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Advice accepted and moving forward

Discussion in 'Detoxing From Pain Meds' started by hopespringseternal, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that. I have never gone back and read my thread. I'm afraid of what babbling I might find.

    Actually, the two times I took the pills the anxiety they caused was almost as bad as the relief they gave. It wasn't the buzz I was after but the pain relief. No, it's not like going completely back to the beginning, but it did set me back. Whether that was psychological or physical, I haven't a clue. Yeah, I don't feel much of anything these days, mood wise, just empty. But I really believe that would get better if I could just keep going. Once in awhile I get a glimpse...

    I have thought long and hard about the quality of life with and without pills. I sincerely hope I have what it takes to make it without them and will keep trying. I just remember the anxiety and depression I had while on them and it scares me to death to go back there. Maybe they messed with my mind more than they do with other people; maybe it's the guilt I feel for taking them for personal reasons, I don't know. I just know that others who are worse off physically than me make it through life with opiates and I want to be one of them.

    I haven't given up on every option for pain relief either. It's possible that there's a minimally invasive surgery to release scar tissue surrounding foot nerves, such as they do for a Mortons neuroma. I had my surgeon take honking huge screws and plate out of my foot with lidocaine (not for the faint hearted) so that should be easy. Funny, I can tolerate a lot of pain when I know it will end. It's the persistent kind that tends to defeat me. I'm also luckier than some in that I get intermediate relief at times.

    I am working seriously and consistently with meditation on dealing with and accepting what is. I just think if I could make it to that breakthrough when I start having good feelings on my own it would help. I read somewhere than for some it might take three weeks even.

    Anyway, thanks for having faith in me. Right now I'm going to keep pushing on. This whole process didn't go exactly according to plan, did it? And I so love it when a plan comes together...
     
  2. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    I had no intention of writing again this soon, but something is different today and I wanted to share.

    I woke up just before sunrise this morning as I do everyday. Rock creek is running full from snow melt and I heard it rushing and tumbling 200 ft outside our bedroom window. I really heard it in a different way. The light from the rising sun somehow seemed brighter. I had my coffee but didn't linger. I have a lot to do today and wanted to get going. But I also felt like getting going in a way I've not since "quitting" opioids. I enjoyed my 3ish miles in a way I've haven't for a long time. The wild roses are in full bloom and I saw them in a new way.

    I have the house to myself as hb is golfing. Quiet, no music except the bird chatter outside the Windows (autocorrect insists on capitalizing Windows; grr...). The fragrance from the gardens is heavy on the breeze blowing around the sheers. I prepared deviled eggs and tarts for garden club tomorrow. It didn't seem tedious and I didn't feel anxious to hurry and get on with the next task. I walked the 1/4 mile total trek down the road to the little market for ice and bought a chocolate bar, something I rarely indulge in, and savored every bite.

    There is nothing major different. It is so subtle that I'm not even sure I am even feeling anything at all. It's not joy exactly, but a kind of contentedness. I feel kind of happy. It's not like the buzzy, artificial feeling from a pill. It's so much better. It's like a vague pleasant memory from childhood, illusive and hard to pin down. I feel present in my surroundings instead of observing things. Maybe that doesn't make sense, but while on opiates it was almost as if I would intellectualize feelings, sort of think "this is what I should be feeling right now; that compliment should make me feel good, that view should take my breath away -- but the feeling was never real. Maybe that makes sense to some of you, at least to those who took opiates consistently for chronic pain. Anhedonia is the word for it, absence of feeling. I have experienced this for a long time now.

    When I was 50, I wrote an essay about long term care nursing and a particular resident. When I finished, I was really proud of what I wrote. It was published in a corporate magazine. The thing is, I've created a lot of beautiful things over the time since then but I've been unable to capture the feeling of pride of accomplishment that I had then. I'm almost afraid to hope, but it feels as if it's coming back. I actually feel a bit creative. I don't know that I'll have time to pursue anything yet today, but it's the first time I have actually had the slightest motivation to actually do something beyond chores, to want to do something creative. I feel sort of giddy, and a little bit crazy for even writing this. I'm not in the least bit sad, but I almost feel like crying.

