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Going crazy from PAWS!!!

Discussion in 'Freedom from Hell ~ Staying Clean~' started by EgoSum35, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. EgoSum35

    EgoSum35 New Member

    I am now 47 days clean from a 7-month (recreational) daily use of about 30-40 milligrams oxycodone (not a massive habit perhaps, but a consistent one), and I need some serious advice. The PAWS have hit me horribly with anxiety, depression, anhedonia, EXTREME insomnia and a general sense of cognitive slowness. I have been spanked so bad from the opioids, I truly have little desire to return using. I have a small business and my employees depend on me to be there and be "the boss," but every day lasts a century. I actually blacked out from the anxiety and ended up in the ER, sent home with a short-course RX for Klonopin; the medical staff never even asked me routine questions about my drug use - the curse of having an innocent face but a rotten soul. I took the Klonopin for about two weeks, 1 mg a day, which helped me cope, but I stopped as I am well aware of benzo addiction and the deadly consequences of benzo w/d. I am currently taking Ambien nightly, as directed, to sleep; melatonin simply does not work in any reasonable dose.

    I'm afraid the benzo use may have prolonged PAWS, and I fear the Ambien will delay the return to brain homeostasis since the general information on PAWS seems to suggest this. I am far too ashamed to discuss this with my GP doctor, who may not really know anyway. Is it reasonable that ANY sedation of the brain prevents it from healing? Does anyone know with fair certainty? I want to get through this by eating right, amino acid protocol, a few days of exercise a week, but if I can't sleep, I can't function AT ALL. And the PAWS symptoms have hardly diminished from the second week to now even with the efforts I have made. Have I effectively erased any gains with the benzo and Ambien?
  2. peacenik

    peacenik Administrator

    Hi EgoSum,
    Welcome to ODR. Im sorry you're not feeling great but it will get better. I can't really say how much taking other drugs would delay healing. When I kicked methadone I quit everything and even then it took some time.

    Delaying healing is one thing, but getting started on a substitute habit is another. Have you thought about the idea of going drug free? I got so used to living without drugs that it's not an issue anymore.

    See, I look at opiate addiction as part of an addiction to drugs in general so when it came time for me to kick, I went to Dr. who supported abstenence. And should I go to a Dr today, I would tell him I couldn't take opiates, benzos etc.

    I appreciate that you have a job to do - I think you'll get back to feeling OK real soon if you hang in there. I went through it EgoSum, and I know it's not fun, but in my case it was rough enough that I learned my lesson and have enjoyed life without drugs ever since. Sometimes acceptance is the lesson we take from this kind of thing - it is what it is and we've just got to ride it out. Amazing thing Ego Sum, is that getting past my addiction and PAWS taught me lessons that improved my whole outlook on life. I know it's hard, but try to embrace what you're going through, you're growing and in time you'll look back and smile.

  3. EgoSum35

    EgoSum35 New Member

    Thank you Dave, for a really beautiful response.

    I actually did not take the Ambien last night, for what you are saying about doing things drug-free resonates with me. It's very funny that I had a tortured night in bed with about three hours of sleep, but once I got out of bed and I went to work, I felt more like myself than I have in some time. Still a little foggy perhaps, but I was jovial and not the irritable jerk I've probably been the past six weeks. I've been too anxious when I should realize the PAWS is a signal that the mind IS in fact healing.
  4. arlenewla

    arlenewla Well-Known Member

    This is excellent advice from Dave and I too function that way. Its not just a question of when I go to a new physician, but even when returning to a physician who is familiar with me as a patient, I again underscore that I can't take any opioids. I state that I have an ALLERGY to them just like an allergy to ie penicillan. At first, some don't get it; they don't see it that way. However, I make the analogy that should I take an opioid, I break out into an uncontrollable case of MORE and that my life goes to ****. And, if they still don't understand, I just force the issue. That's how I end up with a red allergy alert on my chart.

    Its on me, and me alone, to keep myself safe.

    I recently had an old demon surface. I fractured my hip & had 5 surgeries for it. Logged a lot of hospital time. Logged a lot of severe pain time. I saw, on the hospital computer, that at the top of every admission record was marked "opiate addiction." So, on the one hand that was excellent, but on the other hand my demon began to speak to me. My addictive brain said, "suppose they see that and withhold needed pain medication?"

