3 months off weed and nicotine

Postby Astro413 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:31 pm

Honestly it won’t be 3 months until the 17th but I got too impatient to update, so here is my one week to 3 months update!

A little recap I have smoked weed everyday for the last two years, all day on weekends, and prior to this I had occasionally smoked with friends. This started when I was 17 and am now 21. I had quit once before for a period of 6 months before my daily usage with no issues that I can remember. Daily use started almost immediately after starting back up again which was really the result of becoming friends with bad influences. I want to make it clear that I had never previously suffered from and mental illnesses. I was smoking strong weed and guess I just liked it too much. After I moved off to college is when my all day binges took place although this was only on weekends, despite smoking every day I was able to stay on top of my grades and work a part time job although I did tend to start isolating outside from my small group of friends (who liked to come smoke on the weekends). I did notice this considering before my all day binges and really smoking in general I had always been a very social charismatic glass half full guy but I always chalked it up to living off campus (in the neighboring town of where the university is). After returning to my parents house once the semester ended I had to drastically cut back my usage and started to feel depressed occasionally, I knew it was weed because around the same time I had come to the conclusion that I had smoked way to much. Immediately after receiving these feelings I threw everything I had away without hesitation (cold turkey) not knowing what was going to happen next.

Not even two days after throwing my stash away I was puking my guts out, had headaches all day, stared having panic attacks that would leave me in such a derealization that I could not move, I totally forgot who I was, could not speak to anyone, and from the moment I woke up in the morning until I fell asleep my mind was running 1000 mph on nothing but negative thought that I don’t think I need to get into detail about. This lasted for about a month and a half and honestly looking back now I was so out of it I can only remember specifics. I don’t even remember how felt, surprisingly the ONLY symptom I did not encounter was insomnia, at least not in the sense that I could not fall asleep. It was more like restless sleep and waking up feeling like I hadn’t slept which I still get today although not as frequently.

So over time the severity of these symptoms decreased drastically, I sleep like a baby now, although after vanishing for a months time my weird, vivid, sometimes disturbing dreams have returned this past week although after the initial shock they don’t bother me all day. My anxiety has faded drastically over this last week as well, I think at least. My mind doesn’t run 1000 mph anymore but I still tend to focus on negative things whether it be headlines, my own occasional negative thoughts that pop up unannounced and for no reason, or just obsessing over PAWS and whether or not I’m getting better. I still get headaches nearly daily but they are not anywhere near as debilitating as they were. And my vision does get blurry around the same times I get the headaches. Something new is that I have started getting these weird chest pains/tightness that tend to linger but I try my best to ignore it, I feel like it’s just anxiety. But what really bothers me now is just the depression of all this. These last few weeks really haven’t seen much improvement or steps back for that matter mood wise, I feel like I’ve plateaued and this scares me. I realize I’m a week away from three months, which sometimes I have to double check because time has moved SO SLOW (and still is) these past few months, but I don’t have the urge to smoke anymore (other than nicotine when I’m in the downs) and I didn’t smoke for 10+ years like some of you guys. So this feeling plateau is scary because I don’t want this to be it, in fact I was relieved when I started getting the headache/eye blur an hour ago because it was a reminder I’m still recovering. I have some moments where I feel real happiness, for example I was watching a comedy with my family the other day and actually genuinely laughed multiple times, but once my family returned to my hometown and I was left by myself my mind took over and started obsessing over PAWS again. I go about my day everyday seemingly on autopilot, I go to class and do my work but I feel empty and often times feel like I have no purpose, and everything seems grey or pointless. The funny thing is I know exactly what I want out of life, I know what my values are and I know what I want to do but I can’t get exited over it and I can’t seem to just kill time either. In other words I’m just uncomfortable 24/7 and I’m feeling discouraged.

Reading back on my own words this sounds a lot like self doubt which is a symtom of PAWS. That’s a good sign I guess but does not change how I feel in the current moment. Another thing that bothers me is that going through the success stories everybody talks about how they come out of this a new person with a new appreciation for life but nobody ever mentions how they knew paws was over, they just kind of knew..? This is especially discouraging to me because of this current plateau I’m going through. I want my old charming happy self back but I don’t know where he is, if any of you that have recovered or have recovered and are doing it again read this would you please describe to me how you felt/knew when your paws has ended and you were normal and comfortable again? I have this idea that it feels like the “pink cloud” effect and just kind of normalizes after awhile but I would really like someone’s actual experience because nobody really goes into detail about this and it’s nowhere on the internet.

