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Avatar universal

I need help and advice on getting off prescript pain killers- but i am not abusing

I have had this battle with myself for 2 years now, almost 3?  During being preg, I had gotten laid off of a great job and needed a paycheck, was very knowledgeable about medical everything (love it and still do), and worked at a pain management.  I woud be disgusted at the people that would come up with lies to get their meds early.  I hated the smell of the poignant smoke that was on them all the time, the crazy lies they would tell to try to get more, getting **** thrown at me while i was pregs working the front desk, i judged these people.  My mom is also very sick and has had a hard life and is on a million meds for a million things, and i hate it.

But after I had my son, I started having really bad back pain, had an MRI, and got on vics, then they changed it to percs and after I had several nerve roots blocks and a burning of the nerve treatment, i woke up from a procedure only to a script for oxy 30 mgs, when I was on 15 before the procedure- did I argue it? Hell  no.  Instead I said great, I'll just take half and always have some left over...of course that didnt last long and soon I was taking the 30s and now have been for a long, long time.

I am a normal person of society, a great mom, I'm smart, hard working, and I achieve what I want whether its through the job, or finishing school, or whatever I want- I truly believe if you put your mind to it, you can do it/get it.  I have always ben a go getter over achiever, but not for anyone else but myself.  So anyway, no one really knew I was on any type of special medication, except my sons father (who we are recently going through a split- even thogh he is one of the only people I can talk to abot all this, and trust).  Of course he has seen the annoying side to bein on this medication, meaning the monthly appointments/**** tests/ and then pharmacies not having it, and if you dont get it in time and the sweats. But he has also seen the true debilitating pain that I get, if I dont have the medication for overnight.

So anyway, here I am, having a hard month with the break up, financially, some dumb **** went down t work (I am recnelty in sales and have been numebr one since I started- with that has come bitter, jealous woman trying to get me down), the break up, whatever, so yes, I finished this months meds early....and now here I am.

So now that you have the history, my problem is that no, I am not in a daze, I dont feel doped up and like I cant do **** when on meds.  No one knows I'm on them, like I had said.  I know I'm a great mom and a great person (I'm 26 by the way), but then there is this side of me that just feels GUILTY and embarassed for being on the meds, and then the hour or two they wear off and I get that burning pain all over....I am just terrified of stopping the meds and being in terrible, terrible pain ALL the time. I don't want to deal with that. I'm just so goddamn torn because I feel like I dont need a rehab, I am not an abuser.  I just feel guilty, because I feel like "normal" people, even people with problems, dont have this problem...and I feel ashamed.

Please help and give me your stories...I am just at home crying and trying to figure out what I should do....while in pain :(

Oh, and I might add that I am on tramadol too that, no, is techncally not an opiate, but its an opiate substitute and I have been on it for years.......that gives you sweats and pain like no other.  Just those two meds I'm on right now.
10 Responses
Avatar universal
I think first of all you need to know, you aren't alone. Not every opiate addict is reeking of smoke, injecting themselves with needles, etc. most of us are functioning members of society with kids, families, and good jobs. You say you don't abuse your meds, yet you're also saying you ran out early this month? Not trying to sound accusatory I'm just wondering if you need to be more honest with yourself about what is going on here.  If you want to come off the meds, you have a lot of support here. And from what I've read, people with chronic pain actually improve when they stop taking their meds. I can't speak from experience on that. Have you talked to your doc about lowering your dose or tapering off? That might've a good place to start. It's tough but you will find life without opiates is so liberating.  
271792 tn?1334983257
First off, if you are not abusing them then how come you ran out early?

Hun, I have to be honest...you need to lose that perception that all people on pain meds are junkies sleeping on park benches. It just simply isn't true. I am college educated, own my own home, etc. and those pills took me down faster than you can blink. And yes, I started on them for legitimate physical pain. So you need to get humble here. Addiction  knows no boundaries. It has no social class and does not care about race or religion. It takes us all.

Are you waiting for a script refill or are you ready to stop? What are you going to do about the Tramadol? That is a difficult and dangerous medication to come off of.
2333944 tn?1342915967
Regarding tramadol.....do some reading about that here.   It is very scary (to me) and a difficult drug to detox from.   It is a synthetic opiate,  I believe.

