Avatar universal

Day 1 and Plan for Vicodin Withdrawal

Hey everyone,

I've spent so much time lurking these forums over the past couple months and getting inspiration from other people's stories that I wanted to reach out and actually contribute. Today is day one of my getting off Vicodin plan and I'm quite dedicated to leaving the drug behind, but, like many others, concerned about the road ahead.

A little history - For about the past decade I've been on and off many drugs, both prescribed and not prescribed, for various illnesses and recreational uses. Most any drug I've ever tried has ultimately resulted in recreational use, so I've eventually had to leave it behind. Despite knowing that, I've almost always had a drug (it was alcohol before this most recent round of Vicodin) to just get by, and now I'm further down the opiate abuse path than I've ever been.

Although the details of my addiction are less important than the fact that I'm addicted, here's where I'm at. I have been prescribed vicodin and percocet many times over the past ten years for kidney pain and stones. At times, it has saved me a lot of discomfort, but mostly it's been a recreational use under the guise of pain. In the last year I moved abroad and now it is incredibly easy for me to get access to Vicodin - I literally just walk into a pharmacy, ask, pay, and leave. No questions, no prescriptions. What was once my heaven has now become my hell.

For the past year I've been secretly buying and taking Vicodin recreationally. I have roommates and one of them is my girlfriend. Most recently, I got to a point where I spent about 15 days in my bedroom, never leaving except to eat, telling everybody I was sick, and consuming more and more Vicodin. I eventually was consuming between 75-100 mg of hyrdrocodone and chewing the pills up and sometimes even letting them sit under my tongue after chewing them up. I was seeking every extra inch I could get out of them. Well, needless to say, a change was needed.

In a way I have come clean. I wasn't able to fully admit to my roommates and girlfriend the severity of the problem, but they do know that I've been using them for the past three weeks and I used my kidney problems as the reason. I've told them that I used them long enough that quitting would be difficult, and I want to be open with them and set myself up for as much success as possible. I'm not being 100% transparent, but it's darn close, and now the issue is on the table and I'm surrounded by people that know I'm trying to kick a drug I'm addicted to.

So, here is my plan and I'm on Day 1. The big question for me was whether to taper or not - ultimately, given the research I've done on withdrawal symptoms and how the body changes from prolonged use of opiates, I've decided on my own tapering schedule. I don't want to draw out the withdrawal process, but I figure if I give my body some time to adjust to having less and less vicodin, when I do make the jump, the pendulum doesn't have as far to swing back in order for my body to normalize. So, here is my schedule, for those who are interested. As I said, I was up to taking 75-100 mg (with chewing the pills) and yesterday I had 60 mg. Today is the biggest drop in dosage for me.

Day 1 (today) - 25 mg Hydrocodone (one is taken during the day - 5 mg - and the other 20 at night)
Day 2 - 20 mg
Day 3 - 20 mg
Day 4 - 10 mg
Day 5 - 10 mg
Day 6 - 10 mg
Day 7 - 5 mg
Day 8 - 5 mg
Day 9 - 5 mg
Day 10 - 2.5 mg
Day 11 - 2.5 mg
Day 12 - 2.5 mg
Day 13 - Freedom

For me, the most difficult part of kicking the pill is sleeping at night, so I will be taking all my doses at night a couple hours before bed. Today is the last day I will have any vicodin during the day, and I only took 5 mg. I've officially made it to the night, and I'm feeling positive, albeit I can't help but realize how big of a challenge I have before me.

In order to help ensure my success, I shared this plan with my roommates and girlfriend, and explained what the symptoms are that I will probably be dealing with and why this is such a big deal for me. Then, I gave all the pills I have to my girlfriend, along with my schedule, and she will give the correct amount to me each day. I can say that has been a great move for me already as I know I would have taken more today and tonight had I actually had the pills in my own possession. I told her to hide them and that I may end up wanting to look, or go buy more, and that I really would appreciate if I can be open with them when I get into that line of thinking and then have them go on a walk with me and just support me through the process. This is the best way I can think of, for who I am, to set myself up for success.

