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Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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Avatar universal

pain pills -- never too late to quit

I am 65 years old and am 48 hours clean from Percocet.  I began taking them 3 years ago for back pain, then osteoarthritis of my hands.  I have had abdominal operations in that time as well, which kept the game going.  I started with taking 2 7.5 mg pills a day.  Then my doctor thought I should be on a more "normal" dose and upped it to 3 a day.  Good for me.  
At first the pills helped the pain, then I started taking them to get a project or cleaning done or to go out with friends.  Eventually I needed to take an extra one or two every time I needed to be around my extended family where many exuberant children would be present.  I always found that and really any other event much more tolerable when I had extra helpers on board.  
Also during the past 3 years, I have moved 4 times, so out came more pills so that I could deal with the packing and everything that moving entails.
I decided I wanted to quit when at the end of the day my face was all tight and I couldn't even smile and just had to hide out in my room.   I kept thinking of how to quit and have been reading some w/d stories that just seemed too hard for me to bear.

Then a week ago, I tore my rotator cuff, a very painful experience, went to the ER and was given more pain pills.  I realized that at my age, I am likely to have more pain issues and that I could not keep adding to the pill load for each one.   I quit  2 nights ago.   I spent yesterday in bed, my son brought me juice and soup.  I watched some TV and could not say what it was.  I have slept little but prayed much and listened to my favorite sermons online.  This has been the Greatest help.   I have been quite anxious but have not had the restless legs, praise God.    Today I have had burning stomach, not much appetite and the runs.  I am exhausted yet can't be still.

I am not in much pain, not nearly as much as when I was taking the pills.  Every time the pills wore off, I felt pain and a sense of dread come over me, that was the worst part, and so I took another pill for instant relief.  I think that you all are right, our minds trick us into thinking we need all this pain relief, when our wonderful bodies do a pretty good job of sorting it all out and giving us what we need naturally.
I have taken a fair amount of drugs in my life, both prescription and illicit.  They have always been around, and I have always been susceptible.  I took them because I was insecure, traumatized, overworked, or just wanted a taste of the "edge."  I spent many years drug free and raised my children in a drug-free atmosphere.  Then I felt old and worn-out and done and needed the pills for the pain of getting old.

Today when I woke up my eyes and skin were clearer, I am able to type this coherently and without pain in my hands.  Damn, I am not that old!   The women in my family tend to live into their nineties, and if I am so fortunate to live that long and help to guide my grandchildren to a better life, I pray to do so without the help of pharmaceuticals.  This is a hard world, but there is much happiness and delight as well if we are only open to it.

I am not aiming this at those with intractable pain -- I understand that, and if you need relief, you just do and without censuring yourself.  Most of you are 20 -40, I think, and don't need the pills, but your mind is saying you do.  Please remember your earlier dreams of what you wanted to do in this life, and don't let it go by pushing away happiness for what you believe is beyond happiness.  That way lies the abyss.

Sorry for the preaching (not).  And blessings on all of you.
44 Responses
Avatar universal
Congratulations!!  Your post is so inspiring.  My mother had a lot of the same issues as you.  She was essentially crippled with arthritis in every bone.  She also had a terrible time breathing from having TB as a kid.  The doctors were always trying to get her to take Vicodin or Percocet and they'd tell her stay away from the pain.  She'd tell them she didn't want to get addicted.  (She was around 70.)  The laughed at her.  But she didn't take them and at times, before I knew about how easy it is to get addicted, I'd encourage her to take them.  She rarely did.  She said how can you not become addicted if you're taking something every 4 hours.

I've tapered down from a boatload of meds since last March/April. Sometimes I went a little too fast and paid for it.  It's been a long haul.  I am still on a very small amount of a med that I'm tapering off more slowly.  It's amazing that my pain is staying the same (still bad).  But it's just as bad when I take a ton of meds.

Try some bananas for the restless legs.  Or Hylands Restful Legs will help, as will tonic water (with quinine.)  Imodium is also a big help for the stomach and I've heard it helps withrawals in general.

Melatonin can help with sleep, though I prefer Alteril; it works much better for me.  God Bless.  You're nearly through the worst of it!
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for sharing this, good luck with your fight -- you have the tenacity to pull this off.

Tomorrow will be day 12 for me, it's the best choice I've made in years... as a result of it, I'm seeing things clearly for the first time in a long while (hell, I solved a issue at work that has had me stumped for nearly 2 months since getting clean.)

Stay strong, stay focused -- expect many ups and downs, I can't tell you how many crazy days I've had. After those initial withdrawals,any time I've felt good one day, the next was much harder... followed by a wonderful day... followed by a hard crash. Each time though, it's stabilizing more and more; my "normal" level is getting more consistent in the 2nd week.