My story....I am almost 66 years old.   I had been taking Norco 10/325 for about five years.   I have very bad knees.   I live in the country and I have a lot of livestock.   My husband's job takes him away from home 3 weeks out of the month, so I had a lot of work to do around here by myself.   I never really abused my meds.   I can only think of a couple of times where I took five a day instead of the 4 that were prescribed to me.   I started out taking two a day.   One in the morning when I got up and one in the evening when it was time to go out and do my chores.    Rarely, I would take one at night because I had pain in my hips and couldn't go to sleep.

So, I wasn't "abusing them", per se.   But truth be known, I was taking them more for the way they made me feel....they gave me energy.   I felt all mellowed out and happy and I could go out and work and time just flew by.   But I found myself getting antsy any time I didn't have some with me.
Even if I didn't take one during the day, if I went somewhere, I had to have some with me...."just in case".    A few times, they were stolen, and then I got panicky....afraid because I didn't have them.   I knew a woman who was getting them....she had legitimate health problems...but she sold them to supplement her social security, so I had to buy some from her to get me through when mine were stolen (by someone hired to come here and work for me).

I found I was eventually taking one every 4 or so hours.   When I didn't take one, I felt edgy, irritable.   As soon as I took the pill....I was okay.

I still had pain in my knees....and I don't think they helped all that much but I was able to tolerate it most of the time.

Then I broke out in a horrible, itchy rash all over my body.   I had to stop and think about what I was doing.   I have had perfect health.    My doctors have always been amazed at my bp, cholesterol, etc.   All my numbers were excellent.   What am I doing to myself?  Whoa.   That was my wake up call.   That was it.   I quit.   I gave the last of my pills to the old lady I know who sells them and I was done.   At the time, my husband was recovering from knee surgery and there were still 7.5/325's still in the house but I was never tempted to take one.   He took a few and gave the rest away to the old woman too.

I had been afraid of withdrawal....all the time knowing that my whole life I have never wanted to be a "pill popper".   My own mother lived to be almost 100 and never took a pill in her life.   Back when I was growing up, people didn't turn to a pill for every little upset in life, and I didn't want to be like that either.

Anyway, this is too long already....I quit on June 9th...went through withdrawal....bad but not anything I couldn't deal with.   Had little or no energy for about a month, although I did feel better every day.   I take vitamins and try to eat right.  I thought my pain was excruciating when I first quit the pills but as time has gone on, I hardly notice it.   I take an ibuprofen or something like that once in awhile.   I am so glad to be off of them.   I feel like it is the best thing I have done for myself in many years.

I hope this helps you some....and if you want to quit...you will.   Good luck to you.
Avatar universal
I didnt mean to mark that one as best answer, no offense to on2better,  i was writing my response and dont know what happened.

I was writing that basically, yes, I ran out this month early and have noe xcuse, this month I did abuse, I guess that's the right term. I know I am wrong for that.

I know there is no social class and all that, I was just saying my history and how I used to view it to what has happened now.  No matter what, there is a certain shame to it, in my eyes...I'm not saying I am judging everyone bc I am not even that tpye of person, I was just stating that when I was pregnant, working at the front desk and these people were throwing money or papers at me or cussing me out...that that is how I used to view it.

I am just torn I am saying that I dont know what the right answers are. I am in terrible pain a lot, and I hate it.  I am scared to get off the meds bc of the pain and bc my job is so demanding.  But at the same time, there is this "cloud" of shame over my head, even when I take my meds as prescribed, which i really have until this month.
Avatar universal
If you want help you came to the right place. You need to admit to yourself that you DO have a problem. Please LOSE the stereotype!! We are not all injecting needles, snorting pills kind of junkies. We are just like you....damn good moms and dads, classy, own our homes, have great jobs etc. that's called a functioning addict. I was one. I was homeroom mother, super wife and no one knew I was taking percocets like my life depended on it. I am 58 days clean today. If you want to get clean admit you have a problem, and get off the pills. Your life will be better without them. Sorry if I sound harsh as that is not my intention. I just get really upset when people think all addicts are sleeping on park benches. Good luck to you!
271792 tn?1334983257
There is no need for shame. You didn't ask for this. It is addiction at it's finest.