I want to thank anybody who takes time to read this and support me, as well as inspire anybody who is reading this and thinking about quitting to take action. Almost a year ago I started perusing these forums wondering if I should quit, and now I'm in a much more difficult place. I love opiates, but unfortunately they are a force to be reckoned with and it's time for me to take my life back and get out before I get liver damage (god knows the amount of acetaminophen was incredibly dangerous that I was consuming, and I hope I'll be ok on that count).

For all of you on your own journeys, keep going and sharing. I may be across the world and never have met any of you, but right now, I feel closer to all of these anonymous names than anybody else in my life.


14 Responses
Avatar universal
We are here. The only way an addict can kick thier addiction in my opinion is to remain far away from your " sources". It causes concern that all you have to do is walk into a pharm. and get w.e you want. That said, you have made a great move and just think of how life will be when your off those bastards, our enemy! I went cold turkey instead of the tapering method and it was/is miserable but I'm on the up slope. Good luck my friend.

Go gettem!!
Avatar universal
Thanks for reaching out! Congratulations on being on the up slope.

Yes, I agree, in the long haul, it will be difficult that where I live I can just walk into a pharmacy and get the pills. That is one thing that I imagine will get quite difficult as time goes on and the urge to relapse surges. But, we all deal with our situations, and the best I can do is tackle it one day at a time. Any suggestions on coping with having an easy source over the long haul?
Avatar universal
That looks like a good schedule - I did a taper as well and it worked for me.  You can do it. Mind over matter.  OTC Vicodin thats scary. Stay strong and this forum is excellent to vent /post you will get tremendous support!
Avatar universal
Good Luck. I have been there, many times, and as a nurse and a paramedic, I tell ya, it is so easy for a doctor to write a script, but they don't see the whole picture of what the patient really needs. I had pancreas surgery, 12 lithotripsys for stones, almost 100 stones passed naturally ( 52 in kidneys now on latest CT) had hernia surgery, oral surgery, colonoscopy ( they usually use demerol when doing to sedate)... so I know what you are going through. I have found myself, in the past, going thru friend's medicine cabinets, even family members I visited. When you come down to stealing medicine from people you love, it is time to get on your knees and beg for help. I found help from my mother and Subutex. The fact that I could not do it myself, was enlightening. I went through the withdrawals and, unless I had a continuous hottub of steaming water, endless ice cold CocaCola, and someone to massage and scratch my head, it was unbearable. I wish you luck in weaning off, and urge you to please talk with a person you care about, and will help you through the hell times. Do things that requires physical action. Walk, shoot pool, basketball, dance..just keep moving! If you slow down, it gives your mind and body time to think and crave. Tell yourself that you are So Thankful you are freeing yourself! It can be done. I had to go the Sub route, but I hope you all the best. LORD, GIVE TBM THE STRENGTH AND POWER TO MAKE THEIR LIFE THE WAY IT SHOULD BE, CLEAR AND WONDERFUL! Amen!
Avatar universal
Your story is crazy! I'm recenty new on here also. But I as well have been reading on here considering trying to get clean for a long time. I thought I was the only person out there who took pills and hid in my bedroom. I have kids, work, jobs, church, and so on so I could never get away with it for days or weeks, but trying to find the time is always on my mind. I will be following your story. My back is out right now, and I've had trouble getting around, so the thought of really taking the jump to give up the pain killers is scary. But I need to. I don't always want to, but I know I have to find a way to get some inner strength and courage. I don't want to sneak around anymore. Feeling lost.
1440510 tn?1375045710
I was on anywhere from 70mg to 120 mg of Norco at one point.  I had a legit reason to be on them, or so I thought.  However it became a reason to function, and then became a drug that isolated me from the world and made me just a ****** person.  I have stopped over the past 3 years on and off and tried 3 different ways.  Cold turkey was torture for me.  I needed to function as I have a job and kids and a husband.  I then did a severe taper program and I relapsed and never got off of them.  This last and final time, I have tapered down using a medically prescribed taper program.  However, it will only work if you give the pills to someone you trust tell them whats up and make them only give you what is in the plan.  This taper plan has worked and I have felt little discomfort.  So here's the plan......you reduce down 1/3 or .33mg's every 3 days.   Example if you were taking 6 pills daily.   You would reduced down to 4 pills or 40mg for the next three days...then down to 30 mgs or 3 pills for the next 3 days....then down to 20 mgs for the next three days....then down to 15 mgs or 1 1/2 pill (if 10mg pills) for the next three days...then down to 1 pill for 3 days...then down to 1/2 pill or 5mgs for the next three and then down to 1/4 of a pill and then off.  I didn't go down to 1/4 I got off from 1/2.  I am expereiencng horrible sleep, but tolerable. Some nights better some nights worse.  Keep posting...keep drinking sugary drinks and load up on vitamins.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the support and encouragement! It's so great to receive and I am glad to hear tapering worked well for you. I will keep posting and reaching out as I progress. Mind over matter indeed... but damn that matter can seem powerful..
Avatar universal
I really like your comment about reminding myself I'm thankful for freeing myself. I just walked around my house while dealing with some anxiety over this and kept repeating that to myself and found comfort in it. It's a great mantra.