You have my respect and admiration for tackling this at your age, you truly are an inspiration.
1700643 tn?1464846682
I really enjoyed reading that.I'm30been clean5months.I do have a lot of medical issues that DRS always say I will need medication.I don't want to be n my50's+60'still taking pills I was prescribed since my20's.I do have2say all of us r not just taking them for fun.I had no idea what was gonna happen2me when I started the meds.Eventually I was abusing them(pain meds r what I ended  up abusing them ironicly I initially hated them.I have herniated+deteriorating discs n my back,neck problems,almost daily migraines fibromyalgia,severe anxiety disorder,cronic.fatigue +getting tested for thyroid soon.I quit150mg of opiate,8mg xanax,4soma a day(and my Dr wanted2raise my meds many times).I'm doing a lot better but please don't believe that anyone my age just does them4fun.We do have real medical problems as well.All I take now r migraine meds+cymbalta.
Avatar universal
Stay strong and remember to take things one day at a time! Baths seem to help a ton! remember your life without the pills and be inspired that you can still live that wonderful life. Something I am an advocate of is a book by a Dr John Sarno titled "The Mindbody Syndrome". It's a book that costs $11 bucks on amazon, and with an open mind, it's started to eliminate my pains, so many people gave it five stars and have been pain free for years, even people who are older than you :) so there is hope, just hang in there. I'm currently wd CT from norcos, 5 days so far, we can make it!!!! Lots of water!!!!! Flush it out!!!
Avatar universal
You articulated,quite nicely,what so many of us can relate to. No, 65 is not old...many of us here are over 40 and 50...I felt 110 when I first came to the forum!!!

I believe it's truly a noble thing when we decide to leave the pills in the bottle!    I'm a little concerned about the rotator cuff though. If you need something for that or after surgery, you need to take something,okay? It can be really painful...

For now, go easy and be sure to increase your fluids to replace what you're losing. Also, get some Immodium!

Please stay in touch!
Avatar universal
Thank you all for your welcome comments.  Forgive me for sounding as if I was breezing through this in 48 hours -- I thought I was just one lucky lady.  Then BAM! -- I was awakened from a fairly restful sleep with my right leg jerking around rather violently, never had RLS before, rather an annoying and startling side effect.  Took a warm shower as suggested & feel somewhat better although here I am awake at 3 a.m.  I had been planning on going to church this morning but don't want uncontrollable shaking and jerking about to be mistaken for some sort of religious fit, so will listen online instead.

Over, I did not mean to imply that all of you are taking pills for fun, just that I believe that the pills eventually amplify the pain and that we do have the strength to overcome.  You are proof of that, and I admire you and pray that you continue in your resolve.

Vicki, my rotator cuff injury was a partial tear and is getting better if I don't overdo while unpacking or roll over on that side, ouch.  I won't be having surgery.

Taalian, I am an avid reader and will get your suggested book.  I can download it on Kindle and start now because it does not look as if I will get much sleep tonight.

God bless all of you in your very brave struggles.
Avatar universal
Hey how r u glad 2 hear things are still going well you are very much an aspiration to me and others i am 1 that started taking pills for fun.Now it is if i dont take them im in pain.Isnt that something i started out fine now im in pain if i dont take my meds regaurdless of how we begin down this horrible road we all have the same issues of getting off of them my prayers go out to you i can tell by reading your post you are a very strong individual and believe that you will beat this in live out a long healthy life keep striving......now if i can only take my own advice huh well look forward 2 hearing more of your road to recovery Your friend stumbo..........
1801781 tn?1461629469
Thanks for sharing.  I am 60 and am over 30 days clean.  If you talk to your doctor and tell them that you want others non narcotic meds..they will usually listen.  Talk to the and there are others options for the w/d that will help. Esp. for the restless legs.  I tried all the OTC for Restless legs and nothing really helped until I could get my doctor to help.  Good luck.
Avatar universal
I related so much to your post and what I think is great and helpful..is your sense of humor. Rarely have I seen that in the early days of w/d. That and your determination can get you through this. and of course, with the help of God. I give Him the Glory. For too long I was doing things my way..that's why I ended up dependant on pills. Now I'm letting go of the shame and trusting that there is more  LiFE yet to be lived, more left for me to do..clean & sober.
I loved this, " I had been planning on going to church this morning but don't want uncontrollable shaking and jerking about to be mistaken for some sort of religious fit."
Welcome to the forum :)
Avatar universal
Wow, do I feel rotten today.  Yes, I do.  I have NO energy.  I have been to the kitchen twice, once for a banana and toast, then for a glass of green superfood, thought that would get me going as it is "super."  Ended up back in bed.  Began to listen to a sermon, was interrupted when my 8-year-old grandson came in to tell me how his pet mouse, Steve, bit his finger, but not too hard.  We had a serious discussion about the proper taming of the mouse, if there is such a thing.  When my son started cooking bacon, the odor of which permeates the entire house and made me gag, I took a shower with the fan on high, felt a bit better but now am back in bed.  

