Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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Avatar universal

I'm ready to get off the pill rollercoaster

I am a 30ish male that got my first taste of pills about 4 years ago when I went in for a wisdom tooth extraction.  Leading up to it, I was in a lot of pain, and my mother had hydrocodone that she would give me so I could make it through a night of work.  Afterwards, I knew I liked the feeling, but understood the dangers and just sort of let it go.  After that, I would pop a couple pills every week or so, to enhance the things that I loved doing.  I didn't care for my job, but I was strong enough to not use just to get through a night at work.  My use was still occasional, up until I had to see my doctor at the end of 2011 for some severe back pain.  

I had an MRI, and it showed quite a bit of damage, most likely from doing the same physical crap work I had done for 14 years.  He started me off on 5mg hydrocodone, while we worked to find a long-lasting med.  I tried a slew of meds in that time.  Nucynta, Exalgo, 10mg hydrocodone, etc.  We finally settled on 10mg Opana ER and 10mg hydrocodone for breakthrough pain.  When this wasn't enough, he upped the dose to 20mg Opana ER 3x a day and 120 10mg hydrocodone 4 times a day.  We all know what happens next.  Instead of 4, you take 2 at a time.  Then 3.  Then you start looking at ways to not kill yourself with the acetaminophen.  Cold water extraction was too much work for me, so I went back to my doc and told him I was worried about the pills doing more damage than good.  He switched me to 4 times daily 10mg Opana IR along with the 20mg Opana ER.  At this point, I figured I had struck gold.  An endless supply.  He even added 120 Norco 10mg a month.  

At about this time, I decided that I hated my job enough to not go anymore.  It wasn't so much the job, but my bosses and coworkers.  So I went on STD and FMLA so I wouldn't get fired.  This has lasted for 4 months.  I also went to physical therapy for my back which did help.  The problem is that because of the pills, I have become to lazy to want to do anything.  I haven't made love to my wife in over 4 months.  I quit playing sports that I had played since I was a kid.  I don't hang out with my friends anymore.  You know how it goes.  I always thought I was smart/strong enough to handle everything, but boy was I wrong.  I was even high on my wedding day.  

Right before Christmas, with a fear of running out before my next refill, I started looking for other ways to administer.  I didn't care for snorting, but it gave a great high.  Plugging was even better.  Not only was I getting high, but I was going through a lot less pills.  It didn't matter; I just started snorting and plugging more often.  At this point, for the first time, I found that I couldn't get out of bed without dosing.  I finally realized that I had a big problem.  About the only thing I did right was avoid the needle.  

I made the decision a couple days ago to start tapering my dosages.  I am fortunate to have an abundant supply of Klonopin, which has allowed me to sleep most of the last few days away.  I wish I could tell you how much Opana I was using, but it changed all the time, and I can't remember anyhow.  That makes it hard to taper properly, but I decided to try anyhow.  I tried just 1 20mg Opana ER instead of 2, and only 1 of the IR instead of 2 upon waking.  I then took 1mg of Klonopin and some Immodium since the diarrhea was already coming.  

This was on Monday morning.  I did a 2.5mg bump in the afternoon, and took some more klonopin to make myself go back to sleep.  I slept until about 7am, which was wonderful.  I figured that I would be dope sick as hell, but that hasn't been the case.  My whole body hurts, and I haven't eaten a thing since Sunday afternoon.  Overall though, physically I feel alright.  Like a mild case of the flu.  I think I took quite a leap in decreasing my usage so fast, but I miss what it feels like to "feel" anything.  There isn't a soul that knows that I have a problem.  Us addicts get pretty good at hiding it.  But if my wife found out, my marriage is over.  She's not an understanding or compassionate person.  I also want children and I want to be able to enjoy them instead of being numb to the miracle that they are.

As most of you know, the biggest obstacle is the mental part.  I have the pills, just sitting there.  My back is in a lot of pain.  I like not feeling anything.  But at the same time, I have missed so much; most of which I can't remember due to being high.  I want to be done.  I'd rather live with the back pain than being a slave to a pill or 4.  

