Another One Bites The Dust

Postby Gitana » Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:36 am

Last toke was like 25 days ago - although had a couple of days without prior to that. No sleeping but wasnt feeling too tired, since lying in the dark still provides some sort of rest.

Before that, i ve been on an almost non-stop stretch for about 16 years - mainly because i moved to a city where there s no such thing as "running out for a few days/weeks", you re delivered within minute after sending a text, and my will power is not that strong.

Even before that i was living in a place where THC was sometimes available, sometimes not, so i could not really develop any full time dependence to it - and mostly booze was there, cheap & available - that definitely was my daily thing anyway, pot would happen just once in a while. This phase lasted for about 14 years.

That s precisely 3 decades "under the influence" as they say over here. Sure I sometimes had little break, like a couple of month off max, usually while on a trip/voyage in other part of the world. But mostly i realized early that i preferred my life with a little bit of vice - after a couple of months of clean living, although i would find myself to be so productive and such, i overall found a sense of boredom, like life is cool but not so exciting without drugs. So i d go back. I also had moments where i d proudly manage to use it "in moderation", like only on weekeds, with friends. That was probably the best balance. However i d soon gradually fall back into daily usage and stay stuck there for yet another couple of uninterrupted years. My activities are in the entertainment business (music) so nothing really ever pushed me into quitting, quite the contrary actually.

Today, Winter 2017, I guess i m ready to break the cycle and try something different maybe. I m not sure wether i want a life totally clean and free of vices, but i d really want my functioning brain and active memory back. My motivation and sense of joy too.

So it s been almost a month totally off - it wasnt even violent as i was just fed-off - although i still went through the usual PAWS to that day. I sleep about 5h30 a night, although i recall it was already my average 30 years ago, so i m not sure if it s an issue yet (i wish i d get 6h30 though, as i now yawn on daytime and dont like it). Brain still slow, memory still incapacitated, but i didnt have to fight any desire to roll anything (although i have some at home), so that s kind of a good sign that my resolve is pretty set.

Voila, just wanted to document that moment in my life - never went "public" with any of this, but i ve heard that accountability can go a long way, so why not adding that to the journey? Thanks for your watch!
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#1

Postby cleanofgreen » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:41 am

Welcome to the forum Gitana,

Well done on the 25 days clean. It will take a while to get the brain fog and memory problems to lift after such a long time using daily. Just to warn you PAWS doesn't usually hit till 4-6 weeks clean, below is a nice article on PAWS that you might like to read.
Nice article on PAWS from addictionsandrecovery.org that has helped me to come to terms with a few bad days, hope it can help some of you who are struggling. I think the key is to realize that what you are doing is enough and to treat your self nice on the bad days.
https://www.addictionsandrecovery.org/post-acute-withdrawal.htm

Post-Acute Withdrawal (PAWS)


There are two stages of withdrawal. The first stage is the acute stage, which usually lasts at most a few weeks. During this stage, you may experience physical withdrawal symptoms. But every drug is different, and every person is different.

The second stage of withdrawal is called the Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). During this stage you'll have fewer physical symptoms, but more emotional and psychological withdrawal symptoms.

Post-acute withdrawal occurs because your brain chemistry is gradually returning to normal. As your brain improves the levels of your brain chemicals fluctuate as they approach the new equilibrium causing post-acute withdrawal symptoms.

Most people experience some post-acute withdrawal symptoms. Whereas in the acute stage of withdrawal every person is different, in post-acute withdrawal most people have the same symptoms.

The Symptoms of Post-Acute Withdrawal

The most common post-acute withdrawal symptoms are:

Mood swings
Anxiety
Irritability
Tiredness
Variable energy
Low enthusiasm
Variable concentration
Disturbed sleep
Post-acute withdrawal feels like a rollercoaster of symptoms. In the beginning, your symptoms will change minute to minute and hour to hour. Later as you recover further they will disappear for a few weeks or months only to return again. As you continue to recover the good stretches will get longer and longer. But the bad periods of post-acute withdrawal can be just as intense and last just as long.

Each post-acute withdrawal episode usually last for a few days. Once you've been in recovery for a while, you will find that each post-acute withdrawal episode usually lasts for a few days. There is no obvious trigger for most episodes. You will wake up one day feeling irritable and have low energy. If you hang on for just a few days, it will lift just as quickly as it started. After a while you'll develop confidence that you can get through post-acute withdrawal, because you'll know that each episode is time limited.