And holy crap! I'd say you know what I'm going through on a whole different level. Your story is inspiring to me that you kicked it. In telling my girlfriend that I need help with this and coming up with a plan that involved her, I instantly felt so much relief. I imagine it was similar for you and having your mother involved. I'm so glad you found your person too.

Thanks for the support.
Avatar universal
Sounds like we have found some company on here :) . My story may sound crazy, but honestly the only thing that has made it crazy for me was time. For  quite a while, I was taking opiates in moderation and similar to you - I did it in private. The increase took an exponential curve for me, so it was moderate for quite some time. I remember looking on these forms back when I did take it moderately and thinking, holy ****... glad that's not me. Well, for me, now it is.

But that's ok. It's where I'm at, and I'm moving forward. I'm glad you joined and are on here and taking steps in your own life. Keep posting and staying engaged. Opiates sure are hard to convince yourself to step away from, until they've taken so much you have to.
Avatar universal
So where are you at in the process now? Are you at the stage of not taking anything and going through the final withdrawal stages?

I'm proud of you for sticking through the tapering process. It sounds like it can be immensely helpful, but difficult to be diligent with.

I'd love to hear how things go for you as it unfolds. Keep carrying the torch forward for the rest of us to see that it's possible!

Haven't heard of the sugary drinks yet... I'll have to give that a try.

Avatar universal
I forgot to mention this, it's really unfortunate that on top of all this you are dealing with back pain. Have you thought about telling your doctor the truth on all of this and working directly with them to find a plan for dealing with the whole picture? I'm not sure what your relationship with the doctor is, their personality, or if this even feels comfortable for your communication style. However, I can't help but feel an echo of myself in your final two sentences of not wanting to sneak around anymore and feeling lost. If you can take that first step of laying it out to somebody else in an honest fashion, you may find relief in those two departments. And always know, there's definitely a community on here that cares. I am so grateful for your reaching out, as well as everybody else here, and I hope that helps with the loneliness.

Keep us updated.
Avatar universal
Day one has come to a close and I'm off to bed. I've tapered from 75 mg to 25 mg in the past two days, and although it's been tough, I'm still, at this stage, feeling positive about committing to kicking this. I can't thank all of you enough for reaching out. Your support and communication has been an immense help and I feel so lucky to have found this forum.

The tips are great! I'll have to give the baths and sugary drinks a try. I also heard that bananas help with restless leg syndrome, so I made sure to have several bananas this evening. Here's to as much sleep as I can get and the strength to know I'm moving toward freedom despite how difficult it feels right now.

Best to all and have a great day.
1440510 tn?1375045710
I'm completely pain pill free for 7 days now.  I feel good.  Mentally I wrestle with always wanting to medicate the pain.  Medicate the constant pain I feel in my stomach from all my surgeries.  But, I have found when I feel like that, I move on and keep busy with something.   It goes away.  Sleep has been a challenge but I am thankful for another day.   Baths are my best friends.  Sugary drinks, and high protein shakes help me alot.   Keep up the good work.  Sounds like you are doing great!!!!!  
Avatar universal
Very inspiring. The taper plan sounds like the way to go. I would need to confide in someone close to me for help. A lot to process. I am thankful for stumbling on this post and hijacking it. Thank you;)
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