I'm struggling with codeine withdrawal and temptation

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Hi anyone

I have been taking codeine for 5 or so years now since injury

After a while I was prescribed fluoxetine also as I became depressed

I am married, 2 teens, self employed with a physically demanding, dangerous outside job.

I was able to pick up repeat prescriptions at will and the codeine was starting to loose it's efficacy, so I popped more, then I topped them up with otc meds, before I knew it I was on about 600mg per day with paracetamol and ibuprofen, I practiced cold water extraction when I needed to also, 

I eventually was persuaded to ask for help, and I got it from my local drug and alcohol centre, I was given 1-1 counselling and eventually asked "so how do I get off this stuff?" Before I knew what was happening I was on a lefoxedine programme, it took a week, and I worked that week, which was hell, I had to keep pulling over at the side of the road to sleep.

It only took me a week (in pain) to request a repeat prescription, I didn't know if I would get it? And sure enough it was there! I thought I could use responsibly!

2 years on and using daily, a lot of pills!

I decided to seek help again, only this time, due to money restrictions in the service or something I was turned away, I was told to go back to my GP 

Which I did, and he has been great, as far as dealing with the med side, but I keep hitting brick walls when trying to find support for the addictive monster in me (oh I should mention at this point I have had a history with coke and speed and canabis all of which I kicked on my own)


I have been reducing, I got down to the prescribed 8x30mg codeine tabs a day, although I was still buying OTC top ups, and I decided I needed to get off them all before winter, (I'd never be able to do it in the winter months) so I started a 2 week reduction, it went ok, until the last 4 days, then I started to feel it and panicked, I am still working at this time, I took the last one on Tuesday 2nd sept,( I had some spare, just in case, that no one knows about)

I went to see the doc Thursday 4th, he looked at me and was wanting to put me back on a low dose, I didn't want to, as I was afraid I would just return to old habits, so I asked for Valium for a week to help me through, he agreed to this, they took a bit of the edge off but my body was screaming for the codeine, I remember there was a whole 15min that day that I didn't think of codeine!

I took 1 30mg on Thursday night as I was really struggling and wanted to sleep, I took 3 solpedine max on Friday 500/12.8 paracetamol/codeine, on Friday night, I ordered some katrum of the internet, as I had seen forums claiming this helps, I was hoping it would arrive Saturday, it didn't!

I had a big row with my wife Saturday and walked out, I went to a safe place, I have a small caravan and started composing a suicide letter. Then fell asleep due to the diazepam and emotional fatigue. 

My wife contacted me and asked me to come back for tea, I did, I cried pretty much non stop all evening, told her I had suicidal thoughts, she wants me to go and see the doc on Monday (tomorrow) to go back on codeine!

I took another 30mg last night,

Should I throw the rest away? Am I just prolonging my agony? Or am I not ready to get off? Have I jeopardised my recovery with the few I have taken? I'm really confused and desperately sad. 

Struggling with withdrawal 

It's like my days are a physical and psychological torture, I want to take pills soooo bad, cos everything would be "normal" again and I am not sure I'm strong enough to endure this.

The scariest thing is, after the physical withdrawal abates, the mental torture will carry on, for weeks? Months? Who knows?

It would be so much easier to pop pills, but I can't be a Slave to them forever and if I can't do it now, I'll never go through it in winter I haven't got any external help, but I have a pragmatic helpful doc who will do what he can to help.

Sorry this post is so long

And I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read it

Any advice would be appreciated, cos I feel so alone. 


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16 Replies

  • Posted

    I feel ur pain brother those lofexidine knock u for six don't they but they do help u get over the worst of the withdrawals I'm addicted to buprenophine so I am in a similar situation as u it's scary to think how we are going to get to the other side of this tunnel of hell the only thing u can do is taper as low as poss then make the leap of faith it's not easy but expect the very worst and anything else is a bonus it's the insomnia that is the living hell for me second only to the depression but my detox worker assures me the brain will learn to cope and return to norm in time we have both been dependant for a long time so it's a shock to the system when u just stop god bless u brother I really hope u can soon live a happy drug free life there is light at the end if u can fight through it good luck
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    • Posted

      Hi Ryan

      I am grateful for your response to my post and it's good to know I'm not alone

      I am not sure I'm strong enough to endure this crushing feeling of despair when I know it can be "solved" so easily with a few pills

      I gave my spare pills to my wife today so I cannot be tempted by them, I am desperate to succeed as it's not fair to put my family through this again, I'm of no use to anyone at the moment as I just keep crying and have no energy at all, it's a living hell

      But they keep telling me it'll get better, I know they are probably right, but once the physical symptoms leave, I have to endure the long days of working alone and avoid temptation 

      Are you clean? If so how long?

