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Talk about your experiences with others.

When it comes to a loved one's drug or alcohol use families can sometimes feel lost or struggle to express themselves. Our forum gives you the opportunity to share and discuss your feelings in a safe environment.

Please do not disclose any personal or contact information such as telephone numbers on this forum. Adfam will remove any such content. Please note that anything that raises a safe-guarding or confidentiality concern may be removed and acted upon.  

Please note this forum is specifically for families affected by someone else's substance use, and posts should relate to this narrative. Posts that don't relate may be removed by the moderator. This includes posts relating to someone's own substance use. 

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Share Your Story

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My Codeine problem by

I am writing this as a way to document my progress but also maybe help others. How did I get in this mess? Most people who are addicted to painkillers usually have a 'trigger event' Mine was 3 broken ribs, for which I took co-codamol. I noticed at that time a euphoria and also removal of all the worries. And believe me there are a few: As a parent of 2 small children (2 and 5) with a very demanding job and wife that is retraining and therefore earns very little we have money problems because of a massive mortgage and nearly a grand is paid a month in childcare. I am on my own with the kids most of my waking hours that are not at work, because my wife is a trainee teacher as spends every waking hour lesson planning or marking. She makes £800 a month after tax which is crazy. She works 3.5 days a week and spends the other days socialising. I am trying to be ok with that. Hence Codeine was a form of escape. It took 3 years to get from occasional abuse through to the very serious situation of of taking nearly 600mg codeine a day as codeine phosphate tablets. I found an easy way to get them from online pharmacies. They cost a lot of money and i must have spent 5 grand at least. I also drink a bottle of wine a night and take diazepam too. This situation was obviously unsustainable. But, amazingly no-one knows as far as I am aware. You will be thinking - how could I let this get so bad, but those of you know that codeine resistance builds in plateaus - one day 90mg will do nothing at all and you need to up your dose to get the same feeling. What now I am now absolutely case iron determined to sort this out. Obviously I feel ashamed for spending money like this and being so irresponsible, but that works as a motivator for me now. My taper is going to have a lot of discomfort associated with it - but will drop quite quick then slowly reduce after that. This is mainly because of the expense of the tablets, and because I want to get to a safe dose as quickly as I can. Where am I now? Totady I am down from 600mg to 330mg. This is almost a safe amount to take a day (allegedly 240mg) so that's something. I will now reduce to 90mg a day and then drop 15mg a day. There has been a lot of symptoms - all of the ones you read about. But the worst has been the depression - its been difficult to get out of bed even. Especially as you gather your thoughts and know you face a day of discomfort. I take 5-htp and this helps a lot. Exercise really helps, and vitamin B seems to help too. The other golden rule is to keep continually busy until the end of the day. Having 2 small children and a wife that works all evenings has both filled this time but also made loneliness a bit of an enemy. If there are any positives I have a sex life again and also am enjoying going to the toilet (sorry if this is oversharing). My stomach bloating is massively reduced and I can see my abdominal muscles again. For alcohol - I strictly limit my drinking, but I do allow myself 2 glasses of wine, because its dangerous to stop straight away. After a week, I will cut this out completely - that will save £3 a day (I was buying a bottle a day). The only way I could reduce my drinking was to wait until later in the evening before I started. For me, this is 9pm (we go to bed at 11). Hopefully I can keep posting here as a progress the bumps along the way. I have noticed no two days are the same - some are not too bad - today is OK. Yesterday was terrible. There's only one thing missing for me now - that's someone to talk to. I'm too ashamed to talk to friends so the anonymous forum is worth a try....?

