I’ve gone through opiate detox twice now and just wanted to share some thoughts for anyone out there that is currently going through withdrawal or about to make the leap — I’m hoping maybe something resonates with you during this difficult time. I struggled with both the physical symptoms and the mental anguish. Below are just my observations and advice — based on my experiences only. I’m currently 2-weeks clean and doing great. Wishing you all the best!
PILLS – PILLS – PILLS
When going through withdrawal, all we want are quick fixes to help us get through it. My first detox, I turned to more pills to deal with the symptoms. Ambien to sleep, Xanax to cope, Lyrica for the restless legs, etc. I turned myself into a zombie and yes, I made it through. But what I didn’t realize was that the Ambien was killing my energy; the Xanax was making me extremely anxious the minute it wore off; and the Lyrica gave me awful headaches. Here I thought it was the withdrawals causing those things. No, it was all those other pills! In my second detox, I went for the “clean” approach and it has been 100x better in the long run — I have not had near the amount of depression and anxiety. I wish I had known what Xanax and Ambien were doing to my mental state all the years I took them. I was so focused on my painkiller addiction, that I neglected to address my benzo intake. Since I quit taking those pills, I’ve been a much more balanced person. I think part of the reason I went back to using pain medications after my first detox was due to how I was feeling coming off the other pills! I’ll never know for sure. I told myself I needed to keep using Norco because of my screwed up knee. In hindsight, that was probably 30% true. If you can, try to stick with OTC medicines when detoxing… your brain will thank you.
ARE WE THERE YET?
When will this be over? When will I feel normal again? The million-dollar questions! Everyone is different — please remember that if you are trying to cope with withdrawals right now. You may want to jump off a bridge today, but believe me when I say tomorrow could be the day you feel some resemblance of normalcy. Just hang in there. Every day you are off opiates, you ARE getting better. Keep that in mind with each panic attack, each sleepless hour, and every stomach cramp. One day, when you don’t expect it, things will just start to look up. The cravings will calm down and the motivation will come back. Sure, for some it takes a month – but for others it takes only days. If you are a few days into your detox, don’t beat yourself wondering why you don’t feel better yet. My personal experience this time around was 3 days of physical withdrawals followed by 3 days of intense mental ones… then something switched.
DOOM AND GLOOM
Browsing through these types of forums you are searching for answers, some glimpse of hope… Too many times I read through posts and was completely bummed out by the stories I was reading. Someone had been off Vicodin for months and still hated her life, another person had PAWS for a year after getting off Methadone. ACK! Don’t get discouraged! This forum is beyond helpful for people — a fantastic place to vent and learn. But it’s also important to note that when we are posting here, we are at our worst… we are struggling something awful. You won’t find many posts that read, “Getting off oxycotin wasn’t so bad! Thanks everyone!” But who’s to say there aren’t people that had that experience? I found this forum when I was at my lowest low… and that seems to be the norm. I think it’s important to note that there are plenty of addicts that got off opiates that didn’t go online to tell their story. We reach out and share when we are miserable… not so much when we are happy and out living our lives. There are tons of success stories out there — most of them aren’t on the Internet.
YOU NEED A STRAIGHT JACKET
I’m kidding! Well, not really. Want to die? Hate your spouse? Hate your job? Hate that you lost your job? Have regrets? Yep. Yep. Yep. Yep. It’s a fact that many addicts use to cover up other issues such as depression or anxiety. This is why aftercare is considered such a crucial part of recovery. Personally, I’m seeing a therapist because going to NA meetings in San Francisco freaks me out. That’s what works for me. Anyway, that’s not the point I’m trying to make. I’m talking to YOU – the person in bed with their laptop going through the first stages of detox. Everything seems downright hopeless about now. If you are anything like me, your thoughts right now are your own worst enemy. You are thinking irrationally right now because your brain is going haywire. Please trust me that this too shall pass… my advice: try not to act on your emotions when it comes to your relationships. Don’t make any big life decisions. Don’t question your existence. Don’t keep dwelling on the past. Easier said than done, indeed. Ride this time out… you will be looking at life differently soon. Nothing is as bad as it seems right now.
Anyway, that’s all I got. I’m not on this forum much these days, but I’ll check in here and there. Happy to answer anyone’s questions. I’ve done cold turkey and tapering. I’ve taken pills for pleasure and for legit pain. At one point I was taking Suboxone. Anything goes — been there, done that. Cheers!
Great post !!!! Was wondering how you were. Glad that I now know you are doing well. There is a wealth of information in this post. Glad that You are doing ok. I knew you were tapering and I always wonder about tapering because so many people will get down to a few pills and even one pill but will not let go of the security blanket and then they drop off of the forum only to return later saying that they had "tapered" back up. Keep up the great job friend !!!! ;)
Hey! Ahaha - Oh yes, I tapered way down, then jumped. Then after less than a week of being clean, I started taking the ol' Norco again. Granted, my orthopedic surgeon told me to, to deal with Physical Therapy. But, did I use those pills just for PT? Nope. I ended tapering back up and then I had just had it. Went cold turkey weeks ago and it was just what I needed. I've been told I will need another knee surgery in the next 3 years... based off my MRI and range of motion. But I'm honestly in a LOT less pain than I ever was on those pills. Thanks for the nice note :) Good to hear from you!!!
Welcome back....and congrats on 14 DAYS.....glad you came back to share with us. I was just wondering about you the other day.
