SUCCESS STORIES for our BOOK on PAWS

Postby PAWSBOOK » Sun Nov 29, 2020 3:23 pm

Dear formal addicts who survived the horrifying hell of PAWS,

My partner and I are looking for more success stories for our new book on Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome apparent in many types of substance addictions.

We are finishing up the book and want to end it with a list of success stories of other people to motivate and ensure that recovery is indeed possible!

I am looking forward to reading all your stories and would love to use them in our book! :oops:
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#1

Postby tokeless » Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:59 pm

Oh, I bet you would. Royalties?
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#2

Postby PAWSBOOK » Mon Nov 30, 2020 8:45 am

Yes, that is also the reason why I started a separate post.
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#3

Postby tokes » Mon Nov 30, 2020 3:30 pm

I'm 2.8 years clean after 2 long battles. Fairly symptom free at the moment. If it sounds interesting we can discuss it in any means you see fit.
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#4

Postby PAWSBOOK » Mon Nov 30, 2020 3:59 pm

That is very inspiring to hear. For how long did you smoke weed and at what point you became almost symptom-free?
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#5

Postby PAWSBOOK » Tue Dec 01, 2020 1:45 pm

For everyone hesitating to post their success stories, I will share mine first.

I used to smoke weed recreationally since I was 17 years old. I really had a love/hate relationship with it. When I became 20 years old the anxiety I used to receive from weed was diminished. There was no hate anymore. I truly believed that weed is a life enhancer where you have plenty of energy to discover the realms of your mind. It creates amazing scenes where all of your friends can't stop laughing, as if you are having the best time of your life.

I kept convincing my friends to start smoking weed with me, to have the greatest summer of all time. This was a great time for us. We look back at this with pure nostalgia and respect for the plant. We smoked weed together every amazing summer night until each and everyone's stack was empty. Because we always wanted to foster these happy moments as long as possible.

However, things quickly turned around. The summer was over and we were heading into a dark and depressing time, the winter. In the beginning, weed was a coping mechanism to survive this yearly struggle. Where plenty of people use alcohol and parties to get through this time. We used weed and considered it to be the most wholesome solution there is. Waking up without a hangover and the ability to intoxicate ourselves multiple times a week, instead of only every Saturday night. I even persuaded my girlfriend to use weed occasionally with me. Because even when spending time with my partner, I wanted to be high. I must say she thoroughly enjoyed every little part of smoking weed with me. But also she learned to appreciate the plant's mystical experiences.

Fast forwarding, COVID-19 came out of the blue and changed all of our lives. In the country I live, the restrictions were not as strict as in other parts of the world. We were allowed to go outside. It was summer, so it was all we did. High all the freaking time. But it wasn't as great as last year summer. Instead of laughing, acting crazy and doing stupid sh**. We talked all night. Talking about the negativity going on in the world and in our own lives. My friends and I all had something to be whining about. The anxiety we experienced when we were younger came back. Hangovers started to affect our lives. It caused us to adopt terrible eating habits, poor sleep and a huge decrease in motivation showing up as procrastination of things that really matter.
Smoking weed together was different, and not for the better. I have always been a very motivated person my whole life, but weed sucked it all out of me. My progress in life was set on pause. I hated it so much that I decided to quit. I wanted to be my old self again and work on creating a great future.

As expected, I experienced acute withdrawal. I sweat my donkey off daily that summer and was never able to sleep. It felt like the nerves in my skin were fried, super tingly. I was never in the mood for anything. Even the best summer days with my friends I wasn't really there. I became very paranoia as if I was always high. Food didn't taste great anymore. Alcohol or cigarettes made the feeling only worse. I quit everything, knowing that all these substances are toxic for me and life should be lived without them.

After 4-6 weeks, I felt a lot better. I started my internship where I performed like a machine. No more sweating, tiredness, anxiety or depression. I was happy that the worst was over. But oh boy, is this far from the truth.

I became way more anxious than before, on a daily basis. It was the unexpected, so-called post-acute withdrawal. Which according to many could last up to 2-3 years. It was terror. My brain function was gone, with no ability to function under stress, listen or understand concepts and form words or concepts myself. I was literally socially inept. Which caused all types of frustrations towards people where I became enraged but wasn't able to tell them why. After the confrontation, I was always so confused whether it was me or them.

This went on for months, fluctuating from good to bad days. Some days I was depressed, some anxious, some both. The symptoms really changed from week-to-week. I had experienced daily headaches, lethargy, anxiety, depression, blurred vision, trouble breathing, muscle aches and bodily tension.

At 4 months, everything changed. I became more myself and was able to properly socialize again. With more good than bad days. The bad days weren't as bad anymore. I knew that I was in the direction of recovering and that it indeed was possible. Now after 8 months I can say that I am fully recovered. I am my old self again and life has never been better. I am extremely motivated and happy. Everything is great.

