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About me and my horrible little secret...
  1. #1
    geemus123 is offline New Member
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    Default About me and my horrible little secret...

    Hi everyone,

    I am posting here for selfish reasons, having lurked around the site for a few days. I have been inspired by the strength of spirit and will shown by the people on these boards. What some of you have had to endure is nothing short of heroic. I'm taking a metaphorical deep breath here...I'm going to write a bit about me, my situation, what's happened so far, and crucially, what happens next. If any of you reply, that's great, and I'll be more than happy to chat/lend an ear/support in any way that I can, but I just want the catharsis of being able to write all this down.

    I live in Scotland, not too far from Glasgow. I am in my 30s, male, happily married with an amazing young family. I have lied to them all for the best part of 3 years, trying to hide my addiction to codeine-based painkillers, and I cannot do it any more.
    I had a serious ankle break back in 2015 and was given lots of codeine pills that kept me warm and fuzzy on the road to recovery. Unfortunately, my tolerance built up quickly, so that by the time I was back to work, I had lied about the extent of my pain to keep my prescriptions going. If I'd been a smart addict, I'd have tried ways to keep that going, but instead turned to stealing my wife's strong co-codamol tablets that she uses for an agonising condition. She didn't use them much, and was happy for me to take them whenever I needed. There were repeat prescriptions available, and as long as I played a bit of a waiting game, I could go an re-order them whenever. I'm not going to go into too much detail here, because it actually disgusts me, the deceptive behaviour, the lying, the stealing her pills and watching her lie in agony. That is as low as I could feel, and yet, it wasn't enough. I would still collect repeats of co-codomol, slip a couple of packs out the box, then seal it back up. Deceptive, deceitful and disgusting. Writing this down appalls me.

    I knew that she'd eventually clock my overuse, so I turned to Nurofen Plus, combining these with the co-codomols. Over time, I turned my attention solely to N+ tablets. As these are weaker, I had to take more and more to feel that same buzzy feeling.

    On top of this, I also suffer from a rare motility disorder, Achalasia. It's when the oesophagus fails to work properly, and food and liquid get trapped at the bottom of it, where the muscle that is supposed to relax to let food pass into the stomach doesn't, and so you're left with a build up of food that doesn't go anywhere, except back up, and bits of it down if you're lucky.

    Anyway, the numbness I felt after consuming piles of N+ meant that I could eat and drink more easily: that was one reason for consuming so much N+. I could justify the horrendous levels of consumption as some kind of eating aid during the bad times with my achalasia condition...madness.

    Last September, I went cold turkey in preparation for a procedure to help me eat more successfully. I managed 10 days, until the day of the operation, and then was given dihydrocodeine for pain relief. Right back to square 1. This past year, I have been building and building my tolerance to this poison once again. Last Saturday I consumed over 600mg of codeine. And that was it. I quit.
    I was so tired of feeling this way. I know my story will sound so familiar, but as I said I'm really writing this down here so I have a tangible record of what I have done.

    In the past, when I've tried to quit, the thing that has stopped me was this: how can I play with my kids without pills? How can I meet up with people without pills? How can I function at the weekends without pills? How can I do my job without pills?

    What I am so determined to do is change that way of thinking: I can play with my kids without pills. I can meet up with friends without pills. I can get loads done without pills. I can strive in my job without pills.

    I cannot think 'what if/how can I'...I must think,'I can/ I will...'

    So, after last Saturday, I took my last few little white demons, and that was it. Now, I hadn't planned on that day, Saturday the 25th of August 2018 as my quit date. It just happened. I think if I'd made 'Day 1' ceremonial, I would have panicked about the anticipation. I kind of sprung it on myself. Cold Turkey. I'd tried tapering with the GP, tried tapering on my own..I had to look at myself and admit that I just don't have the willpower, so it had to be the harder way.

    I'm on day 5, and honestly, apart from a slight sore head and nausea, I'm ok.

    I have been off this week with a really bad flare up of achalasia. I have been off work with that, but also dealing with cold turkey too. It's been a week I never want to repeat. Imagine having diarrhoea when you've literally not eaten or drank anything!

    If I'm ever tempted, I'll come right back here. These words are sobering for me.

    So what's next?

    First thing, I'm going to block out the addict voice that tries to draw you to the 'good times' of the past...you know, the chemically-induced confidence, energy, motivation...

    Because what I remember is that, yes, the initial rush of codeine might give me that little boost and be able to talk to more people, feel less anxious, feel like I'm getting more done, but you know what? The more I think about it, the more I remember the crash when the euphoria leaves you. I'd have to take a mound of pills to feel anything like 'good times', and then they would pass fleetingly, and I'd be left, anxious, panicky, drowsy and worried about where my next strip of pills would be coming from.