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    • Posted

      I'm in a more or less identical situation as u I have a hard job 2 kids a wife u just feel like a zombie don't you I to keep crying for next to nothing I was looking at some fam hol photos the other day and got really upset how happy I looked thinking will I ever be so happy again how long will this depression last the insomnia is horrendous for me it's tragic that ur addiction wasn't ur fault mine was from a stupid part of my life in my early 20s when a gf left me and I got in with a wrong crowd and now nearly 10 yrs later I'm paying the price I was on methadone for a few yrs the jumped on to buprenorphine I haven't used heroin for at least 5 yrs but I'm just sick of this cycle of prescriptions ppl say you will get thru this but there not there in the middle of the night or when ur feeling really low and you no you can fix it by just taking this evil drug and feel great again but as we both no to well the lows are much worse than the highs our brains are so used to not having to produce endorphins ( feel good chems) as the opiates have replaced them for so long our brains have to learn to start producing them again it's confused and doesn't know what to do but it will learn and start to produce them again it just takes time and in the mean time we have to suffer this hell me and you are going thru the same thing together bro u r not alone in this we must keep in touch maybe we can gain strength from each other knowing we r not alone we can't carry on like this I try to think like what will I feel like in six months time when this is a horrible memory and behind us for ever there is light at the end of this tunnel and it is doable I know ppl from the drug treatment place who have came out the other side with a new lease of life we just have to learn how to live normal lives like everyone else around us do plz keep in touch brother r u on twitter at all if not we will talk on here I'm just so mad at my self about using today it was like somebody else took over me I knew it was wrong what I was doing I don't trust my self so I'm gonna get some beta blockers that block the effects if u do give in it's more of a mental battle after the acute withdrawal we have to think of our kids and loved ones all the very best of luck bro stay in touch
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  • Posted

    How are you this morning brother I'm scared as I know the smack from yesterday is going to wear off soon and just pray it's not back to day one gonna talk to my drug worker this morn hope u got some sleep bro
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    • Posted

      Hi Ryan

      You totally get it!

      The "looking back" at your happier younger self, wondering how you had the confidence to be so carefree

      I have lost all faith In myself and I have done damage to my relationship with my wife, I lied and concealed my secrets, my addictions, and you convince yourself you are in control, but in all honesty, you never are.

      I ended up staying up late last night, I cleared my day today, (I'm self employed so taking a sickie costs me, and has repercussions for the rest of the week)

      I distracted myself with my telescope, (I'm a bit of a geek, I'm into astrophotography)

      I found a bit of old weed, took an amyltriptaline , had a rekorderlig then took a Valium I found a packet of co-codamol in my coat pocket, I took them, they only contain 8mg of codeine each, I had 3 and took all 3

      I'm not proud, but if it's there I'll find it hard to resist

      I was in bed for 3am and slept well, apart from everyone getting up for work/school etc, but then slept on after they left

      I would normally be up getting breakfast ready before going off myself, but that's where things have to change at the moment

      I have to step back and look after me!

      The problem is, when your wife is doing more so you can recover, you put extra pressure on yourself to not fail, but this guilt alone is so destructive and gives you a reason to hate yourself therefore what does it matter if I use? I'm worthless anyway! It's a vicious circle.

      If you use, give yourself a talking to in the mirror. Tell yourself you are worth more, tell yourself you are going to beat this!

      Don't beat yourself up with guilt, he'll we are human! And it feels good to feel good! But at what cost.

      It will take a while for the brain to accept endorphins but I believe going for a 30 min walk each day if u can will help, it has helped me in the past, if possible walk with your wife, cos it's a great time to talk.

      If on your own get some of your fave tunes on.

