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How I got through detox and withdrawals

Mar 24, 2013 - 6 comments
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quiting

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restlessness

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day 1

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day 2

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Day 3

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D-DAY (DETOX DAY) JOURNAL: My experience detoxing from Norcos

This my day-by-day, hour-by-hour journal of events from the last 72+ hours of detox and the days leading up to it. I’m only 3 DAYS CLEAN. So, I know I’m not out of the bushes yet. I could feel like crap tomorrow. Besides that, I'm still anticipating obstacles down the road; cravings, PAWS, depression, irritability, anxiety, etc. Day by day, though, right?

Below is a long, and probably boring, outline of what I did. If you want the short story, here you go: I got through my detox pretty well by taking the following: Ambien, Xanax (just once), Vitamins and Supplements, Protein Shakes and Vitamin Waters, Claritin and Sinus meds, lots of food, and my 100mg Lyrica pills. I’m convinced Lyrica (or Gabapentin) is a miracle worker. And....if you want the long story, be my guest:

MONDAY – MARCH 18th | 2 DAYS TILL D-DAY

Later this week I am going to attempt cold turkey from 4 Norcos/day. It took me about two months to get down to that low of a dose. I was at 15 pills/day before. That was a mixture of Norco (which I have been taking for years, and aggressively since June of last year with the onset of my knee injury), Percocets (immediately following both knee surgeries), Oxys (I was on for two months prior to my second surgery), and lastly, Suboxone. The Suboxone was RX’d to me for pain, NOT to get off pills. I know – people can’t figure out how I took Suboxone and the other pills without getting sick. I can’t explain that either – maybe I wasn’t letting it fully dissolve under my tongue or something. I do know I had withdrawals from that stuff because I was a crazy biotch and thought I was dying.

My husband is leaving town for a long weekend, so that gives me a perfect opportunity to do this. My emotions run high as I found out in my leap from all those pills above to 6 Norco/day — I end up getting in terrible fights and asking him for a divorce every other hour. It was awesome. Anyway, with him gone, there’s no better time to do this. I’ve cancelled my physical therapy on Friday. So… Wednesday, after my physical therapy, will be my last dose. Oh joy!

TUESDAY – MARCH 19th | 1 DAY TILL D-DAY

I need to organize myself. I bought supplements that are supposed to help when detoxing, and with cravings. I’ll list those out later. As D-Day approaches, I am getting as much done around the house as possible, and buying all the food and drinks I'll need. I’m not working these days, so I am lucky that way (I guess?) Anyway, I know others have children and careers to attend to as they get off pills and I applaud those people for doing this!  

WEDNESDAY – MARCH 20th | D-DAY  

Today is the last day for me to take a pill? GASP. I can think of a zillion reasons to put this off. Anywayssss… As for the supplements I had mentioned in my last post, I’ll list out what I got and why. The vitamins I take are from “Designs for Health” – it’s supposed to be some fancy-pants brand, but I doubt they aren't any different from the ones at someone’s local health food store:

• Multi-vitamin (no explanation needed)

• Amino Acid Synergy: Vitamin B-6, L-Histidine, L-Leucine, Alpha-Ketoglutarate, L-Arginine, L-Lysine, L-Phenylalamine, L-Valine, L-Isoleucine, L-Methionine, L-Threonine
--- Amino acids are converted to neurotransmitters in the brain, or something like that.

• 5-HTP Synergy: B6 and 5-HTP (I don’t know if I’m taking too much vitamin B6 since it’s in both, but I guess it can’t hurt for just a short time. I might cut back on a pill or two of the Amino Acid Synergy though.)
--- 5 HTP is a supplement that converts in the brain into serotonin, again, or something like that.

• MSM: Methylsulfonylmethane
--- In addition to strengthening joints in the body, MSM also helps to detoxify the body.

So, there ya go. I don’t know if supplements help – but they certainly can’t hurt. I also have Lyrica and Gabapentin. I heard these types of medications help with withdrawals. We shall see. I wonder what state I’ll be in come Monday…

HOUR 1 | 3pm Wednesday

So, yes, it’s still March 20th. But instead of doing this by days I’m going to start doing this by hours. Last pill was taken a little before 3pm today. Here we go…

HOUR 7 | 10pm Wednesday

I’ve been taking 1 pill every six hours for weeks now. I took my last pill 7 hours ago, at 3pm today. I feel anxious. I know it’s in my head – but my head is telling me something isn’t right. Tic toc tic toc. To be continued…

HOUR 21 | Noon Thursday

I got through the night with the help of Lyrica and an Ambien. I’m not experience RSL or creepy crawly skin, but I feel like a wet blanket, slow and heavy. I woke up at 9:30am today, took another Lyrica (they are only 100mg pills – very low dose), ate cold pizza since that’s all I had the energy to “cook” and went straight back to bed. I’ve been bad about taking my supplements… I think the Lyrica might be giving me heartburn (or maybe it’s the sausage pizza!), so I don’t want to upset my stomach more. My body feels weird, like it is longing for something. I’m a bit on edge, but not too bad. I’m forcing myself to take my 5-HTP vitamin now. I’ve also been drinking vitamin waters and Odwalla protein shakes. ZzzzzZzzzzZzzzz – I’m going to sleep for a bit longer.

