Painkillers and me.

Posted , 6 users are following.

This is my first post. Go easy!

I have been taking prescription opiates in various quantities for the last 15 years.

Ever since I snapped my ACL in my right knee.

Since then I have had 2 reconstructions and then 5 other operations to try to work out what Is going on in there.

Turns out I have a rare disease called Pigmented villonodula sinovitis which causes tumors to randomly grow on the synovial linings of my knee.

So, my prescription painkiller addiction kind of went hand in hand with having all this pain.

It started with Tramadol when I was 17. Copious amounts been given to me whenever I wanted.

My addiction to pain meds started there.

I was still taking the prescribed doses though, but I couldn't function without them.

Over the months and years I started taking more and more and more.

The Tramadol made me feel human.

Every wave of warmth that washed over my body when I swallowed the prescribed 2 pills, or the 6, 8 or 10 that I eventually ended up taking, but this was no longer for pain relief, this was to get high.

Each time I was searching for the feeling I got the first time I took the tablets.

They made me chatty, they made me sociable, they made me... Me.

Or at least that's what I thought.

Eventually many years later I was given Codeine instead of Tramadol.

Which was nice. It was refreshing. Something was actually working to kill my pain! It was great.

Again, I kept to the prescribed doses.

As time went on though, this great thing was the beginning of my nightmare...

The larger doses started to happen much sooner than with the Tramadol.

However, after an operation, and after the recovery period, I decided that enough was enough.

So I made an appointment to see the GP.

I took a big *Gulp* and admitted for the first to another human being that I had a problem.

I also told my partner who was naturally very upset, but as I was seeking medical help she was extremely supportive.

The experience was pleasant enough.

We decided to taper down the tablets for a while.

8 a day for 2 weeks.

7 a day for 2 weeks.

6 a day and so on.

It worked a treat. The GP even helped me to try none opiate based medication, but they tended to just make me hyperactive.

Eventually I stopped the lot. I only took paracetamol and ibruprofen.

Life was bliss.

Unfortunately, the nature of my aforementioned disease means that anything can happen at any time.

And it did.

A damn tumor popped up.

I was booked in to the hospital to have a simple arthroscopy.

3 weeks recovery they said before I went in...

After waking up from the operation, the pain was excruciating. It was much more intense than any other arthroscopy I'd had.

Laterally I found out why.

The tumor was bigger than we had expected and it was attached to my right quadricep (thigh muscle).

The surgeons had to remove a fair amount of my thigh. No wonder it hurt.

So the 3 weeks recovery turned into 6, then into 9, and very quickly those 9 weeks off work with nothing to do apart from watch films and take painkillers made the cycle started again.

Make no mistake, these drugs are helpful. In the right doses they are amazing painkillers.

In the wrong hands they are dangerous.

They turn people into liars.

They turned me into a liar.

I kept this dirty little secret away from my friends and family for so long.

The drugs don't work.

They changed me.

I found places online to buy them.

If you look on eBay at the right time, you can get codeine easily. You have to be quick though because eBay will pull them as soon as they get wind of someone selling them.

There are online doctors who will give you Codeine but you have to wait a month before you can get them again.

So I set up 3 or 4 different email addresses and had them sent to different houses and to work.

This worked for a while until the money ran out.

I always worried about the day that I would have to stop and go cold turkey.

The weeks it would take to get there turned into days.

I got 100 tablets online and 156 prescribed one day.

4 days later I was worried about running out.

One day I had ran out of options.

I was a week away from another prescription, and I couldn't order anymore online.

I read up online about something called Cold water extraction.

Without going into too many details, you could buy Co codamol and filter the paracetamol out.

It worked to an extent, but it was disgusting and I was constantly worried about the paracetamol that had got through to the final product.

One day I even changed the date on a prescription so I could get my precious tablets two days early.

The GP found out. So, one source had been taken away very quickly. I also had no help from the GP with a weaning process because I had abused his trust.

Things couldn't continue this way.

Things were so out of hand that I was going cold turkey at work, and it was horrendous. I was sweating and snotty while serving customers.

When one elderly couple gave me sympathy for having "a terrible looking flu" something inside me snapped.

I went out the back to the toilet and I cried.

I cried in front of my boss and spilled the beans. He was very receptive and sent me home early.

On the drive home I cried some more and went in to see a previous manager.

Again, I told all.

This felt good. It felt like a weight off my shoulders each time I told someone my story.

A good few months later after going to war with myself constantly about why I should stop taking the Codeine, I still hadn't cut down.

Work had got too much and I was spending far too much time at work and not with the people I love.

My daughter was 2 now and she had grown up so far with a drug addict for a daddy. This killed me every time I thought about it.

