My Opioid Addiction

Posted by jdiakiw @jdiakiw, Jul 24 10:50am

MY OPIOID ADDICTION
My body is my major negative asset. I am riddled with pain. At a 5, 6 or 7 out of 10 on my pain scale, I still function normally, just living through it. At a 10, I suffer in bed. As a youth I had occasional, classic aural/nausea migraines. They became more frequent and less severe, till they morphed into chronic daily headaches. Knee pain resulted in a knee replacement. But arthritis continues to attack my lower back and neck. My piriformis muscles too, add to the relentless pain.

I probably saw a hundred medical practitioners from both traditional medicine,-pain or neurology specialists, to alternative treatment, from acupuncture to cupping. Nothing worked except drugs… especially when oxycodone was introduced to the medical market.
My doctor was very enthusiastic. There was a medical mantra they all bought into that was clearly promoted by the drug company.

They believed that there was a difference between those who used oxycodone for recreational use who could be addicted, but if used for pain and no high was experienced, you could not become addicted, you were only ‘dependent’. I never experienced any high on opioids.

Somehow it was assumed that ‘dependent’ was a mild issue that could be easily rectified if necessary. You could just quit anytime. I started with Percocets a few times a day. It soon was not enough. My doc prescribed Oxycontin. It was soon not enough.
A friend had a fentanyl patch. My doc said he only prescribed a patch for terminal cancer patients. He upped the Oxycontin dose… again… and again. I continued to complain of pain. Finally he added a fentanyl patch. I began taking 160 mg of combined Oxycontin and Percocets, plus the patch.

I was a drug addict. I remember driving up the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto, in bumper to bumper, stop and go, rush hour traffic, in a drug stupor. I fell asleep at a pause and was only awakened by car horns urging me to move on. It was time to stop.
A pain specialist advised moving into a residential rehab facility. I opted for the do-it-yourself option. I researched the process and decided to do it on my own. It took me 6 months to get off the opioids.

I asked my wife what it was like when I was getting off the drug. “You lost your mind. You kept saying to everyone you saw the Buddha on the road. You wandered up and down the beach at the cottage buttonholing people and talking nonsense and breaking down crying.”
My cottage neighbour, a doctor, who observed me in this state, called it ‘ebullient emotion’, typical when patients have strokes or when in shock. I burst into bouts of convulsive weeping without any reason. I did that frequently during my detox.

I reduced my dose by 5mg a week. It was agony. After a couple of months the detox twisted my mind. I was nearly mad. Even when I was down to 5mg per day it was excruciating. I wanted to give up and get a strong dose, but I persisted.

I remember talking to Laurie, a pharmacist at Shoppers Drug Mart in Penetanguishene and asked her if there was anything I could take to get me over the agony on my last 5mg.
She asked how much I had reduced from. “160mg and a fentanyl patch,” I replied.
“On your own?’ she asked, incredulously.
“Yes,” I said.
“That’s unheard of,” she said. Her face signalled shock.

Every time I hear one of many current statistical opioid stories on TV, I am reminded of my addiction and detox. For example: * There were 2833 opioid related deaths in Ontario last year. * In the USA, there were more than 70,200 overdose deaths in just 2017. More than 130 people died every day from opioid- related drug overdoses.

On TV as I wrote this, someone declared, “One hundred people die from gun violence in the USA every day”. 130 from opioids! 100 from gun violence! Are these not preventable?
I have been free of opioids for a few years now. The pain persists but I am better off than where I was. My wife had nightmares about my drugged period. “I thought we were going to lose you.” I am still here.
By the way, I really did see the Buddha on the road.

@jdiakiw WOW, congratulations on your courage and perseverance. Best wishes for strength going forward. Thank you for sharing your story. Admiralable.
Be well-
Rachel

REPLY

@jdiakiw Your entry just made me cry. Descriptions of your experiences with Opiods just were heart wrenching for me. How are you surviving the pain without them? My goodness. I just don't know why people are put on Earth to suffer. I see humor in you in spite of everything. God Bless you, and thanks for your story. Lori Renee1

REPLY

@jdiakiw Is there a part 2 of your opioid story? What is your pain level now? About the same as before your first painkiller?