    Well, turned out to be very wrong. Not only did they not withhold pain medications, they scheduled me for every 2 hours. And you better believe I never had to ring for a nurse. She was at my bedside, like clock work, every 2 hours. See, what I failed to understand, in all its fear, is that they treat the whole patient....they treat the injury. And that injury required pain meds. There was no choice. Can't have 5 hip surgeries and 2 replacements without them.

    HOWEVER, as comfortable as I was made in the hospital and on the meds they discharged me with, it was still on me not to run with it. Still on me to get off of them. I set a timetable and stuck to it. I also had the homehealth care aid dispense them to me. I was not in control of my own meds. Not that cocky.

    Came the 8 week mark following the 5th surgery, and time to get off of them. I learned to understand the difference between pain & discomfort. I began a taper schedule starting with the most addicting and long lasting first. Then onto the next narcotic....the one prescribed for break through pain. Tapered that. The process was miserable and I couldn't believe I was doing this again. Miserable, but very different than when I detoxed 9 years ago from Methadone.

    What was different is that I KNEW what an amazing life sobriety brings. I KNEW that my family supported me. I KNEW that I didn't pickup just to pickup. I KNEW the tools I had to use to get back to living clean & sober. Did my body know that it was dependent and not addicted? Hell, no! But my mind did!!! I pulled on my strengths. I looked around my home and invoked all the gratitude that 9 years has brought me. I got emails from my sons telling me how proud they were of me. They too were able to differenciate this medically driven experience from my addictive experience of years ago. All the work I have done in the intervening 9 years came back to me in spades! I have an allergy to opioids and one isn't enough unless I say so! Today, I have choices and I choose to be a decent mother, grandmother & friend. I don't give lip service to sobriety....rather I act on it.

    Recovery is a life-long process....not just when its convenient. It takes work to remain hyper-vigilant. I wish you all hyper-vigilance!
  5. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    is it really you?

    been keeping you in mind and glad to hear you've come through the surgeries.

    remember 3 years ago, i was getting ready for thanksgiving & feeling PAWS and freaking out about cleaning the house?--Bonita told me to hire a cleaner on my husband's credit card. you laughed & said you wished you'd thought of that.

    EgoSum, i tell this story because i know how hard it is at the beginning to imagine that things will ever be different. these people got me through that time. today i'm leaving to drive 550 miles to visit my sister. no sign of paws anywhere.

    Happy Thanksgiving! love, /G
  6. Living Free

    Living Free Well-Known Member

    Arl, Your post brought a tear to my eye. Im so grateful that youve shared your experience and even more grateful that the Arlene weve loved and respected was not lost. We all had faith in you, however, as you said, one can never be too cocky with addiction.....it certainly lays in wait. The key is vigilance, one day, sometimes one hour or minute at a time. Well worth it.

    Paws does end Egosum. When youre in it you cant see past it...but it does end. Believe that we have been there and that we are stating this to be a fact. Know its a process to go thru PAWS and come out the other side. The work starts there...and gets better day by day.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all. L
  7. teach07

    teach07 Well-Known Member

    Not to hijack your thread but......ARLENE!!!!!! So glad your back.....and thanks so much for sharing what you have been thru....what an inspiration you are......helps me more than you know......and EGOSUM....the Paws will go away.... just takes time....and like they say....time TAKES time....I wish for you the best.....hold on tight and seek out support....it has made all the difference for me and can for you too...take care. Carol
  8. Rainier

    Rainier Well-Known Member


    For sleep, if you need it, you might think about Trazadone. It's not addictive, and a far better choice than either benzos or Ambien. I take it, find it effective, and don't really see it as an issue. I applaud those who choose a drug-free existence, but sometimes it is better to get some relief from the insomnia - it helps keep me sane(er).
  9. blurk 007

    blurk 007 Well-Known Member

    hello- i have a prescription for trazadone and it really does work- (it is also used as an anti- depressant == 0hey presto! you take too much and you just feel sick and your legs will WOBBLE and then go boom fall down-.thIng here. i'm on day one i guess- 20 hours with no opiates- ah my dearest friend my PRECIOUS-
    i can only see a little light and i'm so glad i got a new password and can be here-

    all the best to you.
    in the past i found that forcing yourself to walk a couple miles EVERY DAY-- also do stuff to get your heart meter spinning. drink way to much STEAM DISTILLED DRINKING WATER . eat chocolate, hot peppers- the poor brain has to learn to make it's own happy juices and it's just time. avoid red meat and heavy duty meat protein- get fishy and chickeny,. you'll be OK --
    thank you for your thread- it may help save my life--
  10. EgoSum35

