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Avatar universal

My story

I've never told my story before.  However, over the past few days, I've read the questions and responses of others.  This has helped me a lot.  I guess I need to get this off my chest and tell someone -- even if its in the relative anonymity of the internet.  Thank you all in advance for caring.  I feel safe saying so here.

About 10 years ago, my wife was diagnosed with cancer.  We had two young children.  During the 18 months it took her to die, she received pain med prescriptions -- primarily dilaudid.  She gave me one for a headache once, and boy it made me feel good.  I'd take one here or there -- it sure was a good distraction from the hell of life at the time.  Then, once, she was hospitalized and there wasn't any more at home.  I didn't think a thing about it . . . until a day later, I was having a drink after work and couldn't figure out why I felt so uncomfortable.  I thought it was the flu.  I then realized I was in withdrawal!  Shortly thereafter my wife passed away.  I shouldered on and raised my kids pretty well for many years. Never touched pain meds in that time.

Of course, those first few months were horrible!  Not from withdrawal, but from grief.  I made some stupid decisions, wasted some time, but finally got it all back together.  Things started going pretty good!  I remarried (and remain so) to the greatest woman anywhere.  I have another child.  Family is great.

But about 3 years ago, my wife was prescribed vicodin.  I took some.  I took some more . . . .  I got hooked again!  At about the same time, my job took a downturn (consequence of the economy).  Two years ago, I lost that job.  It was at this point that I started hitting the scripts pretty good.  I remember looking at myself in the bathroom mirror as I popped a couple and realized, I had a problem!  A big one.

Since then, I've tried to withdraw and detox at least 10 times (like so many others here).  I don't think I've made it more than 6 weeks between binges during this time.  I'm not stupid.  I'm not weak.  I couldn't figure out why I kept going back, since the withdrawal symptoms sucked so bad.

Then, as I was fishing around on the internet -- 18 days ago during day 1 -- I found the Thomas Recipe.  Along with some of the posts related to that, someone mentioned PAWS.  Eureka!  Even after the worst withdrawal symptoms went away, I still felt bad . . . depression.  Obvious, right?  I don't know why I didn't realize it before.  

Since I've kept this all a secret, its no wonder why I keep slipping back.  There is much wisdom in after care support.  Thing is, I haven't had any luck with head shrinkers in the past, and I really, really don't want to tell my family. I'm obviously not the same guy on the outside that I was before, but I haven't fallen too far in their eyes.  There's still time to turn my Titanic around.  I also don't want to go to meetings.

I now know though that its going to take a bit of time.  Months, maybe a year or more to come out of this depression.  I know it has layers -- the top layer is the PAWS part, but other aspects include my change of job, my kids growing up, you know -- things in life that we all must deal with.  Its just the PAWS part handicaps me in dealing with the rest of my issues.

But I'm not doing this again.  So that's where this post comes in.

I've said something.  I'm getting it off my chest.

On the internet, I've found a group of people who don't know each other.  But at the same time, know more about each other than some of their closest family members.  So thank you for helping me through this.
28 Responses
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271792 tn?1334979657
Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. You can look it up in the health pages.
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Avatar universal
@whoa1~~  Check in the "health pages" upper right. You'll find an accurate description.
Helpful - 0
1427544 tn?1285013857
i know you my think meetings are not for you...or maybe jus dont want to go! let me tell you, i've been clean now for 7 days...'yay me'  and i started going to the meetings sunday..i go everyday at 12:00am and 7:30pm i was nervous at first, but after the first one i felt very comfy! everyone made me feel rite at home...for me the meetings are keeping me sober!!!!!!!!!!! it might sound crazy, but i feel like its my dose of meds! i wish the best luck to you! god bless
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Avatar universal
You sound like an amazing man with a good head on his shoulders.  Your post was very refreshing as is your approach/response to others.  Glad to have you on board.  
Helpful - 0
1292938 tn?1333273242
I have been addicted to tramadol for over 10 years- while working in a professional role running a successful company.  Pills tell you lots of lies. I tried to get off them a number of times until I asked myself similar questions- how long does this go on....the counting pills, watching for Fed-ex, looking for refill emails, waiting for the next dose for 'fell better'.  Do I want to be 80 and still on this stuff??  I used to do well at work with out them, why do I think I need them?  My grandkids have never known me without them.  I decided I want ME back.  I liked that person.  So now I am on Day 21 of no tramadol and feeling pretty good.  Not great, but after 10 years of messing with my body chemestry, I think I will give my body a chance to heal and recalibrate.  It is a fact that once we go off our addictive substance, we can never touch one again.  We have that in our chemistry.  I have gone off many times and then thought- just a 1/4 pill wont hurt, then maybe today a 1/2 pill, then by a week its up to 1 pill day- you know the drill.  Never touch it again!  Its the only way.  I have seen the damage the pills have cost me and am trying to deal with my issues that caused me to take them in the first place so I will never go back down that dark road again.
I have not gone to a local support group.  I am sure it would be helpful, but my business situation makes me a little scared to go.  I however do have support of several family members that know and are supportive of my withdrawl and recovery.  This web site and the Tramadol Recovery Room has been invaluable to my success so far.  I am thankful for all the people here who have no judgement, just sound advice and accpetance.
Take care and be strong.  Get off these pills now and live the life you were meant to live.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi Beth, Addey, Vicki & Red --

Thank you all for your comments and sound advice!  I'm so grateful I found this forum and the courage to post here.  So many of us are from different walks in life, yet I'm beginning to sense that there are many of us professionals in here.  I was thinking about that . . . part of my underlying problem, part of what led me to my DOC in the first place, was the stress of my profession.  Many too many of my colleagues fall into my trap, or alcoholism, or other addictions and abuses.

Oh, but my DOC trap, how insidious.  Its so clean.  No messy vodka bottles in the briefcase, no needles, no smoky aromas.  Heck, you could even slip 'em into your blood pressure medicine bottle and nobody's the wiser.  That's what made it so easy for me to fall into this . . . in its beginning stages, its too easy to keep secret.  (Thank you all for letting me think out loud.  It helps.  But, as Heinlein once wrote, "A poet who reads his verse in public may have other nasty habits."  So if I get too annoying, ignore me!)  Truly, these pills are deadly for stressed-out professionals.

Congrats on day 21 Beth!  I'm a little behind you at 17.  Gosh its been a long 17.  Thanks for hanging with me.  Red, I'm keeping an open mind about meetings, I'm just slow and cautious.  Thanks for the compliments Addey.  It means so much to me that those who know my problems and weaknesses still think good things about me.  It builds me up.  (And Vicki, I'm only on 17 -- I miss-counted before.  Math was never my strong suit.)

I'm committed to putting this behind me.  I know we all are.  I hope I can encourage others here, like the acceptance and advice I found here help me.

Thank you all.
Helpful - 0
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