The day I stopped taking oxycodone

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Warning sewing fans – this is a serious post. I’m sure tomorrow I’ll share more crafty love. But I feel compelled to talk about something else today.

On the day that I stopped taking OXY – all according to my well-laid plans – I was almost eaten alive by a monster of depression, rage, and anxiety.

I was not expecting that.

I learned (to a small degree) how badly that monster they call addiction wanted to swallow me whole.

This is me on the day after my gallbladder surgery – all sunshine, tulips, and Percocet. Percocet is the pretty name for that drug. The pain relief that I welcomed joyfully. Oxycodone is the ugly name for it – the one that brings to mind drug abuse and addiction.

Making plans to go home from the hospital, I also made plans to get back to my life: sewing, taking pictures, and my favorite role – being a mom.

So I planned that on Day 1 after my hospital stay I would take Percocet. Day 2 I would alternate Percocet and Advil, and from Day 3 going forward I would only take Advil as needed. Unless the pain was too severe, of course.

I think that plan saved my life. Because the pain did subside (thankfully). But my desire for the oxycodone – let’s call it by its ugly name now – did not subside.

On the morning of Day 3 (the day I would only take Advil) I woke up early in the morning filled with such rage for everyone who came to mind (it seems silly now to think of it), depression – I scrolled through images on my phone and cried for all the things my life was lacking, and anxiety – begging to see my doctor to adjust my other (mental health) medications.

Wow. I only wish I could go back a few days and tell my self what was going on at that moment. Because it was as if a huge monster wanted to eat me alive. I was actually experiencing dependency and withdrawals after only 4 days on oxycodone.

How I wish that monster did not exist! How I fear and sympathize for you if you know the monster I speak of. If you know it – please know also that you are not alone. That help is there.

It helped me to have a plan.

It helped me to share my plan with other people in advance so they could support me with it.

And it helped me to speak out when I felt that ugly monster trying to take me back.

I know that my monster could be small compared to the one that you fight. So please have hope. And talk to someone.



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  1. Even with all your wonderful sewing posts, this may be the most important one ever on your blog. My husband had knee replacement surgery a couple of years ago and I started asking very early if he really needed the oxy – he later thanked me for being so diligent. He was very surprised by how shaky he felt after stopping completely. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Sometimes a little pain on the front end is better than lots of pain later on.

  2. Susan Willis says:

    My heart goes out to you, and your family, for what you are struggling with. I’m glad you have the resources to help you through this blinding experience. I think your courage in sharing a little about this experience will benefit not just you, but other readers who will be inspired by your brave example. Wishing you well in your journey.

  3. Thanks for sharing. I have had a few surgeries over the last few years and they always prescribe oxy. You have to sign so many forms saying you understand the impacts and possible effects. But they never talk to you about them, just want you to sign so they can say they did there part. I have heard similar stories to yours and have decided that oxy is not for me, don’t want to take a chance. Give me my motrin or tylenol and stick it out. Thankfully I haven’t need something stronger. Glad you have a plan and are working it.

  4. First of all, glad you’re better. And you are SO right about the oxy. I’ve taken it a few times in my life, but this last time especially it would have been soooo easy to cross over. It does help with a lot of things, but it’s really just not worth the risk. I totally understand how people can become addicted – unfortunately it doesn’t take long.

  5. I am glad to hear that you recovered from surgery with out complications (like infection) You are brave to speak of your experience aloud. I respect you for that. Depression is no joke to begin with. Then you add something traumatic like surgery into the mix, it is not pretty. I am glad you contacted your doctor to adjust your meds and talk about it. If you, or anyone, needs help, please get it. There is no shame, only progress!

  6. When I had surgery a couple of years ago, I was shocked that they did not warn me of the dangers of the oxy they prescribed. I bought it, just in case I needed it, but didn’t take it, and am so glad I didn’t. Glad you were able to recognize the symptoms and get the help you needed.