My partner is still blissfully unaware of my relapse and I plan on keeping it that way.

So, here we are today.

I ran out of proper Codeine over 2 weeks ago now.

Using over the counter Co codamol and a hell of a lot of will power I managed to get myself down to a couple of standard weak tablets combined with paracetamol per day.

I'm now on day 2 of not having anything apart from paracetamol.

I'm hurting inside.

My nerves are on fire.

My flu like symptoms are almost totally gone though.

My sleeping patterns are erratic at best, and I still wake up sometimes with my legs twitching maniacally and I'm drenched in sweat.

For now, at least, I might have a few more months of being free from this hell that had taken over my life.

In the next week or so, while I am still signed off work, I hope to have a day where I can spend the time with my daughter and not once think about finding some Codeine.

My past routine always saw me taking my tablets just before eating. So everytime a meal time comes around, I get an insatiable urge to take some pills.

This is the hardest part for me.

After every meal I used to sit back and let the waves of pleasure take over my body. Now I have to think very hard about something else for a while when I realise that those euphoric feelings aren't going to start this time.

So, that's my story. I wouldn't wish anybody to go through it and I hate the fact that these drugs are prescribed so often without a thought for the patient and their future.


I had an Mri scan last week.

The specialist thinks I have another tumor.


3 likes, 10 replies

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    Dear rob, what a beautiful and very honest have described an addiction perfectly. ....first and foremost. not feel guilty or ashamed. one chooses to become any kind of addiction. ....

    I am very lucky with medications. ....I have been on TRAMADOL. ....CO CODOMOL. ....PREGABALIN. ...AND AT TIMES MORPHINE. ... FOR MANY, MANY YEARS. ... in all honesty, they have never ever done a thing for me. ....apart from helping with the pain....

    I was however an alcoholic for many years....SO I do understand that it is a terrible way to live.....I was sectioned four times into a mental health hospital. ...and under a wonderful psychiatrist for ten yrs.....I am well now.....but ..MY GOD. ..I STILL REMEMBER THOSE TERRIBLE. ..TERRIBLE CRAVINGS. ...

    I do so wish you well young man.,...bravo on your total honesty. ...have a long and happy life with your lovely family. ....and hold your head up high. have....I am sure,...helped many others today with your heartfelt and beautifully written post.....hugs to you young man.....keep well and keep happy.....dee xxxx

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    • Posted

      Thank you. Thank you so much for your kind words.

      I almost feel guilty to accept your sympathy.

      My choices have got me to where I am now, but your words have inspired me to keep positive and keep doing what I'm doing.

      I'm sorry to hear about the hard times you had with everything. Its amazing to hear that you are over the worst now and being so upbeat about it all.

      My GP put me on gabapentin and I have a feeling it may be helping me kick the Codeine.

      It would be amazing to think so.

      Again, many thanks for replying and taking the time to read my words.

      All the best.

      Rob x

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  • Posted

    Hello robstacky,

    your post made me feel so sad,  I think the only wrong you did was take the meds to get high instead of just for pain relief.  

    Try to win back the trust of your GP, more surgery means you need his help and support, show him you can take pain meds just for pain relief and not to get high, get your highs in life from everyday things,  get a new hobby that has an edge to it, something to give you the high and to share it with others.

    I do hope you can get yourself sorted out before the time comes that you ever need strong pain relief meds,  I hope for your you and your family you are able to be strong and have self control.  I do wish you all the best for the future.

    Warmest regards

    Jessie x

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    • Posted

      Hi Jessie, my intentions were never to upset anyone.

      I like the idea about the hobby, I think that's a great idea!

      I really believe that I have burned my bridges with the GP now. It was very clear that it has been marked on my records and he would never prescribe me any kind of opiate based medication.

      I even think another doctor would struggle.

      I haven't helped myself whatsoever and I'm afraid I will have to live with what I've done.

      I'm not looking forward to having another operation. In fact I am truly dreading it.

      Thank you so much for replying to me and thanks for the best wishes.

      Take care.

      Rob x

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    • Posted

      Hello Rob,

      Keep in contact with your GP,  you are going to need pain relief in the future, especially after surgery,  he would have to be inhuman to deny you.  You can get past this and you will with the right mind set,  I do understand how easy it is to want extra meds just to get pain relief,  I turn to other ways rather than just relying on prescribed meds ......   oils / linaments  they do work and no highs available,  just lots of smells lol.

      Try not get down over future surgery,  a way can be found to get meds for you.......   a limited amount of drugs given at any one prescription, maybe issued daily from your pharmacy for example,  you have put your hands up and been honest Rob,  work now on building trust back up, will take time but you can do it.   

