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I've been to hell and back over the last few years with cocodamol. I became heavily addicted to these after an accident. I recently went through addiction services and after 18 months I was clean for the first time in years. At one stage I was taking up to 50 a day. Doctors didn't believe me at first saying I should be dead but my body became nearly immune to them after years of abuse. I got a new job after being off for three years, was living a fairly normal life booked a holiday to treat my wife who has been very supportive over the years knowing I didn't do this intentionally. A mixture of my personality and a doctor who would prescribe near enough anything I asked for didn't help. So on said holiday after doing a reduction plan with community addiction team and help from local charity, I fell flat on my face. I was doing a codeine 30mg reduction plan, dispensed daily from my pharmacy, from 8 a day down to 1 a day dropping 1 tablet every two weeks, I had to get my medication for a month in one go for my holiday. That was me, I hadn't even got off the plane and I had ate all the codeine. The next month was spent in a stupor. Where I was on hols, you could buy whatever you wanted in any chemist and if they didn't ha it it would be there the following morning for you. My wife caught on straight away with the usual question, "are you stoned again?" I've been back now for a couple of months and added a new drug to my addiction list. Because I couldn't get the required amount of codeine I resorted to pregabalin, using codeine one day and pregabalin the next splitting my days up. My new job is starting to suffer. The pregabalin makes me very tired and I struggle to get out of bed in the mornings. On top of that my job involves a lot of travelling and staying on my own in hotels etc resulting in the boredom kicking in and me reaching for tablets. I have managed to even avoid random drug tests carried out by my employers, (don't ask how) and even the routine ones I can produce an old cocodamol prescription and get away with it.

Most recently there I ended up very sick in hospital there and they kept me in for over a week. It wasn't where I lived and therefore they didn't have my medical records to check my background. I thought I was a goner. I said my goodbyes to my wife. I knew what was wrong. I tried to go cold turkey and failed miserably. I only came around in the hospital after a consultant instructed the nurse to give me codeine for the pain. I came round in a shot. Over 7 days I had lost nearly a stone in weight. I feel so guilty for not coming clean about my addiction taking up a bed in hospital but I knew if I had have told them I would be discharged and was really frightened I wasn't going to make it and didn't want my wife having to deal with that on her own.

But of background on me. I have worked every day for the last 20 years until my accident. I started of on morphine drip, morphine tablets, tramadol, other pain killers and then cocodamol. I never thought this would happen to me. I went from £50000 a year to incapacity benefit. My life has ended up in a real mess. My family fell out with me, I lost friends, all I wanted to do was sit in the house and eat tablets all day every day and when I couldn't get them lie in bed. My kids stopped talking to me eventually resulting in me reaching for help and after 18 months becoming clean, but boy have I messed up. I am that low at the minute if it wasn't for my wife I don't think I'd be here and even she doesn't realise the extent of this as I'm away working.

I know what I have to do. I need to get help again but the shame is almost unbearable. I am worried sick about my family finding out again, losing my job. I'm doing quite a job in masquerading this from my employers and work colleagues but because of the nature of my job, I'm my own boss most of the time and can look after it that way. I'd be immediately sacked if found out.

I'm wouldn't say I'm worse than before but I'm probably taking 30x30mg codeine phosphate one day and 14x300mg pregabalin the next and so on. Even my stint in hospital isn't stopping me.

The only thing keeping me going is trying to make sure my wife and kids are ok financially, clearing all my debts, making sure if anything does happen my mrs won't struggle.

Scared, worried and alone is how I feel right now. I know this is a bit long winded but I needed to tell someone and this forum has been there before for me. So thank you all for reading.

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    First of all try to work out how many you think you can manage on and drop a tablet or two a week, you've shown you can do it before, be honest with your family as they are your support network, be honest with your doctor too they will help you, tell them you have had a relapse it hapens to the best of us, I have on many occasions with the codeine, but today instead of the usual huge doses I used to take I've had about 10 and not 30 that I used to. I have also been taking DLPA and Magnesium supplements too, they have been helping with cravings and elevating my moods by creating dopamine which our brains get flooded with because of the codeine. You can do it again, I believe in you!
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  • Posted

    I'd start reducing Pregabalin. It's worse than the codeine. You maybe should search for a clinic that will ofer a genuine holistic solution ? I feel for you. Good luck.
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    • Posted

      You too :-) we will all get there it just takes time, mine is also for genuine pain too where I fractured my shoulder so I am reducing the dose I take but still I need to control the pain
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  • Posted

    Hi Alleo, I was taking up to 96 Nurofen plus a day! I went to the doctor who would only allow me 6 x 30mg codeine phosphate daily! I did it for a few weeks until recently when I have gone back up to 64+ a day.....scary! starting tomorrow I'm only allowing myself 2 spoons of codeine linctus when I cant handle the withdrawal symptoms any more! The linctus is 15mg every 5mls! I'm hoping it works this time! My doctors are useless and the drug clinic ain't much better lol! Good luck and don't be too hard on yourself as you have CAN and WILL do this I know you can!


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  • Posted

    Thank you so much folks. ive spent the last few hours on the phone to my mrs and a close friend telling them what has happened. They understand and are going to help me get through this. Next stop is the Drs on Monday, I am anxious of how this will go feeling that I've let her down too after helping me through this the last time. (Not same Dr who prescribed me all the meds before).

