Being an addict

Addiction. It just snuck up on me. I have openly admitted that I am addicted to co-codamol. I have become dependent on it to control my anxiety, to get through each day, to just existing in my stupid little world.

However, I’ve not really considered myself to be an ‘addict’. That was until about two weeks ago when I realised that the reality is that I will take anything to feel better. Not just once in a while but consistently. I don’t know how to live my life without taking or doing something.

Everyone has something that they enjoy and that makes them feel good. But like everything in life it’s about what that thing is and of course it has to be in moderation.

Having a drink with friends and after a bad day at work doesn’t make you an alcoholic. Taking painkillers when you are in pain for a couple of days doesn’t make you an addict.

What does is when you have to have it, if you don’t have it you become panicked, agitated, impatient. You will do anything to have whatever it is that you have become dependent on.

I am an addict because I cannot go for a day without reaching for something. And if that isn’t enough I find more or add to it. I can’t function at all without it.

Recently we have been talking about rehab. The idea of having to go away fills me with mixed feelings. I don’t want to be away from my family but I also know I need the space.

I joked with my hubby that whilst I detox I could take up smoking to help get over the craving for codeine. But his comment to me was, how about you don’t take anything at all. No booze, no drugs and no cigarettes. What a completely novel idea!!

This is when it hit me that I am an addict. I can get clean from the pills but there’s always something to fall back onto. Alcohol or nicotine.

I don’t know how not to reach for something to be ok. It’s a completely alien concept to me and having it hit me was a real shock.

It shouldn’t really be such a shock. I should know this already, but I didn’t think about it. I never considered that actually I might have a deeper problem.

Initially I ignored the concept telling myself that it’s only codeine. Nothing else. But as I stated earlier, if i don’t have pills to take I need, I want something else.

The more I have thought about it the more I have reflected on my life. I’m not sure of a time when I haven’t reached out for something. It’s never healthy. It’s always a substance of some sort. Of one goes I replace it with another. When things are bad I use them altogether.

At the moment codeine isn’t enough so I’ve messed around with quetiapine, taking more than I was prescribed. It’s now been increased so there’s not much point..but there’s still alcohol or zopiclone. I have a friend who if i asked could sell me diazepam. I’ve been very tempted. I’ve also been craving some hash, even though I know it and I don’t get on, I just want that feeling. Same with coke…I want to have some now. I’d sell my soul right now to have anything to make all this inside pain and depression go away. I don’t want to think or feel anything.

I could work really hard and give up the codeine, have withdrawal. I could. But it isn’t going to change my thought processes when it comes to living my life. If things aren’t good I will go reaching for something. Anything.

It scares me the idea of not having the pills or a drink or even a cigarette. But I don’t understand why. I don’t even know when this started. I’m guessing as a teen. But how did I manage to get this far without knowing or someone realising? Have I hid it that well? I’ve been lying to myself, that much I do know.

The question that has been eating away at me is how am I going to do this when my fear is so encompassing. I can’t even begin to get my head around the idea of not having a drink or a cigarette.
Is that even rational thinking? I’m finding excuses already as to when I can have a drink. Like with friends, birthdays, anniversaries, christmas and new year. I’m no longer sure if this is even a normal response.

So detoxing at home is not an option because I’m likely to just find something else to take. And also I don’t want my children to witness me withdrawing and any possible mental meltdown.

Last week I called the local drug and alcohol team and referred myself. I was honest with them. I also said I wanted rehab. Last year when I went I’m not sure I was ready. I didn’t want to go to any groups, I just wanted the methadone and then wean off that. It seemed like an easy option. Now my thinking is different.

Getting clean is going to involve re-educating myself. I need to understand what it is that makes me feel I have to take something. This is not something I can beat on my own. I need support and guidance. Learning to live my life without substances is going to take time and I now recognise this.

It’s scary to admit this, to write it and to say it out loud, I’m ashamed of myself. The impact it’s had on my husband and kids. My husband is the one who it’s affected the most as he has seen the state I get myself into when I can’t find my pills or if I can’t get my prescription. He’s seen me taking them to calm myself down. To stop the shakes. I’m not even sure what the kids think or know and that makes me feel terrible too.

I have become someone I don’t recognise. I shut out the whole world by keeping myself topped up on codeine. Taking 60 mg of codeine doesn’t stop pain, it doesn’t make me sleepy. It just calms me. Taking 120mg doesn’t make me sleepy, it just makes my speech slurry and slows down my thinking. 180mg makes my limbs and head feel heavy and I can’t stand up. 240mg will make me sleepy for about two hours. This is the equivalent of taking 8 tablets consisting of 30 mg codeine and 500mg of paracetamol. This is what I used to take every single day. It is still less than what I have taken in one go.

It’s frightening to read that. I take on most days about 6 tablets. Generally I try not to take more, but on bad days I don’t know what I’ve taken. I don’t remember. I just pop them.

Today so far I have taken 4. I will probably take some more now as I feel agitated and on edge.

I’ve fought the urge to take them for the majority of the afternoon but I feel tired and just don’t have the fight now.

The community drug and alcohol team now have my details and it’s a case of waiting for an appointment. I hope it happens soon before my fear gets in the way.

4 thoughts on “Being an addict

    • I know that you wrote this sometime ago and I am so sorry that I missed it. Thank you for your love and support. It has meant a lot to me and I cannot thank you enough for what you have done to help me. Love you very much. I hope you are doing ok yourself. I think of you often and hope that you are finding your way through the hard times. I am always here for you. Huge hugs xoxxo


  1. Amazing post. Recovery is very personal and nobody can tell you exactly what’s going to work for you. It sounds like even though you’re scared you are more ready and you were before. It can be daunting to realize that you don’t know how to live without reaching. Something that was very helpful for me was the concept of harm reduction as opposed to be quitting everything all at once. If the codeine is the most harmful to you then work on that first then once you have that in hand then deal with whatever popped up to take its place. Also community of people that understand where you’re coming from is super helpful. No matter how much certain family members may want to support you if they haven’t struggled with the same problems they might not understand everything that you’re going to be dealing with. It helps to have a community of people that understand where you’re coming from so that you don’t feel all alone. Also that community can give you a place to safely vent so that you are not taking things out your husband or children. Please keep writing , please keep trying! It sounds like you’re on the right track.


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