Post-acute withdrawal usually lasts for 2 years. This is one of the most important things you need to remember. If you're up for the challenge you can get though this. But if you think that post-acute withdrawal will only last for a few months, then you'll get caught off guard, and when you're disappointed you're more likely to relapse. (Reference: http://www.AddictionsAndRecovery.org)

How to Survive Post-Acute Withdrawal

Be patient. You can't hurry recovery. But you can get through it one day at a time. If you resent post-acute withdrawal, or try to bulldoze your way through it, you will become exhausted. And when you're exhausted you will think of using to escape.

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms are a sign that your brain is recovering. Therefore don't resent them. But remember, even after one year, you are still only half way there.

Go with the flow. Withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable. But the more you resent them the worse they'll seem. You'll have lots of good days over the next two years. Enjoy them. You'll also have lots of bad days. On those days, don't try to do too much. Take care of yourself, focus on your recovery, and you'll get through this.

Practice self-care. Give yourself lots of little breaks over the next two years. Tell yourself "what I am doing is enough." Be good to yourself. That is what most addicts can't do, and that's what you must learn in recovery. Recovery is the opposite of addiction.

Sometimes you'll have little energy or enthusiasm for anything. Understand this and don't over book your life. Give yourself permission to focus on your recovery.

Post-acute withdrawal can be a trigger for relapse. You'll go for weeks without any withdrawal symptoms, and then one day you'll wake up and your withdrawal will hit you like a ton of bricks. You'll have slept badly. You'll be in a bad mood. Your energy will be low. And if you're not prepared for it, if you think that post-acute withdrawal only lasts for a few months, or if you think that you'll be different and it won't be as bad for you, then you'll get caught off guard. But if you know what to expect you can do this.

Being able to relax will help you through post-acute withdrawal. When you're tense you tend to dwell on your symptoms and make them worse. When you're relaxed it's easier to not get caught up in them. You aren't as triggered by your symptoms which means you're less likely to relapse.

Remember, every relapse, no matter how small undoes the gains your brain has made during recovery. Without abstinence everything will fall apart. With abstinence everything is possible. (Reference: http://www.AddictionsAndRecovery.org)

Recovery and Relapse Prevention Strategies

For more techniques on how to get through withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal look at the pages on recovery skills and relapse prevention strategies. You can recover from addiction.
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#2

Postby Gitana » Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:07 pm

Thanks Cleanofgreen! Your story is definitely a big inspiration, bravo to you for your new life and sustained recovery indeed!

Lots of information on the links you sent.
So from what you re saying, i d be currently going through the Acute phase, and soon to be entering the Post Acute one? Charming..

I wanted to precise a few details:
- all my vices only happened after sunset (though i used to stay up all night..)

- while i used to drink every night, i totally quit for over 15 years now - except for a 1 year relapse while on a long tour away from THC about 10 years ago

- i used to smoke mixed with tobacco, and would indulge in cigarette to sustain the high. A big reason for stopping altogether is to remove that tobacco from my life - it stinks, is expensive, and i m told is not health friendly. I never developed any cigarette habit when not high though.

- i am prone to severe migraine (cluster migraines) that last for a couple of month at a time, coming back every 6 years, like a clock - no pharmacy remedy could ever do anything to release the pain, but MJ sometimes did. That s one of the reason why i could never totally get it out of my life.

- i m in otherwise pretty good health so i dont want any doctor to start to tell me that i should or shouldnt do - went through some general check up lately (after over 15 years without seeing any doctor) and they told me i had the numbers of 25y.o, and even the blood pressure of a teenager (i had smoked the night before so that i might explain?). Naturally i told them about my THC consumption.

And although i m still feeling a strong resolve, i have a question:
- while i m on my way to make progress, would a migraine-induced-relapse ruin it all?

I havent hung out with my smoking buddies in the past month, so it s been flawless, however i wonder wether "recreational usage" (a couple of time a year) be detrimental to any brain recovery.

Thanks for your watch!
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#3

Postby cleanofgreen » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:01 pm

Hi Gitana,

Didn't want to freak you out, was just pointing out that you probably hadn't reached the post acute stage yet, but some people never do get a PAWS stage so you might be one of the lucky ones, everyone is different. I think it depends on what potency you were smoking and how much/often and probably if your life is still good or in the crapper. I thought i was fine until 6 weeks hit and then bam it hit and I didn't even know what was happening to me or what PAWS was. I only found this forum around the 3 month mark and figured out it was paws. It's just so much easier if you know what it is so you don't think your going mad.

