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Opiates and the Immune System

I’m always reluctant to write about medically related topics, because I don’t want to represent anything incorrectly. Since I’m not a Doctor, I try not to give any medical advice so I don’t steer anybody in the wrong direction. With this post I’m just going to give you my experience and what little I know about how opiates like vicodin affect the immune system.

One thing that I noticed after all my years of opiate abuse was that, without fail, everytime I would try and detox from the drug, I would get sick about 7 days after my withdrawals. And I’m not talking about dope sick, I mean literally, I would come down with a cold or flu every single time. It was like clockwork. After going through that cycle a few times, I started wondering if the opiates were having some sort of negative effect on my immune system, so I started doing some research.

I learned about something called “immunosuppression”…long ass word huh? 🙂 Anyway, for those of you that don’t know, our immune system works as a defense mechanism for our body. In the case of the cold and flu it acts to protect us from foreign viruses and bacteria that cause those God awful symptoms we all hate. When our immune system is suppressed, it fails to protect us from those foreign parasites, so we end up getting sick.

In recent years, immunologists have found a link between our own natural endogenous opioids (endorphins), and our immune system function. In a nutshell, our internal opiates help our immune system function better. But, what happens when we replace our own endorphins with artificial ones like vicodin? Our body lowers its own production, and uses the drug as a replacement.

For me, it seemed that as long as I was on the pills, I would never get sick. It was weird and great all at the same time. But, what I didn’t realize was that the vicodins were actually suppressing my own natural ability to fight off colds, and replacing it with an artificial imposter. All was well until I decided to quit. That’s when my internal opioids, which had been reduced to next to nothing, were all of a sudden expected to save me from all the bacteria and viruses floating around. Well, you know the rest of the story.

If you didn’t have a reason to quit before, I hope I’ve given you yet another incentive to work on getting and staying clean. You see, we have our own internal vicodin, our own morphine, heroin, oxycontin, etc… etc… that protects us and makes us happy. And guess what? It doesn’t cause withdrawal, it doesn’t make us lose our jobs or our families, it doesn’t land us in jail and best of all, it doesn’t cost a dime.

Stay healthy everyone!

*Note: Monitor your physical health closely. Try and find correlations between your opiate use and other physical conditions that you were never prone to before. One thing I’ve noticed is that if/when I would use large quantities of opiates in one sitting, the next day I would end up with a canker sore in my mouth directly above my cervical lymph node in my jaw. The lymph node would also be swollen. It would only happen to me during those high does sessions. Lymph nodes play a part in the immune system as well, so I’m assuming that the two are related. Has that ever happened to you? Do you have a story that you can share with us?


1 Jonathan { 12.23.09 at 1:10 pm }

I am currently undergoing Detox for Vicodin Addiction. As for your last question in this blog entry, Yes.. I would get Canker Sores in the same general areas after high dosage days. If i would cut back for 2-3 days on the quantity I was taking, they would clear up, but the minute i pushed it back up or took 2 doses too close together, Id get one or 2 overnight! I am on my 3rd day of Detox (through my health provider) and am using Ultram. So far so good. I highly recommend talking to your health insurance provider (Kaiser, etc) and get the number for the Chemical Dependency dept.

2 ana griffith { 12.27.09 at 8:23 am }

I too have noticed the effects on the immune system from vicodin. I have taken them for 2 years for chronic pain. When i quit taking them i get sick. (flu / common cold sick) depending on how many days i go without and other things.

You website seem spot on with the info.
I know lots of users….

3 Frustrated/Confused wife { 03.11.10 at 11:06 am }

I am the wife of an opiate addict. We have been together for 5 years and have a 4 year old son. He has been addicted to opiates for 41/2 years. He has tried to quit more times than I can count, but never succeeds. I dont think he has ever made it passed a couple of hours. It is distroying our lives. We almost got a divorce, but I dont want to leave. I want to make it through this and be stronger for it. I just dont know what to do. I HATE opiates. Is there any advice ANYONE can give me. I know it is hard to quit. but if your going to loose your family or your life over it, come on!

