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We know that if you are affected by someone else’s drug or alcohol use you might feel alone, or as if nobody understands what you are going through. This forum gives you the opportunity to share your feelings regarding your loved one’s substance use, to share experiences and support other people going through similar situations. This is a safe, nonjudgmental environment. There is no right or wrong way to deal with somebody else’s substance use. Everyone’s experience is different, and everyone’s experience is valid.

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It is very important that no personal information is disclosed on this forum. The forum is a safe place, and sharing personal information, especially contact details, could potentially make the forum a target for people seeking to take advantage of its members. Even if you feel safe around someone, and think you could benefit from one to one conversations, please do not post contact details or ask somebody for theirs. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t share personal stories - the anonymity of the group should allow you to be as open as you are comfortable with without the need to initiate private communication.

Any posts containing contact information or other identifying information will be removed, and repeat posts may lead to your account being blocked.

Posts should relate to the experience of those affected by someone else’s substance use

Please remember that this forum is here to support people affected by somebody else’s substance use. Posts should related to experiences of someone else’s substance use, rather than as a source of help for individuals with a substance use issue. This does not mean that people with lived experience of substance use issues cannot participate in our forum, but please remember that the focus is offering support for people affected by someone else’s substance use.

Posts solely relating to personal experience of addiction will be removed. If you are looking for support regarding your own substance use, please call any of the following helplines:

Alcohol:

  • Drinkline: 0300 123 1110
  • Alcoholics Anonymous: 0800 9177 650

Drugs:

  • Frank: 0300 1236 600
  • Narcotics Anonymous: 0300 999 1212

Be respectful, supportive and non-judgmental

As everyone using this forum is aware, substance use and family relationships are very sensitive issues. It is important that forum users carefully consider their tone when posting. Always talk from your own experience, and never suggest that somebody else’s attitude or experience is wrong. Please do offer supportive advice, but do not insist that there is one way of doing something.

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Please also be mindful of the original topic of each thread. Try to make sure that conversations are carried out on the relevant thread. This will help people to navigate the forum and find appropriate support, and it will also prevent certain issues from drowning out others.

Thank you very much for joining our forum. These guidelines are for the benefit of our community, and so any posts that do not adhere to all of these guidelines will be removed, and accounts may be blocked.

Share Your Story

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Codeine Addicition Experience by

