Opiate Addiction: Detox

I wrote how I fell into opiate addiction in Opiate Addiction: The Slide Into Hell. You might want to read that first.

It was difficult for me to make the choice to go ahead with the Suboxone because I still had about a week’s worth of Norco and a month of Percocet due for refill in 10 days, but I was so upset about stealing others’ meds, I felt I needed to start right away.

Suboxone Film

suboxone2

Suboxone is one of the major treatments to help with opiate withdrawal. I’d gotten the prescription from the Pain Specialist, but didn’t fill it for about 6 months. Once I did, not taking the Norco and Percocet was a reality and it scared me to death.

Before taking the Suboxone the first time, you have to have actual withdrawal symptoms or it can make you really sick. I was disturbed that I had to feel like shit before I could feel better, but I didn’t want to end up in the hospital, so sat in my chair, waiting for the symptoms to begin. I breathed deep most of the time when I was not in the bed. Tried to meditate, read, Facebook, staying “in-the-moment” as much as I could, but my mind was bouncing around, trying to convince me I was a nut for doing this.

After 20 hours or so, many of which I did end up tossing and turning while trying to sleep, I began feeling bad, then worse, then I was really feeling sick, nauseous, jittery, diarrhea and a very deep fear without taking a couple of pills. I used Dr. Google for the zillionth time, making sure I was using this unknown (to me) medication properly. I’d read reviews of how amazing it was, others who said they became addicted to the Suboxone itself and were trying to detox off of it!

I read over and over how to put the film in your mouth. Don’t drink anything near time, but don’t have a dry mouth. (Ugh. Contradictions!) Don’t drink anything after. It can take up to 20 minutes for it to completely dissolve. Don’t chew it. Do not swallow it. Don’t hold it in your hand for a long time or be sweaty lest it melt on you.

I stood in the mirror, tongue up, wanting to make sure where I going to put the film. Can I lift my tongue high enough? Is that the area there? My mind so worried I was going to fuck this up because I couldn’t follow the instructions properly.

Then I opened the package and quickly laid the strip on the (clean) counter, staring at it. I ran to the toilet for the 10th time that day and came out determined to get this underway already.

I took a deep breath, picked up the film, looking in the mirror, lifted my tongue and laid the Suboxone on the underside before lowering my tongue carefully, closing my mouth and going to my chair to wait while it melted and relieved my detox symptoms.

suboxone3

Oblivion

Once the Suboxone began relieving the symptoms -and I swear it started working within a few minutes, totally a placebo reaction- I felt myself relax, not realizing how incredibly tight I had been. I set alarms on my phone when to take the next dose in case I fell asleep after being so darn tired and feeling like crap.

This is when time smeared away, feeling like a pretty watercolor having a black & white liquid poured on it. I would fade in and out of awareness… alone most of the time, I cannot really say what I did and did not do.

What I Recall Over the Next 4 Days:

  • Being in the chair, TV off (very odd for me) when Zack left for work at 7am, then still sitting there when he came home about 9pm. TV off, dogs not fed. I don’t even know if I peed or drank anything. I am sure I didn’t eat.
  • Zack asking me to go get tacos. I remember being there, at the counter, but the next memory is being home and Zack asking where the food was. I shrugged that I didn’t know. Shockingly, he asked me to go back to get our dinner already. No memory of driving or being there again. I assume I bought food.
  • I kinda realized I was zombie-like, so called the Pain Doc to discuss my dosage. He never called back. I cut the film in half for the next dose. Vanished again after it kicked in.
  • I was in our room and Zack looked over the balcony and asked where the car was. I said I didn’t know. Days later, when I was off the Suboxone, he told me he’d sent out a search party for the car and I had crashed it into some bushes and, apparently, got out and walked home. It was a mile away.

After the lost car incident, Zack said I couldn’t take the Suboxone anymore. I am sure I had no comprehension of what that meant. It took another three days for me to gather my wits about me and be present in my own life.

Weaning Off Meds (snortylaugh)

As soon as I stopped the Suboxone, I went back on the Norco I had left, still 10 days away from the Percocet. Zack handed me the bottle and said, “Have at it, babe.”

Looking back over the years of addiction, it really is quite a miracle I didn’t die. I remember waking up at times thinking I was dying, not quite gasping for air, but I felt suffocated. In 2011, my sister died of a Fentanyl overdose (same medication Prince died from). Even still, I was so deep in my own delusions, I refused to acknowledge my sickness. Knowing what I do now, I know that opiate overdoses slow breathing down and eventually it ceases. An easy death, but tragic nonetheless.

I knew the detox would go easier if I weaned off the Norco. I swear I tried, but the 7 days of medication was gone in 3. I was then thrown into full-on detox with all that goes with it.

opiate withdrawal timeline

I cursed my lack of control to wean at least 100 times an hour, laying in bed moaning that I was dying. The dogs were not sympathetic and Zack wandered in and out to check on me, but there really was nothing for him to do. While one can die doing a sudden detox from alcohol and Benzos, it isn’t a risk for opiate withdrawals, so all I could do was deal with it.

By the time the Percocet was in my hand, I had kind of evened out, not quite so miserable, yet still feeling like crap in general. Sitting here today, I cannot, for the life of me, figure out the rationalization for taking the Percocet and knowing full well I would be starting all over with the withdrawal as soon as they were gone. Bizarre thinking is all I can attribute it to. But take the Percocet I did. I picked them up in the drive-through and before I put the car in drive, I popped 3 in my mouth.

I felt so much better within an hour. All the symptoms vanished and I felt normal again.

The month-long supply of Percocet was gone in 10 days.

And that withdrawal cycle I show up there started all over again.

All told, I had about 30 days of agony with a few days of a Percocet respite inbetween.

Coping alone, I researched support groups (something I enjoy and have utilized for 30 years), refusing any Anonymous program because I am A-theist and, besides the God stuff, I will not ever say I am “powerless”; I am Power-Full. There had to be others like me, didn’t there?

“Opiate Addiction: Tools for Recovery” comes next.

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