      After meals how about a special treat for yourself such as one of your favourite sweets or a chocolate,   just a little thing that is your special thing.........    just a thought.   Nettle tea will help clean your system out,  Olbas Oil will help with muscle discomfort,  Benadryl if you still have sniffles ... it is an antihisimine,    drink lots of water to flush your system..........   keep busy !

      Wish you well soon

      Warmest regards

      Jessie x

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  • Posted

    Hi rob

    I do sympathise iv been like this to some extent I have degerative disks in my neck I had several prolapsed disks & osteoarthritis two of the disks are touching nerve roots.

    I was prescribed co codamol 8/500 mg for quite some years before they did absolutely nothing for the pain I then got prescibed 15/ 500mg co codamol but the feelings of the medication was nice made me feel confident & free.

    My neck / back flares up alot over time so I got prescribed 30 mg of dihydrocodine but I asked my Dr for them he gave me 100 , along with some liquid morphine for when I get flare ups but I found myself taking this when my pain wasn't as bad as it could of been now this is hard for me to say but when I was 14 years old I developed a heroin addiction I continued to use heroin for 10 years before I decided to get my act together & get clean.

    I hope you don't judge me I had a very unsettled way of life ever since I was born my mum had mental health problems & my dad left when I was 4 the only release I had was getting high it became a way of life.

    Fast forward when I was 23 I decided to go on a methodone programme to get clean it took 2 long years but I finally did it I feel so proud of myself I would never use heroin again !!! It ruined my life & I think I have congenital problems from Il using at such a young age.

    I was unfortunate yto suffer from slipped disks & back problems but iv tried so long not to take opiates but sometimes the pain is too great some days I'm in bed screaming this is when I need the morphine I hate taking it & I use my dihydrocodine for days at a time then I go through a small withdrawal but I don't want to be hooked on opiates again I hate this.

    I do hope you get rid of this addiction but shat will you do if you are in pain ??

    All the best Katie 😊

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    • Posted

      Hi Katie, it sure does sound like you've been through it! I hope you are feeling better now? It takes time doesn't it.

      I'm in pain every day and i just have to deal with it for now. My main worry is when I'm in dire need of pain relief should I require another operation. Which is looking extremely likely now.

      What you have done is very admirable. I really do think that you have done amazing things to turn your life around.

      All the best.

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  • Posted

    I've been an addict for 15 years, yes I'm in pain and I think that while ever you're in pain I personally think ou need meds. I know exactly how you feel. It is a very honest and open post and I too have done cold water extraction.

    I wish you well and hope you can find the ite balance like I have( well almost lol). Always remember to put your children first. It's helped me to focus more when I think about my son.

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  • Posted

    WOW...I read your post and it is as they say "same chit, different day!" I have same issues..I had to have 3 back surgeries within a two year period, I couldn't take the pain and spasms that threw me to the floor any longer.

    My first surgery almost killed me, I got an infection in my central IV line causing me to max out all of my medical benefits. Before surgery, I took some of everything for pain, all prescribed by my doctor. Anyway, because of maxing out all coverage I had to pay cash for everything...including my pain medication. The medication was over $600 a month so, the pain management doctor put me on helps with the pain and isn't expensive but..It. has been a real live nightmare....

    Everything from being accused of being a heroine user to telling me I can't get a refill because I am on a dose higher than the insurance will pay for or authorize.

    I gradually went up tp 200mg daily and was told "don't worry about addiction, you will need pain medication the rest of your life" Reluctantly I gave in and it was the beginning of my horror....

    I am now down to 80mg daily (self weaned) but I am harrassed and made to jump thru hoops to find a pharmacy to fill my prescription. Then I found a mail order pharmacy who would fill my prescription rules regulations and limits on prescribing Methadone. That's another long story, but I mailed in my prescription about 10 days before I would run out of the meds I was taking. It was due to arrive no later than 2/5/16... It never came...I have been forced to begin "cold turkey" withdrawals...I was told to go to the Emergency room ($250 copay) but the medication is under $50.... of course I called and the pharmacy they said I can't get anything til after 3/10/16 because of the new guidelines. I had my doctor authorize me it went thru I payed for over night shipping it was suppose to arrive is Monday mind you my medication ran out over 15 days ago...anyway I again called the pharmacy and was told it takes at least 5 days to process here I am hot, cold, nauseous, headaches, can't find a comfortable position to stand, sit or lie down in, I feel like I have a bad flu after being run over by a whole thought is I regret the day I ever took Methadone. As of today I have 5 back infusions, four buldging discs in my neck, severe arthritis and NOTHING FOR question is does anyone know how long withdrawals will take??????? Are you better????? How long before you felt better???? Frustrated and sick Please help by responding.. anyone


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