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Beginning the taper process
  1. #1
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Default Beginning the taper process

    Hi all. I'm a 48yo male, currently taking 120-150mg/day of hydro. Though I have quit before c/t, that was when I was only on 60mg a day. My plan is to taper to 30 or so, then make the leap. I know I can do it, but that's easy to say while I'm still eating these things.

    Today is day one; 11hrs in and only 60mg so far. I don't plan to be too aggressive but at the same time can't see a 2-month process.

    Wish me luck!

  2. #2
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Day Two: 120mg yesterday; target is 110 today. I'm a 4-dose-a--day habit. I hope to be down to 800mg within a week, then slow the taper down. At these levels, there are no wd symptoms of course, just the urge that is always there. I'm halfway through the day and on target.

  3. #3
    TrishNeal is offline Member
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    Hi there. I'm in a similar situation. I've tapered down from 160+ mg per day down to 60 and have hit a wall. Part of that is no doubt due to some bad pain flare ups, but still, getting down to 40 then 30 is my goal for the next couple of weeks and it seems a lot harder than the first few cut backs. I hope you have the success I did getting to this point. I have no advice other than discipline and will power, which you know already. Keep posting and good luck! Trish.

  4. #4
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Thanks! I know it sounds silly, but one of the things I look forward to most is a normal digestive system! Between the effects of the hydro, and then the suppressed liver function from the acetaminophen...it's no fun. I appreciate your support.

  5. #5
    TrishNeal is offline Member
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    What I'm looking forward to most is freedom from counting pills, cutting pills, watching the clock til my next dose and the calendar til my next refill. I feel like it defines my life. My condition will probably always require me to take a periodic dose, but when I'm not taking pills daily and not refilling every 30 days...how I long for the freedom I'll have!
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  6. #6
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Day three: of course the going is easy thus far, as I'm still eating a ton of these stupid pills. This morning I had my first urge to kick the effort...oh that'd be so easy!...but I'm staying on plan. Today 10.5x.

  7. #7
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    I certainly didn't mean to trivialize. You are so right; these things have controlled my life for over 5 years and I don't just want to be free, I and my family need it.

  8. #8
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Day 4 begins: starting to have dosage anxiety and verrrry minor symptoms, but at this point still completely manageable. I don't expect any real difficulties until I get down below 60mg/day. Today 10 mg.is the target.

  9. #9
    TrishNeal is offline Member
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    So Conway, how was your day 5? Tomorrow, day 6 will be upon you; I hope you have the strength to continue with your success! Keep us posted TN.

  10. #10
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Day 5; I've begun delaying my first dose of the day for as long as I can; I used to eat 30mg about a half hour after waking. Yesterday I surprised myself and only dosed three times instead of usual four, and will go that route again today. Goal for day 5 is 90mg, which will represent a 40% reduction from before I started to wean.

    So far so good, and honestly I don't expect it to get dicey until I get down to 60mg or below. These days are important though as I begin to learn the habit of resisting the urge, building confidence. No symptoms of WD yet other than just being preoccupied with pills all the time.

  11. #11
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Beginning day 6: I may have stepped down the dosages a bit fast, as I'm finding myself frequently thinking of taking an extra here or there. But, I keep reminding myself that it's either these or my family-these or my children. So today I plan to remain at 10 pills, and may even stay on 10 for a few days else I push too hard and then have a lapse of willpower. I'll continue to envision myself as addiction-free and just bear it.

  12. #12
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Day 7: yesterday I found my willpower failing. I've got to be mindful that it's a long process, and stick with it. Today 100mgs - no more. Will stay on this number likely for a few more days, then drop to 9...etc

  13. #13
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Yay me! Hit my goal, though many times wanted to cheat. G'nite!

  14. #14
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Day8: stay on target-stay On Target-STAY ON TARGET!

    Yesterday I did 3-3-2-2; today I am changing to 2.5-2.5-2.5.2.5, which while still is 10 hopefully helps me to begin lowering the dosage overall. I think tomorrow I'll go to 9 with 2.5/2.5/2/2...wish me luck, folks!

  15. #15
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Day9: going to reduce by 10mg today, no real symptoms except some digestive stuff. Yesterday, like those before, I get the urges most mid-day. I just have to push through and not compromise.

  16. #16
    Randy35 is offline Platinum Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by conwaycreek View Post
    Day8: stay on target-stay On Target-STAY ON TARGET!