    The biggest thing is that I am really hurting now. I've been on my feet too long now and the one is swelling. My low back/sacroiliac joint is killing me (I should probably cut out those intermittent jogs when I walk, at least until I get better shoes and orthotics; I've just wanted to get those endorphins going, lol!) Up until today, these feelings always start the war in my mind about tolerating the pain, all while knowing relief is just a pill away. Then, when I've caved, the guilt. Today it's different. I really don't want to take a pill. I don't want to spoil this real feeling I'm having with an artificial one.

    Well, I have to get moving. If anyone could see me now they'd laugh. I've tied a heating pad around my waist plugged into a very long extension cord. I've wrapped an ice gel pack around my slippered foot with an ace wrap. I've taken enough ibuprofen to be nauseated (ok, some might be the chocolate, there's that) and enough aspirin to make my ears buzz. But I won't ruin this day with a pill if I can at all help it.

    I won't go on anymore. I'm not even sure I make sense. But tomorrow I have an event and then we're leaving to go visit son and wife for a few days. I don't know when I will get a chance to post again.

    I know that this feeling may not last forever. It may take awhile before things improve beyond this. It's just so unexpected to feel it at all, considering my lapses. I didn't expect it to happen for weeks. It makes me more determined than ever to figure out some solution to the pain dilemma because I am not on the fence anymore about the pills. I don't want them. I just wanted everyone to know that I think there may be

    Hope

    For me yet!
     
    Fox face likes this.
  3. spring

    spring Administrator

    Oh my! This post really touched my heart. I believe you are finally getting your first burst of natural endorphins aka the Pink Cloud. Enjoy it while you can because now that you are experiencing 'normal' emotions you aren't going to want this one to go away. But it will and it will come back and go away again and come back. At least that's how it worked for me. I was so happy and relieved that I had made it to the other side that I pretty much stayed happy. Even the downers in life and the bad days were better than any day I ever experienced while under the opiate cloud.
    Keep on keepin on Hope!
     
  4. peacenik

    peacenik Administrator

    Boy I echo Springs fine thoughts Hope. Over in the Methadone Detox section I've written some of this phenomenon and have referred to it as a time of heightened awareness - when colors seem brighter, aromas more intense, the appreciation you derive from music or art will be strong. I always suggest you use this time to really internalize the gift that recovery brings to life. Read that self-help book, listen to upbeat music, take a hike, take it all in.

    Spring is right. This time wont last forever, but it can help to form a foundation of recovery - a positive outlook that will stay with you and enable you to deal with things that used to unsettle you. It's what recovery is Hope - the best of luck to you
    Dave
     
  5. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    Actually, I did hike, probably a bit too much. We visited the kids and they suggested a mountain hike on Saturday. The trail we picked was a 6.5 round trip hike that took 3 1/2 hrs. At the trail head the elevation was 8000 ft. The 3.25 mile climb ascended 1200 ft, to 9200 ft. For those of you flat landers, 9200 ft is way up there. It was 46 DF at the trail head. I don't know how chilly it got toward the top, but we walked through and past mounds of snow not yet melted. It was almost steady uphill, few level places, rocky and a bit treacherous for an intermittently numb foot. I had to constantly watch where I placed it. But I didn't have any trouble keeping up, although I definitely need better shoes. There was a lake at the top and the views overlooking forest and mountains on the way down were spectacular. I have paid for it ever since. The jarring to my low back caused repercussions I am still feeling. I have blisters I couldn't feel. I guess I have been treating pain with opiates for so long that I haven't learned to recognize what my natural limits are.

    This will be my last post for awhile. I have some family issues that have come up and need to visit my sisters. Unlike my son, I am not very high tech, but my sister is even less so. I will be staying with one who has no wi-fi; since my iPad is wi-fi only, I won't be able to post.

    I have a lot to think about personally as well while away. I have to decide how far I'm willing to go with the opioids. I know what I want, but I don't know what I'm able to do. Spring is right, I have made a lot of progress since I started out on this journey. But as long as I have the pills available I will continue to use them intermittently when pain gets to be overwhelming. I know they're there. And, whether it's psychological or not, even one pill occasionally seems to affect me negatively. With relief comes the natural desire to want it again and again. And whether it's addiction or dependence, I will eventually need more. I really want to find out what I'm capable of long term dealing with pain on my own. And I want to have more days like I had last Thursday, real feelings with a clear head. So I'm working up the courage to flush the pills I have left. A year ago if someone suggested I could flush 50 pills I would have said they're crazy!