HOUR 24 | 3pm Thursday

ONE DAY CLEAN! I haven’t gone 24 hours without a painkiller in over 3 years. This is strange. So I got out of bed about 30 minutes ago and my body is feeling okay. I’m cold and a little clammy. The only pain I have is in my knee. I have more energy than 2 hours ago. I feel anxious… like nervous or something. I’m also craving a pill badly. So, I just took a supplement called “Crave Arrest” It has amino acids in it, Vitamin C, and B vitamins. Maybe that will help. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills marathon is on Bravo. Godsend! But still, I’m thinking about pills constantly. Oh well. So, I made it 24 hours, which is a small victory. From what I’ve read, the worst is about to come. I still have another day or so until I hit the bad part of withdrawals. Tic toc tic toc. To be continued…  

HOUR 27 | 6pm Thursday

My skin is starting to crawl a tiny bit, so I just took another 100mg Lyrica. I’ve read it takes a couple hours for Lyrica to work — so I figured I should take it now. I know it’s only been a little over 24 hours, but I’m feeling pretty good. I don’t want to jinx myself by saying that. When I did my huge leap from 15 pills/day to 6 pills/day, I was a MUCH bigger mess by this time. I still have cravings, but that’s OK. I need to relearn to live my life without these pills. I will say, there’s no way I could drive anywhere or talk to a bunch of people right now. The idea of it gives me anxiety. I’m going to take a bath now to help with the chills and mild skin crawling. Oh and yah, sneezing here and there.

HOUR 32 | 11pm Thursday

So far so good. No stomach issues yet. Not as anxious anymore. No restless legs. Still sort of cravings the pills, but forgot all about them when I was watching ‘Life of Pi’ I’ve been pretty hungry, which is new for me. I ate four slices of pizza, two bowls of mushroom soup, a whole bag of caramel corn, and a bag of carrots (weird). I’m going to try to sleep soon. I’m sure I’ll take an Ambien (I know, I know – but right now I need them) and a Lyrica. I am starting to become a believer in this Lyrica stuff… I have 16 of them left, so enough to help me through all this. I hope taking them for three of four days doesn’t make me feel like crap later. I have read that there shouldn’t be issues with this short of a time. Good night. Till tomorrow…

HOUR 43 | 10am Friday

Woke up at 8am starving and thirsty, so I chugged vitamin water and made a microwave pizza (gross, I know, but I wasn’t up for cooking eggs). Still no RLS. My arms feel a little sore, but not bad at all. I took another nap on the couch for an hour and now here I am. My stomach has been normal despite my meal choices. I keep waiting for the dreaded opiate runs. Maybe those happen day 3. I do feel like I could maybe throw up, but I’m not sure if that’s from withdrawal or from popping my Lyrica, multi-vitamins, 5-HTP, and MSM supplements. I’m going to take a 600mg Advil for my arms and my knee. It’s gorgeous outside. I wish I could leave my house, but I am scared to face the real world. I’ll have to force myself eventually, I know. It’s going to be weird to do things without a buzz. Anyway, that’s where I am. 5 more hours and I’m at 2 days clean! Crazy. Off to take a bath.

HOUR 48 | 3pm Friday

TWO DAYS CLEAN!! I’m starting to definitely feel the head cold/flu like symptoms. I am coughing and sneezing a ton with a runny nose. It feels like allergies, really. I read that Benedryl or Claritin can help with this stuff. Unfortunately I don’t have either of those in the house. My arms still feel a little heavy and I'm slightly achey. Other than that, no anxiety. No restlessness. I’ve been sleeping a ton. I just took a two-hour nap and woke up an hour ago. The body heals when it is sleeping (or so I’ve heard), so I think resting during all this is essential. I know insomnia is a problem for people. Yet another reason Lyrica has been great. It makes me tired. Anyway, trying not to think about my allergy-like symptoms and just ride this out. As always, to be continued…

HOUR 51 | 6pm Friday

So, I had some 'Aleve Cold and Sinus' and took one of those. It seems to be helping with the coughing and sneezing since it dries up my nose. I was getting really anxious, so I ended up taking my first Xanax in this whole process. I know a detox means to totally cleanse yourself of all stuff, but I really think if it weren’t for the medicines I’m taking, I might have caved by now. Still no stomach issues. Doing pretty good at this point, I think. Even though I’ve been craving a pill here and there, taking one isn't an option. I consider this detox a challenge. I don’t like to lose.

