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Norco Weaning and Experiences So Far
  1. #1
    Unicorn74 is offline Member
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    Default Norco Weaning and Experiences So Far

    Hi all! So I've been so in fear of withdrawals, mainly the mental effects, for a while but I've decided it's time to resume my wean. I have been taking Norco 10-325 for one year, now. At first it was 5mg here 5mg there, as needed for Fibromyalgia pain management. As the story goes, and little did I know at the time, I kept needing more. In addition to my already painful physical body, my relationship turned into an abusive one and I stayed in it longer than I should have. Much longer. With that added stress and heartbreak, my pain shot through the roof. By the holidays, I was up to 80mgs/day and resorting to buying Norcs off people I knew who could score time, since my doc capped me out at 120 pills/month (40mg/day).

    I knew I needed to knock this sh*t off and get my life back. Wish my doctor would have educated me about what opiates really do to your brain and body because I would have NEVER taken them! So, started weaning down after I left that toxic relationship I was in, in February (still grieving....) and developed a reasonable wean schedule. Got myself down to 40mg/day in a month!! Here's where it got tricky... I seemed to get stuck there. I got down to 35, then 30, but my mind was six feet under. I didn't feel like myself, and the demands of life just wouldn't give me the time I needed to have the "fall apart". So, back to 40 I went, so I could stabilize there, for a while.

    It's been close to 2 months on 40mg and I'm SO eager to get this poison out of my body and mind and feel like myself again, so I got brave and started weaning down again. This time, I'm taking 7.5mg at a time, instead of 10mg. Yes, I'm in constant physical pain, but the emotional pain and anehdonia is just hellish. I feel like a raw nerve. No joy, like a ghost irritated by everything - everyone, sounds, light, you name it. Yet, my determination is overriding the absolute despair I'm in.

    I've gotten down to about 30mg (I allow myself to take an extra 5mg some days at work, no breaks and on my feet dealing with people non-stop, so I won't break down into a sobbing mess). It's been 3 days of 30 and one day I made it with only 25. So, I'm sticking to the 7.5mg 4xdaily for now. Just want to get this over with, but I feel better about weaning than CT.

    I've had to isolate myself. Everyone I know parties and I can't even bare drinking or being social right now! I live alone and have very few true friends (only one that lives in the same city), no significant other and no family nearby. Not that they would show compassion, anyway. So, this makes it extra strenuous on me, mentally. I simply do NOT have the love and support I so soooo need during this.

    I've been sleeping as much as possible, meditating daily, listening and reading works from the positivity gurus to stay in the best frame of mind possible.

    Today, I am starting to get an appetite again! Norco killed my appetite, caused gingivitis (I've always had such healthy teeth and gums prior!), killed my sex drive, thinned my skin making me look aged and caused me to lose a lot of weight, which I'm now starting to gain back and am SO grateful for.

    Has anyone done this slow wean successfully? If so, do you regain your "glow", weight and overall health eventually? I know everyone is different and the amount of time depends on so many variables. I'm really needing support and encouragement as well as some success stories or experiences. Please do not reply with horrible experiences or negative stories, as that will only add to my depressed state. I'm so f*cking fragile right now and can hardly stand it! Hope is keeping me alive and getting me through each day!
    Last edited by Anonymous; 05-10-2016 at 04:36 AM. Reason: Misspell

  2. #2
    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    YES I have done the slow wean successfully. You can do it. Yes, like you, it is misery the whole way down but I believe for certain people it is the right way to get off opiates. First you must have the self discipline to do it, which you obviously do and second, people who must go to a job or care for others who simply cannot take time off to do a cold turkey withdrawal, short of losing a job or something. Very often on this forum it's people like you with chronic pain conditions who are able to taper and I think that's another good reason to taper as opposed to cold turkey. If you have a pain condition, cold turkey can throw you into bad rebound pain, but a slow wean gives you more time to find alternative coping strategies for your pain. What I did was taper down to 20 I think it was mg per day oxy which would be equivalent to 30 mg hydrocodone, then I jumped cold turkey, but I had a week free to be sick. A few months later I needed to go back on them for a few weeks for a flare up of my disease and that time only went up to 30, then tapered off slowly. It is never fun, but it's doable if you are the type person who can control a taper.