Maybe someday I'll be writing a similar story. But for now, I take 15mg of morphine sulfate contin 2 or 3 times a day. A year or so ago, I tapered off it to ascertain how much it was helping. At that time I was taking 30mg 3 times a day. After 2 weeks without it, it was clear that it was making a difference in my pain. I've tried every medication my gp, neurologist and pain specialist could prescribe. I'm now taking imipramine, which is the last medication on my pain specialist's list. It helped for a few months, but by now I'm not sure how much it's helping. I'm going to taper off it to test that question. In 2017 I had a spinal cord stimulator implant, which reduced my neuropathy pain in my feet by 75%. It was wonderful! But – there always seems to be a but – it began needing to be recalibrated every 3 months, up to the beginning of this year. In March, I turned the scs off, and over that month period, I couldn't feel any change oin my pain level, nor was there any change when I turned it back on in April. I do use lidocaine cream, only to numb the pain so I can get to sleep, and it doesn't last more than a couple of hours.

Morphine sulfate contin is the only medication that's had long term effectiveness. I don't consider myself dependent, and certainly not addicted. Yes, my pain is less – 4-7 – but having gone off it in the past, I don't think it would be any different now. Even with msc, I have days when I rate the pain up to 7-9. I can't imagine living with that level of pain all the time. Like you, I've never sensed a high from the use of msc. I continue to take it because it does take the edge off my neuropathy pain. It doesn't have an effect on my arthritis, unfortunately. I take tylenol and meloxicam for that.

I haven't given marijuana or cbd oil products a try, but it may come down to that. I put off using those things, even though the use of marijuana is legal in my state, because of the high cost. Have you tried any of those products? If so, did they have any effect on your pain?

I think that everyone with neuropathy pain and other related problems is hoping that a definitive treatment will be discovered. Until that happens, we do what we can to manage the symptoms.

I've found that many people have other conditions in addition to the various forms of neuropathy. Those things create a challenge in finding treatments. I hope that you'll be able to continue managing your symptoms.

Jim

REPLY
@jimhd

@jdiakiw Is there a part 2 of your opioid story? What is your pain level now? About the same as before your first painkiller?

Maybe someday I'll be writing a similar story. But for now, I take 15mg of morphine sulfate contin 2 or 3 times a day. A year or so ago, I tapered off it to ascertain how much it was helping. At that time I was taking 30mg 3 times a day. After 2 weeks without it, it was clear that it was making a difference in my pain. I've tried every medication my gp, neurologist and pain specialist could prescribe. I'm now taking imipramine, which is the last medication on my pain specialist's list. It helped for a few months, but by now I'm not sure how much it's helping. I'm going to taper off it to test that question. In 2017 I had a spinal cord stimulator implant, which reduced my neuropathy pain in my feet by 75%. It was wonderful! But – there always seems to be a but – it began needing to be recalibrated every 3 months, up to the beginning of this year. In March, I turned the scs off, and over that month period, I couldn't feel any change oin my pain level, nor was there any change when I turned it back on in April. I do use lidocaine cream, only to numb the pain so I can get to sleep, and it doesn't last more than a couple of hours.

Morphine sulfate contin is the only medication that's had long term effectiveness. I don't consider myself dependent, and certainly not addicted. Yes, my pain is less – 4-7 – but having gone off it in the past, I don't think it would be any different now. Even with msc, I have days when I rate the pain up to 7-9. I can't imagine living with that level of pain all the time. Like you, I've never sensed a high from the use of msc. I continue to take it because it does take the edge off my neuropathy pain. It doesn't have an effect on my arthritis, unfortunately. I take tylenol and meloxicam for that.

I haven't given marijuana or cbd oil products a try, but it may come down to that. I put off using those things, even though the use of marijuana is legal in my state, because of the high cost. Have you tried any of those products? If so, did they have any effect on your pain?

I think that everyone with neuropathy pain and other related problems is hoping that a definitive treatment will be discovered. Until that happens, we do what we can to manage the symptoms.

I've found that many people have other conditions in addition to the various forms of neuropathy. Those things create a challenge in finding treatments. I hope that you'll be able to continue managing your symptoms.