I want my energy back, but realize from all I have read that I may not get it for awhile.   I don't want to stay in bed today, but know that WORK in the form of unpacking boxes awaits on the other side of the door.  Son and wife will have to go it alone today.  I guess this is how it goes?  1st day okay, second day the symptoms arrive but not too bad, 3rd day just flat out awful.  But hey, I am looking good!  Look 10 years younger but feel 20 years older.

Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful responses.  I mistakenly touched the button marked Best Answer on one post, and it was a great answer, but they all are.   I thank you all so much for sharing and supporting me and each other.  What a lovely connection.

1827057 tn?1397520277
Hi Glad you are doing this.Tell your grandson to cup his hands over the mouse before picking it up.This makes the mouse feel safe.Tomorrow will be better but the energy and sleep thing will take time.good luck
Avatar universal
Ricart, thank you for the mouse advice -- this is surely a one-stop forum.

And donewitis, I began to write a book of humorous (?) essays awhile back, was blocked when my pill use began to escalate, just could not feel what I was writing or much else for that matter.  I went to church but did not feel joy in the Lord or life.  Now all that is to change.  I am getting the demon out and letting feelings flow and hope that it extends to finishing my book.  It is a great step for me to be writing anything at all as I have never been on a forum.  But no more lurking for me -- I am coming out of the shadows, (but first I have to get out of bed).     Patience . . .
Avatar universal
At least you look good!!   When we go through this kind of drama it's important to look great while doing it!!  It makes it so ...romantic!!

I've got some advice: Get the Hyland's at Walgreen/Walmart OR drink Tonic Water. It's less expensive and you probably have some of that in the house!  The quinine in it is what you need and it will work.   Hot-as-you-can-stand baths with Epsom salts works great! No kidding!

Fluids and lots of fluids. Try gatorade if you can. I don't like it myself so if you don't try this: One part OJ,one part cranberry juice,one part ginger ale. Make it in a pitcher (no fair adding Vodka!) and sip on that all day.

You need protein and protein shakes or Ensure will cover that. Do you have high b/p?  Watch that. Also, do call your doctor for some assistance. There's a med called clonidine that helps immensely!

Does your family know what's going on? Was the Percocet prescribed?

I'm happy to hear you won't need surgery. That's a relief!

Stay in touch!
Avatar universal
Thanks Vicki.  I am drinking lots of fluids, and my son is going to get me some protein powder now.  I have been doing smoothies so will be easy to add.  The RLS has subsided.  Yes, the pills were prescribed, and I needed them at times, just not so many or for so long.  My son has known about it and is helpful but rather insensitive.  He thinks it inconvenient that I am doing this now rather than when the house was completely unpacked.  Arghh!  

As far as looking good, I meant that my skin and eyes look clearer than they have for quite some time.  I just think that is one good side effect of W/D, something about it has turned out to be pleasant.  So the toxic pills were not only killing my natural endorphins and my sense of joy, but dampening my inner glow.   Makes sense since the skin reflects our inner health.  Have others experienced this?

Thank you for all you good suggestions.  Praying for a restful night for all who suffer.  

Avatar universal
wow really enjoyed reading ur post and what a inspraion it is:) I am on day 8 almost day 9 and feeling pretty good. I had a TERRIABLE restless leg issue and still have it BUT it has let up TREMENDOUSLY if u get it bad i would call ur dr and ask about Requip it is non addicting and it is for RLS it has helped me A LOT i still had it but it def calmed it down. Remember each and everyday is another day behind u and a day closer to gettin gur life back. Congrats on recaliming ur life (and NO u r not old) i do think sometimes older people that r addicted just let it run because they dont have that motivation u seem like u have a great and bery young personlaity. Sermons and God will help u so i am glad u r a believer Jesus has been MY ROCK everytime i felt down or weak i simply said a prayer "Lord when i am weak u r strong i need ur strngth i cant do this alone" and God being faithful as he is He helped me. I am typically not a strong person when it comes to this but i have just kept moving i couldnt stay in bed because the restless legs so i do one task after another and take my 10 month old on a walk even when i dont feel like i can pick my legs up because in the end it does help. Again if u can ask ur dr about that med the restless legs last a bit... God Bless u and keep moving forward u can do this
Avatar universal
I'm so glad to hear your hanging in there, you are strong. I'm also ecstatic your going to grab the book, I really feel so many people would benefit on this forum, it's already started changing my life. Be sure to let me know when you get ahold of it so maybe we can help eachother there too :)
Avatar universal
You are an inspiration to me as well, can't imagine having to be alert to a small child's need when you need to be taken care of as a child yourself.  Our faith in the Lord pulls us through one step at a time.  Good for you.
Avatar universal
Yes, I think many others have experienced that "lack of grayness"...I definitely have. It's very noticeable in the eyes, as well.  They get brighter!

