Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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955456 tn?1316227179

Please help me with my Percocet Addiction!


I come here today because I know I need a support group if I am ever going to be able to kick this habit.  I am a single mother to a 3 year old boy.  My life is nothing but stress, and his father gives me no type of child support, neither physical, emotional, or physical.  I have a wonderful mother, and wonderful siblings.  I was not a great teenager, always getting into trouble.  I got pregnant with my son at 22.  I was married to his father, and it turned out he was using me for his green card.  When I had my son, the performed a C-section.  I was given Percocet for this procedure.   Long story short, when I took these percs, the pain was GONE and I didn't dwell on my son's father day and night.  After my prescription ran out (it lasted about 2 days), and the dr wouldn't refill, I stopped taking them.  Then 7 weeks later, when I got a job, someone was selling them at the job. I was really going through it with my husband and I started buying them everyday to deal with my emotional problems that I was having.  They made me feel great, and not so emotional about the fact that this man was treating me SO BAD.  Ever since then, I'm addicted.  Now I finally go rid of the loser, and I have another loser to deal with.  This addiction.  I decided last night that I was going to quit today.  Unfortunately, the withdrawal was unbearable.  I have to work and take care of my son.  I can not tell my mom about this, as she is not understanding about addictions. She told me when I had my son that he was MY son.  I carry that with me, and know she has 2 jobs and is not able to stop her life to take my son while I go to a rehab or even just while I detox.  I had so many things I had to do today,  I just couldn't do them with those symptoms so I bought 10 end 10.  I want to stop!  Please, someone describe how I can taper off of them, starting the first day (tomorrow) with 5 perc 10.  Please I want my life back!  I can't afford a week off of work or a week away from my son.  I will be forever grateful if someone can give me a way to do this that doesn't interrupt my entire life.  Thank you!
130 Responses
917008 tn?1251223979
Do you think you can taper? It's worth a try -- how much were you taking and how long? It makes a difference re tapering.
Avatar universal
Oh, how I feel your pain! More than you will ever know. I don't have the willpower or discipline to taper. If I have one pill, I will take 4. the same goes for drinking. 23 days for me without lortabs, the first three were hell. It was flu like symptoms people describe, but I think they forget to mention that on top of those feelings you are mean, weeping, frustrated, anxious, tired, but unable to sleep. I took one xanax a day to curb the anxiety, which is nothing, I have panic attacks constantly since I was 17yrs old, 13 yrs ago. I went to the ER numerous times thinking I was having a heart attack, but no, just panic attack. After 5 surgeries, I had received many doses of hydrocodone, I guess the place I was the last time in my life left me vulnerable. 23days with the help of 4 darvocet a day, which I'm not proud of and do not recommend, but I am drinking more and feel like ****. I know it gets better, listen to the others, I just have to many addictions to deal with to be accurate on the withdrawl of one. But I do know you can do it, we all can; sounds stupid but mind over matter. Best of luck!
955456 tn?1316227179
Well... I think I can start with 5 a day.

Unfortuantely, I didn't have a "schedule" with these things, some days were worse then others.  I have been "on" them for 2 years now, it's HELL.  I am in a cold sweat now as we speak.  This is the worst :(
955456 tn?1316227179
Today I will begin my taper....

I hope I can go about my day without dwelling every second about a pill...

I still have to work and take care of my son...

Will I be strong enough today?
954151 tn?1247096095
Are you on your first day today? If so it’s going to get worse I’m on day 3 and I’m wishing I had some pills to take. Like you I too have other addiction. But they are a cake walk compared to this. I pray you have the strength to do the taper GOOD LUCK
955456 tn?1316227179
Thank you for the well wishes

I have never had a physical withdrawal from anything I have ever done, it was always rather easy to quit once I made up my mind.  Unfortunately, this is HELL.  I tried the cold turkey route yesterday and I knew I couldn't go about my life feeling the way I felt. This was when I knew I was left with nothing but the taper method.  I am going to try by taking 4 pills for the next 2 days, 3 for the next 2, 2 for the next 2, 1 for the next 2, and last 2 days, a half a pill.  I sure am hoping that once I am down to those last 2 halves, the hot/cold sweats and pains in the legs will be something that I can bear with because my body will be down to the half a pill.  Has anyone successfully done the taper method, and if so how was it once you got down to your last pills and finally were down to 0 a day?

