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And here is my story:

I am confessing for the first time ever to another soul my long addiction to opioids. I am a 40 year old mom of 3, and I think I first realized that pain meds gave me a wonderful high after I had a tooth procedure done in my early 20’s. It would be years before I would actively seek drugs and become addicted, but I just remember the first time I became aware of LIKING it.
When my second child was born, I had a severe complications and had to be on for about 4 weeks afterward. When I went off it (doc didn’t think to tell me about withdrawal!) I felt awful for several days, but thought I had the flu. I guess if I’d know it was withdrawal, I would have made an excuse to need more meds.

It would be after my 3rd child was born that I began to take it for the high. I get terrible migraines. Before I found Maxalt, I’d have to either go to the ER for a shot, or take a couple percocets. I got to where I was addicted psychologically. I had a terrible marriage to an emotionally abusive man and I think it helped fuel my drug seeking. I felt happier on the drugs. When I had trouble getting enough of them from my docs, I started ordering some type of narcotic from overseas. I was able to quit after a few months and stayed off for a while, but then had a knee surgery (and eventually 2 more knee surgeries) and used that as an opportunity to indulge again. This would be the start of a long relationship with Percocet and Lortab. Over the years I have used online script services to keep myself supplied with Lortab and my local doc writes me about 30 percocets every 4 months or so for my headaches. The pills became a way to feel good, normal, at peace. I do feel more at peace and relaxed when they kick in. I hate the feeling when I am coming down…SOOO tired, sneezy, watery eyes, legs like lead…and all that before the REAL withdrawal sets in. That and the mental jitters and anxiety is what drives me back for more and keeps me from quitting.

5 years ago I had my script that was mailed get “lost” somewhere. It wound up taking nearly a month to get my new one, but by that time I had carefully cut my pill use and tapered, not in an attempt to quit, but to avoid withdrawal while waiting for my meds to come. A wonderful thing happened. I actually quit. I decided I would try to go without them at all one morning, and I did! All day! (I was down to about ˝ of a 5 mg. hydro twice a day by that point) . So I went another day, and when the meds arrived, I let them sit there untouched day after day. At the end of 3 weeks of not taking them, I flushed them. It felt great! I was so happy to not be beholden to those insidious pills. Then about 2 months later, a shock to my world caused a tailspin. My husband of 13 years left for another woman half his age and married her. I started drinking…every day, earlier and earlier in the day. I was consuming about a liter of vodka every 2 or 3 days and I got my pills back again. For a year, I drank myself to sleep every night and got up shaky every morning, taking pills to help get me going. I’d say I was a functioning alcoholic. I didn’t miss appointments, work or kids activities, but I did drive drunk a few times, and that scared the heck out of me even as I was doing it. I wasn’t able to go a night without drinking, even if I had to drive an hour and a half to find a place open. Every day, my thoughts centered around whether or not I needed to run to the liquor store. All the while, I thought of the three of my four grandparents who all died alcoholics and was scared for my future. The alcohol scared me worse than being on the hydro. I was also scared I’d just not wake up one morning, my kids would find me dead, and then they’d learn the truth about their druggie, alcoholic mom. I went to an AA meeting. Everyone was very supportive and said they were surprised to see me there BEFORE anything tragic had happened on account of my drinking. Most only come after they’ve lost things very important to them or are forced by the courts. Hearing all their stories scared me. I quit the alcohol that night. I’ve had maybe 3 drinks in the year and a half and no desire to pick up alcohol again. I immediately went back to college after 22 years and have been on the Deans List every semester since! I am happy to be free of the alcohol, but I want to be free of the hydro. I am very psychologically addicted to it. I also do need Percocet for migraines every now and then when Maxalt doesn’t work (I can’t afford the thousands that it costs to go to the ER without insurance). I’ve been off pills quite a number of times, but it was usually because I ran out and couldn’t get more. I always was wanting to get more meds as soon as possible during those times, even though it did gnaw at me.

Right now I am seriously contemplating a taper. I really want to quit, but fear withdrawal and failure. I have 20 of the 10 mg hydro’s left, and about 70 pills of 100 mg Darvocet (which I don’t ever take if I have Lortab). I either have to go back to the doc for more (which now requires a drive of 4 hours since the new laws about face to face doc visits went into effect) or quit now. I’ve wanted to quit for oh so long, but so scared. I can’t tell anyone. No one knows. I don’t want my ex to find out about my problem. No family or friends know. I don’t have anyone I feel I can tell or turn the pills over to. It would help if I had someone to call up for support.

I am hoping some of you might have some helpful advice. 20 Lortabs isn’t much, but they are 10 mg. I could split them. I was prescribed them at 3 a day (one every 8 hours). Instead, I’ve split them in half and then taken a half plus another 4th for a total of about 7.5 mg hydro every 4 hours. At this rate, I usually run out a little early so I use the Percocet I get as well to take me thru. Would the Darvocet be an effective drug to go to and taper from to prevent withdrawals? If I feel too awful, I am probably going to go seeking the drugs. I recently started Wellbutrin to try and prevent my migraines. Will this help some with the anxiety and withdrawal? Does anyone have recommendations on tapering that might work? I am not sure if that can be posted publicly, but maybe others can post what worked for them.

I’m just so tired of feeling like a prisoner, worrying about and counting pills, feeling like a fraud, spending much needed money on drugs and expensive online consultations, worrying about the years going by and whether or not I am missing something wonderful. I’m tired of being a liar to my kids, telling them the dangers of pills, yet taking them myself for recreational purposes. I’ve even avoided dating and relationships because this secret would be unfair to keep from someone. Who wants to get into a relationship with a drug-addicted 40 year old single mom? I won’t even date until I am “clean”. I don’t want secrets like that.

There is a feeling of relief and hope in posting this and admitting my problem to someone else. Heck, I spent months in counseling after my divorce, and I never admitted the problem even to the counselor.

Thank you for taking time to read my LONG post, and I look forward to hearing your advice.

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