Jim

Jump to this post

My son works for a prominent pharmaceutical company and tells me they are working on a non-opiod pain reliever. I haven't read up on it but, I'm sure this will be the thing of the future. Government can't impose the removal of opiods from all but, cancer patients, and expect us to be accepting with no back up plan except medical marijuana which remains illegal in many states.

Liked by lorirenee1, sears

REPLY
@jimhd

@jdiakiw Is there a part 2 of your opioid story? What is your pain level now? About the same as before your first painkiller?

Maybe someday I'll be writing a similar story. But for now, I take 15mg of morphine sulfate contin 2 or 3 times a day. A year or so ago, I tapered off it to ascertain how much it was helping. At that time I was taking 30mg 3 times a day. After 2 weeks without it, it was clear that it was making a difference in my pain. I've tried every medication my gp, neurologist and pain specialist could prescribe. I'm now taking imipramine, which is the last medication on my pain specialist's list. It helped for a few months, but by now I'm not sure how much it's helping. I'm going to taper off it to test that question. In 2017 I had a spinal cord stimulator implant, which reduced my neuropathy pain in my feet by 75%. It was wonderful! But – there always seems to be a but – it began needing to be recalibrated every 3 months, up to the beginning of this year. In March, I turned the scs off, and over that month period, I couldn't feel any change oin my pain level, nor was there any change when I turned it back on in April. I do use lidocaine cream, only to numb the pain so I can get to sleep, and it doesn't last more than a couple of hours.

Morphine sulfate contin is the only medication that's had long term effectiveness. I don't consider myself dependent, and certainly not addicted. Yes, my pain is less – 4-7 – but having gone off it in the past, I don't think it would be any different now. Even with msc, I have days when I rate the pain up to 7-9. I can't imagine living with that level of pain all the time. Like you, I've never sensed a high from the use of msc. I continue to take it because it does take the edge off my neuropathy pain. It doesn't have an effect on my arthritis, unfortunately. I take tylenol and meloxicam for that.

I haven't given marijuana or cbd oil products a try, but it may come down to that. I put off using those things, even though the use of marijuana is legal in my state, because of the high cost. Have you tried any of those products? If so, did they have any effect on your pain?

I think that everyone with neuropathy pain and other related problems is hoping that a definitive treatment will be discovered. Until that happens, we do what we can to manage the symptoms.

I've found that many people have other conditions in addition to the various forms of neuropathy. Those things create a challenge in finding treatments. I hope that you'll be able to continue managing your symptoms.

Jim

Jump to this post

Oh Jim. I ache with sympathy pain at what you have been going through. The range of your successes and failures is incredible. Yes there is a part 2 . My doc who put me on oxycontin then suggested I take tramadol which he said didn’t have the same addictive history.

REPLY
@jimhd

@jdiakiw Is there a part 2 of your opioid story? What is your pain level now? About the same as before your first painkiller?

Maybe someday I'll be writing a similar story. But for now, I take 15mg of morphine sulfate contin 2 or 3 times a day. A year or so ago, I tapered off it to ascertain how much it was helping. At that time I was taking 30mg 3 times a day. After 2 weeks without it, it was clear that it was making a difference in my pain. I've tried every medication my gp, neurologist and pain specialist could prescribe. I'm now taking imipramine, which is the last medication on my pain specialist's list. It helped for a few months, but by now I'm not sure how much it's helping. I'm going to taper off it to test that question. In 2017 I had a spinal cord stimulator implant, which reduced my neuropathy pain in my feet by 75%. It was wonderful! But – there always seems to be a but – it began needing to be recalibrated every 3 months, up to the beginning of this year. In March, I turned the scs off, and over that month period, I couldn't feel any change oin my pain level, nor was there any change when I turned it back on in April. I do use lidocaine cream, only to numb the pain so I can get to sleep, and it doesn't last more than a couple of hours.

Morphine sulfate contin is the only medication that's had long term effectiveness. I don't consider myself dependent, and certainly not addicted. Yes, my pain is less – 4-7 – but having gone off it in the past, I don't think it would be any different now. Even with msc, I have days when I rate the pain up to 7-9. I can't imagine living with that level of pain all the time. Like you, I've never sensed a high from the use of msc. I continue to take it because it does take the edge off my neuropathy pain. It doesn't have an effect on my arthritis, unfortunately. I take tylenol and meloxicam for that.