This site is gonna help me, I think not having a support system was what was holding me down and back.
954151 tn?1247096095
So how are you feeling today? Are the cold sweats gone? Because I’m setting here right know with goose bumps but hot flash at the same time! This is the worst thing that I’ve ever been though. Shoot when my daughter was born the doctors only give her a 10% chance of making it though the day and I don’t think it made me feel as bad as I do right know. Don’t get me wrong I was devastated  when the doc’s told us about are baby girl. Oh by the way she is now 9
942290 tn?1252618549
I wish you all the luck in the world. I know what its like having to work,be with my kids and go cold turkey over an opiate addiction.  Its not easy, but you are going to have to sooner or later. I have done it quite a few times, then like a bone brain, make the mistake of thinking I can handle it better than I did in the past.

look at your son, and your own life, use that as the ultimate motivator. tell the others you are sick with a major virus, thus explaining your soon to be condition. study,search and read   about the oxycodone that you are addicted too. understand how your enemy works. then set up a battle plan. best to tapper off like you discovered,  but if you could get a few days off, maybe three to handle the worse part of it which is the first 2-3 days. your going to have to fight hard and think about the value of going through this rough spell, inorder to feel normal again :]
955456 tn?1316227179
Since I have decided to taper, I have had the sweats and chills creeping up and I am not due for another pill until 12.  I am allowing myself only 4 pills today, from the usual 5-8. It's taking more will power then I thought, and I am realizing it's pyschological as well as physical.  I thought,  without the physical symptoms this would be a cinch.  Now I realize it's also my mind telling me I want these pills.  I am going to be strong, as tapering is the only hope I have.  I can't deal with those full strength withdrawal symptoms.
955456 tn?1316227179
I have been telling myself all day to do what you recommended and it is definitely helping.  I am hoping by tapering, the withdrawal symptoms wont be so severe... is there any chance of that happening?
426217 tn?1249005416
Hey Mo,

I have been where you are and felt so scared and lost and how did I get here!  You have to have faith in yourself and keep telling yourself you can do this!  We are all here to help and support you the best we can!

You CAN do this!!!!
942290 tn?1252618549
mo, the problem is you have been on a strong opiate. percs are oxycodone. I do believe a taper method helps. I hate to say that to you, but you need to set the stage for a battle.

how many do you have left?

any chance of getting 3-4 days off when you get ready to go total cold turkey?
955456 tn?1316227179
Dear whitie,

The problem with this is that I can't get a day off let alone 3 or 4.  This is what makes me feel like I'm STUCK with this addiction.  If I do a SLOW taper, will the symptoms be bearable? Unfortunately I am a single mother with no help.  I have no one I can leave my son with for more then a work day.  Am I going to be able to do this?????????
955456 tn?1316227179
I guess the question is...

