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Getting off of Codeine - using this to help me!

(4 Posts)
NoMoreCodeine Tue 17-Nov-15 12:13:03

Hi peeps.

I am a mum of four, and 13 years ago was prescribed lots of lovely codeine to help with my sciatica.
Oh how I wish wish wish that I hadn't ever taken that first pill....
To be honest I would rather be in constant pain, and have my mind right, than be in a drug induced haze, now with the constant fear of heart problems.
Up to a month ago, I was getting by, more isolated (thats what happens on these pills) taking up to 20 pills in a day, it took 13 to get to that point, but its so easy to do it. You're chasing that high, and despite the fact that one pill in 2005 could keep me happy all day, by 2010 I needed 5, then 7, then more and more, until I have lost count.
My weight has piled on ( I was a size 10-12 for the first time in my life depite only just having my second baby) I had a great job, was single but really happy with my life. Until the sciatic pain started and they gave me 100 pills a week, without telling me any of the dangers.
Had I known about the risk of addiction, I would have run a mile. Not blaming the surgery btw, not at all, it was me being naieve, but at the time, I believed them to be completely harmless as my wonderful doc had given them to me! For five years I was getting 100 tabs a week, so I had loads left over.
Once my back was more sorted, my migraines kicked in again, had always had them, but now I had stopped the codeine, they were back with a vengeance.
Little did I know then, silly me, that theheadpain was more than likely due to me stopping tablets.
I never for one moment thought I was an addict. Yeah, I felt great, WONDERFUL when I popped an extra pill, who's that hurting? I used tosay to myself, I'm eating well, my kids go to school, and this pill will ensure I clean the kitchen in a wonderful mood! Winner winner!
No no no no no. That was when I should have seen the warning signs. The only realisation I had to knowing I was an addict was one night, I looked at my tablets, and realised I only had about 7 left. And my heart nearly stopped.
I swore like a demon, and thought, ahh well. Will get some more tomorrow, tell them my backs playing up. Its not like I'm doing any harm having three tablets a day!
Oh god how I wish I could go back in time and slap the pills out of my mouth. Yeah the wd symptoms would be shitey still, but not half as bad as 13 years worth.
It all came to a head about three years ago, I was taking up to and around 14 pills a day minimum. My old next door neighbour had given me thousands of her codeine and tramadol, as she no longer needed them and she knew I could get them on prescription, I felt like all my christmasses had come at once. By then chasing the high was getting harder and harder, these day s the pills were more likely to make me knackered, but I still needed them to keep me feeling normal.
Anyhoo...I broke down one morning when I realised I was finding it harder and harder waking up to take the kids to school. If these meds wanted to mess me up, fine, but not my family. My husband was amazing, out of this world amazing, telling me how brave I was, that I shouldn't be ashamed, that the first step is telling someone. He made me feel less disgusted with myself, and he took six months away from work to help me kick it. I did well for three days, then fell right back into the old pattern. I hated myself, and now I felt I had burnt the only bridge I had, being my husband. I felt so guilty that he had taken all this time off, was doing all the cooking, all the ferrying to school, shopping, cleaning, but I felt so out of control. He begged me to see a doc, but I swore to him it was under control, that he had helped me. (When you're an addict of anything, you have to be a bloody great actor!) I even feigned fake withdrawal symptoms, silently screaming at him inside "Please PLEASE help me!"
And for the next few years he must have thought I had kicked it, and didn't bring it up, maybe thinking it would upset me. But then last week, it finally hit home, but it took something drastic to do it.
I was going to bed, had taken my last couple of codeine 30/500 and also added 2 solpadeine max's to it, not a massive dose for me, but enough to ensure I could sleep....when I suddenly sat up in bed, and felt like I was being suffocated.
My heart seemed to go up to 1000mph, Beating so madly and wildly that hubby could hear it by putting his ear near me. I felt like all my air had gone, to say it was terrifying is like saying the sea is a puddle.
I honestly thought I was dying.
I tried to splash water in my face, anything, ran outside (this was a rainy cold night) and I ran straight onto the grass, trying to feel the air getting into my lungs, but I felt nothing. It was like all the air had been sucked from the world, and left nothing to breathe in.
I screamed at my hubby to ring an ambulance, as he and my eldest som tried to calm me down. I had lost it.
To cut a long story shorter (sorry lol) they said I had probably had a panic attack, that my temperature was crazy high, and that I probably had the flu, that I should get to my doctors the next day.
Of course, the next morning, light of day, I was back to taking my pills, sure that the heart thing had been to do with my cold/flu.
That is, until two days ago, once again, I got this feeling in my body that something was very wrong with me, cannot explain it, no symptoms at first, just a sheer feeling of dread, then the heart thing starts, and this time I managed to stay more focussed, breathed through pursed lips, counting to 100, this all helped to calm me, but I knew, its time to stop.
It took the sheer will of my life to ask for a call back from the docs, I was going to simply tell them that I'd had breathing problems, however, I knew that if I want to live to see my kids grow up, I have to do this hard stuff now, not later.
Thats what pushed me, the thought of my heart giving out one day, and my four children finding me stone cold on the floor. Sounds awful, but this is the only ending you'll get with codiene if you mis use it.
I cried through the phonecall, the doc I spoke too sounded surprised when I told her, but I asked her if there was someone I could talk to who understood about opiate abuse.
I finally got to the docs at around half 4, I hadn't taken my usual amount of pills, I had had 3 that morning, and usually by 4 I would have taken at least 8-12, so my head was banging!
Finally seeing the doc I spilled my guts, cried and got through all her tissues, and the first thing she said was "You are incredible. and the buck does not solely lay with you! The surgery should have seen the amount you were taking out in the early days, and I am so angry we didn't, so you are not the only one who is to blame!"
She went on to say that there is a team called SMART who will help me get through this, and went to ask how many tablets I had left. As it wasn't many, she wrote me a prescription and asked if I thought I could get through the day on merely 4 tablets.
I said I would try, and went home where I spoke to my four kids and hubby, and told them all the truth.
I hate secrets.
Most of your life as an addict is secretive, hiding that fizzing tablet in the microwave, turning from down to madly happy in the space of two seconds, hiding tablets in the strangest places....I am sick of that life.
I came home and took one pill, hubby cuddled me and bless his heart, despite it being the first day in his new job (I pick my moments!!)
He went on, did all the kids tea and got me into bed, where I had the worst ever night. I was awake pretty much every hour on the hour, felt sick, head pounded in agony, restless legs (apparently its why they say 'Kicking the habit!') horrible side effects. My skin felt cold and hot, so would throw the covers off, to then drape myself in me dressing gown, your brain doesn't know what to do!
Its now 17/11/2015 12:07. I feel like death. I don't want to do anything I normally love doing when I'm on tablets, but my will to live is stronger than my will to get high. I don't want to be found by the man I love or my babies curled up after suffering liver failure or cardiac arrest, and thats what would happen if I don't stop.
I've been lucky to stay alive this long. Now I need to take these withdrawel symptoms by the throat and tll myself it will be worth it.
I am so so SO sorry for this long post. I m on my own really until hubby finishes work, no family live anywhere near us, and my kids are out, so its just me and the lure of tablets. I'm determined though that one day I'll look back on this thread, and have beaten it, will be smiling not because codeine has made me, but because I'm actually happy.
It will happen.
Heres to anyone else out there going through the same thing, I wrote this because I do feel quite lonely. Hubby is wonderful, amazing, but only another addict actually knows the physical and mental nguish going without these pills can bring! xxxx