    So yes you are not alone, there are those of us who have done this successfully. My highest daily dose was 60 mg oxy which is equivalent to 90 hydro (if my math is right?) so pretty equal to your level. So I know just how you feel, and I very successfully got off. I will be honest with you, my pain condition is still challenging and there were good things about being on opiate therapy but over time the drug just did not work as well and there were bad side effects that annoyed me more and more. Being off the drug my mind is much more clear, and I love not having to schedule pills throughout the day, worry about filling scripts, carrying them with me and so on. It is wonderful. I do have to deal with my pain in other ways but on balance right now I am doing extremely well.

    Hope my story gives you a little hope, hang in there, you will get there. If at any time you decide to "jump" and get it over with faster, check out the Thomas recipe somewhere on this board and just keep reading others' stories. You are not alone.

  3. #3
    Unicorn74 is offline Member
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    Thank you, Thisweekforsure!!! I cannot tell you how much it means to me that you responded and shared your experience. Brought tears to my eyes. I'm holding on to tiny strings of hope and you just gave me a rope to hold onto. Congratulations for breaking free of the dependency! Especially since you too are dealing with a pain condition. Your story inspired me to keep going. The past two days upon waking, I am sweating a ton, having diarrhea, extreme thirst, cold feeling goosebumps and ANXIETY. Can you tell me if these are normal for this process? And is the lack of joy and motivation normal? I'm getting really worried :/

    For the pain, I am working with a pain specialist, and the Infectious Disease Clinic, both at Stanford. I begin physical therapy in two days and will be starting on antiviral medication for CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia within the coming weeks (once bloodwork analysis is complete).

    I'm so tempted to take a week off from work and drop out of school this quarter so I can make the CT jump. This long drawn out hell has me in slow torture. My main concern is my mental state. How long after you were off of Oxy did your clarity and mental functioning return?

    Thank you again, you're a blessing!

  4. #4
    Catrina is offline Diamond Member
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    Hi and Welcome!

    You've been getting some solid advice from Thisweek. Tapering is a bear and I admire your strength. This is something that I simply could never do. I jumped cold turkey from massive amounts over 6 years ago. What you are feeling right now is very typical of withdrawal symptoms. If you quit now, those symptoms would likely intensify a bit but it would be over in about 5 days. I absolutely will not say one way or the other is better. Whichever way you can detox, then that's the best way.

    Your clarity of mind will return within a couple of days of finishing your detox. You will notice smells, tastes AND emotions. The emotions, including anxiety hang around for a little bit but I always tell folks to embrace them! They'll level out and feeling even the bad stuff is better than not feeling at all. I was 56 years old when I finally got clean and was able to stay that way. About a week after my cold turkey when I was out and about, I realized I was oogling young men! I astonished myself. It takes persistence for sure but it's so worth it.

    Good luck, sweetie. Let me know how you're doing and if I can help.

    Peace,

    Cat

  5. #5
    Unicorn74 is offline Member
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    Hi Cat, thank you for welcoming me and for your response, I'm so grateful! You guys are truly giving me hope, just when I was running out and thinking CRAZY dark thoughts - like, "this is going to last forever, I'm never going to get out of this feeling and I'm permanently damaged".

    It's so admirable that you made the CT jump at a high dosage, did it successfully and I'm amazed you were out and about ogling young men a week later, haha - I love it!! And thank you for making me laugh. I haven't laughed in a long time.