If I taper... once I get down to that one day a pill, will the w/d not be as severe as when I tried to go cold turkey yesterday?  I need to know I can do this... I don't want to be stuck in this addiction for the rest of my life.  I wish I could ask my mom for help, but she is just very judgemental, and can't understand how people end up with these addictions.  I can deal with the mental part of not having a pill, it's just that I can't take care of my son during those withdrawals... they are TERRIBLE!  I am crying as I am writing this and reading other people's posts.  I feel like this is a demon I am stuck with, I don't even know how I ended up here.  There is not even one friend of mine who knows I do this, as all of my friends are clean.  I feel so alone, and I don't want to be worried about my next pill for the rest of my life.  I feel so down right now, I just want to pop 2 pills and go to sleep.  But I followed my taper schedule today, and no more pills for me until tomorrow.  I took the pills like I said I would, although all I could think about was watching the clock until the time arrived for my next pill.  I feel like I need a hug, and someone to just tell this all to.  I want to have a better life, and get back to school.  Unfortunately, I know I have to fix this first before I make such a commitment.  I want to be happy and successful, and most importantly, I DON"T WANT TO BE ADDICTED ANYMORE!  I feel like I'm losing my head.
Avatar universal
I can relate to your story in many ways especially with having kids and having to work.  I have been "ready" to stop for quite a while now but due to my husband recently losing his job, the pressure has been on me to support a family with four kids 12-2yrs old.. I understand you feel that you cannot tell your mom and that you cant miss much work, if any  but, the one thing I can say is that as addicts, we get creative when trying to find ways to get the pills dont we? We know how to juggle this bill or that bill to make sure we have the money for our pills, we know how to start a conversation with individuals to test the waters to see if they have or can get any etc.. so now its time to get creative and come up with a way that you can get the "flu" and reach out for some help.  The battle alone is hard enough but to top it off with keeping an excusing lingering over your head on why you have to use daily just to get thru the day is enough to kill anyone.  We gotta reach here girl, and think of ways to make this work so that you can detox at home- bc yes you are a single mother which in my book are absolute SOLDIERS and I admire dearly but, you are also HUMAN and these damn pills play mental and physical games with us.  What could the reprocussions be from your job if you had to miss works for a max of 3 days? combined with your regular off days, this may be possible to get u thru the detox portion....  
955456 tn?1316227179
Thank you so very much for reaching out to me right now.... I feel extremely weak.

I barely make my bills, so a day off is impossible.  I am ALWAYS behind as it is ( and this addiction doesn't help at all!) and this is why I realize I HAVE to stop.  The days I am broke I just worry worry worry about getting these damn things.  Even if I could get off 3 days from work, where would my son go?  Those w/d symptoms are worse then anything that I have ever had.  I tried yesterday, and I was just not the mother I want to be.  I love my son more then anything, and I am all that he has, this is why I KNOW i have to stop.  I had given up everything when pregnant, and was clean and sober the entire time.  I wonder why I had to get a C section and be exposed to these pills.  I just wish I had never been exposed to them.  I have no one to come and help me those 3 days that the w/d would be worse, and this is why I feel stuck.  Do you still feel the w/d symptoms if you taper off slowly?  

Once again, thank you for caring.

Avatar universal
Although I don't have any children, I know exactly where you're coming from when you say that there's just no possible way to get out of work for a few days in order to try and detox yourself from the pills. Do you mind if I ask how often and how many you take?

I feel like you and I are in the same boat right now, girl. Let me know if there's anything I can do for you at all, please.. Keep that head up, although I know just how hard that is to do. Here I was, trying today to start tapering, and I get a message over and over again and it just stressed me out and I went for the bottle. Two pills popped.
955456 tn?1316227179
I was taking anywhere up to 9 a day and decided to go cold turkey yesterday, but the w/d was tooooooo severe I couldn't function.  So I decided to start my taper today at 5 pills for the next 2 days, 4 the next 2 days.. so on so on....

I am reallly hoping this works for me...

How about you, what is your taper plan? Since we both just started, maybe we can keep each other on track....

