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I'm 32 years old, have degenerative disk disease and a dry disk. I had a surgery at the bottom of my spine to remove part of that disk that had splintered off and lodged into a nerve. I rode bulls for 6 years, which resulted in the disk being damaged and constant back pain now. The pain went away for about a year after the surgery, but then last year it came back twice as bad (though without the numbness of the nerve pain) and it is constant. It isn't the kind of pain that you can just deal with, either. I can take about a day and a half of it and then it becomes unbearable. No rest, no sleep, no comfort or activity. I have 3 children under 5 years old and stay at home raising them while my wife works at a very good job and supports us, thank God. Needless to say, I haven't the time to lay in bed all day in pain and a foul mood.

To compound this, I'm an addict. Alcohol, pot, pills, whatever. For the last 17 years straight. It's been handed down the line to me genetically. Not that I don't take the full responsibility for it, but anyway. Then, on top of that I suffer from depression.

For the last year and a half I've been back on pain meds. They work great. But, my tolerance has gone through the roof. I went from 10mg of Vicodin to now needing 40mg of Percocet and I know it isn't healthy. The addict in me abuses the meds. I hate it, but I can't stop it. I know how that sounds, too.
The euphoric effects of the opiates takes away my depression and that is where the abuse comes in for me and the high doses. They let me go through the day without pain, and they let me be the father that my kids deserve rather than the good for nothing pain ridden couch potato that can't even manage to take care of himself without the meds, that is short tempered and never wants to do anything. Like a Jeckle and Hyde, that. I know it's a crutch, and I'm ashamed but feel that the ends justify the means when it comes to my kids.

Anyway, I've been taking enormous amounts of acetaminophen throughout all of this, sometimes upwards of 15g a day. I know that 4g is the recommended daily maximum, and that 7g-10g is an acute overdose. However, I'm wondering what affect that taking, say, 3.5g every 4-6 hours would have, or has had on me.
Sometimes I have 7.5/325 Percocet, and while they last I take anywhere between 5-20 a day, 5 at a time now. Other times, when the script runs out early as it always does nowadays, I fall back on Darvocet, 100/650 APAP, and take 5 of those, up to 4 times a day, sometimes 5 times a day.
It keeps my moods in check, the depression away, the pain away, the temper in check and gets things done that need to be done. Yet, at what cost? Bear with me. I know full well how bad all this sounds and what kind of a person I am for it. But my problem as an addict, and always has been, is that there is this (unexplainable) void that needs filled and substance abuse fills it and completes me. Again, I know how bad this all sounds, and it is humiliating, believe me.

I'm left scared now, though, that I may have done some serious damage to my liver and kidneys at this point. I used to drink a lot to deal with the pain and moods, like 12-18 beers a day. I don't drink anymore, since I've turned to the narcotic pain killers. That, too, couldn't have been good on my liver. I drank that much probably 6 months out of the year for 5 years.

What kind of damage do some of you more educated folks think I could have done by now? What should I do? Do I tell my pain management doctor all this? I can't live without the pain meds, I know that much, it's just too much pain, but the potential for abuse will always be there. It's very complicated and it sucks, hard.

Actually, I was hpoing to hear from feelbad on this, as I had read her posts here through a ****** search on acetaminophen damage, then signed up to write this.


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