Day 1. Cold Turkey. It's taking all my strength not to find yet another pharmacy.

Posted , 3 users are following.

I tell myself I am in control. Yet the next thought is, which pharmacy was I at last? What did the person serving me look like? Can I go there again or shall I visit the one I was at a week ago and hope they too don't recognise me?

Currently I alternate within a chain of pharmacies who allow me to obtain codeine under a false name, as my ID has been recorded too many times. (I am in Australia, where our drivers license is required to be presented and then recorded in a database).

These pharmacies are currently supporting my codeine addiction. 

I have been addicted to 15/500, 16 a day - 8 morning, 8 afternoon) for the last 12 months. 

This morning I woke up and the first thing I did was google codeine addiction.. and I came across this forum and I couldnt believe the outcries from others who have been in the same situation as myself.

The last time I visited my local pharmacist (who knows my face) I purchased 40 15/500 at one time. He gave me a look of what I perceived as judgement.. but later I realised this was most likely concern. So this morning, instead of driving 30km to find a pharmacy to support my addiction... I saw my local concerned pharmacist.

I opened up. I told him of my addiction. I thanked him for giving me that look as it had created the thoughts in my mind - what on earth am I doing with this toxic stuff? Why do I hide this addiction - why do I constantly try to find trash cans not within my home to dispose of the empty-packeted evidence - why the f am I actually addicted??

My pharmacist (let's call him Steve) was more than understanding. I asked for the name of a non judgemental doctor nearby... and he referred me to my very lovely GP (I have hidden this from her too). I have now made an appointment for the soonest available 3 VERY LONG DAYS AWAY. 

So for the next few days at least, I'm on my own.

I resist the urge (currently) to drive the 30km and figure out from the few empty packets I have left, which pharmacy I was at last and how long ago. 

I know they will sell it to me.

I need them not to.

I need to keep busy.

I snap at my family without this stuff (I shout) yet I cannot take a break from them during the withdrawals and recovery.. and this will be very difficult as the ONLY person who knows about this is Pharmacist Steve... my husband does not know. No one knows.

I don't know what to expect during these next few days, weeks, months as I come off codeine and go back to living a 'normal' life. Although I do look forward to my thoughts not being consumed by where I can get my next codeine fix. 

Any replies are anticipated and appreciated. Like you wouldn't believe. 


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21 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi HS,

    firstly well done for making the effort, as you have got an appointment with the GP, I personally wouldn’t bother going through 3 days of withdrawals, they will probably put you on medication to give you a bearable withdrawal or taper plan so it seems like days of suffering for nothing. Admittedly you aren’t taking huge amounts which would reduce the severity of any symptoms. Maybe take just 10 across the day to keep you ‘normal’ until you get to the Gp.Obviously taking bigger than recommended doses of medication can  Do harm at any stage so it will have to be your decision. it sounds as though you  should be in good hands with your Gp so good luck and I’m sure you’ll soon be over this horrible addiction,  just in time for your summer which will make things a thousand times better!

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    • Posted

      Bolo thanks for the reply. 

      Day two is a bit easier than the first. 

      A lot of water, multi vitamins (maybe a few more than I need) some Nitro Xtreme,  with some fish for the omega 3 is helping. I'm trying to fill my body with good stuff to counteract all it has missed. 

      I'm also an occasional weed smoker so I've indulged a little, it's taken my mind off finding ways to obtain codeine. 

      I'm actually out of bed and about to go hang some washing. Enjoying this burst of energy while it lasts wink 

      While it has been extremely tempting to relapse, (especially after seeing your comment, it almost justified getting in the car and buying more) I'm now seeing it as more of an addiction than a way of functioning and I keep telling myself I AM IN CONTROL. 

      I also watched the rapper 360's video regarding codeine addiction (Google this, its powerful) which has helped me realise if he can come out the other side of 90 N+ per day, I can get through my addiction. 

      Thankfully my husband thinks I am just randomly really sick. Once I'm out the other side I will tell him everything. 

