I am writing a diary for myself and to gain any advice. I have been addicted to codeine for about 12 years. As background, I started getting migraines when I was 7. At the age of 12 I got a severe migraine that wouldn't end. I spent months in the hospital undergoing many tests. I found out I had other issues, but nothing to explain the daily headached. I have been living with a headache 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year for about 18 years now. In junior high/high school, my doctor just kept prescribing Tylenol 3. I got addicted. I found it took more to create the same effect and started going to many walk-in clinics to obtain more. Then somebody told me you could get Tylenol 1 (8mg codeine per pill) without a prescription. So that is what I have been on for about 11 years.
As this drug has a "ceiling effect" I find that I constantly need to take more. The first time I tried to quit cold turkey was about 6 years ago. I ended up with such a sever migraine I had to get a shot of demerol.
In April of 2007 it became a legal requirement that pharmicists are to record all sales of this drug. Most sales are now joined to our central Health Care system so each pharmacy can look it up on their own. For this reason, I am having a harder time obtaining my drugs. I have done many things I am not proud of, such as putting them under the names of family and friends.
I have always justified it that I would not be able to function daily without these pills as the headaches are too much to handle.
So I have been taking about 100 pills per day. This is a cost of around $300 per month.
I have made a conscious decision that it needs to stop. Yesterday I made my first attempt.
I woke up in the morning with a headache. I took 3 doses throughout the morning of a total of probably 28 pills. For the remainder of the day I took 2 oxycodone and 4 Aleve to avoid the migraine I was so desperately trying to avoid.
The day went surprisingly well and I took the last 2 Aleve right before bed. At about 2:00am I was up with diarrhea, cold sweats and a strong agitation. I could feel a migraine starting strong on the right side. I stayed up for awhile and made the decision that cold turkey may not be my best option.
I took 3 doses for a total of 22 pills over the course of an hour and a half. I went back to bed, and awoke without the migraine.
The withdrawal symptoms really surprised me. I have decided to try weaning (or tapering) as my better option for now.
I am a mother of 2 children, and a professional. I can't stop my life to overcome this, though I have looked at some options.
Today I will have to pick up some more pills. I haven't gotten any since Thursday when I got 100. So that is actually really good for me.
I will try to write daily as to pills taken, withdrawal symptoms, etc.
Biomajor'10 - Thank you for the support. I find this to be such a hard and embarassing thing to discuss and that really means alot.
Yesterday late afternoon I took a dose of 7 pills. My normal is anywhere from 9 - 15 at a time. Then later I took 11. I felt really disappointed in myself for taking them. That gave me a total of 40 pills yesterday. I did not, however, go through any withdrawal symptoms. I don't feel quite right, kind of a steady headache and an "off" feeling.
This morning I woke up with a migraine starting on my left side. I am terrified of getting a full-blown migraine and ruining the progress I have already made. I had to take two doses this morning, one of 7 pills and then one of 9 pills. I am running out at lunchtime to pick up Maxalt, my migraine medication so I have that on hand.
I have a feeling today may be a difficult day but I will try. I am actually relatively proud of myself. Yesterday I took only 40% of what I normally would have. I did buy 100 pills yesterday, but the bottle remains unopened at this moment.
I find I am just beating myself up. I have been able to quit hard drugs in the past cold turkey, and I do not understand why this is so difficult. I think part of it is the length of time I have been on codeine. I think the big reason is that I do suffer from daily chronic pain. I am scared that I won't ever function normally without the codeine due to the intensity of the constant pain. But if I can clear all this out of my system, everything may improve.