So will you refill the script? If so and you still want to get off then I suggest that you find an alternative pain treatment. Many of us have used physical therapy, aqua therapy and acupuncture, just to name a few. there are other treatments that may help. right now I am undergoing silicone injections. I have 5 herniated disks and have pain every day. some days are worse than others but any day is a good day that I don't abuse pain medication so I keep trying whatever will give me relief.

Also I have to mention that during the withdrawal process our pain level is heightened. I know how hard it is but if you give it some time you will be better able to assess your level. Some of us have found that we really don't have that much pain after stopping the medication. In fact many of us found that otc medications control the pain.

Are you willing to give it some time and find out what your accurate pain level is?
Avatar universal
So, I have taken hydrocodone for YEARS for migraines.  Just one or two when needed.  Usually maxed out at 3 a day on a REALLY bad day.  Then I had a bartholin's cyst abscess which might be the most painful thing I've ever experienced.  I was on Hydrocodone 10/500 for that for about 2 weeks, then I had surgery to remove the cyst completely when other treatment options didn't work.  I had major surgical complications including allergic reactions to stitches and other issues so eventually I'd been on the pain medication for 4 weeks from surgery plus the two weeks before surgery for a total of 6 weeks.  I was up to 2 of the 10/500s about 3 times a day.  Sometimes only twice but probably more often 3.  I ran out, I didn't panic because I was healed nicely now from surgery and I figured I'd just stop taking it with no problems.  

I was WRONG.  

I called my doctor crying because of the withdrawal symptoms.  Nausea, GI upset, headache, back ache, runny nose, anxiety, feeling like I couldn't sit still, feeling like my body was going to crawl out of my skin, awful chills, and sweating...don't even get me started on the sweating.  My doc seemed to think this is not a big deal and that I just need to taper off instead of stopping cold turkey.  But I admit I had a total panic day over this.

So, since I was taking the amount prescribed and never taking more than the maximum amoount prescribed, he seems to think my withdrawal won't last as long as some of the stories I've read about months of withrdawal problems.  He told me that if I want to ride it out cold turkey, I can because I wasn't taking enough to really cause any serious health problems, just discomfort.

He also told me that my script for Neurontin will become my best friend over the next couple days.  He told me Neurontin will dull all of the withdrawal symptoms with the exception of the GI upset.  So, he wrote me a new hydro script to use to taper off if I find cold turkey too hard over the next few days but encouraged me to keep on the cold turkey route if I can because going through it will help me remember why I don't want to take pain medication if I don't ABSOLUTELY need it.

So, last night I filled the hydro script, drove sraight to my best friend's house, told her the entire story, took only 4 pills with  me and left the bottle with her and made her promise me a "sumo wrestler style" takedown in the event I show up begging for more pills before 2 days is up.  

Then I went home, told my boss I had the flu so I could stay home today and ride out whatever comes my way.  I took a Neurontin, half of a 5mg valium (he told me to take the entire 5mg but I decided to take half at a time and see if I could ride it out), and a phenergan for nausea, and my regular evening medications which include birth control pills and an acid reducer.  I crawled in bed and laid there for about 2 hours thinking about the mess I was in and how guilty I felt even though I wasn't abusing the medication other than the fact that I probably didn't need it as much as I pretended I did towards the end of that last script.  I didn't have the urge to get up and take one of my emergency doses of Hydro.  I did fall asleep, I slept well.

I once again woke up in a pool of disgusting sweat.  Like, my bed smells like a men's locker room.  I am not sure if this comforter should be dry cleaned or burned.  I am definitely still having GI upstet but the Neurontin works.  I'm not having anxiety today.  I'm feeling okay.  Not great but not bad.  I haven't taken anymore Neurontin even though I can if I need to (script is for up to 5x a day for fibromyalgia).  I am still cold and can't seem to get warm and I am still sweating my *** off.  But I think this is manageable.  I could have even probably gone to work today.  

While I'm home today, I'm going to work on vitamins, hydrating, getting my sheets and bedding washed, and eating light meals of bland food.  

I leave for a trip a week from tomorrow and the doc seems to think that by then I'll be free and clear of the withdrawal symptoms since I wasn't taking a super high dose.  

So, here are my day 2 recommendations from a novice.

1.  Use bedding that can all be washed.  this is not the time to use the dry clean only down comforter because obviously you'll be washing sheets/bedding daily.  I have a spare comforter that's machine washable and i'm dropping off the down at the cleaners later today and using that one until we're over this.