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    • Posted

      Hi HS, 

      i didnt mean to ‘tempt you’ I didn’t realise you were going to go cold turkey even after seeing the GP, over here they would usually put you on Codeine phosphate and taper you down so there would be no point doing turkey for a few days only. I got hooked on these pills twice, up to 64 a day and I went cold turkey on both occasions, it’s horrific but fairly quick and if someone can put up with it I think it’s the best way.  I wish the UK would bring in the need for identification to purchase these things, something so addictive shouldn’t be so easy to obtain, you can’t buy antibiotics without a prescription for heavens sake! it would stop so many people abusing but as you’ve proven if the desperation is strong enough people will do almost anything. 

      Keep the posts coming, it’s always heartening to read of people beating this      and it will help encourage others.

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    • Posted

      Bolo, I completely understand your comments intention was not to tempt me, that is simply how I took it. As I was of course looking for any justification to continue. 

      I'm quite surprised codeine can still be freely purchased in the U.K. Here in Australia it is about to be upscheduled to prescription only in a few months time (I am so thankful for this right now.) 

      I'm keeping my appointment with my doctor (tomorrow) because I need to keep myself honest, if this makes sense. 

      Today is day three and one of the worst. 

      I'm self-employed so I was able to take the rest of the day off today as I was simply unable to manage my workload without my little helper. I started taking codeine to manage life's stresses and work is a huge trigger point. 

      Last night (end day 2) the insomnia really kicked in, as did the restless legs. I must've kept my poor husband up all night! 

      This afternoon I smoked a little weed and managed to fall asleep for an hour.. but then something woke me and I was unable to get back to sleep.

      I could see this, and the muscle aches being a big trigger point and a huge reason to go back.. so I went to a local pharmacy and told the senior pharmacist of my need for something for the insomnia and RLS. 

      He asked me if my doctor had prescribed these things, of course she had not yet, so I opened up to him too and told him I had been struggling with this dependence. 

      Strangely he did not judge. 

      He handed me some magnesium tablets and doxylamine (sleep aid) and said, try these, these will get you through the worst part of it. 

      My gosh, was I thankful for no judgement. 

      Onwards and upwards 

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    • Posted

      Hi HS, 

      the first 24 hours after your last dose don’t really count as the Codeine can stay lin your system for that long and your body only  really starts complaining from then onwards, even above and beyond the diarrhoea the insomnia and restless legs were the worst symptoms for me, for the first 5 nights if I got half an hours sleep spread across the whole night I was doing well, feeling totally exhausted and yawning constantly but being unable to fall asleep is the worst thing, thankfully you weren’t on a high dose so your symptoms should be over relatively quickly, I had to take a week off each time I withdrew because I literally could not function as a human being, also being self employed at the time  was so much of a help, I don’t understand how people with young kids can ever go turkey but they do and hats off to them!.   

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    • Posted

      My optimism is dwindling. Another restless night even after doxylamine and magnesium- hot flushes and cold chills. A cool breeze feels like my body has had a bucket of ice cubes thrown at it, standing in the sun feels like I've walked into an oven. 

      The craving is strong today. I'm rescheduling my doctors appointment until tomorrow as I just have too much work to get through today. 

      Husband is starting to ask how I've been 'sick' for four days (I'm almost never sick). 

      Diarrhoea is starting and muscles very weak. 

      Gonna need a lot of strength not to slip back into old habits. 

      Gosh I hope this passes soon. 

      But I am determined not to undo these last few days of hard work

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    • Posted

      Hi HS,

      unfortunately they are all typical symptoms of withdrawal, your body is screaming at you to feed it what it wants, you should be in the very worst of it around now, how long it will last is so variable from person to person but you should start seeing improvements within the next 3 or so days, the Gp will be able to give you some stronger meds to help with things but you’ve come so far and are very nearly over the worst,and if you’ve done it up till now then you can manage the last few steps

      if you are going to come clean with hubby then now might be a good idea, only you can predict how he’ll react, if you think he’ll be sympathetic and helpful then let him help you now! 