Can only speak for my self regarding the smoke now and again, tried that many many times and always ending up smoking everyday within a very short time, no discipline when it comes to weed. I know some people can do it but I just can't, so your mileage may vary. Also don't know what effect a smoke when you have a migraine would have on the brain healing but from the PAWS article it seem to say it would set back progress although this might be regarding other drug and not cannabis but I don't know for sure.
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#4

Postby Gitana » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:38 am

I hear you about the no-discipline haha!
That s good that here you too could find answers to what your body was going through.

What i can witness so far:
- i sleep less and am sort of sleepy all day, with a need for a nap after lunch
- i m struggling to do basic mental calculus (although i took an IQ test 4 years ago (while partaking) and results were quite high, with a special mention for memorization (go figure)
- i have memories of my dreams yet the distinction between real/dreamed is not that clear when i comes to memories (in clear, i remember stuff but am not sure wether i lived them or dreamed them)
- i eat much much more (might be related to the nicotine withdrawal?) although i never really had munchies when high
- i m either in an ok mood, or pretty mad at everyone for no reason (though i had that tendency prior detox)
- i had moments of extreme energy (cleaning the house at night) but mostly find myself with little desire to do anything (had procrastinator tendencies prior as well)
- i m much more horny that usual (that might be an hormonal phase?)
- i tend to avoid people and find solace in loneness (that was the case prior as well)
- i exercise/bike/swim every day but lack of energy/drive to really exhaust myself up
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#5

Postby Gitana » Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:59 pm

Reading other people s post (i have a lot of extra time now that i ve quit my sofa habits..) and in-and-out-of-it stories makes me want to quickly write down a couple of things i dont like about my HTC addiction and why i should not relapse anytime soon (before i forget..)

- i avoid people too much (especially the ones who dont smoke)
- i waste money
- i waste a LOT of time
- i smoke tobacco (as i used to mix it and then smoke cigs)
- my apt stink of cold tobacco
- i take stupid risk while traveling (especially plane) (i got lucky to get busted only once at the airport though, and no consequences - and lately i went through some "extreme vetting" (since the "new administration" here in the US) and i realize that i could have faced catastrophic consequences had they found it (they didnt)
- i go through my whole daytime in a messy haze always telling people "i m just slow to wake up today", except that it is every single day, and all-day, until it s sunset and i can get my fix
- i procrastinate on everything
- i live in a mess (somewhat presentable though)
- i have no more mental sharpness and take it as my new normal
- i dont even bother trying to remember any new name (people, artist, place, food, etc)
- i repeat myself a lot
- i live a selfish life (no much sharing anything (meal, idea, articles)
- i care less about people around me
- i tend to become a misfit and a bore
- my sense of time is so messed up that i use up people s patience
- i lie (to myself and to friends)
- i have so little energy (and take it for granted)
- i loose my real sense of optimism and contructivism
- i never contact back anyone after i said i will
- i feel like i m in control of the substance
- i run circles..

(to be continued..)
-
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#6

Postby Gitana » Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:39 pm

Little update after 5 weeks:
- mental: i dont think about the thing anymore - even though i read a lot about it here and in the news, i dont feel concerned anymore, the same happened with booze years ago, so i m guessing i m on the right path
- brain: the fog is definitely thinner - i m starting to be able to think clearer, and my golden fish memory is slowly receding it seems, i m starting to remember things at times
- sleep: thanks to daily physical activities, i usually fall asleep within 10mn, for no longer that 5 hours but still. I had a relapse a fews nights ago when i couldnt find sleep at all, but i had not been active enough the previous days so that might just be the explanation.
- skin: like after former quits, some spots and rashes pop up after 1 months, that s the detox i guess. Nothing bad, and it actually feels good to see a reaction - like the body (and not only the mind/brain) is acknowledging the change!
- weight: i gained 7 pounds, mostly due to slower metabolism and initial post-quit craving. I m replacing the snacks with glasses of water, will see what happens. I mostly stopped junk sugar too, so that might help
- mood is getting way more balanced, the ups and downs are averaging, i dont randomly hate everyone and my patience is improving. Not quite there yet, but on my way
One of the most suprising benefit is the taste: i marveled at the rich flavors of a onion, and even a glass of water seems SO tasty! I didnt expect that one, that s a nice perk.

