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The three of us began over 100 days ago

Chig, qpatty, and my self began this journey of sobriety in March. Like many of you who are just starting out, we found each other and have held on tight. During the first two months we all posted daily if not more. Our withdrawal symptoms seemed normal and we kept the course each of us in our own way using the advice of the long timers as we  are so grateful to learn from their experience. However, we soon found ourselves no longer posting as much as we seem to be following a different path than most everyone. We found ourselves PM each other rather than posting here. It is a tough place to be. Reading all the posts of the newer members and how they seem to feel better each day is bitter sweet. I know for me, I don't post publicly because I do not want to scare anyone who is suffering min. by min. or hour to hour. I remember how long and painful the days are in the early stages of withdrawal. TIME the four letter word that feels just as terrifying as the swear. Do we post our fears, and our continued and often debilitating symptoms of this most trying fight of our lives? PAWS!!!! No one seems to post about it. But it is real and we three have it. Maybe there are others out there who have it too. When we PM each other we share our symptoms because we don't know if we are still normal or if this is it for us. Life.....we are between 40 and 60 years old. Is this what it feels like to get older? Our bodies aged while we weren't looking because of the pills. OR, will we one day stop feeling the anxiety, weakness, brain buzzing, insomnia, shaking, lack of energy, massive depression, and physical pain?

I am thankful for my sober buddies Chig and qpatty. Without them and a few others we would be lost. I hope I have not discouraged anyone. That is so not what I wanted to do by posting this. This post is about our journey that may or may not be how others will experience it. I just feel lost and am reaching out.
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Avatar universal
I ve sent a PM to Chig regarding a "fuller" description of what we face.  If Chig is so inclined, I'd welcome her to share it with you if she wants to.  In short, we focus on the acute WDs.  It's our first tasks and the one that scares people the most.  I've stated a number of times here that I believe the lethargy and depression after the acute withdrawal is as hard or harder than the initial WDs.  I don't believe this period is properly described by the definition of PAWS.  IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MENTAL CLARITY.  It has to do with having so little energy that you question if life is even worth living if it's going to be like this!  Everyone is different, but for me a short-acting full agonist opiate had this no energy period lasting a solid month.  Coming off a very low level of Suboxone this no energy period lasted 2 full months after the acute WDs were over .  The good news is that almost without fail, everyone recovers.  It's slow day by day incremental recovery.  Not exactly the style that addicts used to instant gratification appreciate.  
I think, on average this low/no energy period lasts 2 - 3 months before you really start to feel something like "normal".  Feeling better, and feeling normal can be two wildly different things.  I've spoken with addiction specialist that claim we'll need 1 - 2 years of sobriety.

So why isn't this talked about.  It's isn't talked about much because getting folks motivated to get through the task of acute withdrawals is tough on its own.  None of we are inclined to drill into you that the worse is yet to come.  At least it was the worst for me.  So low on energy that just being alive seemed unsustainable.  On top of that, remind the person taking on the fight of their life,nth at after all of this, it will be 1 - 2 years before your brain is in a pre-use state and PAWS should be over.

Folks, there's nothing wrong with your recovery.  I read Chiig's qjournal when she had 81 days in.  Not even at the 3 month point yet.  I'm about 5 months clean and I'm still struggling with the energy issue.  I'm turning 60 in a few months.

My point is that you are all on track.  It takes a short intense period to break the dependence.  It takes a longer period for our brains to repair.  I know you are feeling a little better as days go by.  But it's slow and that's frustrating.  And it's not consistent.  You have a good day and you think you got it, when the next day kicks your butt.  The beast doesn't fight fair.  No surprise there.

I'm so proud of be people I get to communicate with here.  The bold ones, the fighters,  the ones who put their pride away for the good of others.  Fight to win.  There can be no negotiated settlement here.

