Opiate addiction - Urgent advice needed

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I have been a prescription opiate addict for about 7 years now, relapse after relapse. I've hidden this all from my wife and have been caught a few times each time I promise to stop but end up relapsing (and hiding it again). I have acquired these opiates (codeine, tramadol and oxycontin) by lying to my GP about back pain.

After the new year I got caught again and my wife basically said stop now or go, we went to the doctors together and I admitted everything (yet again). My doctor gave me a taper plan and referred me to a addiction center. Its not going well at all. My wife was very dubious about me going but I said at least I can try,

I attended the first meeting and all looked quite promising. The first thing they do is get you to admit you have a problem, The second meeting my keyworker stated that he thinks I need to see their specialist doctor and will more than likely need to go on ORT (Opiate replacement therapy) which will probably be Buprenorphine and this will probably last about 6 months as well as normal weekly counselling sessions and weekly drug tests to make sure I am conforming with the plan.

I thought this would be a good idea but when I returned home and suggested this to my wife the SHTF. She basically said no way and that I wasnt going to be going back to my next session. "you dont need it" was the response I got. Basically she thinks I can stop and after 2-3 days everything will be back to normal. She doesnt understand addiction and hates drugs. I've explained this to my key worker and he stated to bring her in so he can talk to her. She wouldnt go and if she did she wouldnt listen to a word anyway, she so stubborn. I know I have let her down and my kids down but i really now believe this ORT will work for me.

So my next session is tomorrow, which I will will see the doctor, and basically cant go, if I do and come back with a script my marriage will be over and ill lose my kids, if I dont go I fear i will relapse and my marriage will be over and ill lose my kids.

I dont know what to do.


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19 Replies

  • Posted

    I am a recovering opiate addict.

    You are in a very difficult situation as you need subutex ORT or it will be very hard to get and stay clean. Can you suggest she do some reading ? You could easily reduce in less than 6 months but you will need it. I suggest you do to NA to keep you clean. You wife needs to understand addiction is an illness that must be treated with temporary ORT and then on going recovery.

    Ask me any questions i have worrked as a therapist myself, prescriber and recovering addict.

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    • Posted

      Thank for replying Sarah,

      I have suggested she read up on addiction and she sates she has but I still don't think she understands it. Jut keeps telling me I'm not in pain and cant figure out why I keep taking.

      It has now been agreed that I can go to my appt today with my keyworker but under no circumstance am I allowed to come back with any medication.

      Can I ask how long it will take to get put on Buprohenine ? Will it be today ? Do they give me the script or the medication itself ? If its a script will I still have to pay for it ?

      Also I read that I have to wait until I feel withdrawal before I start taking it, what does Buprohenine make you feel like ?



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    • Posted

      What country are you in ?

      In uk it should be very quick to get the meds. You will need to see a doctor first but most addiction services have their own doctor. Where i live the script is sent to the pharmacy and initially you would have to pick up your dose every day and they will test you if you stick to your script they will allow you to pick it up less frequently. It should be free.

      Yes you have to wait till you start withdrawal to start it. Probably 24 hours from last dose.

      It makes you feel quite normal if you are on the right dose. Not out of it but not in withdrawal.

      I did a subutex detox of heroin and prescription meds from 7 years use over 5 weeks in rehab and it was ok. If you are not in rehab that woukd be hard. I think they are suggesting 6 months so you can adjust to not using before they taper you off

      I am happy to speak to your wife if it helps. You can pm me. She needs to understand this is a serious illness and you must be treated you cannot just stop. The drug use is a symptom of addiction and the use is not about physical pain and you need treatment to help you change your thinking. It is not as simple as just stopping the drugs. Recovery is a process and you will need her support. Her attitude atm will only make recovery harder.

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    • Posted

      Hi Sarah

      Thanks for your replies. I am in the UK.

      I went to my session yesterday and my keyworker states I will definitely be put on ORT and now need to see their doctor which I am awaiting a appt for. I explained the situation with my partner and she gave me a leaflet on it for her to read.

      I came home and explained to her and gave her the leaflet, she read it and bascally said your not going to the docs appt and gave me yet another ultimatum which is go cold turkey or go, and As I dont have anywhere to go and dont want to lose my house and family I really dont know what to do now... its making me feel so so down with it all.