    So, to quote a Scottish expression, get it up ye, addict voice!

    Triggers - I need to work out what they are. These are very dangerous for any addict in recovery. Most of us will spot the obvious ones, lit up in neon. It's the sneaky ones that can get you. The bit-players in addict's past. For example, and this is crazy, but if I were to go watch a game of something with friends, I'd pop pills beforehand. Why? I need to work that part out. What am I trying to achieve by popping pills in a safe environment, surrounded by good friends who I am totally relaxed with? I use these drugs to socialise with my social circle. That is messed up.

    Last thing for now that I need to look out for is the mental battle coming. I've read time and time again that the physical withdrawals are relatively easy compared to the cravings, anxiety low moods etc that follow in the foreseeable future.
    I have anxiety and depression (linked to PTSD that only kinda came to light over the summer) and so take anti-depressants and Beta blockers to help with my moods. I'm seriously hoping that taking them will help control any overwhelming feelings that come my way.

    This morning, I stood on the back stairs of my house. The air had a slight autumnal chill to it. I took in a deep breath and smiled at feeling freer that I have in years, but at the same time, anxious as I brace myself for what is yet to come.

    Thanks for reading this. If you want to reply/ask questions etc I'm happy to help!

    Gee

  2. #2
    blondie50ish is offline Member
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    I read your post and felt everything you wrote, I could have written it myself. Here in the US they don’t prescribe codeine as much as they do vicodan/percocet, but the end result is the same.

    I have been clean and sober from pills, with ocassional slip ups, for the better part of a year. Prior to that I had several years under my belt. In my case it would take a lot to put me on the full fledged pill taking and seeking bandwagon, but I do still think of my crutch and have slipped up. I can promise you as soon as I slipped up I felt awful. I think we tend to glamorize these pills the further out we get and then we slip and either say “what is the fuss?” or we just full on relapse.

    The best advice I can give you, any of us here can give you, is take one day at a time. You don’t have to worry about what will happen when you go out with your friends just yet. Cross that bridge when you come to it. I think as addicts we learn to be constantly anticipating, wondering, trying to control our future. Now is the time to let go and allow yourself those little moments like breathing in the fresh crisp air. As time goes on, figuring out the bigger stuff will come easier to you and not be as daunting as it is today.

    I am glad you joined us! Please use this forum as a journal, in a few months time you will understand how invaluable it is. Document the little things, the mini milestones you will reach each day, as well as the struggles you may feel. Writing it down helps you sort it out and you will meet others either new to recovery or thtose of who have been there and know from where you speak.
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  3. #3
    ChiefChe is offline Senior Member
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    Hi Gee-

    Welcome to the forum & congrats on Day 6, now. I, like Blondie, can relate with your dirty little secret. I’m so thankful you found this place b/c it can be life changing. I’m like you, the physical aspect of it is no walk in the park but was tolerable. The challenge, for the most part, has been all mental. It truly is a mind of matter battle.

    I don’t have all the answers for you but what I do have are the same fears you have about living my best life without a little help from those little demons. I almost sold my soul to escape reality. I give All Thanks & Praises I saved Myself from destroying Me & I.....the same for You.

    I can only share my experience with you & what you wrote is exactly how it looked for me. The one thing that stood out most is when you talked about going out on your back stairs & taking that deep breath in of that chilly autumn is around the corner air. Thanks for that- I can feel it now. No better feeling then capturing a moment like that. It always gives Me the feeling that everything is gonna be alright, am I right? It’s those little things you have to hold onto so you can close your eyes on those bad days & relive. Judging by your description I would say you got your senses back, Am I right? I can remember vividly the morning I opened my eyes & everything looked so clear, & I could smell the coffee brewing and then when I stood up I didn’t feel like I was wearing a lead suit. Has this happened for you yet?

    Once it does my suggestion would be to take it all in....everything! This is you coming back to like. Along with it you will experience a range of emotions good & bad so you’ll need close your eyes, take in those deep breathes & recall those everything is gonna be alright feelings. You will experience all this in bursts so remember Mind over Matter.

    You CAN do this because You ARE doing this....as we speak!! Just like you said change that thinking. We all have emotional baggage & I assure You that you will have all the Time in the World to sort it all out. I know in the physical World Time is measured by the Clock, but Here, on the inside (or mentally) there is no Clock. This is you’re journey & it is not a sprint it is a marthon. Allow yourself to time to heal.