I haven't given marijuana or cbd oil products a try, but it may come down to that. I put off using those things, even though the use of marijuana is legal in my state, because of the high cost. Have you tried any of those products? If so, did they have any effect on your pain?

I think that everyone with neuropathy pain and other related problems is hoping that a definitive treatment will be discovered. Until that happens, we do what we can to manage the symptoms.

I've found that many people have other conditions in addition to the various forms of neuropathy. Those things create a challenge in finding treatments. I hope that you'll be able to continue managing your symptoms.

Jim

Jump to this post

Btw. I too went through the marijuana cycle from vaping to oils, butters etc. Ending with pure CBD oil. Nothing! Then another attempt with those weird Indonesian leaf powders that have strong following. Nothing.

Liked by lorirenee1

REPLY

Hello @jdiakiw and I appreciate you sharing your story about becoming addiction-free. If you care to share more, were there any tools (beyond willpower and dedication to the task) that made this possible? Is there one tool you would care to share with someone who is trying to become addiction-free?

Also, if you don't mind sharing this, what is your current level of pain?

REPLY

@jdiakiw I too thank you for sharing your addiction lesson Part 1 I admit it scares the heck out of me. I was an addiction counselor for 30 years. I worked with people who were so addicted to drugs. There was marijuana, benzos, opiods, alcohol, methamphetamines, cocaine, and one last, the biggest is alcohol. More deaths long term than any other drug. You usually don't see an immediate death, but a long term suffering that eventually leads to organ shut down and death. Along the way, these drugs take others with them to their death. Your wife can attest to that. Those close to the addict suffer as severely as the addict. My family has experienced death due to addiction, My brother, a heroin addict, killed himself. My 1st husband, father of my son, died in a car crash after he and my son were celebrating my son's return from a Military med cruise, They left the bar with my son driving.. No more needed to be said on that. What I want to say is that through all the years of working with people addicted to chemicals, we never encouraged or even allowed them to go off any one of the drugs without medical supervision. Your story scares me because you might have died from the cessation of drug taking sooner than if you had continued using. I agree that we all have to experience some discomfort to reach our goal, but outward, extreme physical and mental pain does not need to be part of that process. I am more than happy that you made it through. It took alot away from your's and your wife's life.in the process. So now Tramadol. Tramadol is an opiod and is addicting, but can be very helpful for pain. Now getting to me. The addiction counselor who relies on percocet to ease the pain of peripheral neuropoathy in both feet, ankles and leg. This along with several other painful health issues made me rethink my objections to taking a narcotic pain reliever. I do not deny that my body is dependent on this drug and if I choose to go off I will need detox treatment. I have no intention of going off any time soon. I run a high risk of addiction so I must be extremely careful. I take as prescribed and see my doctor every month. This includes pain management and primary care. I am 75 years old and I am tired of pain. I am not completely pain free with the pecocets, but I am able to hold my Great granddaughter and take her and her dollbabies for a walk down the road, I also live alone and do the "live alone" stuff. I self check everyday on the addiction process and also question my need for the medication. I then remember crying because the pain took every ounce of energy from me. I do put a warning out there to all those using a narcotic pain reliever for relief. Always be honest with yourself and your doctor, have someone do a check of any behavior changes. Another part of this is DO NOT try to get off any medication without a doctor aboard and one that knows about addiction and medication. This includes not only narcotics but also antidepressants and other drugs that cause physical dependence.