      I have tried ringing my coworker today to explain this but get no answer. Do you know if I can speak with this doctor on the phone or is it a must I have to seem then in person ?

      really dont know what to do, if i dont go I will probably relapse and be out on my ear, if i do go, I will be out on my ear...

      its hopeless

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    • Posted

      I am so sorry. This is a terrible situation to find yourself in. Your wife really does not understand. What are you taking atm ?

      I doubt you can speak to the doctor over the phone.

      It seems your options are

      Take the ORT and don t tell your wife. A risky plan as she may find out but more so because no relationship should involve such a lie and you will need her support.

      Don t take it. I do not see how this is an option unless you have a will of steel and prepared to go through quite a bit of pain.

      Tell her and take it and hope she sees sense. I would recommend this one.

      I recommend NA to offer the support you clearly don t have at home. You will need it.

      There is no easy solution to this but you need to treat your addiction. Would she go to couples councelling ?

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    • Posted

      Hi Sarah

      At the moment I am taking Codeine 30mg, Tramadol 50mg and also been taking Nurofen plus.

      I have been taking around 300mg of Codeine, 200 mg of Tramadol and 8 Nurofen plus about 3 times a day. This has fluctuated over the years, I also took some extended release Ocycontin 120mg for about 3 months towards the end of last year plus the codeine and tramadol. The doctor stopped the Oxys but had no problems putting the rest on repeats. every 6 months I would go for a review and just say I was still in pain.

      I have now ran out of everything apart from I have 90mg of Codeine left which I will take shortly. As my wife came with me to my last docs appt I am no longer able to get anything prescribed from my GP. I am also unable to spend any cash at the chemist as my wife watches all of our accounts, even if I withdraw money from the ATM.

      Thats why i was hoping CGL would get me onto ORT as quick as possible (its been 2 weeks since I started going) but I still havent heard anything from them, I have tried ringing my keyworker but still no joy.

      I know I will be ok for tonight but guaranteed I will wake around 5am tomorrow with the first signs of WD

      I do have a few 100mg Pregabalin left which do help with some of the WD symptoms but really really dont want to take them as I have only just got off those (thats another long story) and that took about 3 months to do at a very slow taper......

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  • Posted



    I was an opiate addict for 38 years - thought i could beat it alone, but i couldnt. I WORKED AS A NURSE, got caught stealing, lost my job etc but this was all for the best in hindsight as it forced me to face it, full on. i am now on a slow reduction of SUBUTEX and receive regular support and couselling. Please tell your partner that you cant be cured overnight and that addiction is a disease. IF YOU HAD HEART DISEASE OR DIABETES YOU WIULDNT BE CURED IN 2-3 days.

    PLEASE FOLLOW AND STICK TO PRIFESSIONSL ADVICE AND SUPPORT OFFERED TO YOU BY EXPERTS... i was very sceptical but im now on a stable, steady, reducing dose of subutex AND i get lots of support.

    in the (corny??!) words if BILLY JOEL, do whats good for you, or youre no good for anybody. AND PLEASE TELL YOUR PARTNER THAT SHE, too, can be given advice and support by these experts who will be happy to help you both - as a team - beat this and lead you into a happier, more honest and open future.

    i lost my job, my house and my partner by being secretive and lying to everyone (incl myself) but ive now got my self respect back AnD am back with my partner... she didnt understand it at first and its taken her a ling time to understand, but she now helps and supports my treatment and journey. hope yours will ebentually do the sane, too

    Ps apologies re bad typing but keyboard keeps gping onto BLOCK CAPS and im writibg this very quicjly!


    MAKE 2019 a really good year.

    over and put

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  • Posted

    Mate I feel for you as I was exactly the same as you for 7 years using codeine (1200mg a day) yup that's an awful lot of codeine to get hold of. I was using 25 cocodamol 4 times a day & extracting the codeine by cold water extraction then I would take 16 Nurofen plus tablets alongside the cocodamol again 4 doses a day so I was taking 64 ibuprofen a day just cos the codeine was in the Nurofen plus. I'm certain I have severely damaged my stomach etc. Anyway I went to my local NHS addiction clinic & to my initial horror I was prescribed 35mg of methadone a day supervised by my pharmacist. Wow it was the best thing ever & an almost instant relief off my head as I pop into chemist each morning & take my dose & that's it, my day is free from having to chase codeine containing medications from over 60 pharmacies (as I was refused codeine products in each chemist after 3-4 visits so I was driving up to 50 mile round trips several times a day just to get enough codeine to feel well/normal.