    The first week feels like you have the flu so treat yourself accordingly. Use Imodium for the bathroom issues. Fluids are a must so lots of water. Make sure to get protein & vitamins in ya & create healthy habits with exercise. If you feel good physically you’ll feel better mentally. Day by day you will grow stronger & stronger mentally so set small goals mentally. Time does Heal just about everything but remember there is no clock. You are on your Time & it’s just moment by moment from here on out. You will find that you are doing those things you feared you couldn’t & that, My Friend, is the Most Amazing part of this whole journey.

    Sorry to be so long winded but you struck a cord with Me. I didn’t think I could be the SuperHero without my magic pill, but Here I am doing it! Being My Own Superhero! The only catch is that you have to train daily for it so you have to really really want. Each day you do not use is a step forward & you have to crawl before you walk, right?

    Get It Up Ye,

    ❤️
    Che
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  4. #4
    geemus123 is offline New Member
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    Thanks both of you for replying...I really love reading the wisdom in posts such as yours. This forum is so insightful; not just a load of generic advice on how to quit, numbers to call etc etc.

    Connecting with real people, having had these real life experiences, is emboldening and helps those like myself who have awoken to accepting and calling out an addiction issue. I am an addict. I know that. I am learning to make peace with it. I know that my mind will battle itself in the future. There will be moments of weakness when I tell myself that one day on the poison won't do any harm. I know these tests are coming, and I need to be ready.

    I'm on day 8 now, and almost everything has cleared up; still stomach issues and slight RSL, but other than that, I'm ok!
    One week ago, I was starting to get that uneasiness that initiates w/d for me...don't know about anyone else - it's a general fear of what's coming. Anxiety I guess. Anyway, as I said in my first post, I didn't choose last Saturday, the 25th of August 2018 as my last pill pop day. It just happened. And it is the best thing I have ever done for myself.

    Today I took my son and baby daughter out. I am ashamed, but she is over 3 months old, and this was the first time I'd taken her out in her pram. I was too tired, sluggish and spaced out to do this previously. As I walked in the mild September air, helping my son on a nature hunt, I heard every sound. Saw every colour. Felt the air on my face. All this was real. It was almost overwhelming. I could feel tears building as I realised how detached I'd been on those pills for all this time. Why did I fool myself into thinking I was living? I was a shell - doped out, switching between manic energy and nodding off asleep. Thinking always of where to get my next pack of pills.

    See, normally Sunday would be a bad day...not as many pharmacies open, and I had the feeling a couple of places were getting wise to me. Sunday was the worst time. The time I'd spend driving between places to get my dirty little fix. Collectively, I must have spent many hours driving round places. The stress of wondering 'will I be denied? Do they remember me from 2 weeks ago?' was always forefront in my mind as I drove.

    Not today. Today I breathed it all in. A wobbly newborn. Sensory wise, things are almost overwhelming. But I thank God that they are, because it means I'm living it.

    I thank you all for the courage you've shown in helping/ responding/ just reading my ramblings.

    Gee.
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  5. #5
    blondie50ish is offline Member
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    Sensory wise, things will be almost overwhelming. One of the double edged swords of early withdrawal, but it looks as though you are embracing the wonderfulness of that overload. Keep at it, one day at a time, staying in the moment. You are doing a great job.

  6. #6
    Smilingstorm is offline Senior Member
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    I had an awakening walk. When I was in pain and trying not to think of a pill. I walked three miles in a complete haze and saw someone struggling on a bike. It was a turning point for me when I reflect. I know you can overcome this. The aches and pains that we all feel can't be helped.. actually can be with over the counter ibuprofen or Tylenol. We don't need the codeine or opiate. It's a fake sense of security. Trust me. You don't need it. Withdrawal is hard but it's not life threatening for an opioid only user. I have faith your walk will reveal more.

    Stormy

    Quote Originally Posted by geemus123 View Post
    Thanks both of you for replying...I really love reading the wisdom in posts such as yours. This forum is so insightful; not just a load of generic advice on how to quit, numbers to call etc etc.

    Connecting with real people, having had these real life experiences, is emboldening and helps those like myself who have awoken to accepting and calling out an addiction issue. I am an addict. I know that. I am learning to make peace with it. I know that my mind will battle itself in the future. There will be moments of weakness when I tell myself that one day on the poison won't do any harm. I know these tests are coming, and I need to be ready.

