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    Quitting hydrocodone
    Happygirlnow posted:
    I am 47, married and have a good job. I started taking hydrocodone due to severe migraines after other OTC drugs and other prescriptions failed. Over the years I realize I have become dependent on it and for the last two years have been taking it when I don't need it, just to feel that "all is well" feeling. I have a good family and good life, but my husband has cancer and although we are ok and he is dong ok right now, sometimes it's hard to deal with thoughts about what might happen and the pills helped with that. I have come to the point where I am tired of depending on the pills and have allowed my prescription to run out. I have tried to stop before but never made it past two weeks. This time I am not going to have my doctor give me a new refill. I am on day 3 without any pills. I'm uncomfortable but can handle it. I know I can get through 2 weeks as I have done that before. I just have to get through these first 7 or 8 days and get that hopeful feeling back. Am using 1/2 an Ambien to sleep at night, but only have 15 of those with no refill. Any support/advice would be appreciated.
    Taximan283 responded:

    If you can go 2 weeks without a pill at all, you can beat this thing easily. I don't mean with no pain at all, but you can do it. I can never even go 1 day without a pill when I'm addicted. I'm not going to go into all this, but some people hooked on an addicting drug have this disease called addiction, and other's don't. Opiates are addicting, and anyone who takes them long enough will become hooked. But that doesn't mean you have the illness called addiction. And since you can go 2 weeks without a pill, I say you don't have the illness. The pills really do kill some psychological pain, as well as physical pain. I had a doc tell me that when I was 21. I never really thought of it like that, until he told me. I had a few Hydrocodone pills back then, and 1 doc told me I was using them to numb my psychological pain. So are you. Cancer is a hard thing to deal with. I lost a loved one to cancer 10 years ago, and its very emotionally painful watching them be sick. So that is probably exactly why you keep going back to the pills. But if you really decide you don't want to, you won't. I'll also tell you that the worst of the wds are in the first 10 days. So once you go 14 days without a pill, the addiction is broken. You go back because the pills are really doing something for you. Yes, it's psychological in nature, but it's a real thing.

    So I'm certain that you can just stop and stay that way if you want to. I guess you need to learn some new coping skills to deal with the pain of watching your dh have cancer. Maybe you should seek out a counselor for this. That's 1 idea.

    Well, keep posting and let me know how you're doing. You will make it. I have no doubt.

    gerrietoo4448430 replied to Taximan283's response:
    Jack you are playing with fire when you tell her she is not an addict,because she is . Have you ever heard of a week-end drunk? A person who has to get drunk on Sat or go crazy or a man who doesnt smoke at all but when he drinks a beer whenever has to smoke. I took Ambiens for 10 years its additive so you see addition can be alot of different things.I pray you choose your words and advice carefully. gerrietoo4448430
    Taximan283 replied to gerrietoo4448430's response:
    Once again, you do not know my Theory of Addiction. My statement was based on my Theory. Which need not be something you chose to believe. I don't believe that someone who is a true addict could go 2 weeks without opiates so easily, and then start again. If I were to stay 2 weeks without them I'd not return to them. What's more you need to learn certain things. Anyone can become hooked on an addictive drug, like Opiates. That doesn't make the person sick with the Addiction disease. If the person uses their drug because they can't live in their own skin without help of some kind, that's probably someone sick with the disease. They can surely get clean with enough effort. But it's hard.
    Happygirlnow replied to Taximan283's response:
    Hello - thank you Taximan283 for your replies and encouraging words. I am doing pretty good - tomorrow is day 7 for me. I'm not sleeping great, but am getting some. I do believe I am mostly "dependent" on the pain meds, rather than addicted. A little history: I never took anything stronger than aspirin until I was in my early 40's. I have never tried any illegal drug, nor do I have a problem with alcohol. I have an occasionall glass of wine, maybe 2 times a week. When I started having migraines, I tried several different things and ended up with the hydrocodone. I was thankful for it because it enabled me to work most of the time, whereas if I took something else, I would have to stay home. For quite some time, I took it only when I had a migraine. It took me a couple years to figure out that it could also give you a feeling that "all is right with the world, even if only for a few hours. That's when I started using a pill more often, on occasions when I was very stressed or when my husband was very sick. I have also NEVER "doctor shopped" or tried to get any hydrocodone other than my legitimate prescription from my own doctor, nor tried to get any early or extra refills. I simply used what I had been prescribed and if I ran out, I waited until I could refill it again. But I did allow myself to become dependent on it. Last week, I finished up my last refill and am determined not to ask for another. I know I need to learn some better coping skills for what is going on in my life and also just coping with stress. The 1/2 pill of Ambien has helped me get a little sleep this last week and I don't plan to refill it, either, once I get through these couple of weeks. I feel much better today than I did 3 days ago when I wrote my first posting. Some anxiety and discomfort, but I am still going to work and making it through each day. This has been helpful to be on here. I could tell my husband, but he is so sick right now I would be embarassed for him to know how weak I have been and he would also worry very much for me and I can't have that. So thanks for your posts and advice and any other advice would be appreciated. Thank you and have a wonderful day!
    Taximan283 replied to Happygirlnow's response:
    Hi Happygirlnow,

    I'm glad to hear you're doing well. I knew you would. I do want to say that just because I don't think you have the addiction disease, that doesn't mean you can quit without wds. Everyone suffers wds. The medical experts have not found a way to stop wds as of yet.

