Thursday, October 13, 2005


My hands feel like they are encased in two large blocks of ice. They feel like they are on fire, and as if they are frozen, all at the same time. The feeling is similar to the type of burn one might get reaching into a refrigerator, touching a frozen piece of metal.

I am lying on a bed in an unused, extra bedroom in our house. My wife kicked me out of our bed hours ago because of my restlessness. I can’t stay still. My legs, arms, and body feel uncomfortable no matter what position I lay. Everything that touches me feels like it shouldn’t be there, and the only relief is to move.

The sheets are soaked through to the mattress. Every inch of my body is oozing sweat. Every body part alternates between feeling searing heat and freezing cold. Right now my hands feel like I have set them upon a stove top and my back feels as though I were lying down naked on an ice rink. In a few moments it may change and the sweat on my back will feel like boiling hot oil.

I am trembling and jerking. The jerking streaks through me like a jolt of electricity, a convulsion that occurs every few moments. The cold ball of ice in my gut makes my entire thorax quiver, oddly resembling the way I’ve felt when standing in front of a large audience delivering a speech, like stage-fright.

My nose is running and my eyes are burning. Goose-bumps appear and then evaporate in patches all over my body. I have vomited twice in the past hour, and when I am not throwing-up, I crawl to the bathroom with violent diarrhea. I cannot walk without holding on to a wall. My legs and arms have barely the strength to lift their own weight.

It has been eight hours since I broke down and revealed my relapse to my wife. It has been 12 hours since my last dose.

The first time I realized I was hooked was also the first time I had experienced any sort of withdrawal symptoms. It occurred about a month or so after I first discovered Oxycontin. This was during a period of time when I would buy a handful of pills, enjoy them for a couple of days, and when they were gone, I would go for several days without them. No problem. I would casually pick up some Oxys before a big weekend, and when they were gone, I would go without them until the next “Special Occasion” came along. I did not realize that my Special Occasions were becoming more and more frequent. Nice weather and a sunny day were grounds for celebration. As the Special Occasions became more commonplace than extraordinary, I was only going for one or two days without buying Oxycontin, but either I wasn’t conscious of this fact or, more likely, wasn’t aware of the repercussions.

I remember waking up one morning realizing something was wrong. I had been using about two or three 40mg Oxys for several days and I had consumed the last pill the previous evening. As I made my way to work, I felt very tired and my energy was depleted. As I approached my office I barely had the energy to get from the parking lot to the front door. Coffee and Red Bull seemed to have no effect toward increasing my energy. I thought that perhaps I was catching a cold. The suspicion that I was going through withdrawal didn’t occur to me until the day afterward. It got worse.

By the second day, I was feeling frozen cold from the inside and I visited the bathroom every 30 minutes. I was weaker than the day before. It still hadn’t fully dawned on me that I was going through withdrawal. I simply assumed I had a cold or simply wasn’t feeling well. This provided the impetus for another Special Occasion, I reasoned. Off I went in search of my magic bullets. Thirty minutes after I scored, the frost melted from my frame, my head was clear, and I could leap tall buildings in a single bound. That’s the exact moment I knew I was hooked. I knew the reason I had felt sick was because I ran out of drugs and what made me feel better was getting high again.

As I drove away from my connection, feeling revived, I had a thought. There are many thoughts in a person’s life, but none more pivotal than the thought that “I have become…something.” These “becoming” thoughts are the kind of thoughts that acknowledge the realization that one’s life will never be the same, like “I have become…bankrupt,” “I have become…a convict,” “I have become…disfigured.” My pivotal thought was “I have become…a drug addict.” However, what makes this sickness so insidious is the fact that I didn’t care. It didn’t shock me to the core like the revelation one might have upon finally realizing they’ve committed some crime and are on their way to prison, but it should have. I was high, and when I was high, there was nothing that could bring me least, not until I ran out of dope.

What I didn’t know then was that I would go through withdrawals many more times, with each time becoming successively more painful. Had I known then that I would wind up on a mattress, like a sponge, soaked with tears and sweat, I wonder if I would have quit. After confessing to my wife, we talked and I cried for several hours. After all we had been through in the past with my drug use and my lying to hide it, she could not believe we were reliving it all over again. On top of the pain I was about to experience, there was the realization that I had imperiled something far more precious to me than drugs: my wife and family.

I get a kick out of seeing the medical description of opiate withdrawal. It is so often compared with the symptoms of flu. What the medical literature cannot possibly describe is something that transcends the physical characteristics of withdrawal. Medical literature fails to include the emotional effects of withdrawal. Never have I felt so hopeless, helpless, and bitterly depressed as I have during withdrawal, and this was the worst ever. The despair is piercing.