I will continue this taper and see how I handle it.  It is imperative that I get back to work before I lose our house.  The absolute hardest part will be going into work and existing with people that you dislike and they hate you just as much.  I know I can do it though, without the crutch.  I don't have a choice.  I am taking my life back and I'm not going to let my family down.  But man, this is emotionally hard.  Does it ever get better?
58 Responses
Avatar universal
I hope all works out for you. I have some slip disc..& 3 Cortizone shots eased the pain.. Continue to taper down.. Your doing the right thing . I'm glad you can see what the meds are doing to you. Can't imagine another year wasting away..I was on 3 years of 5mg/10 mg of hydros.
Are unsure you can't talk to your wife? She could help u thru this
Avatar universal
My wife is off limits.  She recently found out her brother is an addict.  She swore to never talk to him again, and even removed him from her will.  I wish I could confide in her and ask her for help, but its just not possible without losing her.  I'm really on an island by myself with this.  
Avatar universal
Well apparently this was the wrong place to look for support.  I'm sorry if you wasted your time reading my post.  I expected...more I suppose.  Oh well, I'm used to being let down.  This is a perfect example of why I keep everything to myself.  I can't even get support from strangers.
Avatar universal
Have you tried looking for local AA/NA groups that you could attend? Are you doing anything to help withdrawal symptoms? Even though you're tapering, you can still feel w/d. I did anyway....I weaned myself from and 8 yr methadone use in about 6 weeks....I won't say it was terrible...but it sure wasn't pleasant. I had to let my body be my guide, and I had to make my pills somewhat of a "pain" to get to. I kept them in our firesafe that my husband had the key for. Lol. Whatever works right? If you have the self control to taper, I think it's your best bet. And unfortunately, some of us do have to go thru this alone....BUT this site can be a huge help...even if you aren't commenting or posting...the reading keeps you occupied and your mind is on someone ELSE'S problems and not your own. Lol. Good luck my friend & God Bless. :)
1235186 tn?1549261219
Sorry you didn't get many responses. Sometimes there are so many new threads they quickly move to the 2nd page. This is a great place for support.
Many have been where you are. It is possible to feel again, it is possible to clean clean and sober. Please stick to a dose and continue to come down from there. Don't up it. Treat your symptoms. A hot bath with Epsom salts will help tremendously. It is imperative that you keep yourself nourished and hydrated. Gatorade, boost, ensure, soups, crackers. Yogurts.
The more you
1235186 tn?1549261219
Post the more responses you will get. It will keep your thread on the first page. You are not alone. There are many caring and supportive people here. I hope and pray you stick around. Exercise is also important. Keep yourself moving.
4341997 tn?1514592288
just wanted to lend my support.....it can be done....i was a hydro user for many many years.....please stick around, this site really is an awesome place for info and support....we can help you get thru WDs....just keep posting....sometimes it is slow on here but try to patient with us....we can help!  good luck and just hydrate and eat when you can....hot baths with epsom salt do work wonders for achy body and anxiety...i was taking 2-3 a day during WDs....please keep posting!  we want you to succeed!  
Avatar universal
I'm sorry you didn't get any quick responses...But they are coming in now so I hope you're ready to take it all in.
I'm certainly no expert, but I know what worked for me. I'm about 4 months clean now and just like everyone else who posted before me, had to fight every second of every day to get here. Below is something I wrote awhile ago that I still use from time to time to remind myself what I need during my recovery. Maybe it will help, maybe not?

(Written in October)
No question here, just a loud moment of support and peace to anyone looking for love and help in trying to quit anything. I'm a 15 year sufferer of being addicted to every opiate made. I'm a long time loser and short term hero. While I'm only 25 days clean, I feel so f'ing good about myself for the first time I can remember. I know I have a long path ahead to be where I belong, but today I'm walking in the right direction.

My point is to you addicts questioning yourself right now is this; If this old, beaten, tired, warrior can hold his head up high today, then every single one of you can too. I've done so many despicable things to feed my pain, addiction. I lied, hurt, stole, lost, cheated, fought and lost, and cried to get high. I fought for over a decade the most dark and depressing battle. 25 days ago I gave up. I didn't win, I lost and it was the the surrender that saved me.

I don't have the recipe to save to your life, but I know 3 big things that saved mine and helped me get this far.

1) Surrender. I surrendered any hope that I could "fix" what was broken in me. I gave up believing that I could do it on my own. My core finally realized that "my" way just didn't work. The fighter in me couldn't believe there was anything I couldn't "win", but while I was lying on my couch crying my face off and this feeling of surrender washed over me it was replaced with a serenity I can't explain.
2) I asked for help. I begged someone to give me strength. My wife, N/A meetings and this website were there to hold me in their arms and give me strength when I had none left. I tried hiding this darkness from the world and that never worked. I was so ashamed of who I had become. As soon as I asked for help, I got just what I needed. For the longest time I thought I was in this war alone, nothing could be farther from the truth.  
3) Patience. I knew getting through w/d's was going to be hell. Been there done that. I dreaded it like nothing else. I was so scared of how long I was going to be miserable. I prepared with vitamins, water, time, and patience. t I was flat out scared. When I was weak and didn't think I could make it I asked for help. This website answered so many questions while I was in mental chaos. Sometimes it only took a response to my plea for help to let me close my eyes and feel "thinks are going to be okay" I found that all I needed was 10 minutes at a time. Patience. Many times I tested this, and each time I was greeted with just what I needed to get through the next 10 minutes.