I wish I could take away your pain by

I’m new here, Tonight’s been possibly the hardest night of my life. I don’t quite know what to write, what to feel or how to process everything. To many thoughts are racing around for me to make sense of them. Firstly, Have I made the right choice? Secondly, Will I ever see my friend again it will he hate me for this? Third and the one that’s most painful, Will he be ok? My friends an alcoholic, Can go months without a drink and suddenly pick up from where he left off. Recently it’s become more difficult to manage. Lately he’s been drinking on a weekly basis. Passing out. Becoming verbally aggressive, pushing me away with angry words. Tonight, I knew he was drinking, he passed out, I couldn’t rouse him so I had to call an ambulance. He also has cancer, Incurable. I’ve reached a point where I can no longer pick him up, put him to bed, keep watch over him during the night to make sure he’s breathing. I’m exhausted, I feel awful for feeling these things, for being weak, unable to keep pushing forward for him. I feel scared, Scared that by calling for help because I couldn’t help he’ll hate me. He cried in my arms, he was so scared, I understand he’s been scared for a long time, drinking quietens that. Drinking quietens the side of him that I value as a friend and replaces him with someone who will say and do anything to hurt me because he feels worthless. Perhaps it’s the pain from his past, losing babies, his father, his mother? Perhaps he’ll hate me? But it’s okay, I didn’t give up that’s my secret, I did the best I could at a time where I felt things I’ve never felt before. I broke a part of me because I knew I was risking our friendship but praying that I’d somehow help him to help himself, That he’d get the treatment he needs. Tough love, Studies show this, others show that, Does it work? Everything else I’ve tried hasn’t worked. Will he fight if he knows he’s being fought for? Did I do the right thing? Am I alone in this? Have I left him when I should have stayed? His words before he left, I love her, but get her out I don’t want her here. I don’t want to go. I didn’t want him to go, I’ve spent a year fighting at his side, good periods where he doesn’t drink and we laugh and he shines with happiness. Bad periods where he passes out, I have to try to get him to wake up, he verbally abuses me because he wants me away from his demons, bad periods where he sees the world and everything within him is toxic and all I see is someone desperately fighting and fearful at what recovery means. If I could trade places I would, if I could I’d take away the pain of addiction from us both. If I could I’d be with him now, reassuring him, but I know he’s come to rely on it, lean on it and expect it. I know I have to tough it out to give him the best shot at recovery. His addition is his secret although one he’s not good at hiding, mine is the inexplicable pain that I have felt for over a year and tonight feel it’s full weight. I need to understand what to do? were my choices right to get an intervention in place? How do you cope with everything?

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Drugs, alcohol and mental health

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Codeine abuse? by

I’m currently going through a reduction regime as I became addicted to Codeine about 10 months ago. I started the reduction on 28 30mg tablets a day and I’m now on 5. I was just wondering whether it is normal to feel some sort of withdrawal? Even though you’re still taking it? I reduce 30mg every 2 weeks so it is a slow process but I can feel the difference. Im also afraid I’ll miss the feeling of the euphoria which I tend to crave and I don’t want to end up relapsing. I’m just looking for support to help me towards realising that being under the influence of Codeine doesn’t need to be my way of life. I became addicted to codeine because I endured a traumatic birth of my daughter and ended up with a second degree tear of the muscles in my birth canal then followed by various infections which were incredibly painful. I was stitched up and prescribed Codeine for the pain and discharged the next day. It was then that I realised that it took away and masked post natal depression and made me what I thought feel happier and less tired. And obviously as I grew tolerate to opioids I felt I had to keep increasing the dose and it just escalated from there. It’s not a way of life I want for myself but I find it difficult to imagine life without it ????