If you have read this long I would like to say thank you first of all, and second of all these forums have been a huge help and reminder to me and I don’t know where I’d be without it, but sometimes reading these words isn’t enough and if you feel that way too I highly recommend you watch Ryan Donnelly on YouTube. He went through opiate PAWS and beat it, now he talks about his journey and it is very encouraging.
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#1

Postby Astro413 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:35 pm

I would like to add that I did not quit nicotine until the acute withdrawals from weed were over which was about four weeks in and am very aware that it only added on to my negative feelings. Most people’s paws kick in a week-month after the acutes are over but since I gave up nic right after the acutes were over I did not get that week-month of relief. And my mind/body has been through so much these past few months I find it hard to remember how I actually felt before quitting weed.
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#2

Postby Cthompson21 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:57 am

Thanks for the update Astro. I too am obsessing when I am alone and am always reading success stories for encouragement on this forum...I hope you see more improvements next month in the depression, my symptoms are up and down and my anxiety is still nuts though better, I'll have to check out that guy on YouTube.
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#3

Postby Astro413 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:57 am

Cthompson you’ve beaten PAWS before right? How could you tell you had done it the first time?
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#4

Postby Cthompson21 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:07 am

Hey I think honestly I was still making progress when I smoked weed and had to start over. I was at 2 and a half years at that point. I had abused stimulants and strattera and it did some major damage, I had no idea it was paws at first and the first year of recovery I still drank coffee every now and then and that slowed my recovery down so now I stay away from caffeine during recovery for any paws. Super important because your brain is fragile and sensitive. But it was funny the second year I still thought I would never recover but was having more good days and then by 2 and a half years I felt mostly normal. It was like one day I was my old self again. By normal I mean I could sleep 6 to 7 hours vs 8 or 9 pre PAWS and I still had to take a 15 minute nap during the day but I would say I was 90 percent normal, had paws symptoms like anxiety and fatigue but they were WAY better and a hundred times more manageable than before. (I've always had anxiety too, so it could be just me) I still couldn't drink coffee without added anxiety like I used to and probably never will again, oh well. If i had made to year 3 I'm sure it would've been even better! So what I can say is when things seem bad keep hanging on because you will recover and it might be just around the corner...my therapist said PAWS is like having a stroke because your brain changes and has to heal, recovery times are similar. After 2 years most get better but of course some take 3 or 4. I've read of one guy who took 5 because his doctors kept giving him benzodiazepines and he got paws from them too! so avoid mind altering stuff like caffeine and alcohol and benzos and antidepressants eat healthy and exercise andnthat will speed recovery. Another thing what I really noticed helped my recovery last time was when I worked out and did lifting in the afternoon, it released stress hormones to help me sleep and once my sleep was better I recovered faster. in the end you might have lingering minor issues like I did but you will know you're better because you will get your old life back. I was able to do almost all activities I used to enjoy like staying up late with friends and old hobbies and that are basically impossible again right now for me but once I am able to do them without distress I know I will have overcome PAWS. Which I hope is sooner than later because this really f*cking sucks doing it a second time. I hope this helps, hope you keep updating and keep in the fight.
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#5

Postby Cthompson21 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:29 pm

You said your anxiety improved drastically. That's good. My anxiety is still bad and I'm almost a week away from 2 months. I have faith it'll be better in a month or two, I don't have nightmares as often.

I also want to add every PAWS is different....this time for me PAWS has different symptoms, last time I didn't get headaches and now I do, and I had dry mouth first time but none of that now. I just really hope my anxiety goes away. I feel like I'm in a torture chamber and the chamber is my own mind!
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#6

Postby NoMoreWeed86 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:31 am

Hey Astro. Thank you for sharing. I have been feeling the same way in terms of plateauing. On the 16th (give or take a few days, this is an approximate date) I will be 7 months clean. I just hope that we are reaching another phase of PAWS. Hopefully we are one step closer to returning to our “normal state”. If this is a way of measuring our progress, I hope that you will recover a lot sooner than me and others on this forum. The better I start to feel, the more I seem to crave. I wonder if this plateau feeling is the reason people relapse. I am also curious to read the answers to your question of how people felt when their PAWS ended. Did they feel this plateau feeling? And if so, was recovery still a long way ahead or did it come soon after?
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#7

Postby Astro413 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:35 am

I’ve asked myself the same thing since at least when reading these forums people that relapse tend to do it between 3-6 months thinking “is this it?” With you being at 7 months maybe you’re just a little behind but today for instance I have had what wasn’t probablynmy best day since I’ve started this journey. I actually work up with a smile on my face, depression was manageable, hardly any/light anxiety but the headache and blurry vision hit me a couple hours ago, but it scares me to think that this is it. It was a good day but I don’t feel good, and reading these success stories everybody just say they beat paws, nobody goes into detail (not taking away anything from those who have overcome paws, I know the struggle and you are very strong and we all appreciate you coming back here for us) so if one of you were to read this post would you please break down how you knew and what it felt like.
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#8

