You can win against opioids

Posted , 9 users are following.

This is a long read but if you're struggling with opiate withdrawal my story might help.

I was first prescribed codeine after dental surgery, nothing much came of it but I knew I liked the feeling.

The second time was after I broke my thumb. Coincidentally I was also going through some upheaval in my life, and I discovered very quickly that the codeine soothed this just as much as my injury.

For the several years that followed, I would buy a pack of codeine here and there to soothe my anxiety. This escalated to daily use of between 60-150 nurofen plus pills before I even knew what was happening.

I had a local pharmacy that would supply me with two packets per day without fail. There were three others who would supply me with one packet if not daily, then every other day.

I was both amazed and relieved that it was actually that easy, but I guess in their eyes I was a customer in corporate wear who drove a nice car, had a good job and was always polite and friendly.

I actually couldn't tell you how many times I tried to stop, I'd get anywhere up to 3-4 days and bust when the diarrhoea, night sweats, insomnia, exhaustion and RLS got too bad. In my mind I needed to function in life and was getting life done on pills.

Eventually I went overseas for a wedding. I stocked up over the week prior and smuggled 11 packets in various checked and carry on luggage so as not to arouse suspicion going through customs. I even conned my doctor into giving me a note saying I needed it for back pain just in case. Despite all this preparation, I ran out halfway though my holiday and was forced into detoxing as I was unable to get any more until I got home.

In the departure lounge coming home I was ready to tear my skin from my body and after a 7 hour flight delay, my scrambled brain decided the only thing for it was Valium. The whole packet of Valium. I don't remember clearing customs when I got home, what I do remember is waking up after I passed out behind the wheel driving home from the airport and had comletely wrecked my car. I was lucky to be alive, but that wasn't the first time my life was put at risk that week.

I was able to get my hands on more pills the following day, but by then I was so unwell from the detox that I couldn't keep them down.

Two days later I was hospitalised. My body had shut down to the point that I was at serious risk of heart failure (I am a 35 year old woman) and needed to be fed potassium 24 hours a day through an intravenous drip for a week so that my muscle function could return to minimum levels.

The next 2 weeks were unequivocally the worst days of my life. Every symptom of withdrawal there is, I had. The insomnia, the night sweats (on the odd occasion that I did achieve R.E.M. sleep), RLS, anxiety and of course the one you never seem to hear about; the exhaustion. I couldn't even do the dishes without needing to lie down afterwards.

Then it started to get better.

After 2 weeks I could perform my job and get most things done. I was sleeping and eating more.

After 3 weeks I was functioning almost normally day to day.

After 5 weeks the night sweats and RLS stopped.

I won't lie, there where many moments during that time when I was convinced things wouldn't get better. But they did and my life has been a daily blessing ever since.

That was 13 months ago and I have never looked back, and for what they're worth, these are the things that helped me through:

- TELL SOMEONE. You need someone to keep you accountable, but most importantly (and I can't emphasise this enough) you need someone to acknowledge and celebrate your milestones. When someone loses weight or quits smoking, everyone tells you how great you're doing. That won't happen here, most people will have no idea what you've achieved, so you need trusted loved ones to cheer you on.

- DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. If you can, drink water with dissolvable electrolytes in it. As much as possible. Your body needs to heal and this is a great foundation.

- MAKE HEALTHY MEALS. I know you're exhausted and cooking anything is a drain, but if you make something like a healthy soup (no canned stuff, you're body will not thank you for that) you can make a lot of it at once and just heat up a bowl as you need it.

- BE KIND AND PATIENT WITH YOURSELF. This is difficult, and that's ok. Have a cry, ask for a hug. Your cheerleaders will be more than happy to oblige.

Good luck and don't give up, you've got this xx

2 likes, 20 replies

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20 Replies

  • Posted

    So happy for you.  And so proud of you!You are so brave.  What an amazing thing you have done.  Gives the rest of us so much to look fwd to.Wish you had written more about your journey, Sezzum.
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    • Posted

      Thank you for replying sharon03819 smile

      I tried to cull my post as much as possible, i tend to talk too much and didn't want to lose folks halfway through lol

      This problem is so much wider than anyone wants to admit, it affects people from all walks of life (I'm a professional with a career and a mortgage, not the stereotype everyone likes to think we are), but the struggle to recover is the same. It's brutal the things withdrawal puts us through sad

      My detox was such a haze of anxiety and feeling unwell that it can be difficult to really detail it. I remember feeling like it would never stop, like i was doomed to feel sick and exhausted and frightened and just awful forever. I couldn't tell you how many times during detox i just rocked and sobbed and begged the sky to anyone who might be listening to help me through. The thing i wanted more than anything was to find someone who had beat it. Someone who could tell me that they swam through the waters of horror and came out well on the other side.