Thank you so much for responding :)
Avatar universal
I understand the worry that comes on those broke days... you can concentrate on nothing else other than when and how you will get the next pill.  I also understand the severity of the w/d's, the feeling of weakness and the worry of where ur son would go.  Honestly, tapering did not work for me (that doesnt mean it cant work for you though).  Everytime I was broke and trying to get money to refill a script or buy more pills I told myself that once I got them that all they were going to be for was to taper, not get high.... notice I said "everytime"....
I have people in my life that I have not told yet about my problem and couldnt fathom telling but, then again I also dont have my mother.  You are a mother too, so never under estimate the love of a mother.  I know you say she feels the way she does about people with addiction but, you never know how she will respond if it is her own daughter. And it sounds like you are going to require some kind of help from some one.  Being in this trap is horrible but if you are ready, then ya gotta find some kind of ways to "bend the rules" to help you start getting off of these.  I know you dont want to tell her but it sounds like you may want/need to....even if it is to help you work something out during w/d's....
306455 tn?1288862071
First thing to do , is stop worrying, you can do this. Won't be easy , but doable. Make sure you taper slowly, drop down a dose (1 pill) every 2-3 days ( or better yet, every 5-6 days). This will give your body time to adjust to each lowering of the dose and keep you from going thru any real bad withdrawals. When you get down to 1 pill a day, then drop to 1/2 pill. I'm going to assume you have weekends off, so after taking 1/2 a pill a  day for a few days, then jump off on a Saturday. Your withdrawals should be minor and by Monday you should be fine to work.
While going thru your taper, there will be times when you're very tired and you feel that you're not giving your son a lot of attention or keeping up with house work. Don't worry about it. It will pass. Better to have some weeks of fatigue than a lifetime of addiction. Your son will survive your taper. He may not survive a life time with an addict mother.
Accept the fact that you're not gonna feel normal all the time for the duration of your taper, and it's gonna be a mental battle for a while after you're done with the pills.
Make sure you flush any leftovers when you're done. When you're finished with your taper, make sure you tell your source at work, not to offer you any more...EVER.
You're gonna have to dig down deep for strength. When you get weak, get on this forum and post.....don't wait.
Hang in there, be strong, you can do this.
333612 tn?1302883390
listen to flmagi-she knows what she is talking about-taper slowly. you can do it. you probably know everything i'm gonna put in here but here it goes anyway. have you worked out a good taper schedule yet? you can do it very slowly and it will not be so bad......let us know if you need help. I'm not here to preach, just to help. stay strong-you can do this!! I'm sure you know this...but you can break pills into 1/2's and eventually 1/4's when you get further along your taper. taking small doses every few hours makes the taper easier (in my opinion).  then you can stretch the time between your small doses out until you get 'comfortable' (you know, when you get to the 'this isn't so bad' stage it's time to drop your doses or push the timing out further). With 5 pills a day you should take 1 whole pill  when you get up..let's say  7 a.m. and save 1 for bedtime...let's say 10:30 pm...  (to get you normalized after a night without opiates)...this leaves you about a 15.5 hour day and 3 more pills to use in that time frame. Get up, take your whole pill at 7 am.....and in 2.5 hours (at 9:30 am) take your first 1/2 pill, and in 2.5 hours (noon) take your next 1/2 pill, and then wait another 2.5 hours (it's now 2:30 pm) take your next 1/2 pill......another 2.5 hours and then it's 5 pm and time for a 1/2 pill......then your home run stretch of 2.5 hours which brings you to 7:30 pm and your last 1/2 pill....give yourself another 2.5 hours, which brings you to bedtime at 10 -10:30PM and you take your last whole pill for the day. This will be a bit uncomfortable but completely doable....once you are doing it, easy breazy(probably after 4-5 days)
it's time to drop your dose...whether you want to space the timings out to 3 hours tween pills and end up lossing one whole pill (4 pills a day) OR you can drop from 5 pills to 4.5. pills and you do the math as to how it will figure in. The biggest thing I can tell you is to keep small amounts in your system that are taken fairly reqularly and as you lower the doses and spread them further apart it forces your body to start making the stuff it needs to feel normal again-but you are keeping enough of the drug in your body to keep you semi-human feeling until your body gets it figured out again. It won't be comfortable-but you can definately work through it (I did) and if you can not afford a whole week to go CT then this is the way to go. You can pass your symptoms off as 'i may be catching something'. The big thing is; get out and get moving. For me excersicing is what kept my wigglys under control. Just stay focused on work-not on your flu-like symptoms. They WILL pass- you will survive and you WILL get your life back. Hopefully this type of taper will be workable for you.....if waiting 2.5 hours is to long for your 1/2 pill-heck cut the pill into 1/4's and only wait 1 hour and 15 minutes between quarters....whatever it takes. Don't get to focuses on waiting for the pill...that just feeds you addiction (gotta get a pill, gotta have that pill etc). it's simply a way to keep a low, constant amount in your system. I vote you do the 1 at 7 am then 2.5 hours for 1/2 pills and then 1 at bedtime----cut it down every 4-6 days and do it again with less pills and slightly more time tween pills....eventually you can cut down your bedtime dose to 1/2 a pill.....and then your morning pill to 1/2.....
enought rambling--read my next post also
Greatgreebo (my computer is goofing up:-(
Avatar universal
Hi Mo
Im on day 8 I was taking up to 20 percs a day... Id say Im lucky to be alive.. I had access to these pills on a daily bases. Believe it or not...I did it cold turkey but beeen through hell since.. The good news is the main wd's are pretty much gone BUT Im going through hell as far as weakness... I cant do much of anything. I also had access to valiem which I also abuse and ended up in er the other night. Well that was a scare for me... Im on clodine now with is wonderful for opiate withdrawls...Please know you Will get through this...Please just get as much rest as possible. I understand having kids and no time off work is so hard for you Im so sorry for that!!! I could'nt taper off I wanted as many as I could get. Please have faith and post here because these people on this sight are absolutly wonderful!!!! I dont know what Id done if I did'nt post here to get some help!!! I wish you the best....ANd please...if you get off these horrible pills try very hard if possible to never touch them again. I dont want to ever go through this again. Also Im starting to go to NA meetings once I get abit of strenfth back!!!
Take Care
333612 tn?1302883390
Time for some technical talk... One of the things which increases "dependence" is a spike in drug blood plasma levels. Addicts do this on purpose to get a "high". They do it by Snorting (Very fast delivery), IV Injections, Chewing up meds and taking on an empty stomach.