4 Rossi { 03.12.10 at 8:01 pm }

Dear Frustrated/Confused wife…I hate to tell you this, but you leaving may be what it takes for him to realize that the vikes gotta GO!!! I just lost my sucessful business over My 2nd round with this crap. I quit once last Sept. & never felt BETTER…then, like it says above, I got the wosrt cold in the world! Took some HEAVY anti-biotics to get over it. Then, for the same reson I got hooked in the 1st place, I had another tooth blow up on me & back to the dealer I went, telling myself I’d just buy 10 or so to “get over” my toothace. ….Well…here I am 4 months later & my addiction got worse to the tune of spending $100-150 a DAY for my habit ….I KNEW the lights would get shut off, but as long as I was on my opiate high, NOTHING mattered! NOW…let me tell you…I have weaned down to 1/3 a norco every 5 hours now & the DT’s are starting to kick in. If you never had em…let me tell you what your hubby goes thru when he stops taking the pills…you feel like you are LITERALLY going to die! Your skin crwls SOO bad,,, you are FREEZING 1 second, BURNIN up the next, you feel like you are going to barf every second, you get SEVERE diahrria, and LOTS more!…it’s enuff to make you not care about ANTHING or ANYBODY other than gettin sum more pills in ya asap do you can feel “normal” again! NOW…THERE IS LIGHT @ THE END OF THE TUNNEL! The key is TAPERING…tell him to take his normal dose for a week, then, reduce it by 1/4 a pill for the next week, then 1/2 a pill the next week, etc….He WILL still start to feel the Withdrawal kickin in around 1/2 a norco or less, but, if you can support him & help him remain strong & do “The Thomas Recipe” vitamins, etc exactly as layed out on this site, it will help tremendously. Just realize how HORRIBLE he is feeling through all this & try to be understanding & supportive. He WILL need some QUIT & Relaxation time with no screamin kids, etc. It Is the HARDEST thing he will ever do, but once your down to a crump of a pill for a dose & finally free, he won’t belive how much BETTER he will feel! He’ll be more emotional, …be prepared, because his sex drive will increase BIGTIME, Senses of taste, feel, hearing, etc. will all go back to mormal & he’ll have TONS of energy! I was there last Sept! I’m almost there again, but it’s not easy to do, I can assure you. Keep in touch on this blog, too! …hope this helps! God bless

5 jeff { 03.25.10 at 5:32 am }

Im a business owner who is at the near of collapse. My business has gone from 22 employees to 4 . My wife has left and i have joint physical custody. i was taking 22o miil. of codeine(22 x 10s) a day . i have weened myself down to 10 7.5s a day . I am at the sick part and cant go no lower without being sick. It is getting harder and harder to find a supply and have started to find percocet to replace. i want off!!! I have the will power but i have to slowly do it because of my daughter. If I enter into a detox i will be labeled and can lose my daughter. Im 45 and my daughter is everything to me. How do i get compleely weened off. Advancing to higher drugs will only lead to my doom!!! All over a toothache 2 years ago. UNBELIEVABLE!!!

6 Anonymous { 05.03.10 at 10:59 am }

I’ve been taking between 6-10 vicodin a day(500 mg.) for about 2years now – after a car accident ruined my neck (and the surgery that seemed to make me worse!) I’ve decided to stop taking the prescription pain pills because they aren’t working anymore and I REFUSE to go on something stronger. It’s been about 36 hours since my last dose and my skin is crawling!! I cannot hold still either… Nighttime is horrible! How bad is this going to get??? Is the worst of it still ahead of me? Someone please write….

7 metoo { 05.04.10 at 11:50 am }

Anonymous…all I can say is “read the Thomas Recipe” !! If you’ve come this far, you can find that also on this website. It works. Hang in there.