REPLY
@summertime4

@jdiakiw I too thank you for sharing your addiction lesson Part 1 I admit it scares the heck out of me. I was an addiction counselor for 30 years. I worked with people who were so addicted to drugs. There was marijuana, benzos, opiods, alcohol, methamphetamines, cocaine, and one last, the biggest is alcohol. More deaths long term than any other drug. You usually don't see an immediate death, but a long term suffering that eventually leads to organ shut down and death. Along the way, these drugs take others with them to their death. Your wife can attest to that. Those close to the addict suffer as severely as the addict. My family has experienced death due to addiction, My brother, a heroin addict, killed himself. My 1st husband, father of my son, died in a car crash after he and my son were celebrating my son's return from a Military med cruise, They left the bar with my son driving.. No more needed to be said on that. What I want to say is that through all the years of working with people addicted to chemicals, we never encouraged or even allowed them to go off any one of the drugs without medical supervision. Your story scares me because you might have died from the cessation of drug taking sooner than if you had continued using. I agree that we all have to experience some discomfort to reach our goal, but outward, extreme physical and mental pain does not need to be part of that process. I am more than happy that you made it through. It took alot away from your's and your wife's life.in the process. So now Tramadol. Tramadol is an opiod and is addicting, but can be very helpful for pain. Now getting to me. The addiction counselor who relies on percocet to ease the pain of peripheral neuropoathy in both feet, ankles and leg. This along with several other painful health issues made me rethink my objections to taking a narcotic pain reliever. I do not deny that my body is dependent on this drug and if I choose to go off I will need detox treatment. I have no intention of going off any time soon. I run a high risk of addiction so I must be extremely careful. I take as prescribed and see my doctor every month. This includes pain management and primary care. I am 75 years old and I am tired of pain. I am not completely pain free with the pecocets, but I am able to hold my Great granddaughter and take her and her dollbabies for a walk down the road, I also live alone and do the "live alone" stuff. I self check everyday on the addiction process and also question my need for the medication. I then remember crying because the pain took every ounce of energy from me. I do put a warning out there to all those using a narcotic pain reliever for relief. Always be honest with yourself and your doctor, have someone do a check of any behavior changes. Another part of this is DO NOT try to get off any medication without a doctor aboard and one that knows about addiction and medication. This includes not only narcotics but also antidepressants and other drugs that cause physical dependence.

Jump to this post

I appreciate your very thoughtful ideas, @summertime4. As a professional, I'm sure you can see the need to not encourage others to "go it alone" or cold-turkey. As you said, a treatment plan provided by a medical professional is always the best.

REPLY
@summertime4

@jdiakiw I too thank you for sharing your addiction lesson Part 1 I admit it scares the heck out of me. I was an addiction counselor for 30 years. I worked with people who were so addicted to drugs. There was marijuana, benzos, opiods, alcohol, methamphetamines, cocaine, and one last, the biggest is alcohol. More deaths long term than any other drug. You usually don't see an immediate death, but a long term suffering that eventually leads to organ shut down and death. Along the way, these drugs take others with them to their death. Your wife can attest to that. Those close to the addict suffer as severely as the addict. My family has experienced death due to addiction, My brother, a heroin addict, killed himself. My 1st husband, father of my son, died in a car crash after he and my son were celebrating my son's return from a Military med cruise, They left the bar with my son driving.. No more needed to be said on that. What I want to say is that through all the years of working with people addicted to chemicals, we never encouraged or even allowed them to go off any one of the drugs without medical supervision. Your story scares me because you might have died from the cessation of drug taking sooner than if you had continued using. I agree that we all have to experience some discomfort to reach our goal, but outward, extreme physical and mental pain does not need to be part of that process. I am more than happy that you made it through. It took alot away from your's and your wife's life.in the process. So now Tramadol. Tramadol is an opiod and is addicting, but can be very helpful for pain. Now getting to me. The addiction counselor who relies on percocet to ease the pain of peripheral neuropoathy in both feet, ankles and leg. This along with several other painful health issues made me rethink my objections to taking a narcotic pain reliever. I do not deny that my body is dependent on this drug and if I choose to go off I will need detox treatment. I have no intention of going off any time soon. I run a high risk of addiction so I must be extremely careful. I take as prescribed and see my doctor every month. This includes pain management and primary care. I am 75 years old and I am tired of pain. I am not completely pain free with the pecocets, but I am able to hold my Great granddaughter and take her and her dollbabies for a walk down the road, I also live alone and do the "live alone" stuff. I self check everyday on the addiction process and also question my need for the medication. I then remember crying because the pain took every ounce of energy from me. I do put a warning out there to all those using a narcotic pain reliever for relief. Always be honest with yourself and your doctor, have someone do a check of any behavior changes. Another part of this is DO NOT try to get off any medication without a doctor aboard and one that knows about addiction and medication. This includes not only narcotics but also antidepressants and other drugs that cause physical dependence.