The above all produce the most amount of drug in the blood in an attempt to get a buzz. These spikes are one of the reasons we addicts get hooked faster than a COMPLIANT Chronic Pain Patient.

Being compliant means they take only as directed. The goal of compliance is to maintain an even blood plasma at the minimum amount to treat PAIN and NOT to produce euphoria (a high).

Since the blood plasma levels are lower, the levels of dopamine at the synaptic cleft do not spike so the receptor sites do not downregulate or decrease in number in response to the initially MUCH higher level of dopamine released as a result of spiking.

Addictive dosing behaviors, the large doses associated to Spike the blood plasma level, vs the lower low dosing and more often which is the KEY factor to the physical changes the brain makes which cause dependency.

Dependency is the actual physical changes to your body which cause withdrawal. Addiction is the BEHAVIOR of taking the drugs to get high, not as prescribed, and when not needed for clinical reasons. It is the un-manageable behaviors associated with lack of control.

Which comes first... Dependence or addiction? Usually it's addiction, but it can be the other way, but the key issue which causes the progression of addiction are the behaviors.

Addiction is what makes you take more and more, spiking doses, etc. This in turn increases dependence. The higher your dependence the higher the tollerance... Round and round you go. The addiction merry-go-round.

How to break the cycle? The only way is to change the behavior. That is a very difficult thing. Pain is usually a very good motivator. So is Euphoria. When the pain out weighs the euphoria one starts to consider breaking the cycle. Unfortunately the pain being eliminated by the drug is a driving force. Then the addict associated the RELIEF of th pain to the drug instead of the drug being the CAUSE of the pain.

SOoooooooo what to do? Break the cycle.

Many have to hit bottom to do that. That's the point where the pain of using overwhelms the relief of using. It's an emotional point which is different for different people. Not every one has to hit a bottom to quit. The sooner you quit the less pain and suffering you have to experience.

For folks who are on smaller doses and their disease has not progressed very far, they have not felt the extent of pain addiction can cause. Only conceptualizing how bad it can get may not be good enough to motivate a person early in addiction to quit.