8 lena { 06.11.10 at 2:39 pm }

bless you for caring enough, the physical pain will get better for you at this point. Hang in there!:) my opinion, one of the Most difficult aspects of detoxing yourself is the complete lack of understanding others have.Just like ANY other affliction-it’s easy to say ” I UNDERSTAND” but only those who have actually experienced some of the same difficulties your putting yourself through can say “yeah, i know what you feel” . Have faith, there will come a moment, or day or night when you WILL be pleasantly surprised to notice the pain fading and Your ABILITY to endure is gaining ground. best wishes& remember your NOT ALONE

9 Retro { 06.19.10 at 10:25 pm }

You guys should look into using Subutex or Suboxone for either tapering off of opiates or as maintanence therapy. It is a mixed agonist/antagonist that, combined with naloxone in the Suboxone formula, or just buprenorphine in Subutex, that is approved for opiate addiction. One simply waits until the withdrawals kick in (about 24 hours after last dose) to take it and all of the symptoms start to fade away. Chills, sweats, cramping, pain and worst of all, cravings are all taken care of. It has a long half-life so one sublingal dose lasts for the entire day. Best of all, it has practically no addiction liability (but some, it is a partial opiate agonist/antagonist) and none when combined with naloxone. Also, it is known that buprenorphine boosts immunity. Hope this helps some folks out.

10 patty { 07.27.10 at 8:07 pm }

How long does this withdrawal last, it is 6days I am nausious and weak, trying to drink a lot of liquids. Diarrhea.my fore arms ache worse at night cant eat, feel depressed. i AM WORKING WITH kIASER but I am a wreck, even with the drugs they gave zanzflex, valuim , visteril. robaxin. every thing is worse at night. thanks if you can encourage me.

11 Nicole { 08.08.10 at 8:04 am }

Im 32, 9 months preg, preparing to deliver what we pray is a healthy baby girl in less then 3 weeks. Ive been on vikes for 6 years, do to a slipped disk in my back and fibro. Ive gotten up to 10 a day, after 5 yrs my tolerance has grown. The dr. tells me I dont have to stop, juts get down to 4 or 5 befor the baby comes and they will ween her off instead of me. My primal instint to do it my self so she does not suffer kicked in long ago, so my dr finaly agreed to let me kick the pills, and took my off work. IM STARTEN TO THINK SHE WAS RIGHT ~ & MAYBE I CANT DO THIS. Last week I dropped to 5 a day, with no real Dt’s I was amazed. Now that I have run out & gone cold turkey ~ the Dt’s are here already. My last dose was less then 24 hrs ago. I worste night of my life. I jerked and shook of the crawling skin and my legs oh god, my legs… Now I notice every muscle in my body hurts.. No diarrhea yet or vomiting but Im sure its coming. This morning I feel OK… Not great.. Cold one min, hot the next and man what a bitch I am….There is nothing on the market to take to help that wont harm the baby.. So Im stuck doing this alone… And this is just day 1.. Im thinking Im headed right back to the Dr. in the moring for some help. ood luck to those of you doing this on ur own, I feel your pain..

12 Miss Amy { 10.16.10 at 10:12 pm }

I have only been taking vicodin about 7 months straight and then before that on and off for about 5 years when i had a surgury…way too long. I have tried several times to stop, but its horrible! Flu/cold symptoms so extreme, and I cant stay in bed because i have 2 kids and a job and going to college ontop of it. I cant sleep, eat and feel like I have a fever. It all started about 7 months ago I ended up with strepthroat and was perscribed liquid vicodin which would not help with the pain. The doctor gave me 30 oxycodone and it took the pain away to a managable level. Vicodin has always worked on me, and before I had strepthroat, I wasnt taking any pain pills regulary, so there wasnt a tolereance concerned. The pain was so horrible….have you ever had strepthroat? Anyways after I finished the antibiotics, I noticed that my tonsils where so enlarged, not the horrible pain, but my ear and neck hurt pretty bad. Another perscription of antibiotics and a refill on the pain pills, but vicodin it was, cause it wasnt the same unbearing pain i had with the actual strepthroat and oxycodon is alot stronger pain med. Three months later i was scheduled for my tonsils being removed and adnoids shrunk. I was laid up for about 3 weeks and had to alternate liquid vicodin and liquid oxycone EVERY 2 HOURS! I have never experience such pain in my life…worse than the strepthroat. After i healed completly about 4 weeks later, I had sinus surgury, which was a different kind of pain, but was on oxycodone tabs for about 3 weeks. Now i feel like i have no energy, flu/cold symptoms, and dont know what to do. I cant miss anymore work or school, and i have to take care of my kids. I started taking muscle relaxers ( flexeral) which helped a little, but a whole one kicks my butt and i dont want to get out of bed the next morning. I started taking a half of one and it helped a little but not good enough. Someone told me to smoke a little bit if weed,but i cant and wont! I guess it helps with nausa and pain? I really think it should be a law that doctors should wing you off of pain meds or give you something to help if you have been on pain meds for sometime. How long does this withdrawel symptoms last and i would hate to see someone comming off herion!!!!!!!!!