    That's the issue u see as we start these tablets blindfolded by just taking 1 or 2 extra then after years of needing more and more higher doses b4 you know it we are in to deep & can't just stop using as it's impossible & very dangerous.

    It upsets me that you've done the right thing (a very brave but hard thing) by seeking help, unfortunately you don't seem to have a wife who understands opiates as you can't just stop or taper on your own as this will always fail. You have done the absolute right thing for your family by accessing help & what ever your wife thinks you must must stick at this & attend your appointments & take the medicine that your doctor is prescribing for you as ultimately the end result is freedom for you & your family. you will crack this & you & your family will be free of this demon addiction within the year. the day I got my 1st dose of methadone was the biggest natural high as I knew all the bad stuff & drug seeking behaviour was over/behind me/in the past. stay strong mate & all will be ok

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    • Posted

      Thanks mate,

      I really think being able to put all this behaviour behind me and going on treatment for it is the only option I have and also the right thing to do, I even fantasise about it.

      But my partner is till saying "m,y way or high way" so not really sure what to do next, maybe I have to take it and just lose everything to start again...

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    • Posted

      I think when the OP says 'treatment' I think he's referring to the ORT (in his case buprenorphine) which is obviously going to be prescribed on the NHS. Rather than inpatient treatment which yes as you say are almost impossible to be placed on for free/NHS. I'm 99% sure from reading the OP posts & knowing what I know now from both my profession (Psychiatric Nurse) & the treatment I've been through that he shouldn't require inpatient treatment.

      Regarding the methadone & my comment about it being the biggest natural high etc etc. I know this feeling wasn't methadone high as I was speaking about the natural high felt before I'd taken my 1st dose. That feeling was felt on the way to the pharmacy & it came from knowing that awful existence that I really thought was my life forever was over & I could now get on with living a drug free (well apart from the methadone which I'm proud to say is now down to 6ml a day from 35ml less then 12 months ago) blessed life with my wife, 3 children & my little French bulldog.

      You can do this mate you really can & do you know what..... compared to the many years of always trying to get hold of opiate based medications just to feel normal & all the sneaking around having to hide (what is actually an illness) from those you care for the most, well it's easy compared to all that.

      Tell your wife that you appreciate her blessing to seek this help & that you are happy with her condition (not bringing the medication into the house) as you have to go daily to the pharmacy to collect it anyway so there will be no need to take it into the house.

      If u need to ask anything then please as away & if I can help then I happily will.

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  • Posted

    I feel or you both, its such a hard situation to be in for both of you. i understand how your wife is feeling but you have to stick to your program, and be 100% honest with your wife. she will be feeling very hurt and betrayed by what you have done cuz in her mind she will be thinking why would you throw your family away, but its never a case of you doing that. addiction is and illness, you sell your soul to the devil.

    i live with a heroin addict and belive me its been the hardest 4 and half yrs of my life, cuz like your wife i was hurt and angry and had no insite on drugs of any sorts. but she really needs to go to the groups with you for her to understand, if you stop the drugs and dont tapper you will go through hell, the detox isnt nice for both of you, i gave my partner so many orders and he tried them just to please me, but it was all so wrong cuz for us its so easy to say just stop when in reality its not. i found what helped me and my bf was 100% honesty and for him to be able to talk to me no matter how much it hurts me, cuz if you lie then it causes so much damage in your relationship. and stick to your program cuz you cant do it alone. i really hope this helps and i wish you all the luck in the world.

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  • Posted

    Hi there TrentSteel. I feel for you and your situation. I can go on and on on here but THE MOST important thing is for you to quit using right? I'd personally go on the Subs. (I am personally on methadone for 7 years & I'm in Canada) the reason that these treatments work is because after a certian amount of time on the program, you are no longer living the same lifestyle as you were when you were using. Your able to live a normal lifestyle etc. so after a time, you literally STOP thinking the way you used too . your not constantly thinking about pills, lines, whatever. your not hanging around the same type ppl you were when u were using. you've built a bit of a new life and tour able to be a contributing member of society, unno, living your life with your fam & kids. that's what your wife wants. that is what you want. she will eventually understand. ...she must... pleassse, do what is best for your health. keep your head up...it might be a bit of a battle at first getting her to understand, but after yoy prove that your doing so much better, hopefully she will see that n be happy. take care 😃

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