Thank you for sharing that using xanex, ambien and lyrica will pretty much feed and continue the "drug seeking behavior" we all have as addicts. Many of us have tried using a drug to get off a drug and finally learn and accept that we can't go over it, under it, or around it...we just gotta go thru it. All 3 of those drugs are tough to come off of. Glad you detoxed again and are 14 days clean...that's good news!
Hope you have cut off any and all sources for drugs and are still able to share with your hubby. Seems like he was a big help to you when you tapered last time. It's great that you are seeing a therapist. Having some kind of contact with other recovering addicts would not only help us, but help you too. Hope you'll stick around and post more now that you are clean.
Welcome back...keep rockin it~
One thing that may be added to your excellent summary is that the early stage of detox is the best time to create and implement your plan for on-going recovery. The closer you are to the hell of detox, the more motivated you'll be to do the things necessary to stay clean - cut sources, tell your secret and get to aftercare. The 3 Ss, as conhall says - Sources, secret, support.
Just wanted to throw that your way.
Thanks Kansas :) It feels really good to be off Norcos, Percocets, Oxy, Suboxone, Ambien, Xanax, and Lyrica. For the first time in over five years, I am not depressed or agitated. I used Xanax and Ambien before I had my painkiller addiction... I wouldn't be surprised if the anxiety those pills induced led me to take narcotics. Getting off those benzos gave me the strength to get off the opiates.
My husband is definitely helping me stay on track. Truly, I was my only enabler, my friends and husband don't even use. My only source were my doctors. Thanks for the note!
Hey Miss_Creative you were the First friend on here I got a invite from way back when. I too was wondering where you have been. Yes Time is the Greatest Healer of it all. I do think that each and everyone bounces back in there own time.For me it took a awhile and I am still healing. Being that I have used/drank for over 40 years it is taking time to heal mentally. I was told by a "Head" Dr I seen once that it can take a year or so. A lot of damage can be done by these Substances and it only makes since that it does take "TIME" to heal. Then there is the aftercare that keep us in-tune with our self and any triggers that can happen. I read lots and lots of success stories on here. Hey I have almost 10 m in since you were here. I too am feeling much, much better. I am very proud of you and this was a very good POST today. Like I said we all are different in the time limit and there could be a lot of reason why, but we have to keep pushing forward and the blessing will roll in..Thanks
First, can anyone tell me how to print this entire thread? It really resonated with me and I would love to have a hard copy to refer to when I feel danger and weakness in my recovery.
Secondly, I couldn't agree more that Ambien and benzos are energy destroyers. I started alternating Ambien, Temazepam and Clonazepam about 4-5 years ago (always the correct dose-never abused those drugs) but in retrospect, I see now that they zapped my energy so badly the next day that they set me up to abuse painkillers (my DOC) because a Norco would help me clean my house. My goal is to stop every prescription drug I have. Although I am a pain patient, I am fortunately in otherwise good health, so I don't have any required medication. But, I've certainly relied on sleep aids, and I know they contributed heavily to my addiction to Norco. Working full time, having two teenage boys, a toddler and a pain condition with no sleep also set me up for abusing a drug that provided energy.
Anyway, thank you again for that excellent post. Can someone tell me how to print it :)..........
Hey VIC! Thanks for the reply :) So good to hear things are coming along for you! I agree, the wonderful people on here that reply to those in need are success stories. Problem is when you are Googling "Awful Opiate Withdrawals" or "Scared to Stop Taking Vicodin" the search comes up with rather scary posts of people spewing their fears and misery. At the time, when I was trying to get off the meds, it scared me! Just wanted to make sure people know that not every withdrawal story is a horrific one... and they aren't doomed to still be hurting a year from now. Ya know? Sure, there's a chance they will need a ton of time. Hope for the best, be prepared for the worst I suppose. The damage drugs do is undeniable, but a positive attitude can make all the difference :)
Already Better - sounds like we have A LOT in common - sans the kiddos. But now that I'm clean, hopefully that will change ;) I too used the Norco to get me over my Ambien comma... and the anxiety it gave me. Benzos are bad news :( So glad you are on your road to recovery! It's not going to be a walk in park for us, this I know... I'm starting hot yoga and pilates next week. Exercise is great for repairing the brain (and the soul) - there are many places in my area that work with folks that have injuries or chronic pain - and testimonies swear by their healing powers. Maybe that would help you get through all this? I'm not sure how to print the whole thread - you can take your cursor and highlight the text, then copy and paste it to a word document? Ha - I work in computers, so that's what I'd do. I'm on a Mac, so it's easy. Not sure what kind of computer you have and the programs you have (like Microsoft word)
Great to hear from you and what a positive post! This will be really helpful for people just starting the detox/withdrawal process. Having been there & done that myself, I would agree that while the benzos' and sleep aids can be helpful during detox, they come with another whole set of issues that will eventually have to be dealt with, i.e., negative side affects and/or physical dependence and yet another w/d situation. In any case, a HUGE congrats on your 15 days! Thanks so much for the update and the inspiration. Hope you stay around and keep posting :))
Hi again. You got that right about the positive attitude and the exercising. That is the best encouragement I get is from the ones that do this. I think that is the Biggest right there. Oh and I am glad I never seen them areas you are talking about. What a drag! It only does get better. Takes alot of work but the last two you said is the Key too!! Thanks again and I sure hope you stick around. It is so beautiful when someone comes back!!!
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