This is the first time I have opened up about my addiction to any living soul, so bare with me whilst I attempt to gather my thoughts into words whilst I type this (I get that this is targeted towards someone else’s addiction but it’s ridiculous to limit the forum when I know for a fact that my own experience could help someone else). I have been addicted to codeine phosphate for three years. It started after completing my MSc course at a world renowned university. I felt like I was on top of my game. It came about through using it as a means to achieve a high as a direct treatment for my mental health debilitations of BPD, PPD, GAD and depression. I had started to experiment with drugs such as MDMA, cocaine and speed (solely when going out with friends to raves and clubs). I would never use them outside of these environments. But the feeling they gave me whilst I was high made me completely forget about my mental health issues. I have always been the most self deprecating, self destroying person. I hate myself. I still do. I hate the way I look. I hate my personality. I hate my overthinking mind. I hate my stupidity despite my intelligence. I hate my life. I hate EVERYTHING about myself. I will never ever say a good word about myself. Ever. Now I am a very meticulous, logical oriented person despite my disgusting everything else. Being in the UK, I started off by just going to my local pharmacy and buying a pack of co-codamol. At this point, I had already tried co-codamol (quite recently for the first time back then) and had the most amazing euphoria following popping two 30/500mg tablets. But there is that thought in the back of your head of “what would a higher dose feel like? Would it be more intense or would it last longer?”. Now, I knew the risks of respiratory depression but I was smart about it. I would never go too high to the point that it would shock my body into gasping for breath like an athlete on Mount Everest. But not low enough that I wouldn’t get a substantial buzz out of it. But the issue was the paracetamol. My method of extracting the codeine and separating it from the paracetamol was cold water extraction. I won’t go into the specifics of what I did and specific amounts because I do not want ANYONE going through what I have. This started off harmless enough. First it was one strip, equivalent to 64mg of codeine. Then 128mg. Then 128mg twice a day. 256 mg twice a day. With the most I’ve ever taken being 500mg five times a day. That’s 2500mg of codeine in one single day. It consumed me. All aspects of my life revolved around the codeine. Whether I have enough to last me the day. Whether I had enough to last me tomorrow. Whether there were pharmacies in close proximity that I could go to (as most pharmacies will only sell you one per week). Whether I have been to them recently and would question me. Whether the pharmacies in close proximity were even open to start with. I had to plan everything around that. I would stop eating for the entire day so as to not line my stomach up with food, thus decreasing from my high and so I would only eat after my last daily dose wore off right before bed. I stopped speaking to anyone because my mental health deteriorated. I stopped caring about anything. I lost that motivation that made me such a driven person and instead, it was replaced with laziness as all I would want to do is lay in bed whilst high. Away from the stresses associated with other humans. Three years this lasted. Three years of nothing more than this. The most important years of my life, whittled down to nothing more than driving to 4-12 pharmacies in a day, going through the process of extracting the codeine and numbing myself. If I didn’t take codeine, I would start withdrawing. My time-span was 10-12 hours from my last dose. Any more than that without codeine, and the first thing I would feel are the hot flushes and sweating. Within an hour or two the diarrhoea ensues with the most intense cramping known to humanity. Not even loperamide can save you. Within six hours, the inscessant leg shaking happens where you feel as though your legs cannot sit still and you just have to shake them back and forth. This was my experience. No nausea. But trust me when I say that the cramps and the diarrhoea was enough. But the leg shaking puts you over the edge because you can’t sleep as a result. You want to continuously move your legs until they fall off, to the point where you’ll find yourself crying in the middle of the night because you’re so frustrated and sick of having legs. No one knew. I hid my addiction well. It’s a functional high but the second I would do something, I would feel as though my high diminished. So I tried to do as little as possible. I have spent so much money that I could have used for something better. I have wasted so much time that I could have used to better myself. I have neglected my friends and family. I have neglected myself. I tried to stop multiple times to no avail. I couldn’t do this on my own. Cold turkey lasted two days. Then I tried tapering. I managed to get it down to 256mg twice a day. That’s two boxes of co-codamol a day. Once when I wake up and once in the evening. But I didn’t want to lose that high. Losing the buzz that became so habitual for me was devastating in my mind. But I wanted to quit at the same time. It contradicted substantially and I didn’t know what to do. But then I had a thought. Maybe the quantity was just in my mind. I could achieve a high on lower doses before so why not now? I know that I could still achieve a high on 220mg so how far could I push it? This is how I’ve started beating my codeine. The knowledge that the high still stays at lower doses. This is aimed at anyone who wants to quit but does not want to lose the high instantly. I tapered my dose to three strips, twice a day from my two boxes a day. That’s 24 tablets of 8/500mg co-codamol. High is a little less intense but still there. Still very much noticeable and enjoyable. There was hope. This was the lowest I’ve ever been in three years. I kept this up for a week before tapering down to 128mg, twice a day. That’s two strips in a box. Still have the high. Still have the buzz. Doesn’t last AS long but hey, I’m happy if I’m not gasping for breath because the cramps get so intense. This is where I am now. I’m three days away from one strip. A measly 64mg. Basically equivalent to the very first dose of 60mg that I ever had, three years ago. I have so many plans after I beat this. Things I want to do. I’ve started cooking more instead of eating ridiculous processed foods. God, I love making asian food. I want to work out again. I miss the feelings of weights in my hands and the buzz after a 5 mile run. I want to see my friends again. I haven’t spoken to or seen my friends in three years. I’m in my mid twenties and I don’t see my friends. I don’t even know if they want to see me again but I will try. I want to spend time with my family. I miss sitting with them and cracking jokes and bombarding mum with my silly humour. I want to work. Three years without work in the most amazing field in science has taken its toll on me. I’ve tried applying for jobs for two years and no one wants me. I don’t know why. I’ve tried but scientists are better preferred with PhDs. God, I would love to do a PhD. This is a message of hope. From the most pessimistic, human hating, mental health debilitated individual. But the only thing keeping me going is what I can start doing again. That all of this is temporary. I’m still in the midst of my tapering (without diarrhoea thankfully) and its going. I don’t want to jinx it. I’m not superstitious but I just don’t want to jinx it. I hope that I can be better. I hope that I can work out and finally feel comfortable in my own skin. I hope that my confidence can radiate and make people like me more. I hope that I can finally feel free from the grasp of this pathetic drug. I don’t know if anyone will read this. It’s pretty long and tedious. I don’t know if anyone will care. It’s hard to find forums online about codeine tapering how-to’s. It’s not like Wikihow does a step by step in addiction. But if it even reaches one person who is addicted or one parent of an addict, I hope it helps. We’re not bad people. We’re just severely severely in pain. Sometimes it’s the environment we’re in. Sometimes it’s genetic. But don’t hate us for doing what we do. Don’t hate us for rejecting your support and help. Don’t take it personally. We want to do things ourselves is all. But we’re the same people on the inside. No matter what you think or hear. All I ask is that if this reaches you and you read it, please say something. Let me know that everything will be okay. Let me know that what I’ve said could be taken in and used to help someone. I guess it’s more for self gratification than anything. That I’ve done something right by opening up. It’s so hard to open up. I haven’t had anyone there for me for three years so I hope this does something positive for someone else and for myself. Maybe it’s just for my ego. I don’t know. But say something. Anything. Tell me I’m an idiot for all I care. It would be nice to talk to someone. TL;DR: How I got off codeine without any help despite not wanting to lose my high. I tapered whilst managing to maintain my high. Just read it, it’s helpful. It’s long. But it’s helpful. I’m sorry it’s long. I’m not good at opening up. God I love asian cuisine.