I will keep up the effort and the updates!
there is no need to be embarassed. you atleast have the guts to say i have a problem and i want to fight through it and get back what i had. thats a heck of a lot more than most people in your situation. A friend of mine just lost one of his best friends this weekend to a heroine overdose. my friend has also been on numerous types of drugs including morphiene and codiene. he claims hes been off it pretty much since july but a few weeks ago he slipped out of the back of a pickup truck and hurt his knee so he took a couple pills for that. anyways i believe the reason that this is so hard to quit because you have been on them for so long. as with any physically addicting drug your body builds up tolorance to it overtime and this is why you have to keep taking more and more to get the same effect. these drugs affect the nerotransmitters in your brain and release chemicals that mimmick the natural chemicals in your body that make you "feel good" such as dopamine and seratonin. because your brain gets overloaded with these mimmiking chemicals so much your body starts to become numb from the stimulation and this is why your body craves more. when you dont give your body more thats when all of these horrible withdrawl symptomes occur. Does this make sense?
keep fighting and every day is a nother step forward. sometimes keeping that unopened bottle of pills can be a great incentive or a security blanket to have them but not use them can be comforting to people because then know that the pills are there "if they need them".....
best of luck keep up the great work :-D
Anyways, I feel like a million bucks today! Yesterday afternoon I struggled through a headache without taking anything. By evening, I decided to take some as withdrawal (sweats, diarrhea) was kicking in. All in all, I took 35 pills yesterday. While that sounds like a lot, keep in mind I was taking 100 per day just a few short days ago.
This morning I got up and, believe it or not, taking the pills was not the FIRST thing on my mind for a change. I was feeling quite good, touch of a headache. I decided to take a smaller dose this morning and see if that can last until after work. So I took 7 pills. By this time, on a normal day, I would've taken at least 27. So I am feeling really good about myself. And my body is feeling really good. The headaches aren't nearly as bad as I was anticipating.
So we will see how today plays out, but I have a feeling it is going to be a great day!
Well, yesterday I took a total of 23 pills. So that is 23% of a normal day, and even a decrease of 34% from the previous day. So it is really good. The last time I bought pills was Monday. Usually I would've been panicking to buy on Tuesday. Today is Thursday and I am not yet panicking. I know I will need to get some tomorrow and I am feeling stressed about that. I have lunches out today and tomorrow so I can't go on my break. I have to be home right after work to relieve my babysitter so I don't like stopping on the way. I also just hate buying them. It is stressful to me to see if the pharmacist will look it up and deny me or just sell them. I really hate this addiction but feel strong that I am beginning to beat it.
I am not feeling as positive as yesterday. This morning I started my period which is a trigger for headaches. I also had too much sugar yesterday which is also a bad trigger as I am hypoglycemic. But it was my birthday and I had to have cake! Plus my son made me cupcakes so I had to indulge there too.
Crazy enough, I am hoping for more of a full-blown migraine today if anything so that the Maxalt can handle it and I can still work on the codiene issue. I took two doses of 8 each this morning. Again, not good. But a week ago that would of been 3 doses for at least 27 pills. So it's all about perspective.
I have access to oxycodone, but I don't find that helps. As far as I know, there is not codeine in those, but I may be wrong. I don't find they do a whole heck of a lot for the pain and do find they leave me with a headache. I am trying to just stick to Aleve for pain managment inbetween doses.
Again, thanks for the support. I will do my best to beat this!
keep up the great work you will get through this...... it sounds like you are making incredible progress already.
Well, a total of 24 yesterday. So no improvement from the day before, but still good. This morning I woke with a headache as I always do. I took 8 pills. They didn't seem to do the trick so I took another 8. Same as yesterday. The difference today is that I got the "high" off of it, which was not my intention. I view this as being a very positive thing, as my body is getting accustomed to less pills. So that is really exciting! Right now it would seem that there is no getting out of the morning and night dose, so I will try to keep it to the two for now. My goal is to take 7 or 8 in the morning and the same at night. Then every couple of days reduce each dose by one pill. If I can get down to 4 and 4 I will be just absolutely thrilled. The cold turkey from there should be no problem.
That's it for now! Again thanks.
