Avatar universal

newby - questions about getting off

I've been reading our posts for a few months, and I can't tell you how grateful I am for the inspiration that you all have given me.    There is literally no one in my life that I can talk to about this, including husband, doctors, girlfriends, anyone.

My problems is VIC's.    Like most people, I was originally prescribed them for post surgical pain.   But they just felt too good to let go.    So, here I am, doing about 180 a month.

I really, really want to stop.     I've gone cold turkey when my scripts have run out early.    The first few days are actually okay.    Well, maybe not okay but at least survivable.     It's when it gets to the 13th or 14th day that it becomes unbarable.   The body aches, or  bone aches, or whatever you call them are so severe that I just can't function.    So, naturally, back on to the VICS's.  

Does that usually happen after two weeks?    What do people do?    I want to get off this stuff once and for all.   Even when I have a full script, I don't get any enjoyment.   So what's the point?    Any suggestions would be appreciated.  
7 Responses
176495 tn?1301280412

Not to overstate it, but many of us have had great success with clonidine, a blood pressure med that has been shown to help with many withdrawl symptoms.  Check with your doctor, tell him/her you want off the pills and see if he/she will put you on it..also search the forums for the "Thomas recipe" which has been very helpful for many folks here.

Good luck and God Bless..stay with us here, we'll help you through it.

Avatar universal
VIC's meaning Vicodin? Let me know and I can help. Just want to make sure that is what you are talking about. Never heard it called that way. I am a former Vicoden addict who was taking 15 pills a day! I have some advice for you, but pls let me know that is what you are referring to. Thanks!  
267206 tn?1189755835
Hello and welcome!  I'm glad you've found this forum to be inspirational --  me, too!  The withdrawal symptoms you descibe are typical.  This is day 41 for me after cold-turkeying myself from Vicodin.  I was taking up to 22 tabs/day for 3 years.  I know all too well the sheer misery of withdrawal symptoms and post-acute withdrawal.  I look back with horror (and I'm glad I do -- I never want to forget how awful withdrawal was -- so that I NEVER need to go through it again as long as I'm on this earth).  It will be months before I'm back to where I was before I had ever heard of Vicodin.  An alternative for you: if you have (legal) access to 180 tabs/month, is there anyone, ANYONE in your life in whom who you can trust and confide, and who will help you perform a 'slow taper'?  Perhaps even your physician?  If you were to reduce your daily dose by 1/2 tab every 5 to 7 days, until you reach zero tabs per day (so, we're talking about 12 weeks here: 180/30 = 6 tabs/day currently   You are fortunate not to be taking more than that!), you would avoid the physical withdrawal symptoms.  Your confidante would need to hold ALL of your Vicodin -- all of it! -- somewhere you can't access, and dose you every single day -- AND not "cave in" to you, if you start to wheedle, manipulate, manufacture excuses, etc. as to why you need more.  They would have to be a loving but very strong person.   However, the psycho-emotional component of addiction is another story altogether -- you will prabably need to find something positive and healthy (exercise; Narcotics Anonymous meetings -- they work miracles for me; counseling, etc.) SOMETHING to fill the emotional "void" you will likely feel after you don't have the Vicodin to lean on as a sort of emotional crutch.  The physical cravings ("jonesing" or "fiending") leave us quite soon -- but the emotional cravings can stay with us for a very long time indeed, if we don't quickly address them in an intentional and positive manner.  I hope my reply is of some help to you.  Very best of luck to you, and please let us know how you're doing!  Mike
Avatar universal
Hello! Well, I've never heard of anyone doing OK until their 2nd week. That's amazing! I'm not even sure that your pain at that point even is from the withdrawals. Of course, your body's reactions to pain will be altered somewhat, sometimes to a high degree after abusing opiates. Since you supplied the "sweet stuff" to your body all of the time, it finally quit making it's own "sweet stuff". Therefore, pains and aches that you would nornally feel will be exaggerated because your body is not cutting loose of any of that "sweet stuff", and yoiu're not taking any. This could take up to a couple of months, I am not sure.

You should also keep in mind a term called "cross-tolerance". If you ever have to have surgery, and you've been addicted to pain meds, you damn sure want the anesthesiologist/surgeon to know! The last thing you want to do is wake up in the middle of surgery. From Wikipedia...

Cross-tolerance refers to a pharmacological phenomenon, in which a patient being treated with a drug exhibits a physiological resistance to that medication as a result of tolerance to a pharmacologically similar drug. In other words, there is a decrease in response to one drug due to exposure to another drug. It is observed in treatment with antivirals, antibiotics, analgesics and many other medications.