Codeine addiction by

I’ve been secretly addicted to codeine for what must be over ten years plus, it stated with a car accident I was given codeine paracetamol and was on repeat prescription, I then started having issues going to the loo which in reflection was a side effect as I wasn’t taking my tablets so I went to see the gp who thought it could be ibs he then gave me codeine tablets to stop the loose stools at this time I was Oblivias to addiction n did think I had ibs I never related the tablets together anyway I was then taking the pain releif codeine andcparacetamol for neck pain and codeine for ibs my gp never checked my notes and it wasn’t long after I realised I was hooked as they made me feel better or so I thought, I went to my gp who saw me weekly to wean me off but tbh I used it as a way of getting them on prescription I was in midst of a relationship break up so they kept me stable in my head as gave me that safe feeling Once the doctor felt I’d weaned of the perscriptions ended so I needed to find a new source being the internet ive been spending at least £100 a month for this habit ever since so ten years on here I am I’ve emailed each of the companies I used so they won’t supply me very brave but I’m scared of what’s to come I have 28 codeine tablets left and a box of zapain think 200 in it I can’t get into see my gp until next week and I’m scared of cold turkey incase I have heart attack or worse as I’ve read some horror stories Can anyone tell me if I could go into shock stopping I work full time my kids are at home but older I’m 47 and I’m scared to death at what I’ve done cutting of my supply but I’ve got to get off these things they make me detatched and almost numb to the world I’m existing not living Anyone out there can offer any advise if really aprichiate it

Drugs, alcohol and mental health

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Should we tell our dad about my brother's drug use? by

Hi, so my brother (mid 30s) has admitted to me and my sister (both in our 40s) that he has developed a drug problem. Started years back with prescription pain meds, which he stopped, but recently (last few months) has now started taking a whole range of other drugs, including coke, ketamine, all sorts, and using xanax to cope with the come down. He stayed with me for a week to get away from temptation, which mainly worked, but has gone back to his flat and is using again. He went to a local drug service, has been twice but I'm not convinced he's going to go back. Our mum knows, the strain on her is awful, we are all struggling. My parents are divorced and my brother refuses to tell our dad about it, but as my dad doesn't know he keeps giving him money..thinking It's going on bills when it's going on drugs. Should we tell our dad? My brother won't tell him but his giving him money is not helping. Also I keep thinking if the worst happened (my brother gets seriously depressed and suicidal) how will my dad feel knowing we've not told him? But then, my brother might not trust me again if I tell dad. It's all such a mess. I'm worried about the impact on everyone, including my 2 young children, who love their uncle but I need to keep them safe.