Listen to me please. I'm still a little weak, not nearly "healed" and my scars are obvious, but today I feel great. I feel as though I have walked through the valley of death and came out the other side pissed off and ready to live. By surrendering I have won what I had lost so many times. I never thought I could do this. Never, just like you might be thinking. I was wrong, and so are you.

Best of luck to you brother!

Bad Co
Avatar universal
Well after failing at my attempt, I'm back here.  I honestly don't remember what my last attempt was like since it didn't last very long.  This is where I'm at now.  I need any help I can get.  

Two days ago I decided to come up with a tapering plan.  I didn't know where to start, since I would use different amounts and administering in different ways.  So my first goal was to get to a certain baseline to start from.  As stated earlier, my Rx calls for Opana ER 20mg x 2 a day.  There is also Opana IR 10mg x 4 a day.  There are other meds, but those are the opiates I'm prescribed.  I know for a fact that I was using at least 3 or the ER a day, and probably 6-8 of the IR.  

I decided I want to first get to the point of using the meds as prescribed and as intended.  That would be a huge taper, simply because I was plugging and snorting, not taking orally.  I knew I would fail at trying to taper that fast.  So I set my baseline use to the ER x 2 daily (that's 20mg less than I was using) and 4 of the IR, broken up into 4 pieces each for snorting.  No more plugging, and no more than 2.5mg up the nose at a time.  

As I'm typing this in the hot tub, I realize at how ridiculous this sounds.  I sound like any other junkie.  That's still a lot of Opana.  But I have to start somewhere.  It's a realistic goal for me.  I have also started taking vitamins and minerals, mainly b complex and l-tyrosine for energy.  Now I'll tell you how it's been for the past 2 days.

I haven't felt very good.  Almost no appetite.  Insomnia.  I expected this since in hindsight, I cut my daily use by almost half I'm guessing, along with not plugging so its not hitting me as hard due to bioavailability changes.  I've been extremely cranky and just don't really feel like doing anything.  I'm bored.  But this large taper is only 2 days old, and I figure ill be feeling better soon.  

Everything I've read indicates that a slow taper is best, especially with such a strong drug.  So after this large initial step, I plan to take it slow to maximize my chance of success.  I plan to stay on this regimen for a month, during which time I will plan my next step in the taper.  I am open to suggestions.  The hardest part is not having the support of my family.  They have no clue.  You guys and gals are my support.  Mentally, these 2 days have, well, sucked.  But it hasn't been pure hell, nor unbearable.  It's a step and a start to reclaiming my life.  
2107676 tn?1388977459
Welcome back
  You have to be very disciplined to taper and usually it involves someone else who can be in control of our pills.  That being said, many people have done it.
Slow and steady is what works.  It isn't a race.  You seem to have the right idea now.  You don't want to go into withdrawals so just reduce your dosage gradually and wait until your body adjusts to the dose and then decrease it again when you are comfortable.  
I have seen many people fail at tapering because they decrease too much and end up being uncomfortable during their whole taper.
Hopefully it works for you and keep posting to let us know how you are doing.

Good luck
Avatar universal
I had a really bad habit .....I'm 4 days clean of takin opiates! Fortunately though I have some suboxone to help me with withdrawals.....problem is I'm scared I just prolonged my withdraw because now I'm going to have to come off the suboxone too!! I have a really bad shoulder blade. Bone on bone hurts like a mofo!!! I'm just sick of the chase, NEED & fear of being sick when I run out!! I just want to live a good normal life (sad to say, I don't even remember or even know what that is or how to leaf one? But I feel for you. It's going to b really hard! But if I can do it, biggest baby in the WORLD, then u can do it. Educate urself. That's all I've been doing while kicking this nasty habit. We care for u & want u 2 succeed. People are willing & eager to help. You can do this!! Think about what u have 2 "live for. That's what I'm TRYING 2 focus on!!! I'm praying for you!!!! But u must educate yourself 2 b prepared for this wild ride!! No doubt it's scary as hell!! But we made choices, our bodies r paying us back for abusing them. It's the price we pay 2 dance with the devil!!! God bless u!!! Stay strong and stay positive!! U can do this!!