    EgoSum35 New Member

    EEK, I'm back. Back where I didn't, wasn't, never ever going to be again. Back in PAWS after a relapse. I really appreciate what you folks wrote. I was fine for quite some time, recovered mostly, sleep returned, the old me rushing back into my brain, loving music, goose bumps from poetry, weeping in front of powerful paintings. And of course, since i was feeling so good, THE ASININE idea that I could take a few pills to make my flight to Costa Rica even more comfortable seemed just perfect...yeah, a perfect way to go back to HELL. And of course no complaints from my helpful and loyal logistics man, who on my word brought bags filled with pure oxycodone pills, 30 mgs, weekly to my corner office after my return. I told myself i would just take them during the week and detox over the weekend. HAHAH - the plan failed. Flash forward to this past May, as I crammed 40 of those suckers into an altoid tin to smuggle through customs at Schiphol Airport on my way to the Netherlands to study Rembrandts. Horrible discovery of how easily tolerance builds....I found myself by day 5 about to sh!t my pants in front of the old City Hall of Amsterdam. I took my last 90mgs in one gulp and waited for the hazy paradise to come...but it was a shadow of what I EXPECTED. Now I know I am in trouble again. So going on about six weeks clean. I had no physical w/d...weird, but just went right into PAWS. I think I am coping better this time around. But I know this has got to be the last shot - I will end up psychotic, dead, a decent mind with good intentions slaughtered. I am desperate to get through this okay again....but then i worry that since i interrupted the healing, maybe i won't be able to be my old self again. Scary spect brain images showing the brain activity of an opiate abuser...they look like Alzheimers! Is this what i did? Can it ever really be fixed. Nueroplasticity maybe only works so many times perhaps, and then you are screwed up for life! I hope not. I have to take Ambien to sleep, and when i wake, i struggle to get out of bed, my head full of repetitive thoughts and unable to remember the previous night with any clarity. It's like the last stanza of Kubla Khan "look upon him with holy dread, for he on honeydew hath fed, and drunk the milk of paradise!" I know exactly what Coleridge meant!Opiates were a means to experience art and beauty on the level the Romantics were striving to experience. But the road ends in a hell beyond reckoning. You sold your soul to Mephistopheles to experience a pure moment of pleasure, and now he has returned to collect.
  11. Riskyrob

    Riskyrob Well-Known Member

    "I am far too ashamed to discuss this with my GP doctor, who may not really know anyway." I wish you would talk to your Doctor, back when I went through this the first time my Doctor did as much as she could. Now a days I think most all Dr's are aware of our problems and can help. I can't bring myself to doing what I preach do to having to admit I have been getting prescriptions from my Orthopod and off the street (I hope this cannot be used against me here on this board). But if and when I get the courage up to bring her into the full aspect of my usage I think she will help. Her husband is a cop and he kind of works for me through my activity with the City.
    Anyway, I pray you can bring your Dr in on what you’re into and he/she is willing to help.
    Good luck!
  12. Riskyrob

    Riskyrob Well-Known Member

    Hello EgoSum35,
    As you put it "I am far too ashamed to discuss this with my GP doctor, who may not really know anyway." I wish you would talk to your Doctor, back when I went through this the first time my Doctor did as much as she could. Now a days I think most all Dr's are aware of our problems and can help.
    I pray you can bring your Dr in on what you’re into and he/she is willing to help.
    Good luck!
  13. movazi

    movazi Well-Known Member

    Peacenik once wrote a quote to the effect that ; " Once I knew that I will never pick up using again the paws went away " .
    There is some truth in the statement in that one gets to the point of acceptance, and once things are accepted they usually become easier.
    Obviously there are neurochemical issues at play but let's hope that it's plasticity is more flexible than you think :- )
  14. BackInAction

    BackInAction Active Member

    Yeah, the body/brain will return to equilibrium -- rather quickly, in fact. And like movazi pointed out, it's mostly an acceptance thing. It's about changing. Of course you can never return to using again 'normally' but I would argue you never could in the first place or you wouldn't be here.

    So it's really simple -- accept that you cannot use drugs and find other things to do, other ways to cope. Acknowledge the fact that all of our thinking and ideas are usually just our primitive brains' way of trying to rationalize getting high.

    I like exercise, lifting weights, reaching goals, being actively involved in relationships, and putting more focus on others. Constant self-obsession is the road to loneliness, pain, and using.

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