Cheers
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Avatar universal
I agree with everything pillguy said!! Also I wouldn't call it "paws" either. We literally rewired our brains to function on a substance. That's what it was used to every minute of every single day. For some of us we took them for years and years! This is the biggest reason ppl give in and start using again! They think "oh my gosh it's been 2,3,4 months and I still feel not normal"!! Well guess what this is normal! And you're 100% right we should keep posting how we feel! It's hard as heck!! I'm at 7 months and there are still days I walk around in a daze thinkin wtf Is this my life now??? But then I always have really wonderful days thinking,why did I wait so long to get clean?!?! When we put that little pill in our body it shot our dopamine through the roof. Now we just expect it to feel like that again in a few months! we will NEVER feel like that again. It was fake,we aren't ment to have that many endorphins running through us at one time. So it can take to to 6 months to a year for our natural chemistry to fix it self. You WILL heal,but like you said it does take time. A lot of the ppl on here it took them up to two years. I hope that's not the case for y'all,but you need to be strong and fight through this. Do everything you can to do things you enjoy and make you happy. I'm y'all have each other!! xox
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8548587 tn?1426132056
I would like to start this post off by saying that those that used for a short duration (2 years or less) and really do improve in just a few weeks or a month or so, I am truly from the bottom of my heart happy for you. That is absolutely awesome. And what you have gone through to get there is a gigantic accomplishment and you should all be proud of your strength and determination.

For us long-term users this continues to be the battle of our lives. I can tell you right now that if anybody had told me in the beginning that I would still be feeling this bad at almost 4 months in I probably wouldn't have done it so for that ignorance I am grateful. And for me it is especially difficult because I had a month or so where I really did start to feel better and then it all went downhill from there. I am thinking that it was because I was so busy that I had to push through no matter what. Now my life has settled down a bit and I find myself struggling to just get through the day. I am back to maybe 2 hours of broken sleep a night, my anxiety is through the roof, my whole body feels like it has some bizarre electric current running through it, and the fatigue is debilitating. I try very hard to stay as busy as possible because I know that makes a huge difference but it is getting harder and harder to do that. I know as long as I was on them and at the high dose I was on I should have realized this would be a rocky road but I just never expected to be struggling so much so far into this.

If this is as good as it gets, it isn't good enough and I will have to reevaluate my options. I am not a quitter and I will stay strong but I will not live like this forever. I am giving this to the 6 month mark before I make any decisions.

Thank you Brane and Chig for always being there, we couldn't have gotten this far without each other.

And I have one more thing to say to all the newbies reading this. Don't let this scare you-let this inspire you to get the heck off opiates NOW instead of waiting years like we did. Your recovery can takes weeks or you can wait and it can take months or years. It is your choice.
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Avatar universal
I totally believe that you will get past these PAWS symptoms and will feel better. It might take awhile, but it will happen. I just want to encourage you. You are so far along and I am only at 16 days. It is a roller coaster ride. I know you say if this is as good as it gets then it's not good enough. But, was it really better when you were on the pills? I can't imagine that it was. But, maybe you liked the numbing effect.  I know with me I need to find something to be involved in to focus on something besides myself and how I'm feeling. Maybe getting involved in some kind of community outreach? When we are helping others, we have less time to think about our own problems. Or maybe working with children. It is always nice to see the world through a child's eyes, when they haven't been jaded yet. They can give us a fresh perspective. Or find something you enjoy doing and get into a group that enjoys the same things. Of course, I don't know anything about you and you may have already tried something like that. Or you might be working and not have the extra time. But, please don't give up. You say you aren't a quitter and I believe you! I will keep you in my prayers, patty!
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8548587 tn?1426132056
That's the problem I am having. I do stay active, involved. I have been careful to eat right and drink tons of water, etc. I started slowly getting better and better and then out of the blue I started declining. I now feel as bad as I did the first few weeks of detoxing with no signs of it letting up. And I didn't really change the course I was on, it has really blindsided me. And going to my doctor is out of the question because i REFUSE to just let them put on some other medication that I will find out later is addictive and it has been my experience that doctors just want to give you a pill to fix it all. Just my experience. That is how I got here in the first place-blind trust in my doctor without doing my own research. My fault, not hers but I will never trust like that again.