Jump to this post

@summertime4 You have shared professional knowledge, personal family pain and self concerned use of medication for your own chronic pain. Thank you for putting it all out there for others, including myself, to learn from. You are brave, intelligent and strong. I, being the involved "younger pup" of the group, greatly appreciate the wisdom that I absorb being on Connect. I feel privileged to learn from you.

A big THANK YOU goes out to all of you who share your life experiences. I'm so much farther ahead of the game because of you!

Best wishes,
Rachel

REPLY
@hopeful33250

Hello @jdiakiw and I appreciate you sharing your story about becoming addiction-free. If you care to share more, were there any tools (beyond willpower and dedication to the task) that made this possible? Is there one tool you would care to share with someone who is trying to become addiction-free?

Also, if you don't mind sharing this, what is your current level of pain?

Jump to this post

My pain doctor who originally suggested I go to a rehab clinic was horrified when he read this story which I sent him. He considered the speed with which I de-toxed was dangerous. I reduced by 5mg a week from 160 mg per day. If he had had a chance to work with me on my de-tox he would have recommended a 3 -4 week 5mg reduction. 5mg per week was dangerously too fast in his opinion

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@jdiakiw

My pain doctor who originally suggested I go to a rehab clinic was horrified when he read this story which I sent him. He considered the speed with which I de-toxed was dangerous. I reduced by 5mg a week from 160 mg per day. If he had had a chance to work with me on my de-tox he would have recommended a 3 -4 week 5mg reduction. 5mg per week was dangerously too fast in his opinion

Jump to this post

@jdiakiw Hi again. I am glad you shared your own protocol for detoxing from opiods. Maybe this will keep someone else from unknowingly suicide. I know I can ask and I know you don't have to give me an answer, but Why did you do that? You didn't even follow guidelines? provided on the internet.

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Thank you so much. Peggy

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@summertime4

@jdiakiw Hi again. I am glad you shared your own protocol for detoxing from opiods. Maybe this will keep someone else from unknowingly suicide. I know I can ask and I know you don't have to give me an answer, but Why did you do that? You didn't even follow guidelines? provided on the internet.

Jump to this post

My pain dr asked me why I didn’t consult with him when I de-toxed. At my last visit with him he told me of a recent patient who did a self detox. After he read my piece above he was incensed at my plan of 5mg per week I thot that was the normal schedule. And I thot I was following the internet suggestions. This was 20 years ago now. And I haven’t got to part 2 where I became addicted again to another drug prescribed by the same dr who got me up to 160mg + fentanyl patch I’ll write part 2 soon

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@jdiakiw

Oh Jim. I ache with sympathy pain at what you have been going through. The range of your successes and failures is incredible. Yes there is a part 2 . My doc who put me on oxycontin then suggested I take tramadol which he said didn’t have the same addictive history.

Jump to this post

@jdiakiw I have a note in my medication history that I took Tramadol. Unfortunately I didn't indicate why I stopped taking it. I'm trying to do better with that now.

I rely on Evernote to be my memory. I have a bunch of lists, from shopping list, meds, hospitalizations, to pottery companies and a list of my hymnal collection.

Now, when I start a medication I enter the date and dosage and any changes, and when and why I stopped taking it. I remember very little of that information, so, as I said, I rely on my external brain.

A couple of years ago I tapered off, one at a time, most of my meds. When I got to Clonazepam, I went from the prescribed dose of 1mg to .75 for a week. I decided that I needed to sleep more than I wanted to stop Klonopin. It's one of the few meds that my wife wants me to keep taking because a secondary effect is that I don't act out my dreams. She was just about to send me to the guest bedroom because I kicked and swung my arms in her direction until I started Klonopin. I'm a better bed partner now.

If I remember correctly, you mentioned esophageal problems, some of which I also have. Could you tell us how you deal with that? It's a problem that intrudes in my daily life.

20 days until my 70th birthday. That's making me feel old. But it is what it is, one of those things that are outside our control.

It's good to have you in the group.

Jim

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