  7. Nancy Austin says:

    I am so glad things are better for you and your family. My depression usually involves my anger at everything and everyone, for no reason. I can’t even imagine dealing with OXY too! I have watched my son fight that demon again and again, since he was 14 and got hurt at a sports rally and had major surgery on his leg. And he met OXY there. It’s 22 years later and he is finally getting it under control (3 1/2 years clean and sober) and we are so proud of him.
    My thoughts are with you, take care of yourself, you light up the screen when you have a chat and I visit you every day just to see your smile. (And here your excitement over each and every pattern, project and lesson!) It is so contagious!
    Oh, by the way, I am going to the retreat with you in March (in my p.j.’s unless I need a coffee run!). I am so excited! I have three sisters who quilt (two close by and one faraway) and I am trying to get us all together for our own mini-retreat at the Mod Bee.
    Sorry, I meant this to b a short get we’ll note! 😳

  8. I understand your issue with oxycontin or any other drug that might cause dependency. I have always taken less than half of any prescribed dose and nonetheless have passed out once and just curled up in fetal position once. I have a fear now and try to make it without help. Sp gd ypur awareness has been traised and that you are respecting the drug.

  9. thanks for sharing a tough subject Caroline, so glad you are doing better.

  10. Shame on the hospitals and doctors dishing out meds which have such dreadful side effects! And after a short period of time – not as if you had it for months! I definitely didn’t have anything like that after my gallbladder was removed. Maybe the UK is different in that approach to pain because I had paracetamol!
    So glad you trounced it so well, and well on the way to recovery and a very useful post for anyone who may be undergoing the same treatment.

  11. Judy Miller says:

    Thank you for your honesty. You are such a talented and upbeat lady, I would have no idea you were dealing with such a terrible monster. I thoroughly enjoy your posts and your selfless kindness sharing your tutorials. Wishing you continued good health and happiness!

  12. Michele Richards says:

    You are a beautiful, kind and brave woman! I was on ambien and was on my way to being addicted to it. I recognized the addiction and quickly stopped taking it. It is scary how fast these drugs take ahold!

  13. Caroline- thank you for speaking out. Oxy by any name is evil. My first experience sent me in a drug trip while still in the hospital and a day and a half later I became aware of my surroundings while tied to the bed for my own protection. As a nurse I was embarrassed, frightened and anxious beyond control all at the same time. It took me months to feel human again. And it’s not the kinky drug that does this to me. So I have vowed off all pain meds except for ibuprofen. I feel for those who live with this unending addiction prescribed to help them. And I am angry that for the most part no one tells the patient before signing wavers that these are ALL the possible things this drug can do to you.
    Glad you are on the mend and that you had loving family there to support you!! Thanks for your courage!
    Blessings to you!!

  14. Leah Warrick says:

    Thank you for sharing. I’m a 25 year nurse and very active person who also happens to have scoliosis and RA. The narcotics DO help but are such a dangerous path and NOT a long term solution. Throw our age and being female in there and it’s the perfect storm. I’m glad you’re doing well and please know you can share anything- I think we all feel like we know you. Look forward to your email every day!

  15. Mary Grace Ronan says:

    Thanks sew much… I never Knew you could get addicted after only a few days …I had my gallbladder out a yr ago …
    Guess my angel kept me away from that…thank you God! Oh & thank you for bringing this out. I also take anti depression drugs…God bless you for writing about all of it … Your blog brings happiness to me 🥰

  16. So glad you are doing better! But Wow – how terrifying!
    Many of us in our family have been prescribed percocet/oxy after surgery, etc. It never really seems to help us so we don’t really bother and just go with high dose advil/tylenol. Most recently my husband broke 5 ribs and they prescribed 5mg pills that seemed to have no impact on his pain.
    I wonder if there are genetic markers or other factors that contribute to people having more problems.
    Thank you for being willing to share your story! Talking about this stuff helps to make people more aware and diligent and hopefully more compassionate to others doing battle!

  17. Thank you for sharing this! I hope that each day gets better for you! The most important part is that these drugs can grab you in less than 4 days, so glad to hear you realized its grip and asked for help!