And I am NOT giving up, I just don't know where to go from here. I am on an unfamiliar road with no map or GPS and feel like I am endlessly driving in circles. And no one I stop to ask directions of has any ideas how to get off this dark, bumpy road.
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Avatar universal
Qpatty, what are you doing for aftercare?
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8548587 tn?1426132056
I have been working one on one with a drug and alcohol counselor. I did try NA but it just wasn't a good fit for me. And I really tried, not just a one time half-hearted attempt. That is when I started working with an amazing counselor. But the physical aspect of this is just almost more then I can take. Even my counselor said that with the positive attitude I have maintained throughout this that he was astonished by how hard I have been hit with the returning physical symptoms. And even feeling this bad I keep forcing myself to keep moving, keep engaged in life but every day is getting harder and harder. I am not a quitter nor am I a weak person. But this is beginning to be bigger than I can handle and I was not prepared for it to get this bad again. I knew the beginning was going to be rough. I managed to take care of my daughter and son in law's farm by myself while they were on vacation during my 2nd and 3rd week of withdrawal. And immediately following that I stayed busy helping with grandkids' sports and even volunteered at their school. But about 3 weeks or so ago I started declining rapidly and could not seem to stop it. I have tried so hard to keep a positive and strong attitude through all this. I was a long time user, I knew I was in for a long hard road but I never thought I would be completely incapacitated and unable to even function on a basic level 111 days into this.
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10996785 tn?1432812977
I remember when you all came on board. Although you may not know it, you're doing great. The mental drama/anguish can get so over the top you can lose sight of objectives and what has been accomplished. Don't lose sight at where you all are at and where you have come from. You are an inspiration and a wake up call at the same time. Always remember, we, without a doubt, never want to go back to the lifestyle that took away so much from us all. It's not easy but it's darn sure well worth it God Bless you all......ike
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Avatar universal
Hey MY Friend,

Patty whats going on. How do you mean incapacitated? Just know I care and am concerned. Withdrawls can rebound on us, of course everyone is different.  What exactly is happening to you, if you don't mind sharing. I don't mind sharing whats going on with me. Don't hesitate, maybe me or someone else can chime in and relate to your symptoms so you don't feel all alone. Just trying to help
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1742220 tn?1331356727
support, support, support.  I have been reading threads and posts from you guys and I hear this undercurrent that is similar in all of your posts.  it sounds familiar because I went through it, too!  recovery is not an easy road.  i relapsed SO many times, chig, and bg and q, and i really believe the reason why was largely due to me not having enough support.  looking back on my four years trying to get clean, i see that in the very early stages of recovery I always had someone here on medhelp that i was in a constant (pm) conversation with every day.  Every day we wrote, often more than once a day.  I did this with someone who had more time than I did and someone who had roughly the same time as I did.  At times I had a couple different correspondents; but i look back at my mh documents and see that there was always someone there ... basically holding my hand.

after the period of initial recovery / relapse, i got help in a local ten day intensive outpatient program.  at the same time i went to 12 step, both NA and AA meetings.  I went to many, many meetings (which I have the luxury of being able to choose from in los angeles) until I found a few that i genuinely liked and that fit and that helped me.  I repeat, I went to MANY, MANY meetings.  I disliked a LOT of them.  I kept trying.  It wasn't always convenient or easy to search out new meetings.  and i complained about it a lot.  if you doubt any of this, look back at my old posts.  it's all there and the good people here can tell you how i dealt with things and how i was doing in early recovery.  :)

now i have eight months.  this is the longest time i have ever had.  it's a struggle every day.  some days less than others.  but i have really, really, really good, happy days and I am grateful and thankful that I am clean and living this grand life.  I laugh a lot and I have really good people and opportunities in my life.  i have freedom.

I go to outpatient After care groups consistently 2x a week and i am thinking of adding a third.  I go to at least one 12 step meeting a week, usually more. I work full time and I have to work out almost every day just to feel human.  I am taking anti-depressants.  Before I took the a/ds I was struggling very badly with clinical depression and concomitant fatigue and lethargy.

I am in individual therapy and I have friends, mostly from 12 step, who listen.  I do not have contact with my family/ they are not supportive of me.  And I have medhelp.  Medhelp has been instrumental in my support group and in my success at staying clean.

Look back at my posts ... I have always been honest, sometimes brutally so.  I never claimed it was a smooth ride and I never had a pink cloud stage.  Sometimes people on mh made me angry!  But they were always there for me.  They really helped me.