    Do I ask the Dr for codeine linctus and magnesium? Ive never heard of this before.

    Once again thank you for your replies and words of kindness and support. It means a lot. Being away, alone is really getting to me. I sit in the hotel room taking these while the rest of the lads are out for beers, dinner and watching football. I really need to get help.

    I'll keep you posted how I get on over the next few days. Thanks

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    • Posted

      Codiene phosphate is most likely, i bought my magnesium in Holland and Barrett along with my DLPA supplement which took away my cravings, don't ask her for anything specific see what she says first and see what she is comfortable to prescribe, I'm not sure where you are but in the UK codiene phosphate isn't licensed for opiate withdrawal and taper plans so it depends on how comfortable he or she is with prescribing outside of the NICE guidelines if your in the UK. Whatever happens the doctor will be able to help you. Well done for making the first steps again, relapse happens and you have recognised that it has, your making the changes and will be on the path again soon.
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    • Posted

      Well folks, I suppose I can give you an update now.

      I hit a brick wall, lost my job, £1000 a week to an agency post at £300. Back home, my codeine and cocodamol use has spiralled out of control. Only last night I came clean to my mum, dad and sister. I had to, I messed up at the weekend big time, I was supposed to look after my nephew and couldn't even see straight.

      So it's all out in the open now. Took two months and losing a job to get me to realise what I was doing.

      I have been at the docs numerous times for another reason but still haven't came clean about this. I'm on 30/500s x25-30 one day and today is lyrica day and I've 2100mg in me now. This is good for me as I'm now being honest with everyone. They know the craic what is going on and are not being hard on me, my dad especially who at 40 year old I'm still scared of him even seeing me smoking but he was fantastic. I'm very lucky to have these people in my life and also everyone on here.

      Thank you for being there.

      I'm getting there, slowly, don't want to give up as I'm scared to be without them but know it's coming. The walk of shame I feel I am going to have to do to the docs but has to be done.

      Thanks folks.

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    • Posted

      Hi Nikki,

      Thanks for asking.

      I'm slowly getting there.

      Have an appointment with community addictions team on 15th December .

      I've had a real bad weekend.

      Didn't go to work today.

      I've a few personal things going on with my family, finding it hard to deal with.

      Still on 20+ codeine a day and 1200mg of lyrica.

      Taking its toll on my body. I'm seeing things, flashes when I look at people, but feeling calm. My life at the moment is all about getting tablets and worrying about running out or being without them.

      The family things are out of my control and it's hard not being in control of them!

      I'll keep you posted.

      And thanks again for your reply.


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    • Posted


      I can relate. Im almost 3 weeks clean. I was taking 30 codeine/ibuprofen a day. I thought I couldn't survive detox again so I'd convinced myself that the rest of my life would revolve around pills and a desperate attempt to avoid the torture of withdrawals.

      After I took my last dose it was about 12 hours before I started feeling like crap, 24 hours and the restless legs/arms kicked in. This for me is pure torture. If there is a hell it is an eternity with non stop restless legs. This and the insomnia are always the 2 that break me. I didn't sleep for 5 days and 6 nights. On the 6th day my body shut down finally but only for 20 minutes as the restless legs somehow managed to over power my need for sleep. I thought I was gonna die. On day 6 i went to the doctor because I could take it anymore. I knew what I was going to ask for a I'd spent those agonizing 6 days awake researching anything that would help. It's worth mentioning I've tried almost everything. Magnesium, valerian, passionflower, hops, melatonin, restavit, unisom, lyrica, weed. The last 2 are the only things that gave me any relief. I don't think I'd have stuck it out without them. If you don't mind my asking why you are taking such a high dose of lyrica?

      Sorry for rambling smile I thought it might help to know I know what you're going through (regarding painkillers). I know the anxiety of just the thought of not taking them anymore. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I know it feels and appears like death but keep reminding yourself that you're stronger than the pills. Coz you are. I have all my faith in you smile

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    • Posted

      Hi Nikki,

      Thanks for your reply.

      Where do I start!!

      The last two, lyrica and weed are what helped me try and cut down on the codeine. Why am I taking so much lyrica? I suppose the only answer to that is because I liked the way it made me feel. It was giving me a break front the cocos! And now I'm stuck on them too.

      I was in a real high intensity job and was thriving and when that went I fell back into tablets.

      The restless legs are are bit of a nightmare but I've got used to them now.

      Sleeping isn't to bad when you have the lyrica. I need to be honest and tell you I'm taking amitripiline at night too.

      I've the docs in the morning, first time since coming out seeing my doctor, not to sure how it will go. Wee bit anxious about it, but it has to be done.

      Another thing is tinnitus, I've been suffering really bad with it and when I take lyrica it kind of deadens the ringing. I've noticed when I take codeine it gets worse, same as smoking a joint, it gets worse but the lyrica kind of helps.

      I dread the withdrawal, I'm not looking forward to it but it has to be done.

      My appointment with the community addictions team is not for another two weeks so I'm preparing myself to come of it then. Wee bit worried but it has to be done.

      Again, thanks for reply and I'll keep you posted.

      I've 14 x 30mgs codeine and 1400mgs lyrica in me today already and have another 14 codeine left and I know I won't settle until I eat them and worry about it tomorrow.

      Thanks Nikki!

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