I'm truly blessed that I was able to partly work at home due to COVID-19. It saved me so much terror and frustration. I only smoked for 2 years. I cannot even comprehend what some people have to go through. All but respect for these people. I now see that we can see PAWS as a teacher. Everything that goes up, must go down. You're not supposed to be high all the time. Life is all about balance. Maintaining our own balance as an individual is key to leading a happy life.

I learned that weed is a dangerous substance that can only be used in moderation, but which is impossible when you lose awareness of your use due to impaired memory caused by weed itself. It is the reason why my partner and I investigated ourselves fully in the research of post-acute withdrawal. We now understand why weed is so addictive and damaging. We have written our book to help addicts recover from weed and guide them through their long journey. We hope that by creating an accessible source of information we can prevent addicts from relapsing and lead them to a life of sobriety.

Kind regards,

James
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#6

Postby PAWSsurvivor » Sat Dec 12, 2020 1:23 am

Well I'd be interested. I'm about 15.5 months clean. I used weed for three months recreationally, and had a large amount on my birthday. Bam, 15.5 months of PAWS anxiety /. health problems. I'm so much better than the early 7 months of horror. Now I actually perhaps a 9 out of 10 on my best days. I mainly have this head tightness / pressure feeling thats with me all the time. I don't know if it's PAWS or just the auxiliary issues that PAWS could cause. Frankly, I'm just happy things are slowly getting better.
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#7

Postby Cthompson21 » Sun Dec 13, 2020 4:15 pm

I'm unique- two times PAWS survivor, you will know this if you read my posts. The first time it was triggered by abusing a drug called strattera, which left me screwed for 2 years. At 2.5 years, I was better, and had overcome what had been the HARDEST battle of my life. I found this site during that battle.

Then I tried weed. Big mistake! It undid all the progress I made with two hits of potent weed. I dont know why it took so little but I'm glad I didnt smoke more. Maybe because my brain chemistry was already fragile with PAWS round 1 was why this happened. I had all the symptoms people describe on this site. Worst was DP/DR, random panic attacks, and LSD like nightmares. I tried to kill myself several times! I didnt want to go thru it all again. But somehow, I really dont know how, I went through it. I took it one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time. And people on uncommon really were supportive for which I am very grateful.

I'm now 2.5 years out of that and things are way better but arent as healed like they were the first time. I mainly wake up with morning anxiety but the DR is virtually gone, and my sleep is hit or miss. I think I have some PTSD now because I am constantly worried if I will accidentally ingest weed, or get brain damage some other way or from some other substance. But I am able to work and live mostly a normal life, and I think as long as I do meditation and exercise I will feel better and you will too, PAWS requires permanent lifestyle changes. Just know if you are in the thick of it that you are stronger than you think you are and if anyone needs motivation just message me. It is a unique hard battle that doctors dont understand but with patience, lifestyle changes and support from this forum you can do it. I believe in you! If I can do it you can too.
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#8

Postby Prycejosh1987 » Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:25 pm

I used to be addicted to alcohol, and i would drink daily for about 3/4 years. At first i drunk alcohol to get a bigger size, but then i started becoming addicted to the taste. I am free of that and have been free for around 7 years.
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#9

Postby PAWSBOOK » Mon Dec 14, 2020 3:44 pm

Prycejosh1987 wrote:I used to be addicted to alcohol, and i would drink daily for about 3/4 years. At first i drunk alcohol to get a bigger size, but then i started becoming addicted to the taste. I am free of that and have been free for around 7 years.


Great to hear you are recovered and still helping people here at this forum. For how long and what symptoms did you experience in alcohol-induced PAWS?
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#10

Postby PAWSBOOK » Mon Dec 14, 2020 3:50 pm

Cthompson21 wrote:I'm unique- two times PAWS survivor, you will know this if you read my posts. The first time it was triggered by abusing a drug called strattera, which left me screwed for 2 years. At 2.5 years, I was better, and had overcome what had been the HARDEST battle of my life. I found this site during that battle.

Then I tried weed. Big mistake! It undid all the progress I made with two hits of potent weed. I dont know why it took so little but I'm glad I didnt smoke more. Maybe because my brain chemistry was already fragile with PAWS round 1 was why this happened. I had all the symptoms people describe on this site. Worst was DP/DR, random panic attacks, and LSD like nightmares. I tried to kill myself several times! I didnt want to go thru it all again. But somehow, I really dont know how, I went through it. I took it one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time. And people on uncommon really were supportive for which I am very grateful.

I'm now 2.5 years out of that and things are way better but arent as healed like they were the first time. I mainly wake up with morning anxiety but the DR is virtually gone, and my sleep is hit or miss. I think I have some PTSD now because I am constantly worried if I will accidentally ingest weed, or get brain damage some other way or from some other substance. But I am able to work and live mostly a normal life, and I think as long as I do meditation and exercise I will feel better and you will too, PAWS requires permanent lifestyle changes. Just know if you are in the thick of it that you are stronger than you think you are and if anyone needs motivation just message me. It is a unique hard battle that doctors dont understand but with patience, lifestyle changes and support from this forum you can do it. I believe in you! If I can do it you can too.