HOUR 64 | 7am Saturday

Whoa. So around 9pm last night I fell asleep on my couch and woke up at midnight. Went straight to bed, and just woke up again. I’m pretty groggy, but my body feels good right now. No aches whatsoever. I’m not going to take any Lyrica unless I start to feel the ugly RLS and creepy-crawly skin come over me. We’ll see what the day brings… going to have some yogurt now.

HOUR 69 | Noon Saturday

Took my Advil, MSM, 5-HTP, and multi-vitamin after breakfast. No Lyrica today. And guess what? I sucked it up, vacuumed the house, washed my hair (for once), put on my make-up, picked out a cute workout outfit, went by the grocery store, and then went for a long walk along the beach. I think I got about a mile until my knee started throbbing — which means my scar tissue is getting irritated. I’m at home icing now.  I have to say, I was in great spirits today. No anxiety going to the grocery store — which is huge for me. I’m usually always anxious about going to the store, even when I was on pills. Oh and I got my hands on some Claritin, hoping that helps with the sneezing. I’m STILL not having any stomach issues and I felt great on my walk (well, until the knee acted up) Looking good so far!

HOUR 72 | 3pm Saturday

THREE DAYS CLEAN!!! So I’ve been icing and watching a lot of Bravo since my last entry. Mentally feeling great. Physically doing great: No RLS, no chills, no skin aches, no body aches, sneezing and coughing calmed down after taking Claritin. I mean, again, I don’t want to jinx myself, but I’m three days clean of opiates and feel kind of awesome. I didn’t take any Lyrica today so far either. The only pain that I am having is in my knee. And no, it’s not “fake” pain  – I know that’s the first thing people think. My knee issue is unfortunately still very, very real. Anyway, I’ll take another Advil 600mg this afternoon/evening.

HOUR 78 | 9pm Saturday

Went to the Container Store, Walgreens, and the grocery store again. Feeling pretty good. I have energy, no pains or aches or sneezes… it weird, I feel like I did before I ever took pills. No fog right now. No Lyrica today. Maybe I’ve just hit some sort of withdrawal high and it’s going to come crashing down on me. EEEKS! Oh well, I’ll take whatever I can get for now. On that note, it's time to be done with my Detox-Day write up.

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FROM HERE ON OUT:

I know there are by-the-book MedHelp folks out there that won’t take any excuses when it comes to opiates… but, things aren’t always black and white, yes or no, take it or leave it. There are gray areas, at least for me. So, here’s how I’ll be dealing with Norco from here on out, and my thoughts on aftercare:

••••• USING NORCO: I’m asking my doctor if I still should still take 1 Norco before my PT. The last time I didn’t, I couldn’t do necessary stuff. It’s been working for me, so we’ll see what he thinks given my current situation. Even if I did that, I’d only be taking 3 pills/week for legit pain, and they would be distributed to me by my husband. I'm not using this as an excuse. It is what it is with my knee. I can't make it not hurt.  

***** AFTERCARE: I’ll be on this site, plus looking for a shrink. People might suggest (or insist) I go to NA meetings. Those just aren’t for me. I’m still going to have a glass of bubbles at fancy dinners. I’ll do wine-tasting next time we are in Napa. I know NA wants people to refrain from alcohol. Besides that, being in a group setting freaks me out. All said and done, if I find myself really struggling down the road— I’ll definitely reevaluate my decision on NA.  

That's all folks. To anyone that had the patience to read this whole thing, thank you for your interest and feel free to message me with any questions :)  




Day 30 of Tapering  

Feb 28, 2013 - 5 comments
Tags:

norco

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Addiction

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taper

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Anxiety

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dependency

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Fear

,

withdrawal



This week I tapered down to 4 Norcos/day. Over the course of 30 days, I’ve gone from my 15 pills a day habit (is habit the right word? Probably not!), sprinkled with the stupid Suboxone my doctor had me take for 3 weeks while on all those pills, topped off with a cherry of Librium that I was taking for a month. I’ve never mentioned the Librium before in my posts… because I didn’t think much of it. But after being on this site, I’ve learned that Benzos can really take a toll on your mental health when stopped. I quit that med cold turkey along with the Suboxone and jumped from 15 pills to 6 pills on Day 1. I’m not sure if being on Librium for a month screwed with my head… but I was getting severe panic attacks a couple weeks ago, so who knows. The panic subsided last week. Thank God.