    I walked today, slowly (and definitely no jogging!). Less than a week ago the wild roses were in full bloom and today most were gone. That is like life itself. Good things come and go, they're here for awhile and then gone. Like feelings, the trick I think is to appreciate them while they are here, bask in their glory. Then, as the not so good times come, remember they also don't last forever either.

    Tomorrow I pick up my orthotics and leave. I hope I have an opportunity to look for shoes. My story doesn't have an ending yet but I'll be back in a few weeks or a month for an update.
     
  6. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    You know, I've read about the pink cloud thing. I always thought it more spectacular from descriptions. So mine was a fairly pale pink, lol, and fleeting. But whatever it was, it was nice. It's a driving motivation for me, just knowing that I am capable of achieving normalcy again. Because, before Thursday, I was skeptical that I ever would. That memory will help in the weeks to come.
     
  7. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    I had to share the photo which I know is really small. This is the tiniest fawn I've ever seen and it's already close to a month old. Mama keeps hiding it in the space between the dining room and the family room behind a Russian sage plant. It's just so cute, no bigger than a puppy when I first saw it, still not too big.

    Yeah, life is good.
     
    Fox face likes this.
  8. spring

    spring Administrator

    You're probably not able to read this until you get back home but if I don't post while it's on my mind I will forget to later...
    You said; Good things come and go, they're here for awhile and then gone. Like feelings, the trick I think is to appreciate them while they are here, bask in their glory. Then, as the not so good times come, remember they also don't last forever either.
    Good insight. If it weren't for the bad stuff, we wouldn't appreciate the good when it comes around.

    I do hope you flushed your pills. That's a huge hurdle to jump imo even if it's only symbolic. That small physical act of flushing is really a giant emotional step towards the goal you are striving for.
     
  9. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    The one thing I have learned is that wishing never did a thing for anyone.

    I did flush the pills but not right away. And I never ended up going anywhere. I wasn't physically up to it. I am dealing with family stuff long distance.

    First of all, I needed to find out what dose of opiate I could take to control the pain. Then I needed to find out if I could make that work. I found that two pills, even two 3/4 pill doses were actually all I needed -- for the pain. My days would go like this. Wake up, more often than not with vague anxiety. Wait as long as I could to take my first dose enjoying the clearheadedness. Then an hour after the first dose, pain relief but accompanied by that fuzzy thinking fog, floaty not-really-present feeling for another hour or so. Then, check watch all day, tell myself, nope pain is not that bad, can't take a pill but the dependence/addiction thing makes me want one anyway. Go until later in the day when the pain really builds and repeat the process. In some ways, it was worse than when I took four pills a day. At least then I was too gorked to care and it was easier to deny it was a problem.

    Then I hurt myself. It was a really clumsy stupid accident. I was running along Meteetsee trail with my new oversize shoes (that are too big for my left foot but need to be to accommodate the right foot and orthotics). I still can't judge where my left toe is and as I was running along I stubbed my toe hard on the downswing sending a shockwave from my low spine down my leg. I also fell forward onto my arms to break my fall hurting both shoulders. So I treated the pain for a few days.

    A few nights ago I had a sudden realization that nothing was going to change if I did not change what I was doing. I had a refill of 120 7.5s the end of April that filled the bottle to the top. I still had a half left. I knew that as long as I had them I would continue to treat the pain, even if at a lower dose, and would have to put up with the rest. Even if I could keep myself from increasing the dose, what kind of life would it be to constantly fight the desire. I also wondered if taking the pills contributed to the fall by making my feet less sensitive than they would be. I flushed them a few days ago. I still can't believe I did it.

    So I've been going through withdrawal again. It's not as bad in some ways having been through it before. It's easier knowing there is no falling back on the pills. I don't miss the buzzy feeling at all and anxiety is not that bad. But the pain is brutal and the lack of motivation, energy is almost as bad as anxiety. But I know it will get better. I keep remembering that one day in June and it is the thing that keeps me going.

    I don't know how people take very high doses of opiates, wean themselves down and are able to take smaller doses again. I have found out that it isn't going to work for me. I think I had to know that for all the misery that pain may be, it is still not as bad as the misery I have endured from the pills. I'm not worried about the injury. Even if it's a compression fracture, it will heal. I've had one before. The shoulders are already better. Once I get beyond the withdrawal and start feeling "normal" again, I know that pain will be easier to deal with. I have read on other sites that it sometimes takes 30-60 days for the rebound pain to subside. I'm willing to wait for it.

