weed PAWS and social life - general question

Postby Ananda_M » Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:32 pm

Hello everybody!

I gone through this forum before registration and I am wondering about the length of PAWS caused by quitting of weed. It seems these last up to 2 or 3 years (of course depending on the duration, frequency of usage etc.).

But the question is - how important factor is the lifestyle? I mean social life. Many of us - (quitted) potheads - are/were quite asocial, i.e. smoking alone and supressing the lonelyness by THC (or just simply not feeling lonely because of THC). Do you think that extensive socialization training can help up with this? I got nice social skills during one of the smoking period (a lot of friends, beautiful girlfriend...), but without sustaining these skills... they vanished. Now without weed (30 days), it is even more hard to keep interactions flowing smoothly.

So, my question is - are the PAWS mainly caused by missing of social support? Does it worth to "push hard" social skills now or is it better to wait for getting out from fatigue, demotivation etc. and social skills will be better afterwards/built more easily? I know, it is probably individual, but I am not sure what is "my progress in communication" and what is healing of the receptors (or how these two are related). I found out that I do not have positive feelings from interacting with people now (99 %), but I think it can be slowly learned (or just "waited"?).

Thank you in advance for any comment, I saw a lot of great info on this forum! :)

BTW. I smoked for long years everyday many times, with few breaks, but most of the time quite socially akward :roll: so, the weed was one of the most pleasurable things, but it is not sustainable...
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#1

Postby urreacp » Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:20 pm

Really good question you pose. I'm over 16 months in, and I feel like with social skills/behaviors you have to force it to the extent that you can. I feel like if all we do is sit and wait, you won't ever become "completely normal.". At the same time, you have be good to yourself and respect the fact that you won't always have the energy and motivation. Maybe on days you're off from work or school you can force something you're not quite comfortable with, but you still need to do.

As more time goes by, I feel sitting by idly by and waiting won't work alone. It must be earned to an extent.
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#2

Postby Julia Stretton » Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:55 pm

I don't think there's a straight answer to your question, as that will depend entirely on the individual.

Most of my life, I have suffered from low self-esteem, and that used to cause me to seek validation from others. I would use every opportunity to be around other people, and at the same time I found it very difficult to be on my own. But I also realised how shallow I was when I tried to communicate with the people whom I was around, and I often had the feeling that I wasn't being 'myself', which wasn't too surprising, considering that I didn't know who I was. So I withdrew, and to drown out my feelings when I was on my own, I would just get stoned all the time.

A few years ago, someone asked me why I didn't do an art course, so I enrolled and started having at least some purpose (even if it didn't completely solve my identity crisis). Since then, I started feeling more comfortable in my own surroundings, but I still felt like drowning out my feelings a lot of the time. Meanwhile (especially since I've stopped smoking), I've started to feel a lot more comfortable in my own skin, and I'm able to genuinely enjoy my own company. But there is also a part of me that wants to be around others. Unlike urreacp though, I don't believe that I need to force anything. Everything that I need in life seems to be coming to me naturally. About a week ago, just after I rejoined Facebook after four months absence, a friend (whom I had never really talked to, except for online) asked me if I wanted to meet for a coffee, and I actually really enjoyed meeting her in a pub, where we sat outside in the sun, and we had some very deep and stimulating conversations. I think that being alone is very important to me, as it gives me the chance to establish what my own needs are, and exactly what kind of people I actually want to be around.

Obviously I can't speak for everyone, but for me social encounters aren't a top priority, at least for the time being. If that changes at any point, I'll obviously happily embrace my newly found acquaintances.
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#3

Postby Anewchapter » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:48 am

I'm kinda with Julia on this, "Social encounters are not a top priority" with me either. I also used to, still do! suffer with low self esteem, I am
Improving but know it will take time.

I used to have many acquaintances, but no true friends (I never revealed the real me), I then became isolated, as many stoned heads do, and started to reflect on a lot of things. Through a bunch of different life situations, I moved away and started afreash, new town, name, completely new identity, I moved away from family, ex and so called friends. For the past few years I've lived without much socialising. It's only been the last couple of months I've started to socialise again, and it is with just a couple of people so far, but it is more meaningful friendships than what I was used too. I think as I've come off the drugs I've started to respect myself more and inturn I'm being more picky with whom I socialise with.