    One thing that confused me before I understood addiction, is why is it that some people can stop pain pills with ease, while other people (like me) go through a living hell? I was 1st made aware of this in 1997 when a well meaning, but very young and inexperienced pain doc, got me hooked on 24 Vics a day. He thought nothing of letting me have so many, and I started to panic over it. He actually thought he could just take me off them, and a week later I'd be fine. He found out that didn't work with me. But why not? He had no idea, and in 1997 neither did I. Finally I did wean myself off them, but it took 6 months and I went through hell. He apologized and said he never had a patient like me before. This was the beginning of my Theory of Addiction. But it had a long way to go, and it's still not finished. It may never be finished because it's a theory, and I'll change it when and if I'm presented with new facts.

    One thing I learned on this board is that some people can quit the pain pills with only about 5 days of discomfort. My inclination was to not believe them, but why would they lie? They weren't lying. Some people can quit opiates with about 1 week of wds, and other people, like me, take at least 10 days of wds. That's quite a difference, and I think it has to do with this disease.

    So about this disease. I don't define this disease based on what you do. I define it based on why you take whatever drug you take. In your case Hydrocodone. From what I have seen, people with this disease are plagued with bad feelings. The 3 most common forms are depression, anxiety, and extremely low self esteem. Now don't misunderstand me. All people suffer those feelings occasionally, especially when a loved one is sick. But someone with this disease suffers these feelings all the time, even when things are going good. As an example, I was baffled to learn that a young man who had a good job, lots of money, a car, a boat, as well as a loving wife with children would be addicted to Heroin. That made no sense to me. I found out this man suffered from such intensely bad feelings that he found the living death, of Heroin use, to be preferable to his life. That taught me something else too. Like any illness, this disease comes in degrees. The man I previously mentioned is 1 of the worse cases.

    Since I have been attacked for saying you don't have this disease, let me say that if you do, you have a very mild case of it. So mild that you can go 2 weeks without pills without going through hell.

    I do want to to tell you something else. Technically, Ambien is not considered to be addicting. However, it can be habit forming. I am concerned that you want to quit Ambien at the same time as the opiate. I don't advise that. If you quit both at the same time, you may then conclude that insomnia is a good reason to take a pain pill, especially since it makes you feel good. If you do that, then I will say you do have this illness, albeit a mild case. Because remember, it's why you take the pills that matter. And if you take them to escape bad feelings, you have this disease. In your original post you gave me the impression the bad feelings are coming from your sick husband. That's quite understandable. But people with the addiction disease feel bad even when everything is fine, and that's why we keep using our drugs.

    Well keep letting me know how you are. And don't think about the pills, if you can do that. Just try to live your life, and as the days go on the wds will become less and less, until they're gone. And then you're free.

    StrongEnough2win replied to Taximan283's response:
    Hi Jack,

    I'm writing you because you seem to know a lot about pills and addiction. I'm on 10 mg Norco, 12.5 Ambien, 1 mg Clonazepam. My Dr. told me that I could be off of all of these in 3 weeks. I told HIM that his cheese was sliding off his cracker (but in a nicer way). I would like to be rid of all this junk I'm taking, but I'm so scared of withdrawal symptoms and not being able to sleep, I maybe mentally can't let go yet, but I'm not going to let fear rule me. I got on all these meds for different reasons, but those reasons are gone now, and I'm addicted - which way I don't know (who knows - maybe both).

    Can you offer any advice? I was planning on reducing how much I take of each pill little by little, and the pills I take more than one of, reducing by 1/2 pill each week, with a goal of being rid of everything in about 2 months. Is that realistic? Is there one I can move faster on reducing if I'm moving slower on another? I really need to get my life back. I can't stand to be trapped by this medication any longer. Thank you in advance for any direction or advice.

    Taximan283 replied to StrongEnough2win's response:
    Hi Samantha,

    You told me the size of the tabs of each pill you're taking, but you didn't give me the total doses or how long you're on these drugs, and that's what matters. Your age also matters. If you're an older person, and that means as young as 40 you can have heart problems by quitting too fast. I was actually having very occasional and erratic Atrial Fibrillations since I was in my late 30's but it didn't happen often enough, nor long enough for a doc to catch it. When I was 44 I became hooked on Codeine, that was the 1st time I was hooked on opiates. Once I was off it about 1 month my heart went into A-Fibs and didn't stop. So I rushed myself to an ER and they finally diagnosed what had been happening for almost 10 years, but very sporadically. So your age does matter.

    As far as I know you can stop taking Ambien without weaning, and even Norco can be stopped abruptly, depending on your age, and how long you are taking it. The only drug that has to be weaned off of is the Clonazepam, but again, that also depends on how long you're taking it and what the dose is. I'm not a person who has a great deal of faith in doctors, but if your doc said you can be off them in 3 weeks he may be right. Again, what matters is the total doses and how long you've been taking the drugs. I will tell you this. If the total doses are what you said, and you've only been taking these drugs a few months, then you should be able to quit with little to no wds.

    So you need to make another post. You have to tell me the total dose per day, and how long you've been taking each drug. I don't have any experience with Ambien because it doesn't work for me. But I have lots of experience with the opiates and the Benzos. So make another post. And don't forget your age.

    cinn777 replied to Taximan283's response:
    hello maybe you can give me some answers i was let go from my pain management clinic,,, not gonna go all into that cause i already have on a number of posts.. but my fear is will i get help from my dr ... or am i just screwed. Ive been on pain meds some form for years. I had never been to an actuall pain management clinic befor. and was not told that if i recieved any other meds like after a freakin surgery that it was breach of contract they told me i had to find a new clinc, but will i be able to since this one fired me .. I feel like death !!!!

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