  18. An interesting post. I’m pretty sure after my GB surgery I was prescribed Vicodin. I think I took one dose then switched to Advil. I must have a high pain tolerance because I got through the recovery and recovery when I had all my teeth pulled using Advil. I am so glad that you chose to avoid the opiod, especially with their depressive effect on you. That battle is hard enough.

    Best wishes for a smooth recovery from the surgery.
    xx, Carol

  19. This is my first post to let you know I am praying for you. I have never felt an once of depression or anxiety in my life so I can’t relate, but you are such a beautiful person, I pray you feel better soon.

  20. Fighting demons is one thing. Being able to talk/write about them is totally different. You are a beautiful, terrific woman and inspirational sewist. Thank you for sharing your work and your journey. Stay brave and keep on sharing. Love, love, love your blog! Happy Valentines Day!

  21. When I had my wisdom teeth out in college, the dental surgeon gave me 3 days of Percocet. My mom called him for more, and he refused. We did not know what we were messing with! Glad he told her to switch me to extra strength Tylenol and not to give in.

  22. Regina Roza says:

    My Monster and I broke up almost 10 1/2 years ago. It all started very innocently with Vicodin for a bunion removal surgery…a 1 1/2 inches of bone was removed!! I was in serious legitimate pain both bCefore and after surgery. So the Vicodin was flowing for quite some time, but once I had that feeling the pills gave me it was off to the races…I was addicted and it didn’t stop there. Once I was refused more prescriptions, I began buying pills off the street. Long story short and a lot of years later I had become a heroin addict and an IV drug user. You see it gets much, much worse!! I applaud anyone who speaks their truth it takes the monster’s power away, so brava Caroline and God Bless You for sharing this! It’s no longer a dirty little secret; too many lives have been lost because of how we once viewed addiction. It can be the teenager next door or the soccer Mom up the road…shit happens and it’s time we all speak our truths and help one another instead of knocking each other down. Addiction kills! It truly is that simple and I’m so so grateful to have 10 1/2 years of recovery from addiction and it’ll be this way for the rest of my life One Day at a Time! Thank you for exposing the monster!! Much love girl!

  23. Heidi Bragg says:

    Kudos to you for having courage to share this. My love for you has multiplied by infinity!!

  24. It is a serious post about a serious matter. Percocet and OxyContin are not the same drug though. While Percocet is narcotic, abusable and addictive, it’s like a lizard compared to a dragon with OxyContin. Oxy is addictive much faster and is much more potent. I’ve treated many addicts and a heroin addict is much easier to deal with through withdrawal than an oxy addict. Serious stuff.

    1. Percoset is a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone (aka oxycontin).

  25. Elizabeth says:

    Wow! I too have serious issues with oxycontin. I’m actually warning my kids against ever taking it because I’m concerned they may have the same tendencies. Proud of you for telling, for fighting! Praying for you as you go forward.

  26. Linzel McBride says:

    You are an angel. Thanks for sharing and being open about your challenges. It helps all of us who battle with similar demons. Stay well and keep sewing. 🙂

  27. Caroline, hang in there, you will find peace and energy soon. I’m happy to know that Percocet doesn’t agree with my body, makes me nauseous . And even though I live with back pain, I’m glad my body rejects it. I can say that I look forward for your designs and ideas. I also wish you recover soon and the pain and depression get out of your body soon!

  28. charlotte says:

    I think one of the big things of which we all need to be cognizant is that by the time you know you have a problem, it is usually too late. Any addiction is like that, drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc. The brave thing is to ask for help as soon as you need it, and stay in touch with your medical professionals. I seem to always err on the side of cautious. As a college student in the 70s, I saw so many lives ruined by "just once." Congratulations to you for your bravery in fighting to overcome what could have totally ruined your life for a long time, if not forever. Bless you for having the courage to write about it in a public forum. Keep up the good work of alerting folks to possibilities.

  29. Linda Soutter says:

    I admire you SO much! Your willingness to write about your situation is so helpful to me. I don’t have a problem with OxyContin but never want to take it longer than I have too. Thank you so much for sharing with us.
    God bless you

  30. Thanks for letting people know those internet-perfect lives everyone posts aren’t real. You can have a great life and still deal with stuff!