    Ok, so I'm really going to consider going CT. It may be better at this point to just get it over with, since I do have the ability to take a week off of work, and I'm already so behind in school and unable to even care about it at this point (which is SO not like me, I'm usually an overachiever and make school a priority). Also, Both you and Thisweek did it and made it through. You at a higher dosage than me, I'm assuming, and Thisweek at the equivalent of what I'm at right now.

    I have one friend who has offered to help me through it, if I choose to make the jump, and make sure I have everything I need, be there for me, etc. I've been so desperate to get myself back that I was consider a treatment center, but I reeeeeally don't feel comfortable with that option right now. Especially if I CAN do this at home.

    Such great advice to embrace the anxiety! I try so hard to fight against it, making it even worse. One of the difficult parts about this is I'm so ashamed at my weakened state of spirit, mind and body. I don't even know who I am anymore. But it sounds like it's temporary and I'll bounce back after ridding my being of this drug. Wow, I'm floored by what these things do to a person! And by the carelessness of doctors prescribing them, at least in my case. No education or warnings came with the recommendation to take it for the Fibro pain. Just a quick script! I do take responsibility for not educating MYSELF, I should have done so before taking them.

    Thank you for being here. It's such a comfort to know you are and to know it IS possible, as well as know what to look forward to. Smells, tastes, sex drive - Hallelujah!

    I will keep you posted on what I decide and how it's going. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

  6. #6
    Catrina is offline Diamond Member
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    Good for you! Let me just tell you that how you are describing your symptoms, you are already in withdrawal. I'm assuming that you are young. The rest of your life is quite literally at stake. Take the time now to put this chapter to rest and get on with your life. Yes. I jumped (more than once--what a hero I am) from as much as 200mg/day of oxy (and worse). I survived every time.

    Withdrawal is very predictable. Expect to have the flu for 5 or 6 days. Any restless legs will abruptly be gone by that time. You'll feel like you've just been sick. Weak and tired. My bathroom issues hung around for a while after that but was kept under control with Immodium. Sleep will be a challenge. Don't let it frustrate you. If you find my thread and need the proof, I'm sure you will see my early days posting all night long. It passed the time. I refused to fight with my bed or let it get the better of me. You can so do this. I, too by the way, have legitimate pain. It is better controlled with over the counter stuff. Believe it! It's true. Opiates have so many side effects that we never even considered. They are intended for very short term use and shouldn't be used at all for certain pain. They become less effective and actually add to your pain level in a fairly short amount of time. I'm not a chemist so I won't even try to explain it but it makes sense if you just think about the part of your brain that manufactures its own feel-good and pain fighting chemicals shutting down shop. Those receptors have gone on strike because they've been replaced with those temporary, cross the strike line workers who will work for a lower wage. It's easier! Once we're clean, it just takes a little while for those receptors to recognize that they've been called back to work. This is recovery. Welcome. The strike is over and you've got your job back.

    Put them down and let's get this show on the road. I've been looking for a new project. May as well be you!

    Peace,

    Cat

  7. #7
    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    Ha ha, yep you're doing exactly what I did. Tapered to a certain point and said, this is ridiculous. I just want to get it over with!! I will tell you that the anxiety and anticipation is much worse than the reality of withdrawal, at least at the dose you are at right now. Don't fear it. Cat gave you great advice. You have already undergone a lot of the withdrawal process so consider that being halfway there already. I like that you have a friend to help, my husband was around and it was great to have him there, he actually cheered me up a lot. I agree you do not need a treatment center. You already know you have the self control to not take the pills even if they are in the house. Your dose is not high enough to need medical attention as long as you sip water and avoid dehydration, you will do great. No need to pay some center a bunch of money to get you through this. It won't be any worse than a mild flu. Just don't let your head mess with you, ha ha! And once you get the withdrawal behind you, there will be low energy and low motivation for a while, for me it was a good 2 months before I was completely back to whatever "normal" was for me. But it was only a few days of bad stuff, by day 5 I was very much better, and that was the day my thinking got real clear.

