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i'm only 18 and i've already been in rehab for drug use, and my main weakness is codeine. i use about 2-3 bottles of rikodeine everyday and each bottle has about 380 mg of codeine and i top it up with mersydol and panadein forte that i'd broken down to remove the paracetamol. it all started when i was having migrains when i was 10 and a doctor gave me bulk panadein forte every time i saw him, and i started abusing it when i was 12, and i have bipolar disorder so this was largely an attempt to self medicate and a few times a desperate attempt to kill myself.. giving it up was probably one of the most horrible things i've ever gone through (with all the shaking and sweating and headaches) but apart from the physical withdrawl the hardest thing was trying to cope with the psychological dependance, as i had started to see the drug as being like a 'friend'.

i really urge anyone who finds themselves addicted to codein to get some help. i did a group therapy program as an inpatient which helped me be diagnosed correctly and put on the right meds. it was my parents who forced me into hospital after a suicide attempt and i'll never be able to thank them enough. it was hard but getting off it was the best thing i ever did. my liver has since healed it self and i'm alot more healthier and happier and nw going to uni to study law. it's something that would have eventually killed me or probably lead to a full blown heroin addiction, and that's something that scares me alot. even now that i'm well i feel tempted to use again, but i think of all the people i've hurt, all the times i've collapsed in public and made a fool of myself.

to everyone in this forum, i have great sympathy for you and wish you all the best for your recovery. you CAN do it and it is really worth it, if not for yourself but for all the people who care about you and hurt for your suffering. good luck. xx

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I am so glad that you posted this because I think that it does help to talk about your issues and get it out of your system. It's hard sometimes for people to get better even after getting forced into treatment, so I'm glad that it took so well! Do you have any tips or guidance for someone else who would be going through something like this?
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thanks for your post, it's nice to get some feedback!

most drug addiction programs start with the 'first step' of admitting you have a problem, i know it sounds corny but i think it's probably the most important step. it gets very easy to justify using to yourself and to try and hide it from everyone else, but usually people close to you know there is something going on and you should be willing to listen to their concerns as it really brings you back down to earth and makes you realise you're not just affecting yourself but also the people to care about you (and they are probably sick with worry!!!) It's also hard to get around the stigma and shame around having a "drug problem" (most of which i inflicted on myself) but you can really win back your own respect when you realise that you are very capable of beating it and pledging to follow through with the treatment.

i would highly recommend group programs - they are quite confronting, but i probably learnt more about myself than i ever did in private therapy. it helps to have people around you who are committed to the same goal of getting clean and when you meet people who have developed addictions to very serious drugs and they tell you they started in the same way, it's a real eye opener.

also if you are using any other drugs it's always a good idea to really distance yourself from those people who are encouraging it...i lost a lot of friends when i cleaned up my act but in the end i realised that they can't be very good friends if they are only interested in filling you up with poisons.

probably the biggest tip i have is to be honest about your addiction - if you see a new GP tell them upfront that you've struggled with codeine or other prescription drugs because it gets rid of that temptation of wondering in there and BS about having chronic headaches or backaches or whatever excuse you come up with to get a script filled. then they can also be mindful of potentially prescribing things that you could be tempted to misuse, and they can be the first point of action if you want to get referred to a clinic or an outpatient program. it's also a good idea to say NO to a pharmacist when they recommend products with codeine in it.( i've relapsed before because i thought i would be able to handle taking two pain killers for period pain, and ended up using the whole packet very quickly.) there is usually always alternative products which work just as well. after seeing another doctor i found there was other medications that worked far better for my migraines than all the other codeine based meds i'd been prescribed, and it's very liberating to feel that you can take control of your own health without feeling like the medication is controlling you! unfortunately it can be very difficult for anyone who has suffered from addictions to prescription or pharmacy medication as every time i go to pick up my medication (for the bipolar) i'm confronted by a huge array of bottles and packets of pills and it's always very tempting. i think any addiction, and particularly opiate based addictions, stay with you long after you have "recovered" and it's just something you always have to be very mindful of it.

also if you can't get into a clinic based program (they can be expensive) it's always a good idea to keep an eye out for free public groups that are set up at many community centres or public hospitals. also there is a great website called codeine free which has forums similar to this one, but is completely dedicated to this issue so it's full of members going through the same thing or are helping their family/friends, etc

the website is: http://www.codeinefree.me.uk/

hope this is helpful to anyone who is looking to free themselves from addiction, whether it be from codeine or any other drugs!
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Again--really awesome so thanks for posting on that. Can you tell me if there's any type of groups that you'd recommend? I've heard mixed feedback on Narc Anon so I'm wondering how you feel about them. Thanks!
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hm, to be honest i haven't had any experience with NA but i guess any for of help is better than nothing... the place i went to was a private clinic, pretty much a 'mental hospital' (although it was more like a hotel really, lol) so your days were regulated with "classes" and group therapy during the day and then you just hang out with the other patients the rest of the time. the thing with places like that is it can be very restrictive (i.e you can't leave and are harrassed by the nurses a bit, pretty much no privacy too) but i had gone "voluntarily" because i would have been sectioned otherwise and because of the condition i was in mentally i was on constant 'checks' and had no escorted leave) . i didnt actually do any of the drug therapy programs until the second time i was admitted because it was just too confronting so i was doing depression/anxiety groups before it. I've also done CBT (cognitive behavoural therapy) which was fantastic and very worthwhile but is something i would only recommend doing once you are well as you need to be pretty clear headed to get the most out of it. all up i spent about 5 months in hospital over 3 visits.

i guess whether you would want to go into a full inpatient sort of environment would depend on how severe your addiction is...going through the physical withdrawl (which is a bit like having a bad case of the flu really but with more psychological stuff attached) is better in a hospital, you can't run to the chemist when you get weak!... it might be worth checking out your local NA and get a feel for the environment and the sort of people who are in there and to see how it is being run. the first time i was in hospital and i went to one of the drug therapy classes i freaked out and left half way through and on reflection i think this was not only due to the fact that i hadn't accepted that i had an addiction, but also because there was alot of negative people who were doing the class at that time. sometimes it can help to have people in there that can shock you a bit (like full blown heroin junkies who tell you they started out doing codeine and it grew from there) but sometimes you end up leaving with some unhelpful ideas...our group had a 'no naming rule' where you had to be pretty vague about drug names, so you didn't trigger cravings in poeple. it can be pretty hard especially if you are going through the withdrawl for people to be saying the name of your enemy over and over again. you don't want to go to a group and find it to be just a gossip session for self indulgent druggies. i have been to a few dodgy public groups and ended up leaving armed with more knowledge about which drugs to look out for, but they are not all like that.

one thing i would really recommend is getting in touch with a psychologist, especially one with experience in drug addiction (you canget a referral from a GP) as they can also try and help you sort out any underlying issues that may have contributed to you getting addicted in the first place (and if need be a psychiatrist would be the next point of call and these people would know all about the really helpful groups in your area - save you doing all the research yourself). pretty much every person i have met in the programs had suffered from a mental illness, and were usually self medicating. for me it was to get rid of the root of the problem, and it helped the addcition sort of dissolve itself.

id be interested to hear a bit about your own story (although i understand if you would not want to share)

i hope this was helpfull xx
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WEll actually to be honest my story isn't related to me but to a cousin of mine who had gone through treatment and it was all through Narc Anon and that sort of thing. I wasn't too thrilled with how it ended up but I think it was definitely as you say better than nothing. I think that if we'd been able to have a treatment program like what you did that it would've been better but as best I know those places cost a lot of money that my aunt and uncle did not have. Thanks again for letting me know about everything you went through. :-)
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