  31. Jean Stocks says:

    Oh dear, poor you! I had my gall bladder removed a few years ago and definitely didn’t need anything containing codeine in any form. My pain following the op, which wasn’t anything like it was before I had the op, was controlled by paracetamol.
    I hope you can recover from this episode very soon.

    1. Lauralee Hensley says:

      Paracetamol is acetaminophen or what we here in the USA call Tylenol.

  32. Thanks for sharing. I’m sorry you had to deal with this, but ace you had a plan. The Oxy drug family are vile. I broke my leg 2 years ago and was on oxycodone for several months and it nearly destroyed my life getting off that addiction.

    I was told toward the end of the ordeal that it is akin to heroin :(.

    Wishing you a smooth recovery.

  33. Judith Martinez says:

    Oh my! I took percocet after both of my csections and my hernia surgery and did not experience those symptoms but I also wasn’t warned that they were a possibility. We’re all different and respond to drugs differently so I hope that the medical community starts doing a better job educating their patients.

  34. I recently read Dopesick by one of my favorite authors, Beth Macy. It’s amazing how quickly people become addicted and Big Pharma knows it. Thank you for sharing your story!

  35. Congratulations Caroline. That is a huge accomplishment. you are a strong, brave woman. I think I am a little selfish because I enjoy your blog posts and projects so much I want you well for us, too. Big hugs, and healing vibes coming your way. 🙂

  36. Lauralee Hensley says:

    We were told in nursing school that it only takes 72 hours to get addicted to narcotics. So that is why most Doctor’s try if at all possible not to have people on them for longer than that. The exception is usually major surgery and then they want people to come off of them as soon as possible. They usually send you home with a lesser dosage than you were getting in the hospital but it still doesn’t mean you won’t have nasty withdrawal symptoms if your body chemistry is inclined to do so. I never had withdrawal symptoms from narcotics after two major surgeries I’ve had in the past three years, but once I did have a nasty reaction to steroids I was given for bone spurs on my feet. I had rage with the steroids and recognized that it was due to them and had to get off of them cold-turkey and not weaned off slowly.

  37. Greendoor says:

    I had two c-section births less than a year apart. Having alcholics in my family, I, too, was terrified of becoming addicted to the pain meds. Like you, I had a plan, told my husband about it, and stuck to it. I give you a high five all around for having the presence of mind to pay attention to what your body was telling you and recognize the danger signs for what they were!
    My heart goes out to those who honeslty need painkillers..and who are trying to avoid addiction…who also have mental health concerns or are already succeptable to addiction. Stick to your plan and keep sewing – jumping into creative activity is such a great way to recover!

  38. A.K. Zamudio says:

    Wow, that’s absolutely horrifying how quickly a drug can become addictive. Thanks for sharing.

  39. Thank you for sharing that. I may have to have gall bladder surgery later this year so good to know this information. I wish you well, and please, reach out even if you don’t feel you need to.

  40. Wauv! so good of you to write about. Thank you. I love your site and have followed for many years. Regards from Pia Lindegaard in Denmark

  41. Karen Webb says:

    Prednisone is wicked too. It’s great but make sure you are weaned off it! 2 years ago my asthma was wicked and I was given double dose of prednisone to get it under control for 5 days 3 the first day then 2 for the next 4 days then stop well it made me wide open like on speed and no filters and not sleeping for about 6 weeks and now the least bit of stress like Christmas and my brain spins , cannt sleep, I talk and have a hard time stopping. I am still trying to come off Christmas from this year. I walk outside, restorative yoga and drink tons of water and pray. I truly think I needed the prednisone but the secret is to wean off it. Everything in like has its ying and yang just finding the happy middle is the secrect. So glad you figured out how to wean off oxcy and came out on the top side. Personally I think a little whiskey works just as well with not near the side effects! Just my point of view! Karen in Chattanooga

  42. An extremely important post for so many people. Thank you for sharing. Your courage and family support are inspiring.