  8. #8
    Unicorn74 is offline Member
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    Ok!! Thank you, Cat! Enough is ENOUGH! And you said it - I really am already in withdrawal, the slow tortuous kind. I have an art show coming up next week, even considering bailing on my first museum showing, but afraid I'll regret it. It's Weds, May 18th. I need to make rent so must work for the next two weeks, and request time off (I'm going to take two weeks off just to be safe) in advance. Then, it's on! So that means the date I can get this show on the road will be Weds, May 25th.

    Here's the worry I have, beyond the withdrawals and mental fragility. My friend annoys me! Super kind guy but also smothery, and I don't want him holding it over my head later. But you're right, it's my life at stake. I'm going to be 42 on June 19th and would love to be free of this poison and through the hardest part before then. On the path to getting ME back.

    Does this sound like a reasonable plan? I can watch Netflix, cry all I need to, lay around, color in my coloring books, listen to guided meditations and be on here every day to try to cope.

    The funny thing is, with CFS, I have IBS-C, so it's usually hard to go regularly without magnesium supplements, so I welcome diarrhea! Just wanna make sure to stay hydrated and eating enough so as to maintain my weight, because I'm already underweight.

    I'm going to search for your thread and read through your journey.

    You are an incredible human being and you've got so much heart to give your time and energy to those of us who are in the throes of this despair and still slaves to the drugs.

  9. #9
    Unicorn74 is offline Member
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    I'm so glad you confirmed that I can do this without putting myself into a treatment center, Thisweek! You and Cat have literally inspired me so much and I feel like I can do this! What a difference from my thoughts from this morning - a complete 180! I do have the self-control and determination, and usually when I set my mind to something, I do everything in my power to follow through. It's that fear of what's on the other side that's scaring me, but how will I know if I don't try?

    One thing... I just want to make sure that this depressed state and inability to feel ANY joy is normal and not another issue. I'm afraid that once I get off and through the 5 day physical stuff that my mind won't come back to life and I will struggle even more to find interest in anything. I don't want to go 5150, know what I mean?

  10. #10
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    Unicorn it's definitely the withdraw making you feel sad and depressed. Get a couple weeks clean "under your belt" and your mood will improve. I promise you that. I was scared of the same thing, "what if this sadness never goes away??" I understand how nervous and scared you are. Everyone on here does. But it's worth it. It'll get better.

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    Unicorn74 is offline Member
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    Hi Okc21! Thank you!!!! It's so beyond rad to now know the withdraw is what's causing this. I've been so confused about it for a month! It's like a light just burned out in me halfway through my wean and was suddenly gone. I set my date and I'm looking so forward to LIFE again versus merely existing. You're all so wonderful.

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    Unicorn74 is offline Member
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    Today is day 7 on 30mgs Norco daily from the 40mgs I was stuck at for so long. It took a whole week to kinda level out from that drop. I still don't have approval for time off at work, so until then I'm continuing in this taper. This has just sucked so bad. On the new dose, last night was the first night I slept through the night and yesterday was the first time I was able to get out of the house to get groceries. Work (part-time) is the only thing I have HAD to force myself to do and I do it in misery.

    When is a good time to do another drop? Should I stabilize here for a certain amount of time or should I just get right to it and drop down another 5mg?

    Thanks you guys! I seriously don't know what I'd do without your support. I was feeling SO alone prior to posting here, which took a lot of courage for me to do.

  13. #13
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    I can't help you much with a taper.. Sorry. What I've read on here from other people is go at your own speed. You'll know when you're comfortable enough to drop again. If comfortable is even the right word when dealing with these problems. If it takes you a couple more days at 30 mg then so be it. Just don't go back up. A couple extra days is nothing compared to finally being free for the rest of your life!

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    Unicorn74 is offline Member
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    Thanks for responding Okc. It means a lot. This is getting unbearable in so many ways - not only the pain and weakness but the DEPRESSION. It's reeeeeally messin with my mind. I want to make everything stop for a week so I can just do the deal and JUMP OFF THIS SH*T! And believe me, I'm never going back up. Ever. I want myself and my life back far too much.