Thanks a lot for this! Huge respect for your mental strength. I think this is an exceptional story, therefore I do have some questions. You claimed to have recovered from Strattera, so how much weed have you consumed to re-experience PAWS for and even longer period?
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#11

Postby Cthompson21 » Mon Dec 14, 2020 5:01 pm

@PaWSBOOK ask as many questions as you need. I *mostly* recovered from Strattera. I was probably 80% to 90% healed, I still had some anxiety and insomnia but overall life was good and I miss feeling that way. I could drink alcohol and have caffeine, cant do that now.

The weed I smoked was very potent, I know that, but I only took two long drags. My friend smoked more and was knocked on the floor and of course she was fine and doesnt have PAWS. I felt high the the rest of the day and then the anxiety set in the next few days and kept getting worse and worse until it was out of control, and my dreams were messed up, and I couldn't speak in front of people for work, I really had to struggle to do it, even though literally the week before i didnt give it a second thought. It was very strange it only took a little bit of weed but it did really change my life, like a car accident that happens in the blink of an eye. It only took that one mistake. Like I said I think it was the strattera that made me so sensitive, Strattera is a drug in my opinion should be banned because of other reports I've heard of people getting PAWS from it. I still struggle and have bad days and depression and anxiety. But now I am in a better place than I was when I smoked weed 3 ish years ago. Hope this helps. Best luck with your book!
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#12

Postby PAWSBOOK » Wed Dec 16, 2020 9:52 am

PAWSsurvivor wrote:Well I'd be interested. I'm about 15.5 months clean. I used weed for three months recreationally, and had a large amount on my birthday. Bam, 15.5 months of PAWS anxiety /. health problems. I'm so much better than the early 7 months of horror. Now I actually perhaps a 9 out of 10 on my best days. I mainly have this head tightness / pressure feeling thats with me all the time. I don't know if it's PAWS or just the auxiliary issues that PAWS could cause. Frankly, I'm just happy things are slowly getting better.


Wow, also an exceptional story. What can I assume as recreationally? Could you pinpoint your exact usage? Would be interesting to know what caused such a long duration of PAWS after only 3 months.
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#13

Postby HDog455 » Sun Dec 20, 2020 2:48 am

I quit my chronic weed addiction cold turkey 12 years ago. My whole story is posted on this forum. The main message is that PAWS is not a given - read my content to find out why.
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#14

Postby PAWSsurvivor » Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:36 pm

PAWSBOOK wrote:
PAWSsurvivor wrote:Well I'd be interested. I'm about 15.5 months clean. I used weed for three months recreationally, and had a large amount on my birthday. Bam, 15.5 months of PAWS anxiety /. health problems. I'm so much better than the early 7 months of horror. Now I actually perhaps a 9 out of 10 on my best days. I mainly have this head tightness / pressure feeling thats with me all the time. I don't know if it's PAWS or just the auxiliary issues that PAWS could cause. Frankly, I'm just happy things are slowly getting better.


Wow, also an exceptional story. What can I assume as recreationally? Could you pinpoint your exact usage? Would be interesting to know what caused such a long duration of PAWS after only 3 months.


Yes I used it recreationally. I really think it's quite simple now. I used an escalating amount, and then a very potent amount on my birthday. And then I quit cold turkey.

Exact usage? I vaped with a Mighty Vape. It was a high THC low CBD strain. Sour Diesel variety. Had limomene as its dominant terpene profile. I used to vape around 180-190 degrees. And the last outing with it I kept reloading with fresh buds cause I wanted to get really high :oops: . I probably vaped a gram. Then hell began 3 days later with a panic attack. Ah well, I can write about it now without fear at least.

I really think the shock of that escalation of use plus a quick cessation is large contributing factor to PAWS/Anxiety. The thing with anxiety conditions though is that really anything could be a trigger. A divorce, death of a family member, high levels of ongoing stress. I think ceasing to use weed does a similar kind of shock to the nervous system, and then it just takes a long period of time for it to all unwind and calm down. I do think there is a withdrawal from weed of sorts, probably lasting in the order of months, which is why those initial months are so brutal, but the l feel the long drawn out issue of PAWS over the 2-3 year timespan is more likely because during that withdrawal period, the Amygdala was trained to be scared. And it just takes a long while for the brain to fully "believe" there is no threat anymore. Seems some get anxiety from even one or two puffs.

I also believe weed is an "amplifier". It amplifies the external world (sensations), but also our internal mind, If you go into weed with stress and anxiety, like I did, it will only make those bigger, and once again the amygdala responds to those enlarged stress responses. I know when I used weed, I was anxious not relaxed about it. It probably ampliifed my mindset.

I actually feel confident now that my brain is fine, it's just my Amygdala thinks there is a bear around the corner. But every month it feels a bit better. I'm using the DARE response now and treating this like the temporary anxiety issue that it is. I hope all the PAWS warriors here take a look at it. I've really made some gains using it. In fact now I see all this as a life lesson I am fortunate to be growing through. I've learned so much about myself and life. I'm grateful. Cheers.
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