I spent some time reading through older posts of other people in similar situations, and I found it to be very encouraging and helpful and exciting. So far I believe my withdrawals aren't as bad as could be, so I am extremely greatful for that!
i will talk to you later :-D
I feel like I am getting the upper hand. The pills aren't controlling me as much anylonger. I am starting to gain my own control. BUT it is still a long road ahead! Tomorrow I will get back to being much better. I really did screw up this weekend. But, not to be too down on myself, the screwup this weekend was still not HALF as bad as any normal day only one short week ago!
Hi there, I have been reading your posts and know about your problem and it sounds sooo much like me. I need bad time help, support or something and am wondering if you could contact me in private, by email and maybe we could exchange info, progress etc. My life has been hell like you would not beleive becuse of the pills addiction and all, and the worst part is that my doctor is what we call a @legal pusher@ anyway, thank you if you do respond.... :-) and if you don't my thougts are with you and HEY I know you'll beat this addiction :-)
A virtual friend from Canada :-)
Your story shockingly resembles mine. I too was taking 100 tylenol one per day. Believe me, there is no need to be embarrassed. I have learned there are many of us codiene addicts out there.
I had been addicted for 11 years. I can proudly say that I am clean from those evil pills for six weeks, and I cannot explain what a difference getting rid of the damned pills has made in my life! I am a new person.
I beat my addiction by going to detox. I am a 45 year old professional woman and I couldn't imagine going to detox. However, my province also had placed restrictions on these pills and I found myself suddenly faced with no pills for four days, and I couldn't bear the withdrawal.
I can HONESTLY say going to detox was the best decision I ever made in my life. Finally, I could be honest with people who understood completely and had heard it many times before!
Also, detox offers medical withdrawal. In my case, methadone for five days, slowly tapered off, which totally helped the physical withdrawal.
You should keep in mind that by taking 100 of these pills per day, you are doing a real number on your liver. You could die from liver failure. I knew this when I was addicted, but I didn't care. When I was in detox, I met a woman who also was taking 100 pills a day. She had just spent two weeks in hospital after going into acute liver failure and almost died.
Codiene does a real number on your head, too. I realize now that it completely screwed my head, and my emotions, for years. It is only after the fog lifts that you realize how screwed up you really were (at least in my case).
I also tried to taper but being an addict, I couldn't do it.
Every day I would wake up and vow to get off those evil things, but being an addict, I couldnt do it.
I too did terrible things to get my pills.
I just want you to know that it can be done. But you must treat this as a matter of life or death.
What's five or seven days in detox for the rest of your life - - - a far better life?
I wish you luck and happiness.
To Codeineaddict: WOW! Thank-you so much! I have so many questions for you! Were your family/friends aware of your problem? Where did you go for detox? How long were you away from your life? How much did this cost you? What started you on the pills? My biggest concern is that I have legitimate pain and I don't know how else to handle it. I made a decision long ago that I would rather die of liver failure by age 60 and be able to live a functioning life than suffer daily in bed with chronic headaches.
And to update myself, I guess I should. I really didn't think anybody was reading these, and am pleasantly surprised to find that is not the case! Obviously, I haven't been writing because I have been failing. I screwed up on the weekend because I could. Monday and Tuesday were horrible, horrible days for my headaches and I just gave up completely. I have been trying to limit and am still not back up to my 100 per day, but am definitely not doing well. I had quite a headache today as well. A lot of stress at work right now, and I am desperately needing chiropractic and massage therapy.
Honestly, I am so encouraged by reading responses that I am more encouraged to get back in line and try again. It's just so confusing when I have a really bad day and don't know how else to minimize the pain and even function with life such as working and being a Mom.
So all I can say is thank-you so much for your words and the encouragement it is giving me. I feel so alone in this, and you "strangers" are going to pull me through!
I will again start on my daiy journalling for my benefit and anybody else's. I would truly love to hear back from my 2 new friends to talk and share more information.