There are some medications that can be used to help you with withdrawals, and non-opiate pain relievers, and also, as I've been researching also, there are some medications that help the pain killer work better so that you can use less. If you're doctor doesn't come up with any solutions (I'm sorry, I don't know what the doc situation is like at the VA) then maybe you can recommend some of these. Naltrexone, Vistaril, maybe also Orphenadrine? I've been looking into these kinds of things for someone, and have found often you need to bring these things up. Try looking up these medications I mentioned, and maybe you'll even find more. The VA must offer some kind of support groups? There are chronic pain support groups, and there are NA located at many churches, and at NA you can find someone who will be your sponsor. I really hope that helps. Good luck to you!
The problems I had with VA were that they have a very specific formulary that limits the variety of drugs and that the doctors were often rushed. Last year I got off all my pain medication (plus muscle relaxers and the like). There were three things I found eessential. 1. Determination, it is difficult and not fun and you will hurt, accept it and keep going. 2. Patience, it took longer than I expected and I just had to step down slowly, cut pills in half if I could, etc. 3. A good willing doctor to work with you (maybe a support group as mentioned in the next reply) could help here too. My doctor was great but it took going through 5 doctors before him just to find one willing to help me come off the drugs. I wish you and anyone trying the best of luck!