      We will do this! This is the beginning of the rest of our lives

      I hope one day to look at a codeine tablet and see something evil, cos at the moment they just look so inviting

      Peace bro

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    • Posted

      hi ive just gone 5 days on the lowest dose of subutex 0.4 its not been easy but I feel weak as a kitton if I try 1 co dydramol will it set me rite back do u no
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  • Posted

    I love star gazing lol everything you just said totally related to me I'm supposed to b bk at work today too it's just a ____ situation isn't it I'm starting to feel restless waiting for the doc to phone to see if he wil prescribe lofexidine again it's the lesser of the two evils for me my mrs has my bank card. It's scary how u will lie through ur teeth and deceive ur loved ones for the ____ when ur desperate but let's look at it as a lesson in life and become better stronger ppl from it all the very best brother and I will take that walk and thank you I'll keep in touch good luck

    Emis Moderator comment: I have edited this post due to the swearing. These are open forums so as per the T&Cs please do not use offensive language in posts otherwise they may be deleted.

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    • Posted

      Hi Ryan 

      How are you?

      I got home after my walk

      Had to cook tea for my family as I'm the only one at home at the moment and it seems like the right thing to do to contribute at the moment.

      I was fighting back tears trying to motivate myself so I took a Valium to numb myself a bit, then I found 2 solpadeine max, 12.8mg of codeine in each tab, with 500mg paracetamol.

      I took them.

      They are the last I've got lying around, and it is only a small amount but I know I should have resisted, and thrown them away.

      I hope I don't regret it.

      I vow not to buy any more

      I have to develop more resolve!

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    • Posted

      I gave my mrs my bank card I have no access to money it's the only way bro or if not the missus someone else u trust (obviously) lol who won't give it to u  I feel I'm turning a corner today I hope u can start get over the hill ASAP bro u deserve this and so do ur loved ones brother
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  • Posted

    Now my reply is waiting to b moderated 
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  • Posted

    hi I hope uve got through this , soz if I seem ignorant but not been on here before . ive called out of hrs service but no idea , after using methadone for yrs I changed to subutex about a yr ago, and reduced realbslow Im over the worst of it but my back aheing a lot , paracetamol or ibuprofen not shifting it , any idea of any nonopiate painkillers , tempting to take some old codydramol but ive done so well and it may set me back my last sub was 4 days ago any advice please
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  • Posted

    Hi. I've been getting prescribed cocodomol 30/500 for around 4 years without review. The last year I've been popping 16-20 pills every single day just to feel normal I don't get the relaxed fuzzy feeling anymore I just take them to feel normal. Prescription runs out 2-3 weeks early so I buy 30mg dehydracodiene from a local dealer. Start of this week I'd run out couldn't get any I had a docs app anyway so I went in n came clean about my disgusting addiction. Doc went straight through me at first but then was very good. Wee decided that a daily dispensed script would b best of 8 tabs daily and gradually reduce. I promised not to buy any from else where n off I went. Currently on day 3 of only taking 8 n tbh it feels like s**t. Cold sweats can't eat can't sleep flu symptoms anxiety nightmares and alot of pain. If this is what it's like with still 8 a day I'd strongly advise not to go cold turkey. It's so hard not to buy extra but I'm determined to kick this horrible addiction. The doc has done blood test to check my liver bcoz of the paracetemol intake God knows what the results will be hopefully ok. I don't really have advice but hang in there if Uve been secretly using reduce gradually. Ask Ur doc to prescribe daily and promise urself not to buy extra. It'll b tough but with willpower and determination we can hopefully get through it. Good luck xx

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    • Posted

      Oh chicken I so feel your pain. I was exactly where you are and the withdrawals are f*****g awful. If you are still having withdrawals with the amount you have been prescribed then it isn't enough. You need to taper more gradually to avoid that. You can buy nurofen plus to supplement it but only do that to help you reduce. Each day cut down a bit more and eventually you will be on a very low dose and feel more equipped to stop altogether. I went to my doctor to get help and they referred me and I never heard any more about it. I'm furious. This is how people end up committing suicide. Be strong and just think of how amazing it will feel to not need to take anything to feel normal. Doctors are a******s when it comes to this. But I did it and so can you. Xxxxx

      Moderator comment: I have edited this post due to the swearing. These are open forums so as per the T&Cs please do not use offensive language in posts otherwise they may be deleted.

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