13 Jerry { 11.29.10 at 3:34 am }

For those who are considering or just starting on suboxone or subutex, also methadone for that matter, please take some advice from someone with enough experience with ALL opiates/opioids and DO NOT go on sub/bupe or methadone for more than a couple weeks. It is a scam. If you are addicted to opiates,there is NO way to get really clean without paying a price, but the price is much lower than getting off subs or methadone. Go see your doctor, explain, if they are not willing to help go to another doctor, use clonidine after you have weened yourself as low as you can go,drink lots of water, use benzodiazapines, valerian,etc. tough it out for a few days. Believe me,good luck

14 Phil { 03.04.11 at 11:51 pm }

Miss Amy,
Just wanted to tell u what has been workin for me, I’m only on day two, but I have a job and responsiblies as well. I got ahold of some Xanax and when I’m feeling at my worst I’ll only take a quarter of the bars and it gets rid of the hot and cold feelings, and also allowes me to get a full night of sleep which make me feel much better the next day, this doesnt work for everyone but for me it has almost got rid of the w/d and allows me to still function but keep in mind that u don’t wanna get hooked on another drug excpecally xanax because the with draw from that is even worse. Hope this help, again I’m only on day 2 so it might now work as well when I get into day 3-5

15 Jema { 04.16.11 at 5:46 am }

Today was really really hard to get started. Day 13 and still no sleeping for more than about a half hour at a time. I may have gotten two or three hours. I’m so tired and frustrated. The hot and cold thing is driving me insane and anxiety is constant.

Pink, don’t beat yourself up. If I had any left over right now, I’d be so tempted, but I know I can’t even have them in the house. There is no doubt in my mind that I am an addict.

God help me today. It’s gotta get better soon.

16 Bill { 07.12.11 at 7:23 pm }

I just came came off of opiates. I was taking almost 200mg of roxycodone for 2 years on and off. I used suboxone to get off. Luckily I have a very health service provider. Anyways, with the suboxone you HAVE to wait 15 to 18 hours before your first dose. And don’t just take a full 8mg dose of it either.. Take the smallest amount possible. And the reason I am saying this is beacuse you want the SMALLEST amount of the subs to help you. And I also would recommend that you use the suboxone in a short period of time because the withdrawals from that is another hell in it’s self! Anyways I know this going to sound crazy and it may be hard to do for some but I swear it worked
for me. Ok so what I did was wait out on the opiate withdrawal till it was unbearable! And believe me when I tell you WAIT! Beacuase
if you don’t you will go into precipitated withdrawals and that’s a whole other hell in it’s
own. So after I took very small amounts of
suboxone i waited for a whole complete day untill I started feeling crappy from the sub withdrawal. Then I know this may sound dumb but I got another roxycodone tablet and split it in a half and took a took a piece. And then I felt better. But let me say this one more
time! You have to wanna get off these damn things in order for it to work!!! Now that roxy took the edge off but it was a very small amount. And I swear after that the withdrawal was still there but it wasn’t intense as it
usually was. And if u still feel a little funny WAIT a day or two then take the other half of the opiate. After that just stop everything all together. Now I’m not promising you’ll feel like
a million bucks but it helped me trememdoulsy! But even after you have accomplished getting off the suboxone and the opiates. You will still feel very tired a little insomnia and I couldn’t even eat. So you have to get yourself on vitamins and anything else healthy you can find. This addiction has been the worse thing I have ever been through in my intire life. But if
there’s a will there will be defently a way! Sorry if I messed up on anything I typed I’m on my phone. Goodluck everybody out there! And
remember none of you are alone!

