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OK you asked for my story so here it is. I'm an old timer here and I've posted this a few times so this is old news to some here, sorry for the repeat. I try and jump in from time to time to help out if I can:

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It all started back about mid 1999 for me. I was a runner, ran about 4-5 marathons a year, about 50-65 miles a week, nothing special just did it for exercise and to compete with myself. Well after 20+ years of running it finally caught up with my back and I was diagnosed with herniated discís. I tried all sorts of treatments, epidural steroid injections, muscle relaxers, non opiate pain meds, etc.. Nothing helped and the pain was becoming intractable. To the point of not being able to walk well, tie my shoes, put my pants on and so on. Finally I started taking 5mg vicís and that helped. I took it as prescribed and all was well for several months. Well I noticed once that when I accidentally took 2 pills by mistake (took one, then another when I forgot I took the first one, duh) well I got this warm fuzzy feeling just consume my body. It was great, a buzz unlike I ever experienced. Then the next day no hangover. I smoked Pot when I was in college but the high from Pot was no where as good as opiates.

Well I got to the point where my back started coming around so I stock piled the vicís, soon I had enough for many weekends of fun. I started taking them just on every other Friday night like it was the weekend martini. Then I started taking them every Friday, not a bad deal and never withdrawal. Then I went to every Friday and Saturday, still no withdrawal. Then I upíd the strength to 10mgs pills (Norco 10/325) So I got to taking 20mgs on Friday and Saturdays every weekend. Then it was 25mgs, then 30mgs Fri-Sun. Then it was 40 mgs Fri-Sun. This is when come Tues Iíd get very mild withdrawal, upset stomach, diarrhea, chills/hot flashes, nothing bad, but uncomfortable (no where near full withdrawalís) that would last until Thurs. Come Friday back at the pills. Well this finally escalated to not just weekends but every day. Once I crossed from weekends to every day I was lost. I was taking about 40 mgs every day, 20mgs in the morning and 20mgs at night. I finally got so scared I couldnít stop and the guilt was so awful that I finally went cold turkey from 40mgs per day. It was not pleasant but not too bad. The usual restless legs, chills, hot flashes, aches, crawling skin, sleep problems sour stomach and so on. But not to awful bad. The worst was day 2-4, at about day 7 or 8 I was almost normal. Well I lasted drug free for about 4 months before I fell off my house roof and crushed my foot. I was in a cast for the next 6 months and what did they prescribe for the pain, 10mgs Norco with a bunch of refills. Well I was off and running, followed almost the same scenario as before and how the use and consumption escalated. This time it took a real turn for the worse. I also messed up the back as well so I was seeing a Dr in my health plan who gave me 4-5 refills for 180 10mgs Norco at a time. I would stockpile what I didnít use then when I got to the every day use again I started consuming what I had stockpiled in addition to new refills. I was taking about 20 10mg Norcoís per day (10 in the morn and 10 at night) but I was going through more then I could get my hands on so my stockpile dwindled to very low quantities. Thatís when I had the Dr assign me to the pain management group and they put me on the duragesic patch 25mcg (time release fentanyl) I changed the patch every 48 hrs and it was the equivalent of taking around 15 pills a day so this was a great bargain and solution for my pill consumption. What this did is keep me from getting the withdrawals but no real buzz. Well I had them supplement the patch with the Norco 10mgs and I would get a prescription for 120/mo. That was great as this would give me the buzz I was looking for. This eventually worked itself up to where I was consuming more then I could get so I had them up the patch to 50mcg, then 75mcg then finally 100mcg. I was also taking about 6 10mgs Norco each day on top. I found out this was the equivalent of taking around 500mgs of Hydro per day. Well I got scared that I would never be able to get off this train and the guilt was so overwhelming. I was also terrified of withdrawal so that kept me taking all the drugs longer then I would have expected me to take. I finally started melting down and freaking out. I came very close to admitting myself into rehab detox, but I was too scared, even with the assurance of meds to assist in the detox process. In my mind coming off 40mgs per day was not fun, but coming off over 10X greater amount would be death in my mind. Iíd never be able to do cold turkey. I finally confessed to my PCP (Primary Care Physician). I did my homework on the NET and found out from various sources how to taper. I documented my process and schedule and presented it to my Dr, he was impressed and we came to agreement that we would follow the plan. The plan was aggressive in comparison to a normal taper so for the next 8 weeks as I tapered I suffered through mild withdrawal every stinking day of the 8 weeks (like having the flu every day, no let up). We agreed that if I cheated the plan I would have to stop the taper and go the rehab route. Well I stuck to plan and suffered every day. I finally got to the last week of 2002 and I was at about 20mgs per day (down from 500mgs per day) Iím the impatient type and I knew I was so close and could not taper any longer, so I talked to my Dr and did more NET searching and found all the drugs used in an inpatient detox program. I documented the types and strengths and schedule for a 5 day detox. Once again he agreed with my plan and prescribed the meds for me. On 12/31/02 I took my last pill and implemented the at home detox program I created. Well the next 5 days were not very nice but I got through it. It was nearly 3 weeks before I started to feel like my old self, and it was almost 6 weeks before I had energy and mental state back to near normal. When I hit the 8 week mark for drug free I felt really good. Every month after I feel better and better. Now Iím years drug free and my life is wonderful and I really donít think I have ever felt better. Iím so happy itís too hard to describe. My wife of 30yrs is glad to have her old husband back and my two girls (23 & 20) really love the old dad being back. They knew what I went through as I kept them in the loop (up front and honest), it also scared the hell out of them and they are really drug aware and resistant to follow my path. In the scheme of things my trials are not nearly as long or difficult as others but I have taken a few paths to addiction and a few different paths to drug free, so I can honestly speak from experience. I was also 45 when this happened in my life so drug addiction in not age discriminate, we are all at risk no matter what age. I bottom line is I did not think this would happen to me.

phil





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