Intellectually we know what lays ahead. We hear the truth from others, but yet we continue to use. It is not until we get a glimpse of the pain that lays ahead do we become to believe we need to quit. One HAS to believe that in fact addiction does lead to the loss of everything and eventually Jails Institutions and Death.

Addiction is a lot easier to nip in the bud physically but maybe not emotionally because one has not experienced the pain first hand. Some need more pain than others to quit. Some don't make it and end up end stage and their addiction wins.

If you want to get off of the pills you have to change your behavior.

1) STOP SNORTING your pills!
2) Stop spiking your dose!
3) stop taking enough to get high

You will never quit until you do that. Weather you can or not is up to you.

You have to come to a point where you make the decision you want to quit. The en you have to make a plan then you have to execute that plan. SIMPLE .... but not easy.

The solution from a clinical point of view for you at your point of addiction is so easy. A simple taper, and change the behavior. In short break the cycle.

How to do a taper is easy. Changing the behavior is the HARD part, but you have to want to change.

If you are taking 6 pills a day... then start taking them in even doses and don't take like 3-4 at a time. 24 hrs divided by 6 = 4 hrs. So only take one pill every 4 hrs. Then take 5 pills in 24 hrs. That's 4.8 hrs. Then 4 pills a day... break pills into 1/2's so you have 8 1/2 pills. and take 1/2 a pill every 3 hrs. Etc.

If you can't stick to a taper give the pills to a friend to dispense.

Mean while .. you have to start changing the way you think and the things you do... You should educate yourself... Good place to do all of that is NA or AA. It's FREE and takes up time. It forces you to be doing something other than sitting around with nothing to do and just thinking about using.

It's not the only way, but it's a good place to start. Take what you need from it, and leave the rest.

If you take the same amount or less every day and don't spike your dose you will eventually quit.

30 mg of Hydro can be tapered to 0 in 2-4 weeks painlessly. The PAWS will be minimal too.

The ball is in your court. We can not make you do anything. Only YOU can.

When you are ready is up to you. If you need to stay "out there" using and see for yourself how bad it will get that's up to you.

My recommendation.. Start to QUIT now! It will be a whole lot easier.

You CAN do this. Stay strong and stay focused!-There are three posts in my Journal entitled PAWS part 1, 2,3. Go to my Greatgreebo profile and read up on the PAWS (post acute withdrawal symptoms/syndrome)... start at part 1 and read through part 3. They will give you some guidance on where you need to go from once you've quit the immediate act of ingesting opiates....do some reading and some soul searching and lean on all of us on the forum for strength. But don't have a pity party....it just makes your time drag. Rejoice!! you are getting your life back, taking control and telling all your bad habits "NO MORE!!!"   and that you are in charge of your life from this moment on. And evey drug free moment you have from now until forever will be spent with the people who love you (your child, your friends, your family) and you will not waste one more second of your life on useless things.....drugs, your ex....people that bring you down.
Okay-it's late and i'm tired. I pray my rambling typos make some sense!!
Stay Strong

955456 tn?1316227179
You guys have been lifesavors!

I really just needed someone to break down the taper for me, and your suggestions do seem SO doable!

You guys rock, and I am so glad I finally asked for help even if it is from strangers.  It's reassuring to know others have been where I am at!

Yesterday was my first taper day and I stuck to it!

I took 5 like I had planned, and I yearned for more but resisted.  It made me feel proud of myself when I finally laid down to rest my weary body and mind.  

You guys have saved my life... I CAN do this... I woke up this morning in the cold sweats, but I know I have a plan so I don't feel hopeless..

Thank you guys for your compassion and support... I would be lost if I had not reached out to this community.... I know it's going to be uphill from here..

I woke up thinking I can never do this, but once i dragged myself out of bed and got on the computer and saw everyone's response to me, it revived me and reminded me that I CAN do this!

Thank you
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