17 Not sure what to do? { 07.18.11 at 12:03 pm }

I was taking Morphine Sulfate about 50 mils a day for the last 6 months. When I first tried getting off it was hell and ended up in the hospital my body could not handle it. I have now weaned myself off from Morphine to Percoset to Vicodine. So I have been taking milder and milder opiates. Now when I stop taking the Vicodine the flu symptoms come right away but the craving and sickiness is nowhere near as bad as coming straight off Morphine. I just get some chills, diareaha, and runny nose some craving but it has become easier to over come. My problem is that when I am not taking anything I am in a fog and cannot still for the life of me (Feel Ansy & Fidgety) . I will take benadryl to help me sleep but I have three children and very busy life and cannot be put out for long. I would just like to feel normal without pills I do not know what to do. I have come this far and it is better than it was but I getting over the last hurtle is tough. How long does the fog and anxiety last? I get what people are saying about others not understanding because unless they have been through it they do not. I am almost out of vicodin and I have cut those down to about 3 pills once a day enough to keep myself sane. But I cannot continue to maintain this way.

18 rich { 09.20.11 at 10:41 pm }

LISTEN UP PEOPLE. I have been on these for 4 months and got off them by taking a stimluant like adderall or concerta for add. sounds mess up but the brain receptors will respond to stimulants over opiates. Try to find adderall or concerta and will take about week or so. Trust me it works. When u take the stimulants the opiates receptor in the brain want that and intends to forget about the depressants (opiates). And adderall is not nearly as addicting as opiates. Also get a drug call suboxon. The drug taste so nasty u wont get addicted to it. Takes about 7 days or so.

19 Lanie { 11.05.11 at 7:34 am }

Do not listen to Rich!
Do not get Suboxon!
It IS addictive. Heroin addicts use it to try and get off heroin. I should know! Trust me on this! What horrible advice. Don’t trade one pill addiction for another… our bodies and livers are dying. Take the bull by the horns and detox off them. It will be a long first week and feel like Hell, but it is worth the pain.
Do not replace your pill addiction for another pill addiction.

Now on to the topic of this blog:

I have been clean and sober for 31 days now, and I gotta tell ya.. my immune system is still so messed up. I had pneumonia a month before I got clean and I have had already 3 colds/flus with green phlem, sore throat and fogged up lungs in sobriety. I get head aches a lot. I get sore throats a lot.

But I am clean and sober! I was taking so many Norcos (and sometimes Oxy’s) about 12-20 a day. I still have some spots on my legs that are red and blotchy. I believe they are a result of liver damage.

If any of you are addicted to pills and need a way out, call your local Alcoholics Anonymous. I have been trying to get clean and sober on my own for 9 years. The only thing that worked for me was to do the program outlined in the big blue AA book with a sponsor and to help others recover who reach out.
I don’t know how it works, but it works.
I am in the middle of Step 9, and already my insides (emotionally) feel better. Amazing, even.
I never thought I could live life with or without pills or other drugs or alcohol.

I hope this post helps someone.
Feel free to email me if you need a helping hand in recovering from pill addiction. Or any other addiction, for that matters.


20 Lanie { 11.05.11 at 7:38 am }

“Not sure what to do?”

That fog lifts after two weeks (sometimes less) of complete abstinence from all pills or mind altering chemicals.

It took me about a week and a half for that fog to lift. My clumsiness went away, my sentences started making sense again.

Especially since you have kids, you gotta nut up and quit entirely.

My mother in law… her body broke down because of painkillers she took every day and simply died suddenly in the middle of her own home when my husband was only 18 years old.

Do it for your kids. Do it for you!