      I guess that's why i wanted to come on here, so i can offer that hope to others, because all i could find was people like me looking for hope and nobody offering it.

      I want to let everyone to know that the anxiety won't last (unless it's an existing condition of course). You will be able to sleep a restful night and wake up in dry sheets. You will be able to get up and perform the duties of a day without needing to rest all the time. It will just take a couple of weeks, you just have to be strong for yourself and grit your teeth through the darker moments and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel xx

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    • Posted

      Inspirational Sezzum - I’m nearing end of Day5 of CT after 10 years of codeine. I’ve done CT around 20 times and each time it gets harder, including rehab last year. 

      Wish I’d found these forums earlier 

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    • Posted

      Hi steve0671 i really hope you're still hanging in there! The first 5 days are always the worst, if you can get through the next couple of days you're really past the hardest part smile

      The exhaustion was always the part that derailed me, it takes a little longer for that to pass but i promise it will xx

      Good luck and never stop trying xx

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    • Posted

      Hey Sezzum - Thanks 

      Yup, still going smile 9 days now and definitely getting more manageable 

      - hot baths

      - valerian tea & sleep tea from twinnings

      - lemsip day & night capsules

      - ibuprofen 

      - magnesium 

      - NeuroRest tablets

      - weed every 1-2 days (really don’t enjoy it, but helps sleep)

      - lots of herbal tea

      Having to force myself to eat & you’re spot on about the exhaustion, hoping to get back to gentle gym sessions next week. 

      Hope alls well with you my friend 

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    • Posted

      steve0671 that is amazing!! Gym will do wonders for your recovery when you can get back to it! I know it really helped me (:

      thank you for adding all the things that have helped you too, people need these tips to get through the tough times.

      awesome work!! Well done xx

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  • Posted

    Hey thanks for your story, I’m sitting in detox right now with a story very similar, I used to get nervous about the phone going and the door going and one day came across dhidricodeine my partner got for his foot, I took two and loved the buzz, they made me feel on top of the world I could do anything I wanted, I didn’t feel nervous or anything, I then went up to 4 a day until June this year when I went abroad, I took loads but I ran out, I was taking 8-10 a day, I was in turkey, I went on every Facebook turkey tourist page and begged and got a good few packs from strangers (I walked miles in 50 plus heat) that’s when I knew I had a problem, I got home and broke my back the following day so was told to take 8 but if not working then to take 16, that’s when it got out of hand, I was using between 30 & 40 a day, so easy just to hide with this addiction, I’m currently in rehab and I won’t lie, my body is shaking from head to toe but I’m being well looked after, it’s one of the hardest things iv ever done and I blame myself, why did I do this to myself ?? I done this all by myself and initially it took my worry’s away yet all this has left me with in the end Is seriously bad thoughts of harming myself, why did I do this?? Anyone who’s thinking of doing this DONT, if you can stop now please do, so bloody hard to do it when you could stop now, don’t keep it going. Please seek help, this is killing me xx

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    • Posted

      Hey emma17237 I hope you're still staying strong. I'm glad you're in a facility at the moment, I think my recovery might have been better managed if I had done that too.

      Just try to take it one step at a time, our bodies take a beating when we drop all those pills and it takes time to adjust.

      Keep going you can do this x

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  • Posted

    So glad you managed to come off them! I managed to quit Tramadol twice cold turkey after taking them for over 10 years. But trying to taper Oxycontin is a million times worse than any tramadol or Codeine addiction. I just can't seem to do it. The tramadol withdrawal was hellish for about a month, but ~I was pregnant and decided not to taper but to just quit cold turkey. I was an emotional wreck having panic attacks, vommitiing, insomnia, RLS you name it I had it. Unfortunately after I had a C section to have my child they ruptured my bowels leaving me with a colostomy bag and 2 months in intensive care. Then I was put on Oxycontin which was 5 years ago. I have been up at 500mg a day at my worse and now down to 150mg but finding it nearly impossible to taper further. I thought the Tramadol withdrawal was bad but this is torture. I pass out a lot, I've had a few seizures and trying to work full time in a pretty good job just isn't helping. Dealing with clients while I'm sweating buckets and very short tempered is horrific. I pray it will get easier.

    Well done you've done amazing!!

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    • Posted

      Hi Inkypinky (:

      i cant imagine what you're going through, everyone I know who has gone through oxy detox has said how brutal it is. With little ones to care for it would be even harder.

      are you in consultation with your doctor about your symptoms? Is it worth taking some leave from work and have your little ones stay with a relative while you manage your detox?

      stay strong, let me know if you need to talk xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Sezzum.