I could not stop crying. After the sun rose, I managed to crawl out from under the tangled, wet sheets. I wandered into our back yard and collapsed, crying and vomiting. My wife had errands to take care of that Saturday morning and needed to leave. She had never seen me so incapacitated. I have often wondered what she must have been feeling at the time. On the one hand, she loves me very much, yet on the other hand I was a liar and a cheat, secretly getting high and spending our hard-earned cash on something I loved more than her. Here I was, completely helpless yet undeserving of empathy. I was a wretched splatter of vomit smeared clothing and frayed nerves, wailing like a baby in the grass of our middle-class back yard. Like a waterfall, a half-year of deceit and self-abuse was crashing down upon me. For the first time in my life I knew what it felt like to want to be dead. I could not feel the future. The future seemed futile.

As my wife prepared to leave, I sobbed incontrollably. The thought of being alone was too much for me to withstand. I spent the next eight hours crying and wretching in despair. The physical symptoms of withdrawal are intense, much more so than any flu I have ever had, but I can truly say that the emotional symptoms are the worst experience I have ever endured. To put the experience into words is difficult, but I can best explain it as the same intense feeling one might have at the death of a loved one or at the termination of a cherished relationship. It is this deep sad feeling, combined with fear, that best approximates the experience.

I tried as best I could to keep my mind together until my wife returned, but it was of little use. Somehow, I managed to pick up the phone book and contact a psychiatrist specializing in drug addiction who was available that afternoon. When my wife returned, we went to meet him at a nearby hospital. We arrived, me in tatters, and spent about an hour talking to him about approaches to the problem. He turned out to be some sort of an arrogant advocate for a treatment center, and confidently informed us that the only hope for me would be to enter an in-patient treatment center immediately. Most in-patient treatment programs require a 28-day stay. Because of the characteristics of my job we decided that an in-patient treatment center would not be an option for me. The psychiatrist pushed the treatment center upon us with the skill and tact of a salesman hawking time-share condos. He offered to give me a prescription for enough Methadone to make me well until Monday morning, when I could check in to the center. However, this offer of mercy was conditioned upon my checking in with the particular treatment facility he was pitching, which of course, he worked for on-the-side. The only other option he provided us with was to ride out the storm.

The psychiatrist-salesman had mentioned to my wife and me that an in-patient treatment center would probably prescribe diazepam (Valium) during the worst part of the withdrawals, to help me sleep off the experience. Fortunately, Valium is just one of the many a la carte items on the menu at Mexico’s pharmacies, and I happened to have some in stock (I’m not quite sure why. I never found a use for it other than helping to overcome an occasional sleepless night.) Over the next two days, my wife gave me a 20mg Valium tablet every six hours or less. It would knock me out for several hours and I would awaken again to the fear, despair, and pain.

By late Sunday evening I was able to walk again. I was feeling better, but not by much, just enough to keep me from shaking and crying uncontrollably. I had racked up almost 72 hours of clean-time, but I still felt half-dead and half not wanting to live. I had my fill of Oxycontin. I was done. I could not go through this again. I wanted to be alive again so badly, but I felt like it would be easier to simply die. Never again, I thought, would I go through withdrawal. The pain was too much, both physically and emotionally, but mostly emotionally. Oxycontin was an evil monster that I would need to slay. In fact, I did stop using Oxycontin, but my troubles were far from over. I was about to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.


RXconnsieur said...

ive been there and you should ask a doctor (look it up they have to be liscensed for it) about subutex- it's a long-lasting partial opioid antagonist - the partial part means that theres no high- just keeps you from going through withdrawls. It's way less dangerous than methadone, and you can get a script and take it when needed instead of going to the clinic every day for methadone- this stuff seriously saved my ass. It blocks the opiate receptors in your brain, so should you choose to relase, you will feel very little from the opiates- for me, knowing this lessens the mental cravings as well. Nobody should have to go through the hell of withdrawl when the cure is right there at CVS. It will fix you! It is the thing everyone hooked on opiates has been dreaming of- a "quit pill" If you have any questions about it contact me and ill try to help you out- i'm composing a detailed account of my (hopefully) final opiate cessation- in a couple of days you should be able to search for it- good luck!

required said...

Dude, Your blog has been in my bookmarks for more than a year and each time I think that you are really gone you make a new post.