    I'm on day 8 now, and almost everything has cleared up; still stomach issues and slight RSL, but other than that, I'm ok!
    One week ago, I was starting to get that uneasiness that initiates w/d for me...don't know about anyone else - it's a general fear of what's coming. Anxiety I guess. Anyway, as I said in my first post, I didn't choose last Saturday, the 25th of August 2018 as my last pill pop day. It just happened. And it is the best thing I have ever done for myself.

    Today I took my son and baby daughter out. I am ashamed, but she is over 3 months old, and this was the first time I'd taken her out in her pram. I was too tired, sluggish and spaced out to do this previously. As I walked in the mild September air, helping my son on a nature hunt, I heard every sound. Saw every colour. Felt the air on my face. All this was real. It was almost overwhelming. I could feel tears building as I realised how detached I'd been on those pills for all this time. Why did I fool myself into thinking I was living? I was a shell - doped out, switching between manic energy and nodding off asleep. Thinking always of where to get my next pack of pills.

    See, normally Sunday would be a bad day...not as many pharmacies open, and I had the feeling a couple of places were getting wise to me. Sunday was the worst time. The time I'd spend driving between places to get my dirty little fix. Collectively, I must have spent many hours driving round places. The stress of wondering 'will I be denied? Do they remember me from 2 weeks ago?' was always forefront in my mind as I drove.

    Not today. Today I breathed it all in. A wobbly newborn. Sensory wise, things are almost overwhelming. But I thank God that they are, because it means I'm living it.

    I thank you all for the courage you've shown in helping/ responding/ just reading my ramblings.

    Gee.

  7. #7
    geemus123 is offline New Member
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    So, how many read my story and thought: 'relapse'?
    That's exactly what happened, and the frustrating part is that I knew it was coming.
    I was in hospital at the start of the month, again for a simple procedure. Afterwards, came the codeine. I could've said no. I could've asked for an alternative. But I didn't. Maybe part of me didn't want to. After my release, I was given some co-codomol (weak stuff, as I saw on my patient record that I am currently in codeine reduction, so the hospital obviously knew about my issues. Last year I was given a week's worth of 30mg dihyrdocodeine. This time, 2 days of 8mg. The hospital were trying to help me I guess. But it was too late. The addict was out. I left the hospital and stockpiled N+. And so it repeated itself. The daily dose to make life liveable. But it's not a life, as I've said before. It's a poor imitation of living, seeing everything through a fog.
    Anyway, I'm not going to take up anyone's time with a pity party story. I've no-one to blame but myself. I have dug myself out of this before, and I'll do it again. I'm on day 4 of cold turkey, having taken a massive dose last Thursday. Got the usual sweats, stomach pains, but I'm feeling much more anxious than normal. I don't know why that is. Maybe part of me is resigned to another relapse. I cannot let it be inevitable. I have to fight this thing. I'll keep you guys updated.
    Thanks,

    Gee

  8. #8
    ChiefChe is offline Senior Member
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    Hi G-

    Congrats on Day 4. You might have slipped, we all have, it’s part of the process. So instead of throwing a pity party let us throw you a celebration party! Let’s celebrate the fact that you caught yourself from spiraling out control back into the throws of active addiction. YOU did that so hold your head up with Pride b/c that takes Courage & Strength, not to mention Accountability & Will Power. All the traits a Warrior would need to slay the opioid dragon.

    I know you said you’ve dug yourself out of this before, but,...I just wanted to put this out there- I have a shovel amongst a plethora of other crafty tools & I’m a pretty good cheerleader so I’m here for You.

    Remind yourself of those feelings on the back steps & that walk in the fresh autumn air. Those feels are just the tip of the iceberg. You owe it to yourself to have many more of those soul awakening moments.

    You know the drill so dig in deep & as you would say (in my best Gee voice) “Get it up Ye!


    Seek & You Shall Find,

    ❤️
    Che

  9. #9
    geemus123 is offline New Member
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    (This is just me getting my thoughts out...no need to reply, I just have to write this down and come back to look at this every time I'm feeling weak.)

    Back again!

    Wow, the carnival of sobriety and relapse really is a b***h isn't it!

    After my last shot at getting clean, I lasted about 5/6 days, I think. The thing with the codeine journey is that it very quickly scrambles your concept of timelines and dates. Also, I'm frankly not thinking too much about my last time at getting sober, because I knew that I didn't want it then.

    I do now.

    I'm into day 5 of my third serious attempt at this, and it's been horrendous. Fortunately I'm on October break just now, so have a week to get my head straight. Unfortunately, I've had to try and fit cold turkey around being a daddy to a 4 year old and a 5 month old...that has not been easy!