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    • Posted

      Hiya Happy....the first week is horrendous! I know exactly what you are going through...I thought I was dying! Keep going....u r nearly there! I'm tapering atm and I'm down to 4 a day but wish I was off these things completely! x

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  • Posted

    Hiya Happy.......I've replied to you on my other post.....hope you are holding up. How's things going with you today?

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    • Posted

      Hi Hannah! I haven't yet seen your reply as I'm not sure how to manage the notification part of the forum. 

      How are you handling it thus far? 

      Today being day 3, I'm told that the worst isn't over yet, but it should start looking up in a few days time. 

      I forgot to mention that I'm filling my body with good stuff, multi vitamins and lots of fresh fruit and veg. And a bit of Nitro Xtreme (superfood) mixed with some water. 

      I'm very much looking forward to getting life back. 

      I've also realised why I started this codeine in the first place - I have adult ADHD and codeine seemed like an easy way to self medicate. 

      I'm off to go find your reply as I'm keen to see how you're doing. 

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  • Posted

    For anyone still following I just thought I'd report my progress. 

    End day 4, been feeling great for about 5 hours. 

    Magnesium 2x daily, Nitro extreme, fish oil and multi vitamins I believe are helping. 

    My energy is back and muscle aches are gone. 

    I'm also smoking way less cigarettes, can't believe how much I smoked when I was on codeine.

    Doxylamine for sleep tonight, wasn't sure id need it but meh just in case. I don't wanna go too hard on myself yet lol. 

    I'll continue to report my progress in the hope that I can help someone some day, even if it's in a few years time ??

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  • Posted

    Day 5. I slept better than I have in a very long time. 

    I actually feel bloody great this morning. I wasn't grumpy or snappy, I felt well-rested and happy. Straight in the shower, skipped my usual cup of coffee and went straight for the multi vitamins and Nitro Xtreme instead. 

    I came clean with hubby yesterday. His only question was "why didn't you tell me before?" Truth was, I was ashamed. It's not like an illegal drug... being OTC I really felt quite stupid for allowing myself to become dependent.

    I honestly cannot see myself going back. However today I am meeting up with a friend who I've only ever spoken to online, she's going through something quite similar. Normally social occasions like these I would only do with my little codeine helper. At the risk of sounding like I'm blowing my own trumpet,  I am so proud of myself for coming this far. 

    I honestly thought I would have relapsed by now. Yesterday I walked by a pharmacy and instead of walking IN for codeine, I breathed a sigh of relief that I don't have to lie anymore.

    Not to them, not to myself, and not to my husband. 

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    • Posted

      Brilliant HS. .....I'm so pleased for you....I'm still on 4 a day but next week it will be 3....I'm tapering slowly coz I definitely can't do cold turkey.....well done to you for going that way...keep in touch x

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    • Posted

      Cold turkey doesn't work for everyone and I'm so proud of you for how far you've come!! 

      The week after next it will be 2.. and the week after that down to One and then NONE!! Is it strange to say that I'm very much anticipating the mental clarity you'll gain? You can do this!! 

      My biggest advice is keep pumping your body full of the good stuff to counteract any WD symptoms (I'm hoping there will be very little by that point!) 

      Lots of magnesium I cannot speak highly enough of that stuff. It's EXCELLENT for the restless legs and aches. 

      Wait, were you prescribed these for fibro (or do I have the wrong person)? What's the plan for beyond? 

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    • Posted

      Thanks Happy and yes right person I was prescribed these for fibro 10/15 year's ago and told to take 6-8 a day! I didn't realise how addictive they r until I was on holiday and ran out of tabs....ended up in hospital totally dehydrated and thought I had food poisoning! I'm not worried now about the pain of the fibromyalgi...I would rather suffer a little pain than be Addicted to these things! How are you doing Happy? x

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