NoMoreCodeine Tue 17-Nov-15 12:16:16

ps (lol yes theres more!) am looking forward to not using every chemist & pharmacy on the internet over and over again and hiding the emails. I have written them one same email telling them not to sell to me any more. I felt very proud when I sent it. Also just popped out every single tramadol that I had, and flushed them! It was empowerin, but I was so desperate, I had to do it so fast!

WoodleyPixie Tue 17-Nov-15 12:22:07

how brave of you to admit that you had/have a problem and seek help. Lots of people don't. That was the first step and im sure that although you will have a hard road ahead, it sounds like you have a supportive husband.

I am not there yet. Slowly admitting it to myself that I have an issue, but not ready to seek help. I take 8 nurofen plus a day and 4-8 co-codamol. used to have a prescription for codeine on its own, but the GP questioned my usage when I asked for a repeat so haven't been back.

like you I'm a working in all other ways fully functioning adult. It is lonely, I have this dirty little secret that I'm sure would shock and horrify my friends and family.

NoMoreCodeine Tue 17-Nov-15 15:20:26

Hi WoodleyPixie.

Its so awful, I know. But honest to god, the longer you are on them, the much harder it is to get off them. Plus I thought my doc and husband and kids would be disgusted with me, thinking I was some kind of mad junkie, but they have all shown me nothing but amazement at how brave they think I am, plus showing them what codeine does to you, even my doctor says that ANYONE at any time can get addicted to them, and it takes some real strength to admit you need help, but I left it so long that I ended up thinking I was dying. But now, I am sat here in my front room, counting the seconds until hubby can get home, because my feet are on fire, my legs are killing me, my face is burning, I am sweating, have the chills, feel sick, non stop going to the loo....its endless, and its all because of the tablets leaving my system. Its crap, no two ways about it, but every day longer you stay on them, is another day harder to get off them. I just wish I had done this earlier as I wouldn't be suffering so much now. I want to be happy because my kids have shown me their pictures and sing me their songs, not be happy because mummy swallowed her pills and now everything is lovely. it was all a sham, and telling my kids yesterday that mummys smiles for the past 13 years have been almost fake, was heartbreaking, but I want them to know what I'm going through so I don't scare them. (I mainly told my oldest two who are 14 and 16, and they are being amazing helping me, getting cups of tea and taking the little ones off my hands for a bit so I can have a wee sleep) the younger two are 8 and 5, and they ust think mummys naughty tablets made her feel bad, now she has to get rid of them from her body. Honest to god, if any kid needs an anti-drug lesson, they could look at me lol. I am a bloody mess.
But I'm going to do it, so my smiles for my husband are real again! Here if you ever need to chat hun, thanks for replying to my post, its not great knowing others are going through this too, but great knowing I'm not alone. Honest to god, do try to think about stopping, you really never know the damage you're doing to your body taking these damned things, and the longer you leave it, the harder it is to admit to. All my love and hugs, you're not dirty, nor bad, just someone who needs a bit of help, like me. xxx

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