Postby AngryDwarf » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:03 pm

NoMoreWeed86 wrote:The better I start to feel, the more I seem to crave. I wonder if this plateau feeling is the reason people relapse


Very relatable. I know I'm about to get better when I start craving again. For the first few months of recovery, the thought of smoking again is almost scary. Thus I don't have any cravings. I just want to feel normal. Six months in, there will have been enough recovery to start to be able to feel anticipation again. Anticipation for the next bag of weed is usually one of the first things to return. It's a difficult period of time, because I feel good enough to begin to question whether the PAWS were that significant to begin with, or even caused by weed instead of poor diet, or some other thing. You begin to bargain: perhaps if I take better care of my health, I can keep smoking daily. Several months pass, you have been high everyday, and you realize you have drifted back to square one.
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#9

Postby GeorgeKush » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:37 am

Astro413 wrote:I’ve asked myself the same thing since at least when reading these forums people that relapse tend to do it between 3-6 months thinking “is this it?” With you being at 7 months maybe you’re just a little behind but today for instance I have had what wasn’t probablynmy best day since I’ve started this journey. I actually work up with a smile on my face, depression was manageable, hardly any/light anxiety but the headache and blurry vision hit me a couple hours ago, but it scares me to think that this is it. It was a good day but I don’t feel good, and reading these success stories everybody just say they beat paws, nobody goes into detail (not taking away anything from those who have overcome paws, I know the struggle and you are very strong and we all appreciate you coming back here for us) so if one of you were to read this post would you please break down how you knew and what it felt like.


Hey guys, I just found this site today and im really glad I did. Id like to introduce myself by saying I have been off Weed for 3 months now, I am 24 years old and had been smoking everyday since I was 16 taking my first hit at 14.
In terms of the PAWS I am experiencing exactly the same thing that you are all going through, so you're not alone. Prior to quitting weed I was extremely self confident, outgoing, a great athlete, and fun to be around. In fact I was always the one who my friends would come up to and ask for advice on how to talk to girls. A few weeks into sobriety I felt like everything took a turn and it has been seriously disappointing. I feel unattractive and whenever I go out I feel as though I am merely a spectator, finding it difficult to strike conversation because I feel like nothing I have to say is interesting. I am constantly doubting myself and thinking about what Im going to say so many times in my head before I do to the point it gets boring and I dont end up saying anything at all. For example, as I am writing this I dont even feel like writing anymore because I dont want to bore you guys as I am already bored myself. Considering it is my first post Ill leave it at that, and will continue updating you all on my progress as I am optimistic and determined to keep going. I have no interest in ever being the stoner I once was and have zero cravings of smoking. In fact when I see my girlfriend or friends smoking it makes me feel bad that that was once such a fundamental part of my life. Its difficult now but obviously if we are all feeling similarly its just something one must go through. Nothing good comes easy and this is just the beginning of the journey.
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#10

Postby Astro413 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:14 pm

Hey George, yes everything you’re going through is what I am going through as well. I will say that being 3 months and some change in I’m finding it much easier to deal with. The anxiety has dwindled so much I hardly notice it anymore other than the occasional stress headaches and high blood pressure/fast heartbeat. Honestly the only thing that still bothers me are that no matter how hard o try I still seem to be unmotivated about things- especially work - and the mood swings. I’d say I’m at a stage where I’m having just as many good day as bad days, but when going through the bad days it’s true what others say (its hard to tell that you’ve made any progress). But on good days I can actually feel myself being exited for things like future trips. I try not to think about my future too much, at least for now, because that was one of the main causes of my anxiety. Avoid negative people/things, and I would siggest taking vitamins and CBD oil for the anxiety. I was a fiend for it at first but now that I’ve kind of overcome it I hardly find myself using the CBD anymore. It gets easier, use your tools and keep us updated.
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#11

Postby BullFrog » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:23 pm

@George, I'm glad you decided to post and let us know your story. Many people read these forums for encouragement while they recover and never post. So it's nice when others are willing to contribute because we can all encourage one another and look forward to sharing our success stories together.

Keep fighting the fight and be sure to start your own thread. Then every week or month you can give us a new update on that thread and it will be easier to follow your whole story that way.

Get out in the sun, be around people you love, get a hobby, exercise tons, and keep pushing through despite how crappy you might feel.

Have a blessed week!
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