    Yesterday I did 3-3-2-2; today I am changing to 2.5-2.5-2.5.2.5, which while still is 10 hopefully helps me to begin lowering the dosage overall. I think tomorrow I'll go to 9 with 2.5/2.5/2/2...wish me luck, folks!

    Hi Conwaycreek -

    For what it's worth I think you're make yourself suffer unnecessarily. Tapering full agoinist opiates is a very difficult thing to do. You're basically in wd's the entire time you're lowering the dose. And you always have extra around in case you have a weak moment. It's just a hard thing to do. NOT saying you can't do it. Yes it can be done, it just take enourmous willpower and I hope you make it, I really do.

    I would rip the bandaid off and flush those hydro's. You're not taking that much. The next day you're CLEAN and can begin adding up those precious days. It's a hard thing to get rid of them, but you'll feel excitement when and if you do. You'll have a few days of discomfort, but it will pass quickly. Think about it please.

    What are you going to do once you're clean, how will you remain clean? I highly recommend face to face support in the form of NA or AA meetings. There's also Celebrate Recovery, Smart Recovery, and others. Personal counseling with a therapist can also help keep you clean. I have 3+ years clean and both NA and AA certainly help keep me that way.

    All the best to you.

    Randy
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  17. #17
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Randy,

    Thank you for the encouragement and advice. I do have some ideas/thoughts about just making the jump, but having been through detox before , for some reason am just scared to death of those 3-4 days. Part of me wants to find a place I could check in and just be sedated for a week!

    Part of my reasoning to do the taper method is to learn and reinforce some self control, but then there has also been a belief that quitting cold-turkey from what was then 150mg+ each day would be much more difficult than say 40-50-60mg. Is that just me tricking myself? Not too surprisingly, my w/ds at this point are minimal...mainly just preoccupation and the call of the pills that I have to practice ignoring. Additionally, I'm concerned about the acetaminophen/liver damage and worry that going ct could have medical implications. That may also be just my way of fooling myself, but it is sincere.

    I do intend to join NA meetings once I'm sober; for now it's me and this message board! Again, I greatly appreciate your post, please keep an eye on me!
    Last edited by Anonymous; 08-08-2017 at 01:07 PM.
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  18. #18
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    10 days of progress! Yay me! Yes I'm still eating LTs, but I'm at least exercising some control.

    Today I drop to 8.5; symptoms are still just edginess and restless sleep. I can see myself quitting.

  19. #19
    Catrina is offline Diamond Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by conwaycreek View Post
    Randy,

    Thank you for the encouragement and advice. I do have some ideas/thoughts about just making the jump, but having been through detox before , for some reason am just scared to death of those 3-4 days. Part of me wants to find a place I could check in and just be sedated for a week!

    Part of my reasoning to do the taper method is to learn and reinforce some self control, but then there has also been a belief that quitting cold-turkey from what was then 150mg+ each day would be much more difficult than say 40-50-60mg. Is that just me tricking myself? Not too surprisingly, my w/ds at this point are minimal...mainly just preoccupation and the call of the pills that I have to practice ignoring. Additionally, I'm concerned about the acetaminophen/liver damage and worry that going ct could have medical implications. That may also be just my way of fooling myself, but it is sincere.

    I do intend to join NA meetings once I'm sober; for now it's me and this message board! Again, I greatly appreciate your post, please keep an eye on me!
    Hey Conway!

    You are doing fantastic with your taper. This is unbelievably hard and you are getting it done. Anticipating a cold turkey detox is scary. It was scary the first time I did it and with each subsequent detox, if became scarier still. My last Day 1 was different. I give much credit to this Forum for that. Like a lot of us, I lurked and read threads for weeks. I stumbled across this site searching for an easier way to detox. Didn't ever find that but what I found here was even better. Hope. It began small and each night when I'd read that hope blossomed and began to turn to excitement. For the first time EVER I really began to believe enough in myself that I wasn't afraid. I had a new found bring it on attitude and finally felt like my fate was in my own hands. My life was dismal and I had accepted that I would be an active addict the rest of my life. I just didn't know any other way and all my failures seemed like the proof that I was just hopeless. Not true! I was mentally prepared to make the jump and I was actually looking forward to it. Every symptom that I dreaded appeared but this time I considered each one a growing pain and a sign that my body was beginning to heal. I considered the aftermath of detox and early recovery my chance to reinvent myself. I began to really think about how I felt about myself pre pills and I wanted to feel that way again. When I was using, I was always worried. Worried that I'd run out of pills and/or run out of money. I'd worry about disappointing the people I love and I'd worry about what they thought of me. I'd lay in bed at night and make a mental inventory of all the things that I had made a mess of and try to figure out how to make things better. I also knew that the answer was simple. I had to get and stay clean. The answer was simple but the process wasn't. It was, however worth every sleepless night and every trip to the bathroom. Not everyone has the epiphany that no matter how old we are, no matter what burdens we have or had, or how many mistakes we've made, no matter how many messes we've created, we have the power to make change. Isn't that amazing to think about? Time heals all.

