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Codeine, medicine - drug!

Discussion in 'Other Substances' started by TO4C, Nov 27, 2016.

  1. TO4C

    TO4C Member

    My dear friends,

    Codeine is a drug, period. Like alcohol - it is legal, prescribed from the doctor or even bought over the counter. It is a powerful painkiller - not just of physical pain, but emotional pain - and that is where the trouble starts!

    Anything that can make this difficult and stressful life 'easier' is usually addictive. Codeine is a particularly nasty little sod because it sneaks its way into your life by a back door. I had two stress related ailments; IBS and back (muscle) pain. I went to a pharmacy and asked for a strong painkiller and was recommended 'Neurophen Plus'.

    Six a day was the 'suggested maximum' SO I took all six pills immediately! It was an epiphany! ALL pain went within forty minutes and my IBS simply disappeared. Six very quickly turned into twelve and within two or three weeks I was taking THIRTY-SIX. That's right, yes; thirty-six pills a day.

    I was 'juggling' pharmacies and driving miles to obtain packets and packets of this expensive 'over the counter' medicine. Not only that but because I was working I used to literally open the boxes and take the handfuls of pills in the carpark, sometimes without a drink.

    It was 'near immediate' dependence. I could work better because I had no 'emotional stress' or 'fear' and I had no physical pain or IBS.

    But I knew it was wrong. Who wouldn't? What average person drives thirty miles to access two or three different pharmacies hoping there was a different person serving so they didn't recognise my frequency, purchase three large boxes of pills, go to their car and open the boxes, pop the pills (thirty-six) and swallow them there and then - with or without a drink?

    This wasn't normal behaviour. The initial reason for taking the drug had gone, life had moved on and here I was; a drug addict in a carpark.

    I decided to go to my doctor and confess all. This wasn't going to be pleasant and I knew it. I was though pleasantly surprised at his reaction. It was very pragmatic and not in anyway condescending. I was referred to a specialist nurse. She was condescending! Crumbs almighty was she just! She looked down her bespectacled nose at me with a look of utter disgust. This kind of attitude does NOT help, one feels like getting up, exiting the room with a slam of the door and returning to the dark, dismal, daunting world of self-hatred eleviated only by excess use of the substance one came in to seek help for!

    I hated her. She prescribed me bupenorphren - oddly and ironically an illegal drug (unless prescribed) and one just as pernicious as codeine. There was a method in her madness. Bupenorphren is a 'codeine blocker'. Basically it is switching from one very addictive drug to another and then slowly reducing its consumption - with her having the 'control' over reduction.

    Taking codeine would have no effect and I was now under the control of the 'system.' This was OK by me until I learned that the daily taking of my new drug was not just controlled, it was controlled on a daily basis. I had to go to my local pharmacy every single day and wait in line for my one eight mg dose of bupenorphren.

    This wasn't nice! They knew what I was taking and I knew they knew what I was taking! I could have been coming off cocaine for all they knew. I decided to break silence and openly discuss my situation with the pharmacist. This was a very good decision. I now got to know and talk with those that served me. I admonished the easy acquisition of codeine and discussed how 'anybody' could get in serious trouble with this 'over the counter' medicine.

    I got a certain 'admiration' in the chemist! I'd 'turned the situation around' and who knows - possibly helped somebody else. The staff at the pharmacy certainly became very 'aware' of codeine. That was twenty years ago when you could buy packets of seventy-two pills. Now 'awareness' and the law have stepped in to limit the amount one can buy.

    Eight months of very slow reduction with periodic appointments with the evil nurse! I say that, her attitude totally changed after just a few weeks when she could see my total commitment. She wasn't a 'counsellor', she was a nurse and who would have believed it - we actually became quite friendly! I was 'serious' about the cessation of my 'accidental' addiction and she respected that. Codeine was irradiated from my life.

    So, was that a happy ending? Was that a lesson learned? Was that the end of it?

    No.

    Life hit me again and even knowing the consequences, I quite blatantly started taking the very same pills again. My philosophy was; indulge now, sort it out later. This time I was 'ready', experienced and committed even before commencement of cessation.

    Thirty-six Neurophen Plus pills daily, this time always taken with drink - in fact many litres of water a day to combat the dreadful constipation that always accompanies excessive opiate taking. I may have been 'more aware', more informed, even more educated but I was still just as immediately addicted - and I knew it. Had I REALLY gone back to this? Voluntarily and with the wisdom of hindsight!

    Yes.

    This time I decided to do a bit of preliminary work before the incredibly embarrassing and nerve racking phone call direct to the 'substance abuse' department. I was going to bypass my doctor and go back with my head held low. By 'preliminary' work I meant I was going to 'cut down' by myself to twenty-four pills a day - purely to 'save face', to make it look a little less serious.

    However much it hurt; I was determined. I did cut down immediately to thirty pills for a matter of days and then thirty, then twenty-four. NOW, and here's the reason for this long thread, I was quite astonished how easily I had done this. A third of the way in a week? Damn it; I'm going to do this on my own. No bupenorphren, no evil eyed nurse, no return to a pharmacy that I was convinced was going to look at me as 'a failure'.

    So it began. My own 'self styled', in house detoxification. I intuitively knew the next stage wasn't going to be so easy and I was sure the final stage was going to be difficult, but I was determined. Utterly determined. Twenty-four to twenty, then see how I felt. Twenty to sixteen and so on. As long as I did the reduction quite slowly, very pragmatically and NEVER a relapse REGARDLESS of 'a bad day' - it seemed to be working.

    Once I got to twelve pills, it started to hurt, NOT dreadfully, but I sure as heck felt it. So; slow it down! I did slow it down - to a snail's pace! One pill less a week then when I got to six pills a day I really slowed it down. I knew what a precarious situation I was in. Unlike the 'controlled' reduction ON bupenorphren, I could bang in twelve pills on a bad day - just like that.

    The commitment had to be super strict, binding and embracing that all important word, "REGARDLESS". Three pills a day for ten days, two pills a day for twenty days and finally one pill a day for a month, but I did it! I had come off a HIGHLY ADDICTIVE 'over the counter' drug by a strict resigm of reduction.

    This may seem very admirable, but watch out! By doing it this way is unfortunately incontrovertible proof to the self that one can always 'do it again' - and again and that is what happened. When 'life' got in the way of my sobriety by default; I would voluntarily enter addiction followed by my self styled detoxification. Three more times.

    This is drug addiction.

    One can give up anything, however addictive, however painful - staying OFF it is completely a different story. Without a Twelve Step program one will 'probably' continue to do this and be certain of one thing; with EVERY single drug, every single relapse - it gets harder, it gets more frequent - it eventually kills you.

    Maybe one day, seeing as your tolerance to one substance has become ridiculously high, you go out and get very intoxicated?

    This is when you wake up dead.

    In Conclusion

    The Good News:

    Codeine CAN be reduced and eliminated from your life without professional or medical assistance, slowly does it and with exceptional commitment. One starts to feel 'good about oneself' as the amounts decrease.

    The Bad News:
    (Or at least 'cautionary' news)

    In direct adverse proportion to this is the psychological phenomena that IS 'addiction' and that is; once you've 'succeeded' you have unfortunately proven to yourself that it 'could always be done again' if life gets too hard.

    Life WILL get too hard. Again and again.

    Get off, my friends, stay off - one day at a time. No drink (for me), no dugs, life on life's terms;

    ONE DAY AT A TIME.

    Good luck and God Bless.

    Anon
    (If ANYBODY wishes to contact me, join the thread and ask - my help is free and unconditional.)

    [This piece is an extract from "Too Orangey For Crows]