      Firstly very well done for coming off the codeine & sticking with it. I don't believe that people who have never experienced coming off an addiction of any kind unless they've experienced it for themselves, realise just how hard it is to do!! It is quite possibly the hardest thing I've ever had to do In my life!

      As Inkypinky says I think the harder the drug the more difficult although alot of the symptoms are the same & it's still an addiction!

      I was an Operations Manager for a large company with a brand new sporty Lexus on my drive paying 40% tax. Now, I have nothing & it's all, I would say down to my addiction but it's also down to my degenerative disc Desease in my back which is the reason I became an addict in the first place.

      I believe No matter how much counselling you get to come off whatever it is you're addicted too, something has to snap inside you where you finally say: "I've had enough & want my life back" until you get to that point, you will never be free form the addiction!

      I also agree with what Inkypinky said regarding Oxycontin. I was addicted to Oxy for around 8yrs & I took my last one in August 2016 & haven't touched one since but, due to the amount, around 1500mgs per day! (Enough to kill 3 men plus 2 elephants & a horse) 😆 I did ok tapering till I got to 320mgs per day then I hit a brick wall & could not drop another 1mg no matter how I tried. So I was put on methadone of which I'm nearly almost free from due to tapering also.

      I also believe that taking all that Oxycontin for all the years i took it for, it has done irreversible damage to me!

      My memory has totally gone, I had no sex drive at all for over 4years due to my testosterone level being zero of which I'm now having Nebido hormone Injections every 3 months & that comes with its very own set of side effects!

      I have other issues that Oxy has caused that no one will ever admit too but i know that it has caused all the issues I have Now!

      After all this time i am Only just starting to get back to some kind of normality & i will never forgive Purdue Pharma for manufacturing a drug that has totally destroyed my life, as well as very many thousands of others especially in Canada & the states. They've not been found close to $700million to date in Lawsuits for no reason!

      So Thank you for posting your story & it will help others but i also do believe it depends on what you take, the amount & for how long and obviously it also depends on who you are as a person as everyone is different.

      Ive waffled on enough as i usually do So, very well done to you for breaking free & claiming your life back!! You should be very proud! Well done!!!

      Take care

      Ritchie xx

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    • Posted

      My memory has totally gone, I’ll agree it’s the hardest thing iv ever done, I wouldn’t go thro it again, if I became addicted again I’d just continue because that was a hard hard road to recovery, I’m still recovering but I’m back to work now, I’m trying to live a normal life, I broke my back and sternum and that’s how I ended up on 40 a day, dr didn’t help with my injuries or even X-ray me all they done was gave out pills, I’m still on pills now to stop me taking dhc and codeine phosphate, crazy, I’m on Naltrexone and that seems to be working, iv not used any crap in 23 days and that’s massive to me because I couldn’t go 24 hours if I’m honest, bloody hard and never again!!
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    • Posted

      Well done Emma!!!!

      I don't think I could ever go through it again to be honest. It was the worst time of my life & the side effects I still get 18 months after taking the last one are just not worth it!

      I take nothing at all for the pain now & I'm in agony almost 24/7 but if never go back there!!

      Well done to you & keep it up!

      Ritchie xx

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for sharing this Ritchie2168 (:

      In order for the world to take this epidemic seriously, we need more people to speak out to show that this affects so many different human beings from so many different backgrounds. We need to break the stigma that people who suffer from opiate addiction are just twitching junkies in an alleyway.

      I am so sorry to hear how badly opiates have affected your life and health, but am so happy for you with the progress you have made and I hope you find a way to manage that back pain, as someone who has also suffered back injury I know how much it can affect quality of life.

      Take care friend xxx

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your comment sezzum!

      What happened to me can happen to absolutely anyone!

      I've never touched any illegal drugs in my life before this happened to me & it did destroy my life.

      It was my own choice to come off all that Oxycontin after I realised what it was doing to me. My Dr was more than happy to keep upping the dose all time as the more I took, the more often I had to take it to stop getting sick. It was just a vicious circle as im sure you know.

      The other Dr's were even telling my Dr that I shouldn't be on the amount I was on & they kept telling her I could easily overdose!!

      I feel so bad for those effected in America & Canada where Dr's put patients on Oxy then just stop them when they're already dependent! Which is why they have no choice but to turn to heroin to prevent from getting very sick through withdrawals! That really stinks, its like they get some kind of sick thrill from playing God with people's lives & it needs to stop!!

      Take care

      Ritchie xx

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    • Posted

      I share your frustrations Ritchie. The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most profitable industries in the world and instead of doctors following their calling to heal people, they are incentivised to drug us to the eyeballs with little regard for consequence.

      Us little people at the other end of the food chain mean nothing to them unfortunately, which is why it's so important for us to support one another (:

      Look after yourself Ritchie please let me know if i can offer any support xx

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