  15. #15
    Catrina is offline Diamond Member
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    Good Morning!

    I'm not sure how I missed your posts. This site has been messing with me lately. Definitely true to do this at your own pace but you seem so determined that if I were you, I'd go ahead and drop another 5mg. You are low enough that a jump even now won't cause too much more misery than you already have and then you can let the healing begin.

    Do you have 2 days off in a row? Here's how it has always gone for me. The first day I stopped, the symptoms weren't all that bad and maybe you can struggle through work, Days 2 and 3 can be planned on your two days off. Maybe call out on Day 4. You just might be able to return to work on Day 5 and even if you can't, one more day of calling out and you will be over the worst of the physical. It will only be when you are entirely off of everything that your frame of mind will begin to rebound. Just a thought but this is your journey and it needs to be done at your pace and in your way. It just sounds like you might be ready to be over this. Your dose isn't that high right now so instead of struggling with another drop, stay put until your next days off and maybe just do it?

    Peace,

    Cat

  16. #16
    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    I found the lower I got the harder it got. For example, going from 60 mg per day to 50 mg per day sucked but going from 30 to 20 seemed so much worse. Part of it is that the same mg drop is a much bigger percent. But another part I believe is just your brain adjusting to smaller and smaller doses. But as you get closer to quitting completely I think the anxiety takes over. Your thoughts of never feeling any better are completely normal. If you continue the taper, I agree with Cat, cut no more than 5 mg and it seems it takes a whole week for you to stabilize, that is okay. You're actually doing very well! Take heart, everything bad you are feeling is completely NORMAL for this process. The taper process really isn't intended for you to feel "good", it is intended only to keep you on your feet so you can function. Maybe not at top performance but adequately to get by. If you are accomplishing that you're doing GREAT!
    Ming23 likes this.

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    Unicorn74 is offline Member
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    Oh there you two are!! So great to hear from you Cat and Thisweek! So here's what's been going on. I tried going CT one day and only lasted 20 hours. I could barely stand or walk and was just sooo sick. And I cry and cry. And I feel like a sad little girl with no physical comfort from another human being. Last night was the hardest night yet. I thought I had leveled out at the 10mg drop to 30, but I was contemplating not being here anymore. I don't want to do anything to myself, I was just in so much despair and alone (as usual) that I was desperate for the agony to stop. I have had to take Klonopin during the day to manage, which I am prescribed 1-2 @ night, and normally only take 1mg. That's gonna be the next journey, can't even think about that right now. I'm crying and so depressed a majority of the time, my days and nights are all blending together in this dark mess. I don't even know who I am anymore.

    Cat, your advice sounds so great. I wish I could do that, but the fact that I'm so weak and can't stand up or walk after just 20 hours, there's no way I can execute that plan. I think it's a bit different for me because of the CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia, which already has my body and brain chemicals out of whack.

    I started physical therapy yesterday and it floored me! I was barely able to drive back and my limbs have been weak, shaking and trembling since. I am completely zapped of any energy I had. I don't know how I'll make it to work tomorrow. Praying tomorrow is better. Last Sunday, I remember looking at the clock - 8:50pm. Holding back tears so much it made my throat hurt. It doesn't help I hate my job right now, and hate my life, and hate myself. Loneliness is making this so much harder.

    I'm going to make a decision here soon about what to do. I just realized I can probably get my doctor to give me a note which will clear me of having to go to work. I see her Weds (not the pain doc that prescribes my meds) and can tell her what my plan is. I'm worried that if it stays this dark or gets worse, I'm gonna lose it completely and that scares me because I really want to live and be happy again.

  18. #18
    Unicorn74 is offline Member
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    Also, thank you both for taking the time to help me. And Thisweek, for reminding me that what I'm feeling IS part of this tortuous process.

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