2.  Forget pajamas.  Sleep naked.  You'll be getting up to change every 2 hours because you're drenched.  I gave up after my second middle of the night wardrobe change.

3.  Be honest with your doctor.  My doctor was so sympathetic and while I didn't feel like he held me as accountable for this as he should have, he did encourage me to be honest with a few people close to me so they can hold the pills for me and help me stay accountable because even if you're not abusing them and you're taking them as needed, the cravings will be there.  And they were yesterday.  Not so much today, perhaps because of the Neurontin.

4.  Ask your doctor if Neurontin can help you.  It's not a narcotic and only 1 dose has helped me a ton.  I saw on a few boards that Neurontin has helped other people kick their habit as well.  It won't make you feel high or out of it or anything.

5.  There will be people in your life you shouldn't disclose your struggles to, like bosses and clients, etc.  So, make up a reliable excuse.  For me, a stomach virus is not only believable but given the GI upset, is bordering on truth.

6.  Read lots of message boards of people's struggles.  Even the ones about people way more abusive with these drugs than you.  Let their stories become a warning of how much worse it can be.

Since I was on such a low dose, I am hoping that I'm over the worst of it.  I never thought that I could go through withdrawal by taking the prescribed amount.  I feel dumb.  I feel ashamed of myself.  And I'm glad I had a good 24 hours of cold turkey before I tried the Neurontin.  I needed to experience how hard it would be so I wouldn't be tempted ever in the future to use them more than necessary.  I feel like I've dodged a bullet but the doctor did warn me that I could have setbacks.  I could find that tomorrow is worse than today but I have faith that with a lot of willpower, a little neurontin and a lot of knowledge that I can get through this quickly and move on because this is NOT what I signed up for.  

Good luck to everyone.  Stay away from prescription narcotic pain medications.  It's such a slippery slope.  Even if you take them as prescribed you could find yourself here suffering with everyone else.  And trust me, the feeling of crawling out of your skin is not a pleasant experience.

-Honestly, me
Avatar universal
love this. thank you so much.

i feel like youre the only one so far not telling me to not judge people bc even though i didnt type it accurately, I AM NOT JUDGING ANYONE!! lol

I have already experienced the sweats and they are terrible for sure.

To the person who mentioned assessing the pain, you are probably 100% correct, which is why I guess I have this ever lastnig battle with myself. Thank you as well.
2120911 tn?1350926261

Who cares how you got here..the stories are as varied as the foks who get addicted. Opiates are big business..from the guy under the bridge with stained pants to the CEO of multinational pharm company....

We all started in various way ...most of us unsuspecting of the powerful addcitive nature of the drugs....

So hang around..you're our kind of people  ;-)

When you're ready.....we're here,,,,,,

Avatar universal
Just a quick update.  As I start day 3 of withdrawal, I had trouble sleeping again.  Resorted to another neurontin and half a Valium and slept okay.  I was able to eat some peanut butter crackers and cheese with no tummy upset last night and this morning.  Sweats and chills still going strong.  Planning to go to the office late.  Need to get the sheets going through the wash first.  Having a bit of pain in my hips and lower back but this also could be my fibromyalgia.  I also have a sinus headache.  Still have not taken any emergency doses of hydro.  Just praying the cold sweats will stop before I leave in a week for Europe.  First vacay with the boyfriend.  I explained to him what is going on so he will be the "script keeper" while there.  

Please don't misunderstand my intention of my earlier entry.  I don't think I'm any better than anyone else.  If I had another script I could have easily slid down the slope to be the person under the bridge eventually.  I just wanted to warn everyone that you're not safe even if you only take the prescribed amount.  Even if you take it for legitimate pain as prescribed.  You could find yourself wirhout a script for whatever reason and going through withdrawal even though you didn't abuse the medication. If you have other pain management options, use those.  

And, if I'm being completely honest, i was abusing it even though I wasn't taking more than the prescribed amount.  If you take it for the feeling and not for the pain, you're already treading in dangerous waters and should be honest with your doctor to find something with less abuse potential.  I know what debilitating pain feels like but I started using my script for any pain.  It doesn't matter if you started recreationally or from a valid script.  It feels the same to withdraw.  And it *****.
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