Cross-tolerance is particularly frequent amongst users of illicit drugs. For example, users with a high tolerance to the stimulant amphetamine may also exhibit a high tolerance to the structurally similar methamphetamine or other amphetamine-like stimulants, such as methylphenidate (though one should not assume this to avoid overdose). The phenomenon is also observed in cigarette smokers, in whom there is a demonstrably lessened sensitivity to the effects of caffeine. Cross-tolerance is also frequent in response to use of hallucinogens. General tolerance to the effects of tryptamines such as psilocybin, may be dramatic in response to repeated use, and this often translates into a tolerance to effects of other drugs such as LSD or DMT.

Dendritic cells can take up self antigens from other cells and cross-present them to autoreactive T cells. These are then eliminated from the T cell repertoire by apoptosis. This mechanism was proposed to silence autoreactive T cells that have escaped negative selection in the thymus.

Me again: The bottom line is if you've been addicted to pain meds, and they are giving something of a similar nature for you for pain or to knock you out for surgery, let them know they might need to up the dosage or switch altogether. While you may be too embarrassed to be able to tell them, imagine how it'll feel waking up while they are slicing up your knee? Or even worse...ever hear of a colonoscopy?

Some advice on how to quit since you seem to be asking. Methadone. That word will bring out all kinds of horror stories from many posters (some of whom know of what they speak, and some others that don't), and they may all be true. But, in my experiences, the way I use them, I have no issues whatsoever with them. This is mostly just for people who have decided to quit, and are quite resolute in their decision.

The only thing holding you back is the fear of withdrawals. That particular fear is a  valid one. The sickness, commonly referred to as 'dope-sick', is a b!tch. The more times you travel that road, the worse it gets. It does not get better simply because you've been there, done that. And, after binges, whoa, watch out Nelly!.

Anyway, one day when I was very dope sick, I happened to have been talking to a friend, who asked me if I havd either heard of methadone, I said no. Anyway, my friend had a couple and gave me this advice. Wait until the withdrawals kick in, then take one 10-mg methadone. If you need a 2nd, go as long as you can w/o taking one, but if one isn't helping, take another. I usually will only take them for 2-3 days, unless I've been binging.

You will be surprised how long one pill will last and how strong it is as far as w/d symptoms. For someone like me, still caught in the loop, who has gone through w/d's at least 10 times, it was a God-send! I believe the half-life is something way out there, like 3 days.

Now, some will tell you to stay awat from methadone. And, I would tend to agree with that to a degree. I think using methadone my way, as little as I take and for as short of period that I take them, not only is safe, but it works!. It gets you through those first couple of days in pain, usually the worst period, and gives you time to let your body get all of those toxins you've been putting in your body out. Allows you to detox without all of the pain. Yes, methadone is an opiate, but it work's differently. It's original use was to help heroin addicts to beat their habits. If you only take a few, say 4 at the most over a couple of days time, you will not be taking enough to get addicted to them. You won't have withdrawals after stopping them. They don't "put-off" the pain med withdrawal. I have even been told by someone who was addicted to both that there isn't that much difference in the w/d's. Now, I can't speak on that, but I do know the person who said it does have plenty of experience w/both.

Anyway, only if your fear of w/d's are the only onstacle in your path, then take a methadone or two and remove that obstacle. It isn't a long term cure by any means. I wouldn't replace my pain meds w/methadone. Just have read too much bad stuff on methadone to trust it long term like that. Anyway, it is important for some reason that you actually wait until you are actually in w/d's or they won't work. Don't ask me, I just know it's true. Try to take them in 24 hour intervals. I mean, the main thing you are looking for is something to get you feeling as close to normal, as possible. Expect some discomfort, You have to go to work. You have to take the kids back and forth from schools, run errands, get their homework done, be a coach on a little league sports, and on and on and on. So, what to do when it's time to quit being an opiate-addict and be able to deal w/the real world on the same day? Methadone, people, methadone.

There is something called Suboxone that is supposedly very good. Expensive, I hear. Look it up and find a doctor in your area.  Xanax, for a couple of days will help too.Mostly at night to help you sleep, but if needed, take a small dose during the day, just be careful w/driving. If there is a question in your mind as if yuou should drive or not, then I'd go with "no".

Now, afterword. You need to develop and put into action some sort of recovery plan. Were/are all of your friends users too? If they use too, sorry, but it's time to turn back to the one's that truly love you. Get yourself some kind of support group. Hard to do this alone.

Good luck!