Struggling to know what's right by

Hi, I'm not too sure how to start this, or know what to say exactly... I've been with my boyfriend for 3 years and hes got alcohol issues. It wasn't so bad at first but over the years it got worse, then better, now worse again. I've always been there for him, celebrating the small steps hes taken and been a shoulder to cry on when hes had bad days. He struggles with sevear depression and anxiety which is made worse drinking every night and smoking weed. He says it's the only release he gets from his head and life. Because of this, he doesn't have a job and gets pennies from benefits so we only rely on my wage which isn't a lot and it's made me go into debt, and makes my own depression worse. We argue like cat and dog, things get said and we both end up upset. This last argument we had was over money (which isn't unusual) and he dragged me out of our bed and I flew on the floor because i told him I'm sick of being in debt because of his drinking. This has made me leave. I'm no saint in all of this, I have an addiction to weed as I refuse to drink but smoke weed daily with him, and hes played on that to get what he wants at night despite me saying to him I dont want this life anymore, i want better for us. I also say nasty things towards him when he snaps at me and tells me it's because of me which is why he still drinks/cant stop drinking. I often feel like he is only with me because of me being in work so he has somewhat of a wage to splash on the booze and knows how to get around me to get me to take out loans, something in which I have stopped doing as my debt has gone out of control. I should also point out that he cant take out loans because his credit history is ruined because of his drinking (and before me, gambling) way before we met. The issue is, when things are good, we are good. We laugh, we joke, we are there for each other and are the perfect couple... But I feel like it's all tainted when it gets to 10pm and he goes out to the shop. I feel so alone in all of this because I cant bring myself to tell anyone about his issues as its upto him who to tell. None of my friends or family know anything about his issues. Last year we had about a week break from each other because of his drinking and arguing and i ended up leaving because i got stuck and tired of everything being blamed on me and being told what i can and cant do with my money. I very rarely see any of my friends anymore because I cant afford to go out and do things. I really dont want to give up on him as I can see a future without alcohol, as he was sober for a while and was on a detox program a year or so ago but ended up giving in to temptation. But since then it's almost as if he tells me what I want to hear and then does the opposite or doesn't try and have nights off. I've spoken to him many times as to how I feel and he says he is trying but it's hard. I get this but its still as if he doesn't try. The only time he doesn't drink now is when we have no money left so he cant go and buy alcohol. I just dont know what to do anymore as I'm scared of what will happen if I leave but I cant keep on living my life the way it is anymore. I've just begun what I hope will be an amazing career for me and I dream of owning a house and car, things I now will only find harder because of the debt I now have. I cant lose this job as well because of him either, but I cant lose him because of when we are good. He goes to a councillor and goes to an alcohol support centre, but a lot of the time he cancels last minute because he cant face going unless I force him to go, this happened this morning which started the argument as I was really annoyed he snapped at me when I was trying to get him up saying hes not going. He went, but when he came back the argument continued and what happened, happened. Any advice or help would be really appreciated as this is the first time I've ever spoken about this to anyone other than my own councillor, who said couldn't really help as it's not me who's suffering with alcohol. Thank you.

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Any advice at all by

Ohh I don’t really know where to start. I am a looking for some advice on how I can support my sister who is married to an addict. She is on the verge of having a breakdown and I live 2.5 hours away with a new baby so really limited with how often I can visit. Her husband relapsed when she got pregnant. She now has a little bit of 5 months who she is supporting alone. She kicked her partner out just after the baby was born having found drugs in his clothes and not wanting them around the baby. He would also disappear for days without getting in touch and just getting on it. She has recently just lost her job and so that’s another added stress. She still loved her partner so much and is desperate for him to go and get help. He has tried some groups but is not committed and just fails to go. When he gets paid he will get back on it. She works 60hrs a week and then looks after her little one so feels isolated and alone as stuck in while her husband is out on it and was looking to book a lads holiday away. I call her and message her daily to check she’s ok and to provide as much support as possible. I know her husband has an illness and walking away just isn’t that easy especially when a kid is involved but I don’t know what else I can do to help her. It breaks my heart having her on the phone in tears when he is sending abusive messages or hasn’t turned up on a planned visit. Any help at all on how I can support her through this time and any support I could give her would be great. Also if anyone knows of any support group that allows you to take children please let me know Thank you x

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I just lost my brother by

Hi all. My brother died earlier this year from alcoholism. He was only in his mid forties and we are all heartbroken. We tried to help him but he locked us out of the house and denied he had a problem. For the last year of his life I think he was drinking every day and after his death we found bottles of vodka in his home which he was obviously drinking neat. I'm having a lot of issues coming to terms with his death and i dont think I ever will. I am trying to understand this addiction that is more powerful than love and family, that drove my successful brother to self destruct. I also cannot understand his denial. How could he pretend that everything was ok when it was clearly not? I would love to hear your stories and if you can help me understand this disease I would be very grateful. Thank you

How to deal with addiction stereotype within the family by

My sister took drugs, mainly heroine, for over 20 years. Then six years ago she accidentally overdosed and passed away. Her children were taken into care and our family settled into a time of grieving; and also I must admit relief. During her time she did things to our family that caused no end of upset, but at the end of the day she was still my sister, so I had to deal with a pull of emotions - hating the addict but loving my sister. In time, and with help, I've come to understand the lack of control a drug addict has over their own behaviour and have forgiven what has passed. This has finally brought me peace and allowed me to move on with my life, without the constant anger and self-protection mechanisms that came to control my own personality. Unfortunately my wife still believes a drug addict is in full control of their destiny and all my sister's actions, including her ultimate death, were her own fault and deserving of no sympathy. She drags up all the bad things my sister did during her life and insists I stop feeling sorry for her. This is now causing old wounds to be reopened for me and is increasing tension within my own family. Does anyone have any advice I can offer my wife so she understands the pain her views are having on me?