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Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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1796826 tn?1558679629

Ten Year Hydrocodone Addict

I’m hoping that writing this down will help drive the kind of change in mindset that I desperately need. I have been addicted to hydrocodone-based prescription painkillers for close to ten years. I blew my right knee out when I was a teenager, and my left one in my late twenties. By my mid-thirties, I had had fiver operations on the right and one on the left (both ACLs replaced). Because the injury to my right knee is so severe, I am in constant pain from it, and will never be free of it until I get a total knee replacement. This is ten years out at least – the doctors say I’m too young to get one, as I’ll wear the joint out too quickly.

I’ve read through many posts on this site, and I relate so much to so many of them, it’s such a big help. I haven’t read about anyone who was exactly like me though. I get 160 10/325 hydro from my doctor a month. I typically go through these in seven days. I get another 290 pills from the street (5/500s, 7.5/750s and some 10/325s) and go through those rapidly too. I have always refused to take any opiate other than hydro, so I usually end up with about a week a month with no meds, and go through withdrawal just about every month as a consequence (always kicking myself and filled with guilt that I couldn’t manage to make the huge piles of pills I take last a little longer). I do a pretty good job of tapering. And I swear five hour energy must have been developed to handle opiate withdrawal ☺ After my week in purgatory, my tolerance is down a tad, and I go right back into the cycle. I am in such dry spell now, and for the first time in all this time, I’m thinking about how much I’d like to be free of it.

Part of my problem is that I’ve had a great deal of success, both personally and professionally during these ten years. I have a generally happy marriage (wife has no idea about the addiction) and get feedback that I’m a good dad to my children. That being said, I know I could be so much better – and I know that during wd I can be way more irritable than I should be. I’ve never spent more on these drugs than I can afford, and I’ve never let them affect my ability to excel at work. That, and the fact that I have a legitimate need for strong painkillers, has always kept me from “bottoming out” or anything like that. I’ve been addicted for so long, that I can actually see how the addiction has evolved over time – and I can see that it continues to evolve, and that’s what I’m afraid of. To be honest, my tolerance scares me too (I can take six 5/500s and get no effect at all). I know I’m in the realm of real kidney and liver damage and I wonder where will it go from here? Will I finally break down and start taking something stronger? I clearly can’t trust myself to make rational decisions around opiate use. On a side-note, as a long-term addict, I’m terrified to find out who I am without drugs (sounds silly, but so true).

My question is whether anyone can share some words of wisdom that will get me over the hump and finally commit to quitting. If you can do that, I can’t say how much I would appreciate it. For me, it’s not the physical withdrawal that is a problem. Like I said earlier, I do it every month. I need to find the mental strength or resolve to deal with this pain and not take pills. I’ve proven over a very long time that I can’t responsibly use painkillers, so taking 2-4 a day simply isn’t an option. And in ten years, I have never tried and failed to quit - I have simply never tried. Thanks in advance for any help...Ben
16 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi Ben-  I hear you loud and clear and think I know exactly what you're talking about. It's very familiar to me...

It's very difficult to quit when you can't come up with a good reason!  All I can tell you is that now is probably the best time and I'll tell you why:

You HAVEN'T lost everything yet!  You could very easily and it happens all of a sudden. It all comes tumbling down and by that point you're too ill-equiped to stop the landslide. It's overwhelming and depressing.  I don't need to tell you how that goes...you can imagine: failing at the job, with your kids, your wife, etc...

If only any of us had reached out as you're doing, before the crash. I wish I had...

It's important to 'fess up to your wife. You're going to need her love and understanding. I really don't recommend going  about this in secrecy. It seldom works out.

Some support like your doctor, a therapist, meetings, program, etc...will help you to stay clean. I recommend finding something now. Also, I'm a big fan of tapering. It's a little easier on the body and lets you slowly adjust to the lack of opiate.

There's a lot of support on this forum so don't hesitate to ask questions. Don't wait until you're taking unbelievable amounts and getting physically sick to stop!

Good luck!
Avatar universal

           You can quit if you want to bad enough.  But you will need help like NA or treatment center there are also other types of rehab. So go a head and get started on a new way of life without drugs.    Blessed are the merciful for they shall attain mercy.
Avatar universal
Vicky pretty much said it all... That daily intake of hydros, is totally out of control..and yea..all will come tumbling down..your health (kidneys, liver) possibly be the first to go...
Have that talk with your wife, and if you decide to taper..let her hold the pills. You, your wife, and your children deserve a clean Ben. I'm sure you will be a better person for it. No more lies, secrets...I had no idea that by taking oxycodone/xanax for 4 years..my body stopped creating endorphins, dopamine, seratonin..all of it..because I was ingesting synthetics. I have some pain..but it's totally doable compared to the mental pain I was feeling at the end.
I am still totally new at this..20 days opiate free, but I have a long way to go..and now I do have hope for a better future..I hope you do too.
Avatar universal
Ben, wow, ok, you are allot like me.  Chronic pain suffer, multiple  surgeries, can get any pill you want from the surgeon the hole nine yards.  I get it 100percent.  Life was great on pills i was able to concur the world, but it will all begin to crumble my friend and fast!!!!! All the feelings you are having are false and not Ben.  I actually had my knee replaced 3 times and im only 37, so wait as long as possible.  I cant take pills for one simple reason, i take one, NO, i want 10, and so on, so for me taking opiates is not an option.  Do i have pain, you bet, and it stinks, but, there are other options out there for you. I did a taper because i was on a boat load of meds and it was not easy but can be done.  Please tell your wife, i understand its hard, actually Vicki is the one who talked me into that and he handled it great, the truth shall set you free, believe me, it was such a relief, i hated the lies and secrets.  So you ask for suggestions, i say, open up to your wife, go to the doc and tell him you are dependent/addicted, and ask for a taper.  You have to want it for yourself, do you want?  Are you going to try?  It so worth it!  Best of luck to you
1796826 tn?1558679629
Thanks to each of you for your words of wisdom and encouragement. I've been sitting here for close to thirty minutes trying to figure out what I wanted to say in reply. I wish it was "OK, I'm going to follow your advice and begin the process". Instead, that part of my mind that needs to be totally committed to giving these pills is coming up with excuses not to do it. Such as: I get a blood panel every six months, my liver/kidney function is normal (how does one know one's liver or kidneys are going bad anyway - is there pain, swelling or some warning, or do they fail all-of-a-sudden?). Won't the brain adapt to not having the opiates in much the same way that it adapted to having them? I get the need to tell my wife and doctor. That will be the first thing I do when I commit to cleaning up. But that's also the point of no return - am I ready to swim so far from shore that I know I won't have the strength to swim back?

Let me ask you - when you made the decision to quit, was it like something clicked in your mind and you just knew that you'd had enough? Or did you kind of fall into deciding to quit through an accumulation wanting to do it for different reasons? And did you come to this decision on your own, or did it take people around you putting pressure on you to do it? Thanks again for your kindness and decency. It's a shame one has to get addicted to something to see altruism at work like this.
495284 tn?1333897642
COMMUNITY LEADER
I knew i had had enough.  My health was going downhill fast, i thought about my kids and grandson and i knew when i died they would want an autopsy and my dirty little secret would be out.  The thought of them having to live with the choices i made just about killed me.  I had to face my demons and get my life back for me and my family.  I had wasted too many years using.  It was the best decision i have ever made.  My health is getting better, my relationships are mending and i finally am living, not just existing.  I hope you make the choice to get clean~~sara
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495284 tn?1333897642
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