P.s. sniffing isn't part of Dr.s orders. Just another faster way to feel the high. Doing them that way isn't gonna help u. IMO. best of luck!!!
Avatar universal
Thank you for the support.  I can and will do this.  You're right, sniffing certainly isn't what he had in mind.  But at this time, taking them orally won't allow my body to get enough drug to avoid the worst of the withdrawal.  Not only that, but this keeps me with enough meds, otherwise i would run out and be screwed.  I honestly don't like sniffing anyhow.  At some point during my taper, snorting will be eliminated in favor of oral only.  I need to research more and find some more info on Opana bioavailability.  That's for another day though.  I don't want to think too far ahead and stumble.  One day at a time with a plan and the willpower to stick to it.  
Avatar universal
Exactly one day at a time. You know what works & what's best for you. I wish u all the best!  Never give up. And research & educate yourself about everything this process entails!! You can do this!!!!
Avatar universal
I just woke up, and it had been about 14 hours since my last dose.  About 12 hours seems to be my cutoff until the WD starts.   I feel horrid right now and have for a few hours.  Cloudy, diarrhea, anxious.  This *****.  Waiting for the meds to kick in.  I didn't stray from my plan though.  I still wanna die right now.
Avatar universal
Small steps = big victories.  Like you said, you didn't stray from your plan - that is a win, for now.  You have to stay strong to stick to a taper plan, especially when doing it on your own as you are.  Keep your eyes on the prize . . . this is not going to be easy, but what is the alternative?  Like you said, you want to remember things, live life again, etc.  You CAN and WILL do all of this; it is just going to take some time.  Stick with it, you are doing great.
Avatar universal
Thank you for the encouragement.  These words are all I have, and reading the posts if others struggling too helps.  I'm not alone because of you guys.  I may try some light exercise and a hot shower to see if I can get the fog to lift.  I thought day 3 would be easier but it's the worst one yet.  The Devil won't hold me down though.  
Avatar universal
Hang in there you are doing great! SLOW and Steady. We can do this!
1970885 tn?1435864028
Before I comment I want you to know up front that I wish you only success - you deserve to be happy, no matter what.
But, I see so many paths to relapse in what you've written so far that I'm concerned about you getting and staying clean. Most of us cannot do it by ourselves - yes, you've reached out on this forum but that's far from enough. You will not succeed if this is the only support you have.
Addicts don't taper well WITHOUT HELP. As long as you know meds are available you will use, and find that, as time passes, you have a hard time sticking to the plan. And you already know why - your mind never stops. The mental struggle is never ending, and is much more difficult than physical detox. So if you want to succeed at tapering you need to have someone you can trust hold your meds and give them to you per the plan.
Finally, there are three basic things that you have to do if you want to get and stay clean. Cut your sources. In your case, since you have legit pain, you need to tell your doc that you're addicted and get his/her help. You've got to be truthful. This leads to part two - tell your secret. If you don't you will continue to use behind it. Tell your doc; tell your wife. You may be surprised at how positively people respond. This is very hard. And your head will tell you that you can't ; that you shouldn't. That you're wife will be mad, etc. But that's your addicts brain feeding you BS. Last part - get aftercare. NA meetings are great.
I used for over 15 years; I told the same lies and fed myself the same BS that you are. As of yesterday I've been 13 months clean. The three steps I listed did it.   So, bottom line, you will relapse if you think you can do this by yourself. The addiction will always win if you go solo, and if you keep your secret.
Avatar universal
Kyle, thank you for the honesty.  My biggest fear is failing because there isn't a soul that I'm close to that knows my secret.  So I took a small step and reached out to a friend that has a daughter that was an addict.  I told her she was the first person I had told because I knew she wouldn't judge me.  It helped.  I have 2 more things planned this week.  The first is to come clean to my doc about my problem.  I trust him, and I pray that he is understanding and will work with me on my plan to get clean.  My appointment is in 2 days.  The other thing is to see a therapist for my depression.  I've already talked to my doc about this, and he gave me a list.  Time to pick one and start getting outside help for my demons other than my addiction.  I also mentioned to my wife that I don't like taking these meds, just to see how she'd react.  She didn't say anything.  I told her I was going to talk to my doc about getting me on something less strong and addicting.  I haven't told her that I'm an addict.  I'm too afraid she would leave me, and I would absolutely give up if that happened.
3176864 tn?1391558673
Kyle is right.  I quit in January and have relapsed 3 times since then because I have not done what was suggested. I told my doctor but that wasn't my only source. So finally I literally cut off every avenue to pills I have. I deleted numbers, blocked numbers and with this last relapse decided I cannot have money so turned it all over to my wife. Now I cannot get money or use the card without her knowing. It will keep my  honest.
Lastly I thought the forum was all I needed but its not enough. We can just disappear. So I found a therapist and am going to go to meetings and church. This way I have support all the time in the early days. I also have a sober friend I reached out to and he has starting checking with me a couple tines a day

