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Substituting One Drug for Another

answered 09:39 AM EST, Mon December 30, 2013
anonymous anonymous
I have a drinking problem that I have never been able to control and I have been to AA meetings before. I do not always drink but when I do I drink for days and it gets bad. I was in a car accident and I got some Vicodin for back pain and I noticed that when I took Vicodin I had no desire to drink and I also never had a real desire to try to get stoned and take too much of the Vicodin. I have never been into opiates. I do not take this medication every day but now when I feel a strong need to drink I just take 2 or 3 pills over a night and I can go to bars or anywhere with my friends and have no problem sticking with sprite all night. So far I have done this 4 times and I have not been drunk in 3 and a half weeks which is looong for me. If I am strict with myself and only take this medication no more than once or twice a week when I really need to drink will I get addicted physically? I think that once I can get out of a drinking habit for a few months or maybe even for a year I just won’t feel the need to drink so much anymore.

Anna Deeds Says...

Anna Deeds A. Deeds

Thank you for your question. While it may seem like Vicodin is helping you control your alcohol problem, this is only an illusion. Addiction is a tricky disease and can sometimes fool the addict into thinking that they can substitute one drug for another without consequences. You may have stopped drinking but now you are taking a powerful and more addicting drug. Opiates are highly addictive. You may be able to take them once or twice a week now but in time you will find this no longer works. Your body will quickly develop a tolerance to opiates. Tolerance means you need to take more and more of the drug to get the same effects. Right now, you are taking 2 or 3 pills to curb your desire to drink. Within a few weeks, you may need to take 5 or 6 to get the same results. Then, you may need to take 10 or 12. It will keep increasing. What started out as once or twice a week will increase until you are taking them everyday. This is how addiction happens. Tolerance increases so the person increases the amount of the drug they take until they are addicted. Once you are addicted, you will have to take them everyday to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

You cannot successfully treat one addiction with another. I urge you to stop taking Vicodin before you become addicted to them. You need treatment for your alcohol problem. This means returning to Alcoholics Anonymous. If AA didn't work for you before, ask yourself what part of the program you weren't doing. Were you going to daily meetings? Did you do 90 meetings in 90 days? Did you have a home group and a sponsor? Were you working the 12 Steps? Sometimes AA doesn't work because the alcoholic doesn't take part in the whole program and only goes to an occasional meeting. Addiction is a difficult disease. It takes a lot of work to get better.

I hope this answers your question and you get treatment for your addiction.

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Page last updated Dec 30, 2013

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