Codeine reduction

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Lynda33
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Codeine reduction

Postby Lynda33 » Thu Jan 01, 2015 11:27 pm

First day on this site and have received some great advice on tapering my codeine addiction. I seem to take a lower dose of codeine than most, but have been taking six tablets a day for 25 years. I have tried before but feel so awful that I resort to taking them again.

I ran out of tablets today and was looking every where to find more. Felt like what I am an addict and it was frightening.

I have put a programme in place and am determined to kick this. Although it is easy to say.
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MargUK
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Re: Codeine reduction

Postby MargUK » Fri Jan 02, 2015 12:47 pm

Hi Lynda! I am also taking what would be seen as a lower dose - 6 a day at the moment - at my highest it was 9 a day of the 8mg codeine. But I've been off and on them for a long time - around 35 years all told.

What kind of programme have you decided on?
Lynda33
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Re: Codeine reduction

Postby Lynda33 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:59 pm

I've decided to reduce by half a tablet each week. Doesn't seem much but it's better than the alternative. At the moment I take two as soon as I wake up and then two mid afternoon and then later in the evening.

I am trying to resist two at the moment but I am starting to feel a headache coming, also feel flu symptoms coming on.

I think I can get down to four but it will be tough after that. First thing I think of in the morning is codeine.

I was pretty panicky yesterday when I ran out. Felt awful when I was surfing the internet to find a pharmacy open. Knew then this had to stop.
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MargUK
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Re: Codeine reduction

Postby MargUK » Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:03 pm

I know it's awful when you hit that realisation that you really feel you can't do without these things :( That sounds like a sensible taper though and the good thing about a taper is that it can be altered as you go along - within reason of course! But you can slow it up if need be and conversely speed it up if things are going well.

When I tapered 2 years ago from 9 daily I couldn't honestly envisage how I was going to manage when I got to 4 a day - then I did - then I thought 2 a day will be impossible - then I got round that - and so on. It took a long time but gradually I got to 0 (I also tapered by half a tablet in the beginning - but half a tablet A MONTH! :lol: ) which I NEVER thought would be doable.

And although I relapsed at the start of last year and am now on another taper I hang on to the fact that I got there before so now - where my thinking was previously 'coming right off is impossible' - it's 'I know this is achievable' - and that helps. :)

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Lynda33
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Re: Codeine reduction

Postby Lynda33 » Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:16 pm

Hi Marg

Thanks for the positive response. I do know I will have difficulty with reducing from four because there's only seven days and I should be down to two, which scares me a little as I am wondering how I would manage this. I didn't want to see myself as a failure.

But you're right I can do things slowly and maybe reduce by half a tablet a month. This sounds so much more doable. I can get to four without too much of a problem so I will do that in weeks and then change to half a tablet per month to zero. If I feel I can quicken up I will. I was stressing about following my own strict weekly taper as I felt I would fail.

Do you know how long codeine stays in your system and how long the horrible feelings last when you have stopped.

Thank you

Lynda
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MargUK
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Re: Codeine reduction

Postby MargUK » Sun Jan 04, 2015 11:54 am

It's sometimes better to go a bit slower and get there in the end than too fast and stumble early although of course we have no idea what we're capable of. But we have to be kind to ourselves at the same time. I kept a log of my taper so that I could see progress and that really helped especially when I relapsed because I could see the times that was happening were fewer and fewer.

I think the actual codeine leaves your system quite quickly - it's the mental process and psychological addiction most people find difficult. The brain needs time to recover and that appears to be a different timespan for each person so it's just a case of riding with it unfortunately. It can be a really hard time to get through and it's at this point you probably need the most support - be that with understanding friends and family, AA/NA meetings, SMART recovery meetings, counselling, therapy, forums like these or all of the above!

Whatever you find works for you - keep doing it and that'll reinforce the pathways in the brain and help to get it back to normal again :)
Lynda33
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Re: Codeine reduction

Postby Lynda33 » Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:01 pm

Thanks for the response. You're right of course it is better to go slowly with this. I wanted to quickly get free from this addiction, but can see the sense of a steady progression.

I also understand the mental process which will be very difficult for me. Sometimes I take two tablets because it's time to take two tablets rather than need them. I fight with myself over this but so far have always given in.

This will be my battle when reducing to 3.5. I can see that I am looking at this in a negative way, as if I am already going to fail.

Lynda
Lynda33
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Re: Codeine reduction

Postby Lynda33 » Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:07 pm

My first week of tapering. Did not go over my six tablets. Three days I managed to stay on four, but otherwise my usual Six.

From tomorrow I will be taking 5.5 or less if I can. I am apprehensive about this but believe this is doable. I have noticed since starting that it is a mind game. When I think about relaxing my first thought is to take two tablets, etc etc etc. this will be the hardest to deal with.

I can't think what it will be like to not take any.
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MargUK
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Re: Codeine reduction

Postby MargUK » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:57 pm

You're right - that is the hardest bit - the conditioning we've managed to put our brains through through no fault of our own. That mindset that says 'these are the only things which relax me/give me enjoyment/motivate me' - and eventually the brain starts to agree and functions accordingly!

I have to say I was thinking exactly the same way as you when I did my first taper and I never looked on it as negative thinking - only realistic. I'm absolutely not a fan of those who say if you think negatively your outcome will be negative because as long as you can keep as open a mind as possible that's what counts - it's perfectly natural for us to think we're not going to manage this because going by experience it's true! But we also don't know what we're capable of until we try :)

And let's face it I doubt there are many folk who are now codeinefree who went into a taper or started cold turkey thinking "this is going to be a dawdle - I'm not the slightest bit worried about it!" :D
Lynda33
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Re: Codeine reduction

Postby Lynda33 » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:23 am

My taper moves down a notch today to five tablets. I've spent time over the last weeks noticing when I need codeine and the triggers. First two when I wake up and I guess this is because of the longer gap between the previous tablets and then just after lunch or mid afternoon. This week I will be reducing and also lengthening time between the tablets.

In the past I've taken codeine for all sorts of reasons eg to relax, because it's the morning etc etc, habit, but this time I'm determined not to fall into this trap. I realise that if I want to do this I need to stop pulling the wool over my eyes and get to grips with this. No it won't be easy but I know this, but it's easier than the alternative. I don't want a lifetime of popping pills and being reliant on them, sneaking in to different pharmacies to get my tablets. I want to just get on and do it. These are tough words to myself but in the past I've accepted that I can't help doing this and that hasn't helped so no more sorry for myself I'm going to get on and do it.

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