As or the wife. Only you know how she will react. My wife was supportive but also does not understand addiction so although I can talk to her about it. It's a lot different speaking to other addicts that understand.  Aldo it stresses her out and I feel selfish constantly dumping on her

Stay strong if you follow the advice of those with long periods of clean time you will be succesfyl
4626633 tn?1382600722
I just want to lend my support. You're making great progress by planning to tell your Dr, and getting therapy.

I ct'd, but had a crazy notion to keep my pills around. I finally listened on here, and flushed them day 7. There were times after the physical wds I would have relapsed had I not flushed them. To me, the mental was/is much harder than week 1.
I told my secret too, day 7, then more people later.
I think you did great telling somebody at least! Maybe as time progresses you'll feel you can tell your wife.

I too think tapering would be almost impossible without somebody dispensing the pills. In your case, can you try something else, since you won't/can't involve your wife?
Even renting a bank box, and locking your pills up, and only getting a day, two at the most out each time? That would help eliminate you taking more, knowing the bank is closed in the evenings and weekends.

Kyle above has some serious clean time in. He gives good advise.
Write down your goals. They become more real then. And seeing big X's on each calander day you stuck to the taper would help mentally too.
Good luck and keep posting.
1970885 tn?1435864028
Proud of you. Telling my wife and kids was the hardest thing I've ever done. The father, husband, provider - an addict who'd lied for 15 years? Who'd put med before his family? Well, they don't think any less of me and love me even more. They are a huge part of my daily support system. When it's right you really have to tell her. Explain to her, as you did here in your first post, how things got out of hand and before you knew it you were addicted. You have legit pain issues. You just got swallowed up like so many of us do. I promise that having her to help will make all the difference in the world.
Avatar universal
Hello - so glad to hear that you were able to tell a friend!  And telling your Dr. will be a huge step too.  You are so lucky to have a Dr. you can trust - be honest with him and tell him how much and what you have been taking so he can come up with a plan to safely taper you down and still manage your pain.  Legit pain *****, I know . . . my spine is messed up from top to bottom.  I had neck/spinal fusion last summer and sill have a blown disk in my lower back.  For the last 15 years I have lived on painkillers (mostly Tramadol, but I've pretty much been prescribed - and abused - every opiate out there at one time or another).  I NEVER thought I would be able to live without pills.  I remember reading many times on here from people saying that after they were off pills that their pain actually decreased or was gone.  OK, seriously, no way.  Well, I never should have doubted!  It is really true.  After a little over 2 months clean, I still have pain, but it is completely manageable with physical therapy/exercise and OTC remedies.  I agree with many others that think when we are using (especially @ high doses) the pills completely control our brain and decision making. I feel like I now am getting that control back, and it is powerful!

This process takes a lot of work, and like others say it is almost impossible to do on your own without support.  Stick with your plan and get that therapist number also.  Every little step that you take in getting others involved will help to ensure your success.  I hope that some day you can come clean to your wife.  You said she knows that you take pills for the pain, right?  Maybe as you go along and succeed in beating this you will be able to confide in her more.  I hope so for you, because to be totally free you have to be totally honest - especially with those you are closest to.  I wish you the best of luck and hope to keep hearing positive things!

4626633 tn?1382600722
When I first came on here, I was in actute detox of my own choice ( I still had pills), and figured I was doomed to failure since everyone kept saying tell your secret, etc. doomed to failure as I wasn't going to tell. Plain and simple.
I almost didn't even try to detox, after reading what it took to stay clean. Telling my secret. I just knew I wasn't going to do that, so I almost decided why bother with detox?

But day 7, my mind was already clearer. Hard to believe, but what seemed impossible day 1 was beginning to look possible. The physical wds were a cake walk compared to after. But on day 7 I told. I guess it was in my own time, but it didn't seem the hurdle it was day 1.

The advise I was getting and watching other's get sank in, although during the first week I was like, no way I am telling.

I guess I'm saying don't let it all overwhelm your mind at first. Keep up the little steps, which are truly huge steps.
Getting clean is huge. Then comes staying clean. That's humongous. Bigger than we are. You can do this. You're already making progress, it has to feel good!
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