    I've had hot and cold flashes much, much worse than usual. In fact the last 72 hours I've been constantly cold to the point of boiling everyone in the house by having the heating cranked way up. I'd say day 5 (Thursday) is slightly better but I'm still feeling flu-like. Mentally, I've been ok. I've got beta blockers for anxiety and I'm a couple of months into a course of anti-depressants so I guess they must be helping too. Headaches have been bad for 48 hours now, and of course I've had to visit the toilet many, many, many times! Hopefully the Immodium will start to work, because I'm losing weight on top of being a bit thin anyways (I'm 6'2" (and a half!)| and weighing 11st 11lbs - which is 165lbs) and I want to put on a bit more weight before winter hits and it really gets cold!

    This next bit is a bit rambling, but my thoughts are in free flow...

    Right, here goes -
    I need to do this for my family.
    I want to look them in the eye and know that I am not lying.
    I want to be me - healthy, energised, engaged.
    I don't want to sneak around.
    I don't want to spend a fortune on these horrible little pills
    I will become ill.
    I will be caught.
    I am down
    And I am sad.
    But I am not beaten.

    REMEMBER THIS....The next time you want just one pill, one strip, one packet...where it leads. You cannot just have one. You are an addict and if you open yourself up to this, the addiction will always win.

    Then the day comes where you want to quit again. The fear of the first day. The breathless panic when you think about what's to come. You know you will wake up soaked in foul sweat. You will have diarrhoea, nausea, no appetite, pounding head, restless legs and arms, no energy, panic, feelings of hopelessness, lethargy, aches and pains.

    And for what? So you can transport yourself to some fake reality? Where you think it's all warm and cosy? It isn't though. Whatever has driven you to the embrace of opioids is still waiting on the other side of that temporary gate. Then you will have that to deal with, on top of the withdrawals. No escapism, however idyllic it seems, is worth that.
    Remember this, you...the one who is writing this right now, Thursday, the 18th of October (a special day, 5 months since you first held a wee miracle) the next time you feel like giving in. Just don't. I can choose never to use again. I choose not to use today. And I am strong.

    You are more than this addiction. Beat it. Smash it to pieces. Use its destruction as testimony to how strong and incredible you really are.

  10. #10
    ChiefChe is offline Senior Member
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    Gee-

    Takes a metaphorical deep breath in...

    Yes,Yes, & Yes to everything you just wrote!! NO MORE lying, cheating, & stealing precious time away amongst other things! Today, you have a Choice! Give All Thanks & Praises to the Most High!

    When that proverbial switch gets flipped you will do whatever it takes to slay the dragon of addiction. Addiction goes way beyond the use of substances, it is a thought process. The goal is to create a life where using is no longer an option. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get there just as long as you keep taking that next step forward.

    Congrats on Day 5! I’m so Proud of You!!

    Luv & Light,

    ❤️
    Che

  11. #11
    geemus123 is offline New Member
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    Thanks Che,

    you're one of the many people who have helped, guided, supported and comforted us newbies through the dark start of this journey. I'm 9 days clean. Finished my first day of work. Absolutely shattered, but managed to pretend I was effervescent for the kids that I teach. I'm convinced i've had gastric flu/gastroenteritis this past week on top of withdrawals, but maybe not. I've never felt so ill before from coming off these pills.

    Headache has cleared up, as have the aches and pains. Still got severe nighttime sweats and chills, which have hung around a lot longer than usual. This must be my body telling me that this is the last time I can put myself through this.

    I've not been tempted to buy any pills. In fact, i'm leaving my bank card at home. Making sure i've enough fuel to get to and from work, i'm not allowing myself any opportunity to buy anything - petrol or pills! These are the small changes i'm going to have to learn to make if i'm to make a lifetime success of this. Already, there is a small, small whisper, that tells me I can reward myself at the weekend with a little chemical forget-a-while. I'm writing this as a recognition of the dark voice trying to tempt me. But i'm ready for it this time. It will not beat me.

    The rest of this week will no doubt be a struggle. I have read a lot about the exhaustion that can come after a couple of weeks off this poison. I've never been off the pills long enough to experience this, but I will this time, so unfortunately i'm anticipating feeling even more done in. My appetite is shot to bits, and i've dropped another few lbs, which won't help boost my mood and productivity. But this is part of the re-birth and my journey. This honestly will be one of the hardest battles i've faced, and I know that I will feel a sense of achievement like nothing i've felt before once I make it to the other side.

    Please, don't feel obliged to reply to this. I'm rambling and raving, prepping for the mental war. I'm my own best friend and worst enemy, and I know i'll face both aspects - I just have to embrace the right one.

    Gee.

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