I noticed something this morning that made me really happy. I did not feel like complete (fill in the blank since I can’t type bad words on here) when I woke up. Granted, the beginning of RLS and withdrawal discomfort was setting good in at 5am, but I took the first pill of the day and it calmed down. What I mean is I didn’t have a pill hangover. When I was taking a ton of Norcos, I used to go nuts at night. My husband would come home, we’d watch our favorite shows and I’d become a zombie – taking half my daily intake in a 3-hour period. I’d crash and then I’d wake up not feeling withdrawals, but feeling like concrete – head throbbing, body slow, mind fuzzy, depression in full force. Just awful. I was not able to function. It took hours before I had the strength to lift food to my mouth, hours longer to gain the motivation to shower. I felt like this every morning for months and months on end, and the only thing that made me feel better were the pills.

What happens to by mind and body from here forward, I don’t know. What I do know is that the all the mental and physical pains I have gone through to get here – 30 days later – has been completely worth it. I never thought I’d feel alert again. I thought every morning would be a struggle — that I'd never have energy to lift a glass of water to my face. I had told myself that my life had changed for the worse and it wasn’t going to get better. I was dead wrong!

Yesterday I went to see a therapist. She wasn’t right for me… so I’m going to look for someone new. I did most the talking, and while I was rambling on it became very apparent that I was the creator of my misery. My boredom, my fear, my anxiety… on top of the pill use, I haven’t been fostering a positive mindset and healthy lifestyle for ages. It will take me some time to figure out how to un-isolate myself and motivate to do things that bring joy into my life again. But at least I see where I need to improve. I get it. Something has got to give or I am going to be sad and irritated and resentful forever…  

My therapist asked me if I was addicted. I didn’t know what to say. Am I? Or am I dependent? Yes, I had two knee surgeries in the last 6 months… but I was taking WAY more pills than necessary to cope with that pain. I was using them to deal with a horrible situation at my job and the major stress of my wedding this past October. I was not the blushing, excited bride… since the day I got engaged I was terrified of commitment and being the center of attention brought on paralyzing fear. Now that I’m out of that work environment and the wedding is done, will I still feel the need to take pills to cope with my life? My hope is that I’m one of the lucky ones. The odds aren’t in my favor I’m sure… but what if I’m not an addict, but rather a woman that went through an overwhelming year and used pills as my crutch. A temporary crutch. Is that even a possibility? I dunno how this stuff works. Time will tell, I guess. I know I’m thinking far ahead (therapy has a way of doing that to you) — after all, I’m not clean yet and I have many more battles to overcome after I am.  I just pray that when I am off this stuff, I can face adversity sober and clear-headed… I did myself NO favors cowering behind a buzz.

Got to get ready for Physical Therapy now. To be continued…


Day 27 of Tapering

Feb 25, 2013 - 3 comments
Tags:

norco

,

taper

,

Anxiety

,

Fear

,

Pain

,

Addiction

,

dependency



When I post something in my journal - in my mind, it means I HAVE to do it. These are public after all, so it's as though I'm making a promise and signing it with blood every time I write something here. That's good for me. Keeps me honest :) Haha. On that note:

Today I taper down to 4 Norcos/day

Every taper I get nervous... How awful is my sleep going to be tonight? How anxious will I feel as I try to go about my daily routine? Will my knee hurt? Will I yell at my husband? Will I feel depressed? Will I EVER feel normal again? Am I ready for this or will I go back on my promise? (oh I hope I don't go back on my promise)

If I were to tell someone that never takes pain meds that I'm down to ONLY four, they'd probably look at me as if I was a freak. "FOUR pain killers a day!? Ummm... that's a lot..." I suppose it is. Every day of this taper has been difficult. Some days horrific, other days just mildly annoying. I'm scared of what's next: the continued tapering, the weeks following the final leap, and the PAWS and trying times to come over the next year...

Tomorrow morning I go to see my doctor and who knows what that appointment is going to be like. Last appointment he told me to go see a pain management doc. But I don't think I have chronic pain. I think I have a strong physical dependency that I need to be tapered down from. And the mental addiction is something my new therapist and I can get through... I pray he doesn't freak out on me and force me to go Cold Turkey after I've gotten this far :(    

On the bright side, last week I was able to get on a bike at Physical Therapy. The first time I've been able to do that since June! It's a step in the right direction with the knee issue... I still have pain, but it's not unbearable. I hope within the next couple weeks, we can get my patella to start tracking correctly. That would be HUGE. And when/if that happens, there will be NO more excuses to pop another one of these devil pills. Period.  

To be continued...  

If you are reading this, thank you for your support and your friendship through this!!! xoxoxo

  



Day 22 of Tapering

Feb 20, 2013 - 10 comments

Can't believe I've been doing this for 22 days already.

2 months ago I was taking 15 Norcos and 4mg of Suboxone a day. Yesterday I took 5 Norcos. Today I'm trying to committing to taking only 4.5 Norcos. I hope I can stick to it. To be continued...