    As far as your comments about detox: Honestly, I never saw that much difference between how I felt when I was detoxing from 50mg/day and when I detoxed from 200 mg/day. Both brought me the same symptoms and lasted the same amount of time. Perhaps there was a difference in the post detox period and maybe it did take me longer to bounce back from the higher doses but I have no benchmark to compare it. The improvements are gradual and there was only two or three times that I was able to stay clean for more than a few days before I'd relapse so maybe there's a difference there. I just can't tell you.

    The sooner you can eliminate the acetaminophen the better. You don't need to worry about any medical complications caused by a cold turkey detox. It's uncomfortable but it is NOT dangerous. Of course, you need to pay attention to drinking enough fluids so that you don't become dehydrated, That can be dangerous but you'll be OK so long as you drink, drink, drink.

    I think that we all set up some road blocks when we think about a cold turkey detox. It's just another part of this. We think about all of the "what if's" and every reason why it's not a sound idea to just stop. That's not a criticism. It's just worth noting to assure you that this thought process is no different than that which most, if not all, of us have had. If we tell ourselves we can't, then we can't but if we tell ourselves that we can, then we can. At some point we have to believe that we are not different than the next guy and we have to take a leap of faith that if we can work hard enough at our recovery, things can be better than ever. There are always things in our lives that we can't change but the confidence we find once we are clean allows us to see that there are things that we can change. We can gain the wisdom to stop beating our heads against the wall about the things we can't change. It's all about learning how to sort those things out. All pills did for me was to allow me to barely exist. I wasn't happy, I wasn't sad. What a waste but the good news is that I have the rest of my life now. I am content and at peace. What could be more important than that?

    Peace,

    Cat
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  20. #20
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Thank you Catrina,

    It is empowering just to have made a dent in my habit, no doubt! For years I've believed that these little nasties had complete control, and just the last week has taught me that isn't true, unless I let them of course. You are SO right about the constant preoccupation...every day taking inventory to see how long my supply will last, finding the money to buy more, where can I hide them...all that! It is powerful to begin knowing that at some point soon, no more.

    At the same time I know I haven't come to the hard days yet. I've quit CT a time or two, usually because I just ran out and not by choice, and you are right again, it is scary. I'd take the flu for a year instead! We will see how the wean goes, if I can push past low dose days and keep the wean going that may become my strategy, but at some point I have to take the last one and know that's it.

    Thank you for your encouraging words and interest in my struggle. In the coming days, I know I'll need folks like you to lean on.

    Best wishes,

    CC

  21. #21
    Catrina is offline Diamond Member
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    I don't know if you've tried this but when the time comes for you to dose, put it off for 15 minutes. When that passes, try to put it off for another 15 minutes. Sometimes these small goals are achievable and it begins to put you in control. It can give you a real sense of accomplishment if instead of dosing every six hours, for example you can push it out even just a little bit. You'll know that you can take them whenever you want but this is a way of beginning to resist the temptation and will give you the confidence that you'll be ready to take your last pill when the time comes. If you are now dosing every 6 hours or 4 times a day and are able to delay each dose by 30 minutes, you will have gained a total of two hours for the day. If every fifth day you add another 30 minutes, you'll have dropped one entire dose in about 3 weeks. At that point, you could reduce one of the doses in half and do that for another week then reduce another of your doses in half. If you are able to do both of these, in five weeks or so it's possible that you'll have been able to have reduced by about half of what you're taking now. Choose the doses during the day to reduce and take your normal morning and bedtime doses because those are usually the most difficult to reduce/eliminate. I personally think that delaying each dose is a really good plan. When it's nearly time to dose, find something to do. Do some laundry or clean the bathroom. Anything. Begin a pattern to log on here shortly before it's time to take your pills, read any new posts and then post your own update. Just a few words, "Pushing through and delaying my dose for at least 15 minutes" Before you know it, those minutes will have passed and you'll be able to read back to really see how much progress you've made. Maybe worth a try?