I keep on reading other people s stories, thanks for the inspiration y all!
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#7

Postby cleanofgreen » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:14 pm

Great to see your improving so much. looks like your on the right path.
Keep up the good work and enjoy your new life.
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#8

Postby Gitana » Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:58 pm

Thanks for support CleanOfGreen, i feel on the right path yup, feels good.

Update: just slept 10 hours in a row today! Not so sure what caused that (the day before i did moderate exercise, ate twice and was mostly quiet..). Anyway, just wanted to document that, will see what happens next..
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#9

Postby Gitana » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:38 pm

Update at 5 weeks (possibly longer actually, but who cares)
- sleeping pattern is stil all over the place, but i manage to sleep, which is a progress in itself
- skin is very dry: i read that THC heightens the sebum, so conversely it makes sense that no THC would create dryness, rash and acnee
- mood is bad
- headaches are always around the corner
- craving are still high, although slightly better

If i havent already mentioned it, i shall precise that, like a lot of people here, i m using this momentum to adjust several things in my life:
- THC
- tobacco
- sugar
- late sleep

It seems that i under-estimated the sugar, look at how familiar that sugar-withdrawal-symptoms list is!

What are the symptoms of sugar withdrawal?
Other symptoms experienced by people who have detoxed from sugar include:
muscle aches and pains.
nausea.
chills or sweats.
insomnia.
strange dreams.
boredom.
gas and bloating.


No wonder i m having all these weird reactions overlapping (especially the mood - i m SO irritable for NO reason - ok, one day at a time - but dont come bothering me these days, not the right time..

End of rants (for now)
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#10

Postby DaWickerMan777 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:57 am

Keep it going Gitana! It's tough, but you WILL make it!
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#11

Postby Gitana » Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:09 am

Thanks Wickerman - so far so good..

Update - it s been 2 months now.
- i m not "fearing" not sleeping anymore - i make sure i m tired each day and have no issue falling asleep
- i sleep 5-6hours and wake up tired. I sometimes go back to sleep for another hour or 2, and wake up tired regardless
- i m still yawning all day and never feel rested
- i m still eating way much more, though i manage to stabilize it thanks to drinking a lot of water whenever cravings show up
- mood is still pretty bad all day, and the second month has been way worse in that regard. This is my main concern these day, the fact of always being in a bad day
- the brain is still super slow to process, as if the brain fog never really dissipated. It is way less thick though.
- memory is very slightly improving - depending on days, i can sometimes remember a new name or even a phone number (rare)
- dreams are still very vivid, very movie-like (long and precise) and quite enjoyable. Not as vivid than during first month of quitting though
- motivation sharply decreased during the past 3 weeks, even writing here was too hard - although i just did it (a little) tonight so maybe im making progress after all
- otherwise, no temptation to relapse at all, i guess i m really over it so far..
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#12

Postby Bagobones » Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:22 am

Seems like your about where I was 2 months in. :) Its just to put on your tough face and keep on the same path. As the Navy Seals say, the only easy day was yesterday.

You are doing very good. I am proud of you. Soon enough you will look back on that period with a very clear head and a proud heart.
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#13

Postby Gitana » Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:17 pm

I appreciate the support Bagobones - i ve re-read your 8-10 weeks period and indeed, sounds like what i m going through. At the time i thought you were a bigger pothead so I didnt think this would happen to me for some reason, and now i m right there haha
Yup, no motivation, like i m depressed all day - while i was thriving just a month ago, full of positive energy and projects and such. I suppose i just have to be patient then. Sucks though, i had a better vision for Spring i guess. Oh well.
I ll go re-read what happened to you after that more closely i guess.. Hope you re coping well
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#14

Postby Gitana » Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:21 am

10 weeks! yup, what feels like an eternity is actually just 10 little weeks! Time passes very differently without MJ there s no doubt..
Ok, not much to say:
tired all day, sleep 7 hours with no issue, overwhelming urge to sleep seven hours after i wake up.
I exercice at least 1 hour a day, with some relaxation/meditation moments too.
Eating is all i can do (gained initially 9 pounds, now seem to have lost like 6/7). No motivation to do anything (except eating and sleeping and reading). Place is a mess.
Mood has been ok-ish, although i m still totally avoiding people, friends, sex, socialization (i went to a party this week and was fine though, among smokers and drinkers..) whenever i can.
Memory is better, nowhere near what it used to be, but better than 10 weeks ago for sure
Havent felt too depressed this week, and didnt cry unexpectedly like before. My main issue really is the no motivation that seems to be lasting.
It s a long way indeed
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