21 adam { 11.05.11 at 12:39 pm }

yes! I have definitely noticed the immune effect with opiates. While on oxycodone, I get sick less than usual, but going off it seems to make me get a cold or flu or something like that, unrelated to the withdrawal effects. my curiosity in this phenomena led me to this forum.
I do want to encourage any of you feeling stuck in your habit to look into buprenorphine, the opioid drug in suboxone, which some folks have already mentioned here. it is a partial opioid agonist which binds tightly to the receptors (hence the long half-life), but does not cause the same magnitude of stimulation that full opioid agonists do. I have found that for my 30mg/day oxy habit (which would probably be equivalent to 45mg hydro), VERY little is required to feel normal (approximately 1/2 mg/day), and it is easier to ween without feeling crappy than anything else out there. Methadone can be good for preventing yourself from getting worse, but it is not easy to ween off of at all, from what I’ve heard. The xanax (alprazolam) and/or dextroamphetamine ideas can help too, but you definitely don’t want to wind up eating a few mg of xanax every day. That’s got it’s own set of problems! Dextroamphetamine is a great drug, and probably the smoothest drug-based way to increase your energy/mental-clarity/motivation/productivity while you are going through this process, but it sure won’t help with your sleeping problems like alprazolam.
Of course, to ween down with buprenorpine you want to figure out exactly how much it takes for you to feel normal without getting a pronounced “high” from it, and slowly and gradually reduce from there. Sometimes, getting high on bup ends in a headache, as does drinking alcohol with it, but I have never had this problem with weening doses at all. “Retro” mentioned naloxone preventing buprenorphine addiction, but this is a fallacy. Naloxone is added to some of the bup formulations to prevent people from shooting it, because naloxone will send you straight into withdrawal if you shoot it, but I don’t think people on this forum are dealing with that kind of habit, so the presence of naloxone is probably negligible. Buprenorphine can really work wonders and it’s a great way to make a gradual, relatively clean getaway from an opiate habit. Not all doctors are licensed to prescribe it, but if you call around you will find one. if you’re smart enough that a word like “immunosuppression” doesn’t confuse you, you can probably improve your predicament a lot with a little good advice, research, and experimentation. Hope this helps, and Godspeed!

22 Aaron { 11.11.11 at 2:02 am }

I have a question for anyone who will answer. I’m 18 years old I started using when I turned 16 and moved in my girlfriends house with her and her parents who are addicted to prescription drugs. Mainly pain medication and muscle relaxers. I started out taking a half at a time and would be high for hours. Then gradually to two n a half at a time and two years later 6 to 8 at a time. Example got a small script yesterday for 20 vics. Es 24 hours in I have 3 left. Anyways I have been on them for two years as I said a second ago and have never done without may be for a day only do to financial issues but never no longer than a day. I have a 2 year old son that I pay child support to and have visitations on weekends. I have just recently lost my job do to my addiction and had court for child support a month ago. When I went before the judge he gave a month n a half to find a job or he was going to detain me for 6 months. I have had absolutely no luck in finding work and have a week till court. Never have I ever had to withdrawl from anything. I’m pretty scared cause I have no clue what to expect?? My patents have begged me to go to detox in jail only thing is It’s jail if I go to detox I’m going to be locked up with a bunch of inmates who are not only going to be in a bad mood cause there in jail but there also going to be angry about withdrawling from drugs. Take in consideration I am I small guy only standing at 5’3 and weighing at 130 lbs. I don’t know if I want to surrond my self with crazy pist off addicts withdrawling. I have a few questions and please don’t be to hard on me I’m a nervous wreck , and to be honest pretty scared. Q#1: What should I be expecting as far as exp. With drawl ?? Q#2: should I tell someone in the booking process and be put in detox. Q#3: since I’m going to obviously going to be clean when I get out of jail in 6 months I plan on staying that way. Im scared that just knowing I can finally get to them I will. How can I motivate my self to not pick them back up? Someone please answer me I’m really nervous about this entire situation next week and want to know what im in store for and most of all know what i should do.