    So, I have wished I had just kept up the taper and stepped off the pills as originally planned. Sometimes I wish I had just gone cold turkey to start. At the very least I wish I had kept on going each time I made it to six or seven days. But all the wishing in the world won't change the past, no matter what we wish for. All we can do is go forward, starting with now. Maybe I had to go through things the way I did in order to get to where I am. I don't know but I'm here now. I just need to get through this week and I'll update.
     
  10. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    My baby fawn got too big finally for her hiding spot and moved on. I see her (him?) now and then running about. In a year I won't recognize it. Life goes on.
     
  11. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    Update: it's been 10-11 days since my last pill. There hasn't been a pink cloud in sight but I'm still moving forward with
    Hope
     
  12. Catamount

    Catamount Well-Known Member

    Great job Hope....keep marching ahead 1 day at a time.

    All my best,

    Cat
     
    hopespringseternal likes this.
  13. Catamount

    Catamount Well-Known Member

    The pink cloud will come in its own time Hope. Great when you get there.

    Cat
     
  14. spring

    spring Administrator

    11 days is great! Keep on putting one foot in front of the other, those days will keep racking up!
     
  15. AumuA

    AumuA Well-Known Member

    Maybe you're not going to get a pink cloud. Sorry.. :) You're doing great though, you are my inspiration. You probably didn't know yours was going to end up being the only active thread on the whole board, huh?
     
  16. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    Thank you, thank you, I'm honored and surprised to receive this award...lol!

    AmuA, there are a whole lot of things I didn't expect when I started this thread. I vaguely remember starting out thinking I would get advice on tapering and quit; I certainly wasn't going to put myself out there like those other people. Hilarious, I should get an award for the most verbiose poster on ODR! One day I will go back and read it to see how far I've come.

    I've sort of suspected that I'm not going to get the pink cloud thing this time. Too bad I wasted it last time. Oh, that tendency to think shoulda, coulda, woulda...

    I'm now at two weeks, today or late yesterday. I think I'm probably the weirdest addict ever. I just don't fit into any sort of predictable pattern, and you know how I like predictability. Things were going well until two days ago. The initial jump wasn't bad beyond a week, then I really started to feel better every day. Then I got hit with incredible lethargy, like walking through sludge. I had no motivation to do anything. I felt restless, but not really anxiety. Other than chores and exercise all I did was read. Today it's not as bad.

    The pros so far: After the first 5 days, I haven't craved taking a pill, or at least what I think a craving is. Oh, occasionally I get a pain in my back or foot and my first thought is take a pill. But it's only habit. When I think of actually taking one and starting the whole process over, well that's all it takes. And it's funny, I don't really desire the feeling from pills now. I like being clear headed. I like the increase in perception, the return of my senses of smell, taste, etc. l love waking up without that horrible feeling of anxiety.

    The cons: pain, although it's truthfully easier than I ever thought it would be to cope with the pain. I have realized it's always been more the restrictions pain put on my life than pain itself that I don't like. I've always been able to tolerate high amounts of pain. I have to take a serious look at my lifestyle and decide what I need to do to modify. Of course, I am only two weeks out (unbelievable! it seems like months at least; time has creeped by.). I have not started producing much of my own endorphins yet, so I'm giving it more time. I recently read something from a Dr Scanlan from a blog called Guinevere Gets Sober. It was actually the source than led me to check out this site to begin with. This dude feels strongly that suboxone should be used only to detox from opiates, never long term. But the other thing he said was that to get your endorphin production back, exercise that raises your heart rate to 120 for as little as 12 minutes helps. Now that is funny. I can jog for 30 minutes and only get my heart rate to 116. I know I have to go faster but then my back and foot hurt, not to mention fear of falling. But maybe this should be under the pros column after all. Not taking pills helps me recognize my physical limits, even when I don't like having limits any more than I like getting older.

    I'm pushing on. I push through pain as best I can. It's not really that bad. I'm not going back to the pills. I've never really liked the "high" from pills, but I miss feeling happy. (And yes, they make you feel happy until they don't anymore. It's an artificial happiness that robs you of your natural happiness. I haven't forgotten that for a minute.) I can't say I'm depressed exactly. Just a lack of feeling anything. No pleasure from gardening, creativity or anything. I just have faith that it will come back when it comes back. I wake up early everyday and walk/run about the time the sun is coming up. I don't have a trenmendous amount of energy then, at least for speed, but it's cool then. (Yesterday the temp went from 43DF to 88DF; that's the mountain clime.). I look forward to getting out, even if frustrated I can't do more. I don't know what more to do except keep trying and wait.

