Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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Trying to decide cold turkey vs Subs?

I have been a prescription pain abuser for the last 7-10 years. 47 year old male, full time job, busy life, travel for work, etc.   Although I’ve quit, cold turkey 2 or 3 times and relapsed after a few months I’m ready to take steps to be done for good.  I have a good life and good family life but at least at this time I’m unable to come clean to them.  While I’ve done the c/t route twice I don’t feel I’m mentally strong enough for that right now.  I have been researching a number of local clinics but wanted to see from experiences what I’m in for.  I intend to make an appointment this week to discuss out patient treatment with a professional.  I currently take 8/5mg percs per day.  I know this isn’t a huge amount but I have been taking them for a very long time.  My biggest fear right now, I don’t want to be forced into rehab and I can’t share with my family.  I also don’t want to get into something deeper with a sub or buperonorphen addiction, there are some that say they are worse to get off of than painkillers.  Open to any and all thoughts.  Thank you so much in advance.  
7 Responses
Avatar universal
You're in for a particularly nasty version of what most addicts who've run out of money call HELL! That's what you will be in.
And not for a few hours or a few days. It will last weeks. At least. Especially since you've been doing this for that many years.
I made the really stupid mistake of walking off a methadone clinic after 10 years and on 80 mg. I was in my very early thirties at the time and I'm positive that's the only reason I didn't die from the experience.
You said you already did the'cold turkey' thing, so you know what to expect. Well, it doesn't get better or easier, or shorter in duration as you get older.
My advice to you is to get your self to the closest methadone treatment facility, explain what's going on in your life to them, and be honest.
They now know a great deal about addiction that wasn't known even 5 or so years ago. Once you're stabilized on that then you can decide whether you want to remain in treatment or detox off the methadone, but slowly. They can take you down as little as two milligrams at a time. And if the amount you drop causes too much discomfort you can go back up for a bit then try again with a smaller decrease.
And you're not exchanging one drug for another. You will be seeking treatment for substance abuse in the proper way with the eventual goal of becoming drug FREE! Now, start practicing that last part for when you have that sitdown with the family. But practice in the car, on your way to that treatment center. Do it today. You might not be able to tomorrow. In the meantime, good luck with whatever you decide to do. My heart goes out to you, my friend.
I'm sorry I disagree. I've been addicted to opiates, methadone and subs and I would NOT go the methadone route. Methadone and subs both take A LOT longer to withdrawal from than other opiates. That's why the above poster says weeks!
Also sounds like you don't have time to go to a methadone clinic regularly anyway.
7163794 tn?1457366813
In my opinion, there are a few things I would suggest you do.  #1 thing is you need to come clean to your spouse.  I am going to assume your using the opiates for speed because of your busy lifestyle and if you were to stop, you couldn't afford the time down.  Getting the support of your spouse which makes you accountable to someone else does help.  Keeping this secret will keep you sick.  Employ the help of your spouse.
#2, quitting cold turkey is great, but if you don't follow  it up with any type of aftercare your more than likely not going to be successful in staying clean.  Therapy, N/A, A/A, Celebrate Recovery, something for the support to get off and STAY off of the opiates.  Of course, this means staying away from ALL mind altering substances.  We don't ACCIDENTALLY become addicts, we are who we are.  I used opiates for 7 years, taking 10 - 15 Loritab 10's a day...I then switched to Suboxone and your uneasiness to go this route is ABSOLUTELY WARRANTED!  It was the biggest mistake of my life.  I ended up on the subs for almost 7 years as well.  NEVER should have gone that route.  Your dosage doesn't warrant subs or methadone!  It would be like killing a mosquito with a bat (and I'm not making light of your addiction!!!, it's just that it would be overkill)  
The above is what I did to get clean and stay clean.  I have been clean since January 1st, 2014.  Just quitting the drugs isn't enough!  I can't stress enough how important it is that you tell your spouse...you can't achieve recovery in anything if your lying to the people around you.  When I told my husband (and kids), I was petrified, only to realize...they already knew!  
I hope you find recovery...it's been a blessing for me.
I agree with all the above! 7 years on subs for me too! Easy to get on and stay on but hard to come off of if you ever want to be truly free! I too was on about the same amount of opiates you are on and was keeping it hidden which was a big reason I took the sub route in the first place only to later have to come clean anyway- I truly do recommend telling your spouse/family. It will eventually catch up with you anyway.
Great advice as always, motye51!
First off, thank you so much for the responses.  Motye515, congratulations on a wonderful 4+ years.  I will definitely keep you in my thoughts.  I will tell you one thing I am learning is how difficult it is to find treatment if you're a working adult.  Even with as much info and money being thrown at the epidemic it seems as if all of the assistance is for those who are about to OD.  I have called a number of places since Thursday in my home state and so far, no return call or email.  Honestly, after hearing your stories and the pros and cons, no call back is most likely for the best.  I do not wish to exchange one drug for another, and the quicker I get off of this the better.  

As far as telling my spouse, I understand where everyone is coming from, I truly do but at least at this point, it's not an option. Too many details to explain. There may be a day but it can't be now.  As I said, I have done the c/t route, more of a quick taper and I know for me at least it's about 1 week of getting little to no sleep.  

