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Julie -

I just read--and had to answer--your so-honest admission of your struggle to make this difficult decision. I think I know just how you are feeling. I can completely understand your fear of withdrawal. And it's not so much the physical symptoms, which nasty as they are, do start to abate...but that relentless despression that grimly hangs on. At least that is my own reason for not just emptying my cabinets!! While I rarely "up" my dosage. I still am unable to just say no! (with all due credit to Nancy Reagan, who said it first! LOL!)

I'm the one with that crazy story of how I get my pills purely from my cousin's "overspill". As a legitimate pain management patient, she is given a fair amount....and shares the wealth! Ah, nothing like good old family ties!! Aarrrggghhh!!! :-) Anyway, when she has Vicodin...I take about 4-6 a day....and when she is switched to oxycontin, instead...I take two 40 mgs a day. (And the oxys I REALLY need to watch! These scary little pills tell me very quickly--in no uncertain terms--when I've taken enough!! They do make me nervous.)

Although I do have bad lower back pain...I have no good reason to take them....except to ward off the withdrawals I go into when I don't. That's what consumes me....my ever-lurking fear of this near-clinical depression I teeter on the edge of at the end of each month, when I'm forced to taper down so low. I believe I have the strength to combat the physical symptoms....but not the mental. And, because of that, I spend much of my time, like you, feeling both fearful of not having "enough"--and so weak in spirit--unable to just "deal with it." (And I am no spring chicken...I am 58.) Old enough to know better! And more than old enough to consider the fact that my brain's memory is already an AARP "subscriber" (!!)... and, yet, I am employed in the sort of job where I just can't afford to sacrifice even one more teeny, weeny little brain cell to my "Vegging with Vics" Happy Hour!! I need every cell I can get! LOL! Ugh!!

I started taking the Vicodins off and on about 15 years ago...but the last few years, since my cousin had her surgeries and has been getting all these pills....it's just moved on up to an everyday thing. One day (and stupidly only a year ago), I suddenly realized that this was addiction! That this was no naughty little "off-and-on" "recreational" habit. This was fullblown, even though I am unable to up my dose because of the limitations on what I can get.

So.....I felt great empathy with you, reading what you'd posted. I haven't even gotten past Page 1 of the 3 pages of your thread, yet....but I just wanted to get this off to you asap to say that "I understand." And I really do believe that we will both reach a point where giving this stuff up is a decision that we WILL make. I just wish I had concrete suggestions to help you right now...but, being in such a similar situation, I really do not. What I CAN say, however, is that you are not alone out there! Never!! You have others who understand and support you, whatever your ultimate decision. :-)

Feel better, Lynn





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