I just wanted to share my experiences getting through one of the hardest, if not the most challenging experience of my life... f***ing WEED PAWS!
I'm currently 9 months off the green and never felt better..
To let you know, I have been smoking weed since I was 15 and by the time I was 19 was smoking everyday until the age of 34. I would take breaks from weed for a few weeks at a time when I was overseas, although I would often find it at the places I visited, or I would quit when I was doing exams at university. I was always a very productive stoner~ I have 2 degrees, was a criminal lawyer and was always extremely fit. I would run 10 miles on weekends but I would always be high doing it. I found weed enhanced any activity I did, so I was basically high all the time. I could justify my weed in take because it didn't hamper my productivity (how wrong I was in retrospect!). I was a wake and baker, often 2-3 joints before going to work in the morning just to feel relaxed and I would smoke on my lunch break and when I got home I'd smoke a joint on high THC weed (Critical Kush) every 30 minutes from 5pm til 1am. I used weed to get me to sleep at night as well, i found it to be a great sleeping aid. I also suffered from anxiety attacks that would hit me every 6 months due to the pressures of my career, so once they came on I would smoke my way out of them. I only say this because I want people to know that I wasn't just an occasional smoker, I smoked harddd for 20+ years. If I can recover from weed addiction, you can too
About a month before my 34 birthday I had a severe anxiety attack that landed me in hospital for the night. As I lay in my hospital bed kind of shaking and freaking out i thought, man this ordeal would be a lot easier to comprehend if I wasn't so high all the time. So I decided to quit the next day. It wasn't just that but I'd gotten bored with my stoner lifestyle; always worrying about scoring the next bag (got so bad that I ended up buying a pound), always paranoid I stunk of weed (which i did!), always having to wake up and clean up the last night mess of empty plates and candy wrappers, vacuuming the weed off the table and couch, always upset with my stoner friends who would come over just to sit on my couch and get high, same boring activities every night~ a sh** movie or playing video games, never going out with friends!!
Anyway the next morning I got home and took the pound of weed I had stashed and gave it away to my smoker friends, it was easy to do because I honestly didn't want to smoke. The first week is hell as everyone knows from quitting for a week or 2. No appetite, no sleep, heavy sweating, vivid dreams etc. I got through that by taking Valium to get to sleep which helped a lot. I was also prescribed an anti seizure medication that works well for recovering alcoholics, starts with a B but I can't remember what they were, sorry! They worked great for the first 3 weeks, getting me to sleep and actually making me feel happy. By the 3rd week I thought I didn't need them anymore and everything was going to be fine...
Then around week 3 or 4, sh** got real...
I got home one night from my Ju Jitsu class and got into bed. I suddenly felt really hot, I opened a window to cool down but I felt like my legs were on fire and my heart was racing. I didn't sleep that night which I thought was odd as my sleeping patterns had got back to normal. Then I didn't sleep the next night, and the next night, and the next, and so on and so on. I ended up not sleeping for 3 weeks. I started to FREAK OUT. I also started to get really bad anxiety and depression, I went to see my GP 3 or 4 times in one week. First he told me to take tamazepam which didn't work, I'd sleep for 2 hours then wake up with crippling anxiety. Then I tried Ambien which had the same effect, I'd wake up after it initially knocked me out and then I'd stay awake all night. My insomnia got so bad I developed a hypnic jerk which essentially flushing your body with adrenaline on the verge on sleep so you stay awake for another 3-4 hours, body racing with anxiety, before it happens again. I turned into a COMPLETE MESS! I had to take 3 weeks off work because I had come extremely depressed. I cried all day. I went on a holiday to try and get some RnR but that didn't work. I cravvvved sweet foods which I never before had (symptom of depression) and I just couldnt relax no matter what I was doing. I couldnt go to the gym because I kept thinking, 'whats the point?'. I actually started to think that about life, like whats the point in life everyones going to die anyway so what the point in trying? (I know its a terrible way to think about life but I obviously wasn't thinking right at the time, no one with depression does). I decided to leave my holiday early to speak to a professional because I was going out for dinner at night and just crying at the table, in front of slightly terrifed and freaked out tourists.
I found a good physiologist and I was given Mirtazapine (Remeron) by my GP, an antidepressant which is used for sleep, I used 7.5mg and that got me to sleep for a solid 6-7 hours but I would wake up with music in my head which I have heard is common among recovering long term weed heads. I also had really weird and vivid dreams. I would have these mental blocks in my head during the day at work and I couldnt seem to function properly. I was also told by my GP that I had severe depression from other life circumstances but deep down I knew it was from the weed. This site was a total blessing as I could see my own problems mirrored a lot of the other recovering addicts symptoms. I was given a number of antidepressants to use, Zoloft, Lexipro another one that started with C but I couldnt get through the first weeks side effects with any of them (insomnia and terrible anxiety) and looking back I'm glad I didn't because ultimately I didn't need them, it was all a process of my body and brain letting go of the devil'l lettuce.