I realize that this was posted quite sometime ago. But it’s that important to me that I educated anyone about suboxone.. It’s the devil! Do not take this drug! Believe me that you’re way better off to deal with the withdrawal from opioids than this monster of a drug. If I would have known that getting off the suboxone would have been this painfully difficult I would have never taken it. It will take you 5x the time and 100x the pain to withdrawal from suboxone. I’ve never tried methadone but I’v heard that it’s just as horrible drug as suboxone.
Avatar universal
Hi - Thanks for the quick response.    Yes - VICs are Vicodins.   I was taking 7.5/750's.      Sometimes I would get up to 15 or so a day - would usually binge on the weekends and ration the rest until the next weekend,    

I came clean with my Dr. - he basically just brushed me off, gave me a small amount of Xanax and got rid of me.   Wouldn't even listen to my request for  clonidnine - just told me to get out my Bible and pray.    Funny, it was the same doctor who gave me my first script for Vic's.  

I live in Los Angeles - are there doctors who specialize in getting people off addictions?   I just want to live like a "normal" person again.     I feel like such a fraud.     None of my friends are/were users.    Once I'm over the physical part of this, I'l thinking of looking up NA, or another kind of group.

You guys are great - I really couldn't do this without you.!   I'll let you know as things "progress"


Avatar universal
Wow, that's alot of pills per month! I used to take 15 Vicoden a day. It is hell to get off of them once you have been on them for awhile. I know about the binging on the pills and then the ration game when you get low. It sucks. I quit cold turkey after years of abuse, but occasionally I still take a few here and there for my back pain. I crave more, but I won't let myself go there again. My wife monitors me if I have to take them. The best advice I can give you is to try to ween yourself off the pills. Break them in half and take one less per day. Weening never worked for me, but it does for some people. If you quit cold turkey or just run out here are a few suggestions. Drink lots of water and try to eat even though you will not feel like it. The physical withdrawal is the worst part, but the psychological part lasts much longer and can be dangerous for relapse reasons. I went through a week of living hell. Vomiting, sweating, hallucinations, and extreme anger. I thought I was going to die. Yes, good old doctors. Never there when you need them. Xanax and Valium do work good to help ease withdrawal, but if you are going to get these you will need 2mg Xanax (four bars) or 10mg Valium three times a day to help out. A small script will not last long enough to help you get through the withdrawal pain. You need at least 40 pills or more of either script, long enough to get you through. Doctors can be real bastards about this stuff, I know. Ambien and Sonata are sedatives, and they work pretty well to help you sleep at night, esp. Ambien (10mg). If you can, get yourself a script for this and try weening off the hydrocodones and taking one of these at bedtime. You will need a longer weening process b/c of the amount of pills you have been taking. It's tough, I won't lie but you can do it. You might have to go through some hell in the process, but hopefully not as bad as I did. Find yourself a good doctor who can help you through this. They are out there believe it or not, and some will give you enough medication to help you ween off and a benzo or sedative to ease the withdrawal. Joining a support group is also a great idea, but get through the physical part first. That is the toughest to deal with. We are all here to help you. You can think of us as your support group. I have a degree in clinical psychology so I know quite a bit about medications and withdrawal symptoms. If you can make it through withdrawal, you can make it through anything in this world. However, if you can ween without going through full blown withdrawal (you will have some withdrawal no matter what but not too bad if you ween as long as you have enough pills to do so-in your case with the amount of pills you have been taking it is better to stretch out the weening process and take it slow-maybe over three weeks or so. Many doctors will try to ween you off in a week, and for heavy users it just doesn't cut it) that is the better route to take. Try not to quit cold turkey. It can be dangerous. Your body can go into shock and you can die, esp. if you were using like I was-sounds like you are. I was lucky and I never want to go through that hell again. Keep in touch, and let me know how I can help you. I will pray for you. You can do it. Hang in there!          
Avatar universal
You really need to plan on a long detox program that will takes months to ensure you have a handle on your addiction and a 30 day or more detox center would be great if you can take the time and have some health ins. We all seem to focus to much on just getting thru the phys pain of w/d, that we over look the most important part and that is the mental adjustment that must be made to suceed or as you said, after acouple of weeks we are right back where we started. I dont know to many ppl who can go for 3 mos in a rehab center, but if you can can at least 30 days in and than use that time to write out your short and long term goals and start planning a new life style altogether with eating right again, taking vit's, getting some kind of exercise and find a way around your peer pressure. The last is sometimes the hardest, to avoid friends who might have sold you the drugs or easy access to doctors or places you like to go but know the drugs are there. I have been up and down for 38 yrs in addiction and have been clean for about 3 mos now but stuggle still and have to check myself everyday. You have plenty of places to go for addiction help in LA, and there should be all kinds of help with the finances as well so dont tell your self there is no where to start. Keep post your self thru this and you will see it does get better if you stick to it.
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