by Rev

5 posts

Back to same old same old by

Well after my son showing some signs that he wanted to change his life last week & a promise that he would join hubby and I for tea tonight, he’s put a note through my door today to say he’s not coming as he is too embarrassed to face us. He’s admitted to returning to begging again & put his bank card & security number in the envelope asking me to withdraw the money £60 NEXT Weds & give it to his sister to pay for the petrol to take him to the rehab centre. All well & good but he hasn’t got a confirmed date to go yet and the last time he gave US money to look after for him (about 18 months ago) within hours he had broken into our house to retrieve it from the mantelpiece! Well I’m posting it back to him. I don’t want the responsibility of it or listen to his nonsense. Asking him to commit to rehab is clearly too big an ask. I am sick of the shame he is bringing to the family in a small town community where he and his family are known. He’s not ready for change despite him saying he is. So sad but it’s made me cross with him & I don’t want to be. He won’t make the effort & I only see more pain watching him sink further and further down.

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Bereavement

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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

My husband died by

I'm struggling with feelings following the death of my husband last month. He was in his mid-40s, and a highly intelligent, very successful businessman. He was also a cocaine addict, but no one knew unless he told them. He had periods of abstinence followed by what he called a relapse, which was a drug binge. During this time he would disappear away from home and be uncontactable, spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds. In the last year of his life, this all increased in frequency. The last six months were particularly bad. After his death, I found out that since January he'd been using at least once a week on average, and was ordering quantities of anywhere between 2g and 5g. He would just this in one night over the course of a few hours. On the night he died, he had disappeared on a binge, but I didn't know this until the following day. He had ordered 2g which he had taken over two hours, and then a couple of hours later he was walking it off in town when he literally dropped dead in the street. Since he died I've found out a lot about his use, about where he was getting money etc and I am finding it hard to process. Our relationship had deteriorated because he was always snappy and in a bad mood, and it felt like he had completely disconnected from me. He barely wanted to spend any time with me at all, and always prioritised anything else to the point we spent very little time together at all. I wanted it to be different, but he didn't. Having looked through his phone in the last month, it seems he had an awful lot of contact with prostitutes, who he paid to get the drugs for him. He was making arrangements with them once or twice a week to get the drugs, would take it while they were there and then leave. On his phone was a video of one of these sessions, and it was really upsetting. I looked after the money (at his request) so it was hard for him to get hold of it, but I've now discovered he spent one of his children's savings as unknown to me he had access to it. I have also found that he was searching for pawn shops, and many of his possessions have gone missing, including gifts I bought him (even his wedding present from me). He has left us with nothing - because of his addiction he could not get life insurance, and we are about to lose our home. I feel sad, betrayed and angry, even though I know the addiction had taken over in the end and it wasn't really *him*. The him before the addiction was the kindest, most generous, gentle person you could ever meet. He worked tirelessly for his family and always put others first. I am stunned he could have been so unfaithful so many times, and devastated that he died in the street far from home. I'm not sure how to reconcile all these conflicting feelings.

Lost husband to alcohol by

Hi all So glad I found this forum and hope my ramblings today will make sense to someone out there. I recently lost my husband to alcohol, and although he had other medical issues it was ultimately his drinking that killed him. Since his passing I have gone through many emotions, anger being the predominant one. Angry at him for giving in to it, angry at me for failing him, angry at medical professionals for failing him. Trust me, if I had a milkman I would probably find something to pin on him too. I dealt with his drinking for many years and have tried everything I could to get him to stop and/or seek help. He was getting help to be honest but in the end he thought he could handle it and paid the price. Right now I am very confused and wonder if he ever really cared for me and his family, yes he lied to me for years - part of the illness right? I trained myself to not take his lies, drinking, behaviour, personally but can't help but feel used and mistreated. Aside from myself and our children, none of his family were aware he had an issue and were stunned to find out after his death. I thought I was doing the right thing in keeping his secret but now I am questioning every decision I ever made Sorry for the ramblings, I just need to get these thoughts out and would be interested to know how others cope in a similar situation.