    Peace,

    Cat
    Last edited by Anonymous; 08-09-2017 at 07:10 PM.

  22. #22
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Thanks, and I've already been playing with that. I used to start at 6:30am. Pills and coffee! Now I withhold that first dose until I'm just consumed by it...generally now about 8:30... and throughout the day just delay it until I can't stand it. And, you're exactly right. As a smoker, I learned a long time ago that the urge to have a cigarette lasts about as long as it takes to smoke one. In fact, this technique has already helped me a lot. Thanks!

    EDIT: so far, tapering down has been relatively easy...but I don't expect it to remain so, though maybe I'm wrong...maybe I can get down to taking just a half a pill a few times a day without the dreaded WDs. So far though I've gone 10 days with only one slip, and even that was just an extra half on day 6. So, I find it rather easy to be so confident now, but don't expect that to last for the duration. I know that at some point I'll be desperate and sick.
    Last edited by Anonymous; 08-09-2017 at 07:55 PM.

  23. #23
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Starting day 12: today's goal is 8. I feel committed to this process and believe it's progress! Thank you to those that check in on me and your encouragement!

  24. #24
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Default temptation

    For some reason, today seems more difficult than those before it. I've only had 4 today, halfway through the day, so am on track...but about every 15 minutes that urge pops up. Resist, resist, resist! Otherwise, no real adverse symptoms other than the anxiety and night sweats.

  25. #25
    Shimmy7 is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by conwaycreek View Post
    For some reason, today seems more difficult than those before it. I've only had 4 today, halfway through the day, so am on track...but about every 15 minutes that urge pops up. Resist, resist, resist! Otherwise, no real adverse symptoms other than the anxiety and night sweats.
    I was always surprised with how little of my DOC was needed to keep me well....not feeling great but not deathly ill either. Night time is always the worst for me, too. Night time always presents horrible sweats and leg cramps when i'm trying to cut down or don't have enough. As for today, any way for you to get out and do something? maybe take a walk? distract yourself with something. i'm planning a list of things i'm going to use to distract myself come Monday.

  26. #26
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Default Nights

    Thanks Shimmy,

    I agree the nights are the WORST! I don't have any problems getting to sleep, but staying asleep is another matter. Sometimes I wake up just drenched in sweat, other times I just wake repeatedly. Fortunately, I never did develop the habit of taking pills before bed or in the middle of the night.

    Funny how things work out sometimes...I've basically just skipped my afternoon dose today; i just kept putting it off and putting it off (Thanks Catrina!), and here I am at the end of the day and have still only had 4 pills all day. This may prove to be a learning curve for me and give me confidence to step up the wean process a bit. If I can get through the rest of the day with no chronic issues, I may just drop right past "8 a day" down to 4-5 a day, and keep the head of steam building.

    - CC

  27. #27
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Hard to believe tomorrow is 2 weeks of managing my addiction.

    Day 13: today is going to be a 2nd 8 pill day; I'd reduce but can feel my resolve waning a bit in the afternoons, so will just cruise through today and reduce again tomorrow, likely to 7.

    Thanks to everyone here for sharing and inspiring.
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  28. #28
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    funny how things work; I'm revising my projection for today back down to 7 pills. Thanks again to Cat for suggesting I delay my dosings whenever possible!
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  29. #29
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Hey Catrina,

    I looked for a way to direct message you on here, so I'm not sure if you'll even see this or not...but figured I'd ask your opinion...

    I'm now 13 days in to my taper, and other than a very minor slip on day 6, have steadily dropped my dosage and am now at less than half of my old "normal"...70mg today of hydrocodone.

    My question is this: Am I doing this right? Should I be more aggressive with the reductions? Even though this far I've really not had any discomfort, I can certainly notice the cravings and mind-tricks mid-days. Part of me wonders if I should be using all of this momentum and willpower to be more aggressive, fearing that the slowness of the taper may just be providing more days/opportunities to eventually mess up and lapse.

    I know it's a handicap to not have a helper/confidant, but that's gotta be what it is until I eat my last pill and then am clean. Any thoughts or ideas would be helpful, and I may post this again in another thread, fearing this one will be buried down in the thread.

    Thank you!

    -CC
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  30. #30
    conwaycreek is offline Member
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    Mornin' folks!

    Today is two weeks! Day 2 of 70mg, probably the same tomorrow too unless I feel extra sporty. Thanks Cat for you advice!

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