  43. I recently heard a story about a man who had been addicted, went to recovery and had been clean for several years. unfortunately he had some dental surgery, and they prescribed a narcotic which started the cravings. he actually went out of state to buy drugs and overdosed, sadly leaving a fiance a month before their wedding.

    I am glad you were willing to share your story. I recently had bunion surgery and was prescribed percocet. I alternated it with tylenol ( 2 – 500 mg tablets) from the beginning, and didn’t think it had caused any problerms. after reading about your rage, depression and anxietry I now realize I was probably also affected. Looking back I remember my husband complaining to me about my anger. I probably thought it was because of the pain and feeling dependent on others just to go to the bathroom, and get my pillows and blankets adjusted at night etc. I felt like I was
    a burden and a bother. since anger and depression are both symptoms of bipolar disorder it seemed logical to attribute it to my ongoing problems. After reading about your experience mI am inclined to think that may have been part of my problem too. thanks for your post and your previous ones about mental health issues. Wishing you well and praying for your complete recovery. you area an inspiration and source of encouragement, and a sister in Christ.

  44. Valerie Breyton says:

    I had Jesus with me the whole time of my surgery to remove down to my spine a brown recluse spider bit. The size of a navel orange. They gave me the monster, but I flushed it down the toilet and took Advil instead. I was in a lot of pain, but I had Jesus giving me inner strength.

  45. thanks for sharing what happened to you.
    glad you are feeling better.
    I think dependence or reliance is different than addiction.
    I’ve had difficulties with those meds in the past because they have an affect on serotonin in my system. I wish they would find something helpful for us chronic pain people without the withdrawal effects.

  46. I’m so sorry that you had to go through such a difficult time with the oxy, but you were wise to have a plan on how to get off that drug, and you did! Thank you for sharing such personal details with the rest of us, teaching us (just as you do with sewing!), and helping many to know that they are not alone in their health struggles. Certainly as we get older, no one is immune to health problems, and we need to support and help one another. From one sister in Christ to another, E

  47. Caroline, you are so brave to share this struggle. Thank you for telling your story. I’m glad you are better now. Prayers for you and all those affected by the monster.

  48. Wow,
    I got busy with a winter storm and you had an internal storm to deal with! Thanks for telling all about it. I work at a pharmacy and it will help me understand and have compassion for those in the thick of it.
    Thank you for jumping right back on the craft wagon too. I just love checking in to see what’s new!

  49. Janet Kornegay says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! I admit, I had to google differences between oxycodone, OxyContin (specific brand of extended release oxycodone), and Percocet (oxycodone with acetaminophen). I have taken only codeine with acetaminophen, and it did nothing for me. I just read that 8% of people don’t metabolize codeine into morphine, but that’s not true for oxycodone. So now I will be more knowledgeable if I’m ever prescribed Percocet – thank you! I have been given morphine in the hospital with very negative response of agitation and anxiety, but again I didn’t really know how all these drugs are related – just that they are all opioids. Your courage in sharing has probably prevented a future disaster for me!

  50. Caroline, you are one special lady. I found your site by divine intervention! God Bless that you were able to escape the monster. I have been in recovery for 30 years. You are brave and beautiful. Looking forward to following you. Keep up the good work. Hugs ❤️

  51. Michelle Larson says:

    Caroline!! The same exact thing happened to me after back surgery in November. 2 days in the hospital on a morphine pump and then on Oxy after that. I was sent home with a 30 day supply and was taking it every 4 hours. I had decided to start weaning myself off of it slowly substituting with Tylenol. One day I woke up with hives all over my hands and feet (common for a hydrocodone allergy) and I feel that breakout saved my life. I stopped it immediately and for a week went through horrible withdrawals. I had the oxy flu and everything hurt, I was mad at the world and felt that maybe the world would be better if I wasn’t here. I reached out to friends and family and they never left my side during that week. Now I am ok and I realize what that monster made me think. I WILL NEVER take that again ever! I will endure pain over allowing that monster into my life again. I am so happy you were able to beat that monster like I was.

  52. Shanthi ebenezer says:

    Caroline , having realised the situation you are going thru has made you better. Be strong. You have such a beautiful talent.
    God bless

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