Use medhelp to help you by posting what you feel. Don't worry about the people who don't agree.  Use ALL the resources that all available to you to stay clean.  Yes, there are still many times I want to get high.  but I don't, because overall, it is amazing and transplendent to be clean!

pm me.  talk to me.  keep posting for support  :)    <3      :)

Meegan
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Avatar universal
Patty read your PM from me.  
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Avatar universal
108 days off of 40mg 3x day Oxy ER and 10mg 3x day Oxy IR for break through pain. I had a botched laminectomy 14 years ago but did not require long term pain meds till I ruptured two more disks in my back and 2 in my neck. That was back in 2007.

I think the depression is one of the biggest concerns I currently have. However, I also have moderate anxiety most of the day and all night still. Several times a day my brain feels like it is misfiring. Like this huge pressure that is full of electricity. I have several episodes a day that I feel like I can't breath. Same as I did during my first week of withdrawal but not as often. My body temperature is still messed up but at least I don't get the chills then a few seconds later be sweating. My vision is very blurry and I am getting head aches everyday still. I feel so weak I don't get much done and my legs feel like jello and like they may come out from under me. To this day I have not had a happy feeling.  I need to feel happy feelings soon. It seems to me that most have had at lease a few seconds of happy by day 100. I sleep about 3-4 hours every OTHER day. I cry when Im sad, angry, and for no reason at all. The pain I feel must be real as the over all body aching left me at almost the 1 month mark.  I have become very ant-social as well.

I take vitamins, go to NA, and I have been able to eat 2 meals a day despite not having an appetite. I also drink one protein shake a day.

I guess I thought this far out I wouldn't still be this much of a mess. I have to force myself to do everything. Then after I do a small task I need to rest again.  So that's it. I guess I just have no clue as to what to do to make things more bearable. Any thoughts?
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6990909 tn?1435275816
I don't know that there is much more to add.  I just wanted to second a comment at the beginning of this thread....as I am in my late 40's.  I do believe that as we spent time on our doc's for several years, our bodies, our hormones did change along the way.  We may not have noticed...but they just did as that is a normal course of life.  I have friends my age and older who have never abused substances who also have bouts with insomnia, lethargy, etc.  So, while aftercare, eating right, support, exercise are all very important.  I think there is also truth to the fact that our bodies have changed along the way.  Keep doing what you are doing.  You are all rockstars.  You may find along the way that a trip to the Dr may benefit to check hormone, thyroid levels, etc.  Just a thought.

Keep pushing through as you are all on a wonderful journey and have been a great support and example to others.  You are all wonderful!
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Avatar universal
Day 109. I'm hoping to have a better week this week. For me it has not been it  gets better each day it has been It gets better each week. I can see that with much effort both physically and mentally, if I push myself I can be outside for about 2 hours. Even if it is just sitting in a chair. I did this both yesterday and today. I also was able to get supper cooked for my 5 sons and husband. Now at 7:49pm I am laying down as I am so weak and hurting. I am also still quite moody and was quick to anger with my husband. So I am giving us both some space. One hurdle I find I face daily is that at least one of my sons will ask me tomorrow can we do this or next week can you help me with that. I never know how to answer them. I have three teens and a 7 and 8 year old. We have always been a very active family but now I can barley get through a few hours of minimal activity. How do you answer such questions? I am so sick of disappointing them.
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8548587 tn?1426132056
Yours has been one of the slowest and most painful recoveries I have ever witnessed. And if anyone deserves a break, it is you! You are the bravest person I know and you WILL get better and if there truly is a God out there you will get better very soon. Or I might have to have words with her!

Just do what you are able with the kids and let go of the guilt about the rest. In the realm of life this will be a short time and your kids will be okay. Children are adaptable and resilient creatures. And they love you. Is there anybody that could pitch in and help by taking your boys out to do something fun? Sending you every bit of strength and courage I have(which unfortunately ain't a whole lot!) but it is yours my friend...Patty
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Avatar universal
Hey My Friend,

You just keep sitting outside and cooking supper, baby steps, that is what this is. I just knew if I could get you out of that bed, you would start making progress. Hey, just look at all you have done in the last 2 days!!!!  You are making progress. I know how weak your feeling, but just keep putting one foot in front of the other, soon you will realize your doing more week by week.
It has never been day by day for me. Like you it has been week by week. I just started doing things, little by little, and still am for the most part.
We have to get thru this the best way we can, and your making progress.

