Nibbling' an opiate has become the day's focus. It's just been so insidious. And, what finally drove the point home, is that we are finally facing withdrawal ('funny' how this Board gets REAL interesting when it's time to pay the piper). Our cousin is getting different medication now, so WE are confronting reality...SOON. The "physical" symptoms will, fer shure, be uncomfortable for us....but it is the 'emotional' pain that we know we will face. We will have to 'relearn' what it feels like to wake up and look forward to a "normal" drug-free day. In one sense, I am almost happy we will be forced into this. I used to love waking up and planning each day....I got SO excited over such simple pleasures. Now, I feel like a social 'hermit'....unable to separate my 'real' depressions and fears from those, drug-induced. My twin feels the same (tho she goes into an office everyday and I write at she is 'forced' to socialize, while I just have to walk my dogs!). We have both dealt (fairly successfully) with clinical depression and OCD over the years (for us, Prozac was a blessing and still is), but this escalating addiction has been a real setback for us. Things got worse for us some years ago when we cared for our mother, who, for about 8 years, suffered bad depression and dementia. We got her an apt in our building and, tho she had a daily caregiver, we spent much of our time with her, trying to make her final years bearable. "Pills" were a 'way out' for us at the end of an emotionally draining day....and even tho our mother has been gone a few years now, we are still left a bit 'stunned' by all those years of sadness. While the drugs remain "OUR secret," both my sister and I do continue to have loving, caring friends...and the irony (part of the "weirdness" of this!) is that many of them rely on US, like 'gurus,' for help in THEIR day-to-day troubles. They have no idea what is going on with us (guess my years of acting paid off - lol!) - and, of course, we are so HAPPY to help out our friends in any way we can (and relieved that apparently our brains have not been TOTALLY "fried!" <g>). I guess that's what just amazes me. I can 'talk down' and psychoanalyze almost anyone out of anything <smile> - but I sat back and watched 'myself' sink lower and lower into this abyss. But that seems to be typical of many posters here -- 'levelheaded' and down-to-earth in every 'other' aspect of our lives!
It's amazing tho, isn't it, how this 'drug thing' all happens... My first experience with opiates was 20 years ago...I was prescribed Percodans for a sprained ankle. I actually called the doctor and told him, "There is a problem with the medication you prescribed...I took it last night and felt like I was floating." <grin> At THAT time, I considered the 'floating feeling' a "problem!" Then, fifteen years ago, we had a dr. who gave us a small amount of Percodan once a year for our menstrual pain...and we both recall being 'delighted' with its warm little buzz. But we had no access to other drugs. Then....came our cousin and her constant supply. Who could imagine getting addicted so "effortlessly!" No "doctor shopping" ferreting out "dealers"...just a family member with a monthly bottle of opiates.
Well, this is getting awfully long...but so many of you have been so brave this week, so thought I'd take the plunge with our "twin story." Identical depressions, identical OCD....and now, identical addiction. Two DOWN....ONE to go! ... We hope, we hope, we hope.. :-) We wish you all lots of strength and the love and understanding of good people in your lives. Believe me, we know that we, as twins, are totally blessed to have each other to share all this. (If we can help anyone else somehow, please do not hesitate to direct a post our way. And, by the way, we are happy to "do" twin query considered 'too silly.' Promise! Lol! P.S. We will be home until late next week when we go on our annual ski holiday.)
The Twins :-) :-)

Best Friend 01-07-2004 06:54 AM

Re: "DOUBLE TROUBLE"-TWIN Tales of the Unexpected :-( :-(
Am feeling VERY 'antsy' today (having been tapering each day). My body feels like every bit of it is buzzing (unpleasantly!). Have no only feels somewhat bearable when I'm in bed. I guess the withdrawal is reaching a more 'critical stage.' (I have no craving to feel "good" - just to feel "normal." What is (IF there is!) the "best" way to get thru the day when one feels so horribly wired? Thanks for any suggestions.... :-(

Banker 01-07-2004 07:50 AM

Re: "DOUBLE TROUBLE"-TWIN Tales of the Unexpected :-( :-(
How many are you taking now and how many were you taking? What about your sister? Is she tapering as you are or did she cold turkey? If I read correctly, you are both on Prozac? Do you have anxiety now and have you had it before this 'addiction' began? Sorry, I just have to ask a few more questions. You can beat this thing. You may need to start going to AA/NA. Although there have been people that don't need it... but it's really hard without the help of some kind of support.

Best Friend 01-07-2004 10:43 AM

Re: "DOUBLE TROUBLE"-TWIN Tales of the Unexpected :-( :-(
<<How many are you taking now and how many were you taking? What about your sister? Is she tapering as you are or did she cold turkey? If I read correctly, you are both on Prozac? Do you have anxiety now and have you had it before this 'addiction' began? Sorry, I just have to ask a few more questions. You can beat this thing. You may need to start going to AA/NA. Although there have been people that don't need it... but it's really hard without the help of some kind of support.>>

Thanks so much for responding, Banker. I'm going to have to carefully figure out some of these amounts, since once we decided to taper this week, we have been LITERALLY only 'scraping' at the Oxys. I (and my twin) take tiny 'nibble scraps' of a '40' (we each have our own!) and we try and make the pill 'last' almost a day. And I take maybe 3-5 Vics 7.5 a day. LAST month, before the supply dwindled, I guess I was up to 3-4 40s a day...Vics about the same as now. We are tapering 'together' and both feeling 'identical' miseries. As for the "anxiety" you mention, I'd have to say, 'no,' for now - I am not currently feeling mental anxiety. (More physical anxiety!) I DID have anxiety (panicky feelings outside the home) last fall and visited with our psychiatrist (our doctor who regularly prescribes us Prozac for past depression and past OCD). He prescribed Buspar (which I haven't found overly effective) and Clonazepam (Klonipin(sp?) for times of bad anxiety. I still have a fair amount of them and I have just done an interesting web search of how the drug is used in opiate withdrawal. I use it rarely, but I tried half of a .5 before and it DID seem to help. But until I am totally off opiates, I will be using it VERY sparingly...(and, for SURE, don't want to become 'hooked on THEM!" Your suggestion of a NA support group is excellent and definitely something to consider. (Just read Augustin Burrough's book, "Dry" about beating alcohol and he had quite some amusing stories of AA groups in the Village (Greenwich, that is!) Groups sure do differ! :-) While I take addiction and AA's amazing support and success totally seriously, I would hope to locate a NA group that was not 'only' about a rigorous, rigid search for a "higher power." (I do have family who are "AA-ers," so have at least some knowledge of the program and know it works when you make it work.) My sister and I are, so far, a great support system for each other - now that we have 'fessed up to each other how things have gotten out of hand for both of us (there are some things even twins are too embarrassed to discuss!), and we are good reality checks for each other. We both have the same 'edgy NY humor' and it sure helps to laugh a bit in rough times. But, we will keep an open mind to outside help. We are going away late next week for ten days of our one annual ski I honestly don't want to make the "total opiate break" on any Black Diamond mountain tops! :-) But we will continue to taper and hopefully get off this stuff afterwards. Thanks again for your response. Please feel free to comment on any of the above (if it sounds naive or out-of-whack, I'd like to know. And am happy to hear from anyone on this Board). Thanks!
Twin Best Friend (whose sister is reading this, too)

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