Motye51, you are absolutely correct it was the speed during the day and a full nights sleep.  I had some dental work, thought wow I really would like some of these every so often.  Well, you know how that story goes.  A friend had some, a friend of a friend had more and that led to multiple connections.  I've come to a point in my life where I'm just done.  I gave up smoking for over 7 years and recently went back, so now I have two habits to kick, but I will.  My next step will be going to an N/A meeting, there are several in my area and I've already done the homework.  However, I agree with everyone I don't want to get into a cycle of a legally prescribed substance just to stay on that for years and years.  Of course the dream is, OK, I can do this for a few months and taper down but I have heard sub w/d are much, much worse than what I'm currently on.  

Avatar universal
Everyone is different and goes on subs or methadone for all kinds of reasons.   Usually to get stabilized, reduce cravings, and to get back to a productive life.  You get stronger the more time passes.  All these are positive things.  It doesn't sound like you want to go cold turkey.  I don't blame you.  I went on methadone and had a positive experience.  I've taken subs too.  I don't think with your not wanting your family to know and traveling for work that methadone is for you. If you go on subs you can get stronger and work on your life. Hopefully being honest with your family.  You will have to get a subs doctor and follow some rules.  For how ever long your on it.  But well worth not feeling like crap. Going cold turkey IMO is cruel and I don't think it's wrong to not want to suffer.
Avatar universal
Hi friend, welcome. I have just about 4 years clean myself and I was on probably a little more than you. I have to say PLEASE read and reread Motye's response. She right on the money. She said everything I was going to say.

Also, if I may be so bold, you sound like you are wanting to get clean w/o any inconvenience to your status quo whatsoever. This includes telling your wife. Unfortunately, putting all those restrictions on yourself about getting clean is keeping you stuck. When we are BEYOND sick and tired of the hustle, the exhaustion, the secrets, the lying, we have to be willing to put getting clean FIRST. Before work, before pride, before convenience, everything. Until you get rid of the "I can't do this because..." you will stay where you are. I'm not trying to be rough, just telling you what I see and have seen a million times.

Good luck and I hope you keep posting.
Jifmoc, you are correct.  While I expect some discomfort, the final jump is the scariest part.  I'm preparing myself the best I can for what's to come.  After reading the comments and trying to figure the best route I have completely decided I will not exchange one drug for another.  While I'm sure this is helpful to some, I don't want to extend any kind of usage.  I have what I have, I'm starting to taper and I will not be getting any more.  I have already gone through the steps of deleting one of my three contacts from my phone and explaining I am done and no longer wish to get them, I have two more to go.  I may be taking baby steps but I am determined.  I have also decided to taper at a rate that has already given me some discomfort.  As of yesterday I cut two of my daily 8 down to 6 and I am not taking them two at a time as I did.  Regardless of how uncomfortable I become I will be dropping them by 1 every 5 days until I'm out, or until I realize I'm just extending the worst and stop taking them all together.  

"Bold" and brutally honest is why I'm here.  I understand I'm going to get a lot of flack for not telling anyone except for my N/A group, I understand everyone's thoughts on coming clean to my family.  I won't lie, the secret is a painful one to wear and there may be a day I can come clean, perhaps sooner rather than later but for now to keep on target I have to continue at this rate.  While I love my wife and she's been the best thing that ever happened to me, she would not be understanding in this matter as I've gotten myself into this position alone.Without a doubt she would leave me and that is something I just can't deal with.  
Avatar universal
Unfortunately you can't decide what is good for you because you have to do the jump from one to the other until you find what helps. The bad thing is that you may search on and on until you become so upset that you give up. You have deep inside you what can use willpower and strength. You have those but you have to dig them out and us e them to your advantage. There is that light at the end of the tunnel and it is waiting there for you. Think of the looks on the faces of the people you love and who love you and when you walk out of that tunnel the happiness that will surround you will be amazing. Go for it. You may not make it the first time or even the second but if you have the grit,use it. I know because I have watched my granddaughter walk away from meth and never look back. She was on it for almost six years. One day said," Hey, I'm stronger than that stuff, so I am done with it." these e her exact words. I might also mention that I was given oxycontin by my doctor . I was on it for a little over a month and when I realized what it was doing to me I flushed my pills. That was eleven years ago when I was 80 years of age. So if a weak old man can do it so can you youngsters.  I am not tryin to sell this to you . It is your decision not mine that counts. Good luck.
I love the fact that you posted!!! Welcome!
MANGEE!!!  I thought i had died and went to heaven when i saw your name!  I have missed you and your straight forward advice!  How have you been?
Avatar universal
Sent you a pm.
495284 tn?1333894042
I am really glad you decided to taper down instead of going the sub or methadone route.  Some people dont have a real tough time coming off those 2 but i have been on this site for over 10 yrs and the vast majority go thru hell.  Sub and Methadone  have their place i just dont recommend it for you.  You are doing something really great for yourself.  There is such freedom not being chained to pills.   Keep us posted on how you are doing~

Now go back and reread motye's post to you!!
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