    Just once in awhile, a fragrance on the breeze, the light in a certain way, the sun on my face or a memory from the past will cause a fleeting feeling in me, a sort of dejavu of how I used to feel long before I started the pills. It's definitely brief but it gives me

    Hope

    that I will again. Because, I know that if this was as good as it gets, no one would ever stick with it, would they?
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016
  17. spring

    spring Administrator

    Wow! just Wow! This is so great to read! You are an inspiration to many, probably more than you'll ever know. Although not many people post anymore, there is still a constant barrage of 'guests' coming to read.
     
    hopespringseternal likes this.
  18. Fox face

    Fox face Moderator

    That's Awesome Hope!
     
    hopespringseternal likes this.
  19. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    I don't know about my being an inspiration but I know I found it here. And I do believe there are a lot of people out there coming to read. I used to be one. This post is both for you who gave me inspiration, as well as you "guests" who are looking for it.

    First off, there are a lot of others just like me out there, more all the time; those who got sucked into taking opiates for chronic pain and finding out too late that they just aren't the solution to the problem they thought they would be. Opiates highjack the brain of those of us who became "dependant" legally in physically just the same way as those who start using recreationally and get "addicted." In some ways we are worse off than the guy who buys on the street that wants to get high; he may not understand the reasons he uses, but knows how he got addicted. CPrs come to realize something is not right but many of us don't know what it is that has happened. It sounds naive, but it's true. I think even the many who vehemently defend their right to use opiates for "legitimate" pain and are only "dependent" still understand that opiate use, even when necessary to function, negatively impacts your mind and eventually destroys your soul.

    So we read or log onto sites like this to find answers to the confusion that plagues us. Some, like me, have decided we wanted to quit before we came to this site, and stayed for support and advice. Some, like I was in the beginning, are ambivalent. We recognize that opiates do relieve pain. We don't like giving that part up. But we don't like the negative side of it. And over time we have come to accept that can't have it both ways. But we're worried we can't deal with pain without them. We make excuses for "just in case" we can't succeed. Some are still trying to figure it all out.

    I have, and occasionally still do, read other forums, although I picked only this site to post. I have also read books, articles and government publications. Much of what I read was contradictory, but I read with an open mind and it all helped. Is there a difference between a "true" addict and an "accidental" one? It no longer seems important. Any pill you can't quit taking when you want to is a problem.

    I will tell you that if it wasn't for what I've gained here, I'd not have been successful. I had determination and hope, but those two things alone would not have been enough in the end. I have only succeeded thus far because I was armed with knowledge of what to expect; but personal support is invaluable. For those in my situation who can't realistically drive for two hours to an organized meeting, the information, education and support I've received has made all the difference in the world for me. I now personally understand why users relapse. It took me three tries to get through the initial withdrawal. But with every failure I tried again because those on this site convinced me I could get beyond it. You said it would get better and it did. The setback (on schedule, actually) of the past few days could have had me running back to the pills. Is this all there is? After all, wouldn't an artificial feeling would be better than none at all? except that I'm taking it on faith that this apathy I feel won't always be there. I have lots of days I have trouble dealing with pain. It will get better. It's still early. I will continue to build my own endorphins. Yeah, I'm taking a lot on faith. I'm willing to.

    If you are just logging in to read, I'm sure you noticed things on ODR are not as active as they'd used to be. But, read the old threads anyway. The ones who have been successful over time are an inspiration. And lots can be learned from the ones who did not appear to make it. In the beginning I was disappointed that I didn't get the overwhelming response than those in the past. Now I'm just grateful for those who have been there for me all the way.

    I don't post as much now. I will say it was more helpful in the beginning than I ever realized it would be. Now I'm just working hard to get my life back. I'll continue to update as I progress. I will post again when -- not if -- I make it to a month. Until then, to those that are just reading and hoping, find your own way. If you start a thread, there will be a few here to encourage you. To my "personal support team," lol, thank you; Spring, AmuA, Fox, Cat; Dave and the others who posted from time to time. There were times when a message came at a moment when I felt like giving up that encouraged me to push on. You should know that.

    Hope
     
  20. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    "The Accidental Addict" kind of sounds like the title to a book, doesn't it? If I could write a book I'd write it.
     

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