Your children just have to know, that mom doesn't feel real good right now but that you are gonna get better. They will adjust my friend, and I know it must be a big stressor, to have to put them off right now.

Maybe your husband could have a soothing talk to them and explain that mom will be ok, just right now we have to help her out til she gets well.

Im sending you Like Patty all my strength and healing, your gonna get there.
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Avatar universal
Thanks guys. What would I do if I did not have anyone to talk to?

I think part of the problem is May was the third anniversary of my sisters death. For years I tried everything I could think of to help her with her drug addiction. All the time knowing that she was going to die soon. She was only 40 when she over dosed. I never got to see her body or reconcile in my mind that she really did die. She had been dead two days when the person who she lived with who also was her dealer, finally called my brother to let us know she was gone. Her body was to decayed by that point that we were told by the funeral home that it would be to traumatic to see her because she was so unrecognizable. She needed to be closed casket or cremated. So my mother did as she was advised and had her cremated without allowing me to see her. We had a small ceremony just a few of us gathered at a lake to say goodbye. Trying to reconcile the finality of her death is taking me some time. I still have such raw emotions. I am sober, and finding my self angry and with so many questions. If the drugs can kill my sister can I win this battle? I can only imagine how many times she had been right where I am now. Trying so hard and feeling so alone and desperate. She lost the battle. And no matter how hard I tried to get her to understand that if she kept doing what she was doing the drugs would kill her. She gave up! The depression takes hold the pain and weakness envelops and is suffocating and then what? I have to choose to live in this body because I have my children who don't deserve to ever feel the horror of loosing there mother to an over dose. I have to find my way through this.

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Avatar universal
Your last 2 sentences answer your question about winning the battle, my dear friend. You have your friends right here with you any time you need us.
Dear God, Im so sorry about your sister, more than words can express. Please know the Good Lord will see you thru this, my friend.

One more thing, yes your emotions about life will be all over the place. It ill calm down for you in time.

Please don't be mad cause I said that word TIME.

xoxoxo
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Avatar universal
chig you know me so well. When will it be TIME to sleep? LOL
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bahhahahahaha  lets see bout hmmmmm, good question. lol
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Im thinking about going outside and HOWLING WITH THE COYOTES FOR A BIT MAYBE THAT WILL HELP ME SLEEP, I WILL LET YA KNOW, OF COURSE, IT WILL BE DAYLIGHT WHEN IM BACK IN THE HOUSE, BUT I WILL SEE HOW THAT WORKS FOR BURNING OFF ANXIETY. SO STAY TUNED!!!!
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Avatar universal
Y'all are possibly crazier than me , tina6444, and nomore2. I love it. Stay strong and stay together. This journey is not meant to be made alone. Love the spirit and we look forward to hitting that 100 day mark ourselves.
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8548587 tn?1426132056
I lost my mother to alcohol overdose 18 years ago. I was in my early thirties. I have literally felt like an orphan every day of my life since then. Girl, you gotta win this battle for your boys.

And thank you for the sleep last night, lol. Tonight is your turn.
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Avatar universal
Ladies - I just wanted to tell you all how influential you have been on my decision to get sober. I was reading this forum YEARS before I had the courage to admit I had a problem. I have been following you ladies and your battle since March and I hope things start getting better for you. You have fought so hard and you deserve to feel better than what you are. I think that if posting helps and you want to talk about PAWS and the s/s you are having ...do it!! I have always appreciated your wisdom.
Don't worry about discouraging others because it may prepare them for a time when they might go through it.   There is plenty of encouragement on this forum:)  Recoveries are different and it is good to paint a picture of all of them for beginners.  I am truly rooting for you ladies and hope you reach the goodness in life you so deserve.  BraneGame- you are so very strong I have all the respect in the world for you and what you have gone through.
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