I'm sorry about your situation but it makes an interesting blog.

carlsbadsue said...

I have done the "mexico border dance" for years and it pisses me off to think of all the money I have given them. I am just now reaching the point of wanting to stop taking the oxy and your blog has given me the courage to try and go cold turkey. I, like so many others started taking them legitimately but when the Dr.changes or something , what are you supposed to do?...go to Mexico. I would receive 400 pills from my Dr. for a 3 mos. supply and by the third mo. it was panic. I hate having something other than myself control my life....Thank You for your story and I am going to finish reading it right now !!!!

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Michael said...

They prescribed me oxy for the chronic pain and it is very good, but to buy it is difficult, because of it I buy a friend that gives it to me delicately.

Greg House said...

Medications such as oxycodone, Lortab, Vicodin, Norco, are special for all kinds of pain because opioids are constantly calming the pain of the disease Cancer findrxonline therefore suggested having the proper information, and thus grow among people the importance of providing help for those suffering from this disease.

Richard Grayson said...

Oxycontin detox can be extremely rough. Especially if you are at home doing it on your own. I'd suggest checking yourself into a detox center and utilizing the aid of licensed professionals. It can be an incredibly painful thing and I hope your blog reaches others whom might be suffering.

Carrie said...

This is such a vivid description of what you have and are going through. I think that for others who need oxycodone addiction help it will serve as helpful. There is help out there. Hang in there and thank you for being so candid.

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Vince said...

Suboxone: If you had this or had any knowledge of what it does, you would never have had to make this post..

Suboxone is the magic pill.

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I suffer from back pain for 2 years and I like to find out about oxycontin and its side effects, and I think this is a good place to be see and share information, as it is very interesting.

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Dr. Julia Aharonov said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Julia Aharonov said...

I am so sorry for anyone that has had to go through this terrible experience. On the bright side there are people who can help you handle the withdrawal through a simple procedure. You can read more about oxycontin here to educate yourself about alternative options.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Wow was from what I read. Let me tell you about my 13 year ride and give you hope becuase by the grace of God I am now oxy FREE !!! Praise God !!! Those of us who are caught in the web of or have been like myself need to know the process I used to achieve sucess.I started with Vicodin and clonopin prescribed...eventually went to Percocett and Xanax and then strait heroin in a pill> Oxycontin. I was not completeley aware of what it would take to get off of it and was at 5 -10 milagrams a day. I slowed down Percocett by chopping them in halves then quarters. Did not go back to pain doctor. Once I was out of those I attacked the big dog Oxycontin.. I cut back to three then two but was cutting them into halves spreading them out through the day so I was actually tricking my body so that it felt like it was getting dosed 5 times but with a lessor dosage. IT WORKS !!! IF YOU want it to. I called on Jesus Christ to empower me to be victorious because I too wanted my life back. After 3 weeks I was at 3/4 of a 10 mg pill and then a half and then a quater of a pill and when I realized I had went from 50 mg to 2.5 mgs and that was 47.5 mgs accomplished with just alot of sweating ( hands and feet)I went a day without it and another day and then called my Mother and said listen as I flushed about 40 or 50 pills down the toilet. My Mother said "PRAISE THE LORD !! I TOLD YOU< YOU COULD DO IT". I have some natural and spiritual advice for those still struggling. If you are taking mass amounts you may need medical attention. I scheduled a Saboxone appt. but cancelled it once I overcame the addiction. I got enfamil to drink, gatorade, and pedialyte. Popsicles help too!!! I took xanax for the anxiousness, trazadone to sleep, zantac to stop nausea, aleve to kill pain and naproxen to keep my body more limber...melatonin helps with sleep but go easy... it may help some of you to make a schedule but dont go crazy and try to win in a week or two. Just begin to slow down and then NONE> KEY INGREDIENT PRAY TO JESUS CHRIST! Thats my recovery story. I was snared in this trap and I am an ordained Pastor. Anyone wishing to speak with me call 937-212-6041. I will listen encourage and pray with you. My God its good to be free. Eternal Love in Jesus, robert

Lance Tankmen said...

I know a lot of people that go through oxycontin detox in Las Vegas. Keep up the good work, you have a good story.

About this Blog

For the past ten years I have been writing about my experience using oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin, Percocet, and other prescription painkillers. I eventually developed a tolerance, then dependence, and became addicted. My archive covers my abuse of these drugs and my effors to quit using them.

I have tried to accurately report my experience without a sense of advocacy. It is my hope that you'll be able to make your own conclusions, as well as find my story factual, informative, and interesting.