23 Sebastian { 11.29.11 at 10:02 am }

I have to give my complete agreement on the above post. I’ve been using a mild form of opium for about 11 years, and I have only been sick once, (about 4 years ago), and even that was extremely mild compared to those I live with. My roommates were literally bed ridden for days with violent flu like symptoms and I remember only having a thick cough for about two days, and maybe a low fever. I never checked my official temperature. It’s nice never getting sick with the flu or a cold. The only problem, like stated above is that using so consistently is not a good thing for most people. Anyway, that’s my 10 cents….. I’m glad to know others have also seen this correlation thanks for the post.
Aaron- if you see this. To help get yourself clean without as much pain try Kratom. It’s a tropical leaf and binds to some of the same opiate receptors in your brain, which really helps beat the WD’s. People in S.East Asia use Kratom as a natural alternative to Opiates to get people clean. It can also be addictive, but it is not nearly as bad, and I believe it is also legal just about everywhere, but make sure your state is cool if you are having legal troubles. I hope you get things worked out….

24 Shannon { 01.04.12 at 10:49 am }

Ive been an avid user for the last year and a half. I couldnt tell you why I started using in the first place…I guess it was more of a “fun” thing to do. Unfortunately, just like any other drug that someone abuses, it became too much of a habit, and I began liking it too much. The small dosages, such as 1 5mg tablet a day (mainly in the evenings) would do the job. It would make me feel awesome. But then I discovered that 2 felt even better. Then I found out that one of my “friends” had/has an ongoing presciption for the 10/325 mg tablets. Needless to say, thats the route I would go. When her prescription ran out, and I had bought everything she had had, I would go through other resrouces. I would recruit my boyfriend to check with his friends if they had anything, and some of them did. I would use tramadol’s for the time being to replace what I really wanted. I would find excuses to go to the doctor, and to see if I could get a prescription for painkillers. Ear aches, back aches, headaches, etc. Ive dug into my savings that my grandmother had started for me years before she had passed away. Ive wasted so much money on this damn habit. Unfortunately, its gotten to the point where I find it hard to function through the day without one. It may only be one, but that seemed to calm me down…just knowing that I had them. To me, in my mind, for the longest time up until I discovered this site, I would always tell myself that my habit is not NEAR as bad as others. That I was blessed that ive “limited” myself as much as I have. However, isnt that the addicts disease? To tell themselves that they aren’t truely an addict? that it could be worse? They could be worse? I suppose I still tell myself this, but Ive finally made a decision that Its time to stop. Im embarassed because the only 2 people that know of my problem are my boyfriend and my “friend” that I get these from. No one else knows, and I can honestly tell you that no one else will ever know. Only people I dont really know, such as you guys. I know thats not “safe” for recovery, but to me thats how its got to be. So far, I am only on day 1 of true detox. I had made the decision to stop at the beginning of the year, but of course for New Years Eve, I went on a binge. So with the few that I had left, I began tapering off. Thus, today being the first day I have NOTHING. So far, I am only about 16 hours into my detox, but I can already feel the symptoms. Not only have the body aches began to set in, the emotions are crazy. I have the shakes, and im incredibly restless. To make matters worse I have an awful cold that I cant tell is awful because its a cold, or if its just enhanced by the withdrawal symptoms. I can honestly say, and I am very grateful, that my boyfriend has stuck by me for these years knowing I have this habit. He knows that this cannot continue, and I feel just awful that I used him to aid in my problem. As of this point, I just need some words of encouragement, some tips, some help. My boyfriend keeps telling me it will be okay, and Im an incredibly strong woman, but right now….I just dont know.