Hope you sleep well!
1035252 tn?1427227833
I loved the way you explained everything...I'm glad you're doing so well!

I just had to laugh when Vicki said it's so important to look good while doing this...I LOVED being a martyr when I was detoxing. I would shower but not wash my hair and get that grungy look..the gaunt face, the bags under the eyes, the sheen on my skin from the sweat...I was like "yeah that's right I feel like crap...I look like crap...but I'm taking CHARGE, [email protected]!"

HOWEVER...I noticed the brightness in my eyes as well. It's crazy...I was on a low dose and never abused it (5mg of hydrocodone 3 x a day)..and I never even noticed that my eyes were duller...love having that back, among many other things.

I do still have to take the occasional pill for my pain issues (I too have legit pain issues and decided to stop my meds voluntarily)....but the freedom of being able to take one IF I HURT..and not being forced to take one ALL THE TIME....man..it's amazing.

best of luck to you..good luck to your grandson with that mouse ;-).
1700643 tn?1464846682
Oh I know u didnt mean any harm I was just saying even younger people can have legitimate  pain&addiction sneaks up on them.
Ur post is so inspiring.And ironically I dont think ur old yet I just turned30+freaked out LOL.Ur as young as u feel.ur doing great,PLEASE keep posting.
Avatar universal
Positive signs on the 4th day:   I had a wonderful night's sleep, over 8 hours without awakening.  Maybe this is TMI, but I thought I had an aging bladder and was given to spasms and peeing every 15 minutes at times and having that awaken me several times at night.  But no, it was the pills.  I haven't slept past 5 a.m. for a year, so what a wonderful relief to awaken at 7:30 and get my grandson up, dressed, fed and off to the bus.  Of course now I am back in bed and sleepy again.  I will get up today, shower, do yoga and go the store --a small store, a very brief visit to a very small store, if there are any of those left.  I detest "super"markets --  whose idea was that?    overlit, overcrowded, noisy huge spaces with WAY too many choices and terrible music -- it surprises me that anyone can go there without being drugged, maybe most of them are.  But I digress.

I am not in much pain, still have very little energy or ambition.  I am fortunate in that I do not have to show up at a job today and admire so much those who are keeping on at their jobs throughout this ordeal.  

Last night I prayed for restful sleep, not only for myself, but for all of us on this journey, and hope that most of you found a way to rest easy.   God bless.
Avatar universal
Your post shows me one thing: Noone can tell me it is so great to be young. I see people my age (I'm 24) doing themselves in , no wonder when we are reduced to being costumers and clients and patients and generally some number on a piece of a paper. None of us will have your wisdom and experience and also suffering in life that makes you look at your own addiction without self-pity.
So you really don't need to envy anybody but we have to envy you really.
I wish that at your age I will be a person like you...always hoping I will reach it but God knows.
Your post is truly inspiring!
Avatar universal
hey congrats on day 4 it only gets better. i am feeling a bit better today also but the restless legs still seem to come and go cant wait for that to be over AMAZING that u slept that long be thankful:) it seems every other night i can sleep a little but the otehr nights r REALLY rough. i LOVE ur personality and the uplifting sense u have about this and otehr things. Keep it going everyday it DOES get better i LOVE that all my feelings r coming back amazing u dont get so frusterated when u r off the pills i find myself wanting to squeeze my 10 month old to death lol he jsut seems soooo different to me and my husband too i LVOE it. Blessings to u and keep ur head up and knees bent:) God Bless
Avatar universal
Oh Mookie it IS great to be young -- it is great being old too, considering the alternative.  My little sister took her own life at the age of 24, vibrant lovely girl who felt as if she would never fit anywhere and so was very lonely.  She about took the rest of the family with her.  I spent years in futile mourning and doing stupid stuff.  I had already finished my degree but never went far in my career, did not travel as I had wanted to, never seemed to finish anything.  Many wasted years, but for my children.

God has a plan for each of us, even you, and especially those who don't fit in.  It is those who feel they don't belong in this world who end up doing the most extraordinary things with their lives if they choose to live and let their imaginations and life force flow.  One cannot do that while numb.

To burn brightly, our lives must first experience the flame.   But do not let it consume you.  

I am glad you have turned to this forum for help.  I am immensely blessed myself.     I put my arms around you.    
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