But... I am still finding myself at the moment, and though I still don't want to push friendships, I do feel it is time for me to start socialising again, I'm not an extrovert, far from it, but I'm attending a lot more social events now, though It has taken me months of being off the weed to feel comfortable in doing so.

I don't feel it would of been good for me personally to push it too much, I needed time to find out who I was with out being under the influence of drugs, what my true values were, but when I felt ready I did need to step out of my comfort zone. I'm taking it slowly not pushing it too much, just trying to enjoy life again, if I meet people I enjoy socialising with that's a bonus.
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#4

Postby Ananda_M » Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:49 am

Thank you for posting, I really appreciate it :)

I know that external validation is not of top priority, and if so, it is a trap. But just wondering whether worse social skills (and all these negative emotions during social interactions) are consequences of PAWS or PAWS are actually worse because of low social skills (because of lazyness of PAWS). I think it should be normal that people enjoy small talks etc. (although, I almost never enjoyed them :D)

Keep posting, nice to see your opinions :)
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#5

Postby Ananda_M » Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:12 pm

update - getting more out of comfort zone (when feel uncmfortable in some social situations, mostly keeping in and continuing instead of fleeing) and getting out more in general - and I think it is way better than just sleep as much as I "can"... I think this is really beneficial, because some positive feelings started to appear time to time (but, obviously, most of the time it still sucks) and energy level gone up...

maybe it is also mainly about attitude by itself - like "I can push it and strive to be relaxed"
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#6

Postby urreacp » Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:58 pm

Ananda_M wrote:update - getting more out of comfort zone (when feel uncmfortable in some social situations, mostly keeping in and continuing instead of fleeing) and getting out more in general - and I think it is way better than just sleep as much as I "can"... I think this is really beneficial, because some positive feelings started to appear time to time (but, obviously, most of the time it still sucks) and energy level gone up...

maybe it is also mainly about attitude by itself - like "I can push it and strive to be relaxed"


Nice work. I agree it's way better than just sleeping as much as you can. I know that full well, sleeping had been (still is at times) a way that I cope and it just doesn't work.
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#7

Postby Ananda_M » Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:17 pm

next update - today felt firstly really down (wanted to stop everything and just sleep), but keeping the positive attitude towards people and feeling great again now, at the end of the day.

thanks urreacp for support :)

----
next theory to discuss (I will be also happy if you prove it is not correct or where are the errors in the next paragraphs) :)

Self confidence on weed vs. without weed
I realized today, that I was quite confident (when high on weed) during communication with people. Just not giving a f***... So, it seemed to me that everything is excellent, but apparently it was not true at all. Example - people (not smoking) strive to keep "meaningful" conversation - i.e. to convey positive emotions and assure themselves, they are OK with other people. On weed, this feeling is not so necessary, so I did not build the true connection with most of people, because I simply did not have need for this. I mean on the workplace etc. They respected me, because I was "invulnerable", but it was incomplete and probably therefore there was no joy from smalltalks etc.

I do not want to say I am OK now :D I know there will be immediately next big down in everything, but just wondering how far I was from other people... and absolutely OK with this, just still having a hit.
I also don't say this can be built easily - too much effort to build the connection is quite counterproductive for interactions... but just general idea - finding the optimal threshold for connection with people when this skill is probably harmed by SWEDing for years... is this part of "PAWS"? What do you think? Thanks to all who read this :)

P.S.: sorry for imperfect English, I am not a native speaker...
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#8

Postby Ananda_M » Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:58 pm

updating again - spent a lot of time with people last time (this is not usual for me, since I used to live and work alone) - I think social skills turn slightly better... also still a lot of fatigue, but it also seems to get a litle bit better... mood swings and demotivation swings are still present

what is interesting - it seems to me I don't have a balls - like a nice guy :shock: I don't know what to do with this, probably time will solve this (and some gym)... I'm still boring and "careful" in interactions, not enjoying all the interactions by itselfs, but I enjoy the fact I'm doing something for future progress... not scared of people yet, but going too conservative :x
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#9

Postby Ananda_M » Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:35 pm

update of "log" - sleeping a lot these day, quite socializing too, mood is probably better... I hope it is turning back to the normal (but this feeling is tricky, I remember that last time, the worst came after months when I was really psychicaly tired of bad PAWS living).

