Top-5 search term: Vicodin. People land here wanting to know how to “maximize the effects of Vicodin,” curious about what “chewing a Vicodin” will do. Important topic. I remember being at the beginning of my addiction, chewing one pill per day, unsure of what was happening to me, uncertain whether I even really Had A Problem, and clueless as to where to turn for answers.
So of course I just kept doing it.
Vicodin is compounded with Tylenol, so virtually the only way to “maximize its effects”—short of building a chemistry lab to separate the acetaminophen from the hydrocodone (the opioid drug in Vicodin)—is to chew it.
(BTW, for those active addicts out there who land here curious about “maximizing the effects of Vicodin”—it is NOT GOOD to snort Vicodin, because the Tylenol and fillers are destructive to mucus membranes and lung tissue. Don’t do it.)
What chewing Vicodin will do is to crush its components into a powder and thus make it a bit more readily available to be absorbed into the blood by the digestive tract: in other words, whereas it takes time for a pill to dissolve and gradually be absorbed, chewing does away with that wait-time.
However, here’s what I didn’t know when I started chewing my pills: it’s insidiously dangerous, not only physically but also psychologically. Physically it’s dangerous mostly because of the Tylenol. Most cases of acute liver failure are due to acetaminophen toxicity.
If you beat the physical danger and manage either to avoid or survive liver failure (surviving it is rare), you then come up against the psychological dangers, which are formidable. And those are the illusion of control, and the alienation.
In active addiction, we always think we can control our use. This is a distortion of reality. The reality is, chewing our Vicodin is outside the physician’s instructions. Can you imagine your doctor instructing you to chew your pills?—”Chew 2 P.O. on empty stomach q 4-6 h.” NOT. Doing it this way is taking it “in a manner not prescribed,” and therefore it qualifies as “abuse.”
(I can hear some people saying Jesus Christ, it’s not like I’m shooting them, it’s not a big deal)
There are good reasons that the doctor doesn’t want us to chew our pills to “maximize the effects.” One is, when we get used to “maximum effects,” we build physical tolerance, and psychologically, we always want more.
But chewing a pill, when we’re doing it—when it occurs to us—doesn’t SEEM so very far outside the realm of what the doctor prescribed. Who’s there to make us accountable?—no one knows whether we swallow that pill whole, or put that pill between our molars and crush it to powder, then wait for it to hit. It’s our secret.
The waiting alienates us. We might be sitting there having a conversation with our partner or our kid, but what we’re really doing is waiting for the drugs to hit.
We’re slowly and surely alienating ourselves from the rest of the world. To be sure, it doesn’t FEEL that way as it’s happening, and the myriad distortions of addiction use all sorts of rationalizations to help us feel OK about it, but it’s real: we’re turning into aliens. Eventually we will wind up in a room, by ourselves, using (and probably in a manner far gone from chewing a pill).
I used to do this, folks. I used to dread getting out of bed. I couldn’t wake up without Taking Something. In the early days it was one Vicodin (Lorcet, actually), before I even got out of bed. Yes, I chewed it. I don’t even remember when I started chewing them, it occurred to me so long ago. I rationalized: it was Just One Pill, I was working, I was a mom, I was a wife, I was a professional, I interviewed the staffs of Congress and governors’ offices to get source material so godalmighty I wasn’t really an Addict. Addicts—well, everyone knows they don’t have kids, spouses, houses, jobs, everyone knows they Lose Everything.
Let me just say Chewing One Pill progressed to much worse compulsive behavior before I finally detoxed and got free from fentanyl, one of the strongest opioids known to medical science, in 2008.
Today I get to live differently. Today I woke up at 5:30 and drove my husband to the airport: first act of service, of getting outside myself, of the day. Hit a 7 a.m. meeting on the way back into town and saw four people I knew. Scheduled two courts to play tennis with my sister and her kids for 90 minutes. Then came home and made a lunch so appetizing that every last bit of it was scarfed up.
Did some work; now I’m here writing to you.
Which brings me to another search phrase that brings people here: “Did Eminem get sober with AA?”
I dunno. But Eminem seems to be living in some kind of solution to his problem.
Whatever works for you, is the thing.
How did you get sober?