25 so-scared { 03.02.12 at 10:04 pm }

Im so scared to go thru wd.. Im going to buy everything ive read from detox forums . My start date will be March 9 2012 . I have not told anyone about this addiction. It started 7 years ago when I had both breast removed breast cancer . Ive weened down to 2- 2mg dilaudid 2x a day. I finished with the long acting hydromorphone 24mg 2x a day now comes the hard part today is the 3rd how do I go down more with out withdrawaling before the 9 then when I start im afraid of the symptoms ive heard people being sick longer than a weak. I dont want to take methadone or subs. This is my plan . I dont have one . How to start when should my last dose be do I wait till 9 p.m. On the 9th. Please help . I wish there was more support for people who want to go cold turkey but dont want to be alone . I will be by myself going thru hell , im afraid my heart will stop , dying , im doing this for my self and my family who deserve a full feeling persone..

26 Jenny { 03.07.12 at 5:44 pm }

Scared, I’m sorry I didn’t see your post until today, so that means you have 2 days to go until your quit date. I’m sorry that you became addicted by responsibly using something to ease your pain from a terrible disease. You are smart and a very strong woman to be able to ween down. I was not able to do that; as long as there were pills in the house, I’d be eating them ’till the bottle was empty. I was as scared and freaked out as you. Go with the recipe, begin the vitamins. If you can confide in your doc if you trust him, ask for a short-term prescription for a benzo (valium, xanax, ativan, etc.), which will calm you down and at least help you sleep a bit. I also used kratom which helped immensely in easing my w/d symptoms. You WILL survive. You CAN do this. Have faith and stick to your guns. It seems almost too difficult to overcome but you can do it. Please check in again and blog your progress. If you go over to the “about” page here, there are a lot of people who will lend support. I can honestly say it was instrumental to me in getting me to the other side, the clean side. I’ll be praying for you as well.

27 Ben { 03.08.12 at 4:32 am }

So sad reading all these people’s posts who feel they ‘cannot ween themselves off’ – seriously, kicking opiates is simply a case of mind over matter. It is NEVER going to be nice or easy, but youve got to pay the piper one day. Life is a balance, we cheat nature when we take opiates, giving ourself a ‘good’ feeling when really we should be feeling bad (bad day at work, unhappy relationship, pain, death in the family etc etc) – but the thing is, all that bad gets stored up…. waiting…. you CANT cheat this, and its gonan hurt…. but until you face up to this and decide to win that fight youre a slave… its simple really….its no worse than a bad food poisoning….for a lifetime of freedom…. stop being soft and quit.

28 Ben { 03.08.12 at 4:34 am }

Just read So-scared’s post…

So sorry to hear about your cancer, but well done for beating it!!! Youre a fighter, and stronger than you think (opiates tricking you into feeling weak). It wont be anywhere near as bad as you think it will be of you decide to ignore the tricks your opiate mind will play on yuou… youll be fine, go for it!! Stop worrying!!

29 Jenny { 03.08.12 at 2:15 pm }

Ben, I think you do a lot of disservice to come on this board preaching a “one size fits all” method to opiate detox. For many folks it may be simply a case of mind over matter, for others, it goes much deeper into a deep psychological as well as physical condition that takes a lot more than sucking it up. This is a place to help other people and I don’t think being judgemental on others’ methods of recovery are very helpful. If you’re in recovery yourself I applaud your tough love strategy to kicking the beast, I wish I could have that resolve, but the fact that its more difficult for some doesn’t make anyone a “better” or “worse” addict.

30 DJ { 03.21.13 at 9:46 pm }

I feel terrible reading about all the suffering on here. I have also struggled with a minor addiction to codeine/dhc which is tough enough to stop. I can’t imagine what it would be like to detox from heroin or something strong like that – my thoughts go out to anyone going through that.

my only advice to add to what has been said is –

some helpful meds – remeron/mirtazapine (mood, sleep), pregabalin/gabapentin (sleep, pain) or an OTC antihistamine for sleep.

in terms of the motivation to quit, I read an inspirational book recently called “Phoenix” by Willem de Jong which is about a heroin addict who is trained to be a kind of super-human/assassin. I found the book very inspirational as it showed someone getting detoxed and getting special supplements and training to become super human

the other thing I have found is to keep yourself busy. if you are sitting around the house doing nothing it will make it ten times worse. get some hobbies, play some sport (if you physically are able) get out and see some friends.

good luck to all 🙂

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