I read a great post here, viewtopic.php?t=74133
, I still have this bookmarked on my internet browser that I would often read for support when I was feeling down and out. It said that it takes AT LEAST 6 months to start to feel better and at least 8 months before you start to feel normal again, and as much as it sucks to tell you guys who are just quitting, its really true. Months 2-6 are fuckkkking terrible. You get no enjoyment out of anything because your senses are just f***ed up by all the THC thats been running through your system and you're body is saying to your brain or vice versa "Hey I really liked this stuff!, I'm so used to it, what are you doing? if you don't give me anymore I'm going to make you so miserable that you'll eventually have no choice but to give me some!!!!"
But once you hit 6 months you start to feel it, you're not 100% better but you start to feel happier and start to notice things that made you happy previously start to again, and because you've been so miserable for so long, even a little bit of joy is really noticeable! After a while your mind starts to feel normal again, trust me I was the biggest stoner ever, if I can do it YOU CAN TOO!! TRUST ME!!!
Things that helped; TIME AND PATIENCE.. I'd love to give you a list of supplements that work but I'm not too sure any of them did. I think a lot of them are snake oil but if you want to try go for it! They might help you! I would suggest taking anything that chills you out to a certain extent. Magnesium powder is great for anxiety as it relaxes the muscles. Even a good herbal tea too. A warm bath also helps too! And so does hanging out with your pets or your family (if you get along and like your family that is!). I guess the only thing that truely works is time and the patience to know that eventually you're body will go back to normal. A few alcoholic drinks help too, I was never a big drinker in my smoking days but I've found a glass of red wine to be fantastic when you need to unwind. I know it sounds hypocritical to go from one substance to another but I can handle a glass or 2 of wine every other night, and I don't have to pound a glass before I go to work in the morning like I did with weed!
Exercise is great too! I've gotten back into my activities and taking care of your body is a fantastic way to show yourself why you shouldn't be smoking weed all the time. Also, as much as its probably not a good idea to slip into the habit, prescription drugs such as Xanax, Klonopin and Valium do serve a purpose when they are needed. My only regret in my journey is not taking them when I truely needed to. I have a lot of friends who have become addicted to them and I often would not take them when I was feeling like sh** because I thought I would also become addicted but when you're feeling extremely anxious its ok to take them, thats what they were designed for. Remember the aim is to limit how sh** you are feeling for those initial bad times and anything short of doing weed again is a good thing.
After 6-8 months you start to live your life almost exactly how you did before you stopped smoking but with all these cool new hobbies and a better appreciation for life, I know it sounds corny but its TRUE!!! Your brain is clearer and your understanding of your own issues as well as your friends becomes much deeper. My psychologist told me that when you are on drugs your emotions are put on hold and stop developing. I can 10000% say that is true. Since quitting I've become so much more emotionally stable and I think a lot of the depression I suffered from was dealing with the fact that I had put my emotions on hold for 20 years. Before, if i had a tough emotional issue to deal with I'd say **** it and smoke a joint to hide the issue I couldnt be bothered dealing with under a massive cloud of weed smoke. I'm SOOO happy to say now that its not the case anymore! I deal with it whether its hard or not, I don't hide anymore in pot use. I've got an amazing girlfriend at the moment who I only just met and if you were to ask me during those 2-6 months when I had just started quitting if I could ever be emotionally stable enough to maintain a relationship I would have bet my life savings that I would have said "no f***ing way, I'm a mess and will probably be a mess for the rest of my life!" I met a girl during that time and I could hardly string a sentence together, i felt like such a waste of space that I basically went into a hole, I had no confidence at all. As weird as it is to say, I got my speech back by thinking to myself that I spent years trying to talk normally to others when I was high, so it might take me some time to speak normally now that I was straight. I know it sounds crazy but it worked for me.
I'd just like to say a HUGE thank you to the countless people on this site who have posted about their struggles and how they dealt with them as I honestly believe this site helped me more than any other medical "professional" has so far and I've been to plenty! (4 physiologists, 2 psychiatrists, 5 GPs, 2 anxiety specialists). Its just unfortunate that the medical industry doesn't seem to think weed PAWS is a thing they should be looking at but as someone who's gone through it, I can say with certainty that is was the hardest thing i've ever experienced in my life!! Don't kid yourself, you'll need to be as strong as you've ever been to get through this period of your life. But if I can, you can. You'll be a different person once you get through it. You'll have a few battle scared but you'll be stronger than ever! Whats that old saying about when you break something it grows back stronger? Well in this case you'll grow STRONG AS ****! Like a mental Hercules!!
This forum give you the best medicine available~ HOPE!! Hope is all you need. Just know that eventually it will go away, whatever PAWS you're dealing with, its all a matter of time! To anyone reading this, I love you for the person you're trying to become, you're truely doing something good for yourself and it will benefit everyone you know and love. If you're in hell right now, know that its only a matter of time before you bust on through to the other side and feel happy again.
I still deal with a little bit of depression here and there but its manageable, life's not supposed to be easy and you can't always be happy. BUT as the as the days and weeks go by I feel better and better about the decision I had to quit weed all those months ago when I was lying in a hospital bed. Best decision I've ever made. I'm always here if you need me guys! Stay strong you won't regret it!! Xoxoxo