I started a lot of walking every day and turned back to the gym, this is really great! I would suggest this to all - go outside and do some sport activity! :)

Still do not enjoying most of conversations :( Even with the people I like "to some degree" (but few of my closest are OK - this was not such a good last time).

Idea
A lot of bad feelings are coming from the contemplatement of inability in everyday living (because of bad attention, fatigue etc.)... I just found out that accepting it (as temporary state) and understanding of good things in life is far more better. Well, quite obvious... but now, without weed, this is mental sheme is not so obvious.

Do you have also some of such a "simple" insights that are bringing you up? Share them here! :)
I sometimes feel like I learn the mental basics which I had internalized before, but lost them with weed :O
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#10

Postby Ananda_M » Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:19 pm

Hi there,

I have to say, everything still sucks, depsite socialization pushing - I am not improoving as fast as I thought. In the conversations, it is frequently like "click - feel like with dementia, void... then click - feeling, let's say normal"... not enjoying most of conversations with people who are not close (but hopefully, there is also some small improvement)

Still sleeping massively and still experiencing mood (and motivation) swings. However, some improvement is here - there are windows of better times already.

P.S.: Drinking is really not a good idea in this time...
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#11

Postby Ananda_M » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:34 pm

Uff uff, times are quite though these days, despite I experience a lot of bright moments. But overall, it is like more and more oscilating... bigger and bigger extremes... day 52 and there is a lot of time like life seems absolutely pointless, mixed with ongoing insanity... Sometimes it is like "haha, no problem, I know there will be PAWS intervals again, but I have just to wait, go through it and then start to find a girl etc. and everything will be OK"...

But then...absolute chaos and fear that I will end up alone and very badly - insane etc. :shock: As time goes, I accumulate more and more tiredness caused by all of this... Yesterday, I visited one guy who I did not meet for quite a long time... I told him something abou my situation and it made me feel quite good. Also with my parents, it is analogical - I can tell them - and feeling like not being judged. But with other people, it is like pretending "I am OK" and this is making me feel strange and nervous (yes, looking for validation, because I am too weak to validate myself alone now).

Really do not want to smoke this sh*t, NEVER AGAIN!!!
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#12

Postby Ananda_M » Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:26 pm

next update - starting to enjoy the things!!!! yeah :twisted:

Still very lazy (and foggy-minded for quite a lot of time) with tendency to sleep 15 hours per day, but it is slowly getting better!

day 57

btw. it takes a lot of thinking about my expectations, relationships, loneliness etc., but it works somehow
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#13

Postby Rita1 » Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:19 pm

Hey Anada

We are roughly on the same time line of quitting. I'm on about day 64. MAN. what a rough ride. Socialising is on my mind too. I use to be very very social. Weirldly started to smoke weed really heavily out of the blue and much rathered this then socialising . Kept up the social banter like you said with confidence when high, because I cared less and less. I'm not sure how I came across. I definitely avoided one on ones. Now I'm sober I'm craving real connection. But my confidence has gone a lot since quitting. I use to be the funny guy, but now it feels strained. Conversations don't interest me much and I'm trying so hard to be engaged. Ugh, it is slowly getting better but I feel like I'm faking authenticity .

I've being walking too! Definitely notice on days when I don't. Mmmmm maybe we should try MA meetings and real connections would occur there.

' The opposite of addiction is not sobriety , the opposite of addiction is connection '
- Johann Hari
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#14

Postby johnmckee » Thu Aug 18, 2016 4:06 am

I've seen PAWS take anywhere from 3 months to a 18 months or so.

Long term weed smoking changes the brain. The area that processes emotion tends to be smaller in chronic smokers. But the brain can change, it just takes time.

Some of the people who smoke and get addicted to weed have self-esteem, trauma, or other issues. When you stop smoking, the same issues you had re-emerge, because you aren't covering them up any more by smoking.

Hope this makes sense. If you know you need to be more social, or 'get out of your shell' plan some activities to do that. As I get older, I get more comfortable with who I am, and the way I am. I'm not a social butterfly, I recharge when i am on my own.

JM
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