Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

#15

Postby olskoolru » Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:44 pm

john_navajas wrote:This thread has helped reevaluate my recovery. I started out strong, feeling great, and by the end of the first month I was starting to feel most of these symptoms. The information in this thread has helped me to understand that feeling these things is a normal part of the process.


Glad it has helped you John. I know it can get very scary at times. A little knowledge goes a long way.

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#16

Postby olskoolru » Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:49 pm

Ru,

First of all, a big congratulations to you for making it this far and doing what you need to do for yourself and your recovery by following good advice. I’m glad to hear that you are attending meetings, seeing a therapist, and taking things one day at a time. It sounds like it hasn’t been easy, but you’ve made it a good long time now (90 days is quite an accomplishment – seriously!). Each passing day gets you closer and closer to feeling better and better. I know that the symptoms come and go, but if you stick with it, eventually the symptoms will be much more manageable. Getting a sponsor should help a lot as well. You’ll need the daily encouragement and reinforcement for what you are doing and the connection with someone who will be able to provide you some direction when you need it. A sponsor might be able to give you some suggestions that instantly help you feel better and invest in your recovery in the right ways.

One thing to consider is that you have been using for a long time – you said 20+ years. It will take your body and your brain a long time to “forget” the substance – physically, emotionally, subconsciously (but not as long as you were using, thank goodness! The body has an amazing ability to recover quickly). You are going through a process of re-training your brain to NOT have something it desperately wants and thinks is key to survival. Addiction = survival to the brain, and it has become a natural, automatic DRIVE. After 20 years of use, it is likely that MJ use was a big part of your every day life. Now your brain and your body are both in shock and will do whatever they can to get you using again – including plaguing you with symptoms that make you miserable.

Many people think detox lasts 1 week (give or take a few days) and then you are good to go, but detox is a process that can take months – sometimes 1 year or longer – and even then, you can still experience craving states that can lead to a return of what can feel like withdrawal symptoms all over again. The process of detox is more than physical – it is emotional, mental, and spiritual as well. So, people who have been using can’t expect to physically detox and ignore the rest and be successful (not that you are – you obviously are doing the right things). This is why the 12-step program helps so much…because it addresses all of the other aspects of the recovery process too.

I guess I would ask you to think about: When are your current symptoms the worst? Certain times of day? At certain places? Around certain people? Think back to when you were using and consider whether you are being triggered by times of day, places, people, etc. A sponsor could help you to better explore what might be going on with regard to the depression. Depression is a major aspect of all withdrawal, but especially marijuana withdrawal. Consider that your brain has been bombarded with that extra dose of dopamine on a regular basis when you were using. Now it doesn’t have that and it is depleted of dopamine. This is where the depression comes from. I would recommend doing all you can right now to try to stay busy, involve yourself in activities that you enjoy (some old/new hobbies maybe?), exercise can really help, being around positive people. I would definitely avoid isolating yourself.

Thanks for the post. Continue to post on here and maybe others will join in to give you some feedback. You never know who YOU will help simply by sharing your story.

I wish you the best in your continued recovery…

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#17

Postby olskoolru » Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:48 pm

Winning over one’s mind is only done by DOING something, not thinking something. As we say in the program: Recovery is not a “thinking” thing, it is a “doing” thing. So many try just to think differently about it (where has that gotten you in the past?), but that’s not an active pursuit of recovery. Think about all of the ways you actively pursued your addiction – yes, a lot of it involved thinking (planning, lying, trying to figure out ways to get and use), but much of it was actively seeking out the substance, physically experiencing, physically recovering or withdrawing and then repeating the cycle.

Think about the lengths you would go to in order to make sure you used the substance every day. Recovery is going to be similar but in a positive direction: thinking differently (untraining your brain from addictive thinking to recovery thinking – which will take a lot of help, by the way), but also actively participating in 12-step meetings, picking up a phone and calling a sponsor, getting out of the house to exercise or hang out with positive friends, taking necessary steps to better yourself and your life rather than sitting still – going great lengths to stay on a healthy path. As we also say: put as much effort into your recovery as you put into using and you will do well in your recovery! The process of recovery takes a lot of hard work – and most of us want it to come too easily. Nothing good comes easy – and the difficult lessons you’ll learn along the way will strengthen you for the rest of your life. The irony of addiction is that you end up being plagued with the very symptoms that you were attempting to avoid by using in the first place. The irony of recovery is that you have to work really hard at it up front – but it definitely becomes the easier road in the long run.

Most addicts want what they want and they want it NOW! They want instant gratification – that’s why substance use is appealing: I use a substance and it instantly changes how I feel. What can be so hard about recovery is that now you are working hard for delayed gratification: I’m really suffering today, but I know if I keep working hard, it will lead to health and happiness eventually. That’s really hard to deal with – especially for an addict seeking an instant fix – but a life of addiction only leads to inevitable long-term suffering – and a life of recovery (if you put the necessary effort in) will lead to a healthy/happy way of life for the long-term (as long as you keep up the good work).

Stick with it – you’ll get there…one step, one day at a time. Just as addiction trained you over time for a life of addictive behaviors, recovery is a process of training you for a life of recovery-focused behaviors. It takes time and effort – and you can’t do it alone. The process of recovering is as much a part of the learning as anything – and you are on your journey, your process has started. Keep it up!

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#18

Postby olskoolru » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:35 pm

Almost at 11 months. The PAWS seem to be decreasing in strength and length. THANK GOD!!
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#19

Postby netty28661 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:08 pm

Great news olskoolru, I have to say it was at around the same stage that I improved dramatically.

You will probably still have ups & downs but they dont last as long & aren't as severe & over time you do develop strategies to deal with it.

I'm 21 months clean now so I'm looking forward to getting to the 2 year mark which seems to be the time that it can take to overcome PAWS,

Jannette
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#20

Postby Vape Addict » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:55 pm

Reading your posts is helping me stay strong in my conviction to quit weed for good - glad to know there will be light at the end of the tunnel cos feels so dark right now. Seeing how you are all getting through it is stopping me from caving in :)
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#21

Postby olskoolru » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:42 pm

netty28661 wrote:Great news olskoolru, I have to say it was at around the same stage that I improved dramatically.

You will probably still have ups & downs but they dont last as long & aren't as severe & over time you do develop strategies to deal with it.

I'm 21 months clean now so I'm looking forward to getting to the 2 year mark which seems to be the time that it can take to overcome PAWS,

Jannette


Thanks Jannette!

yes it is a godsend!! I'm still expecting some major hiccups so BRING IT ON!! The only way I've made it throgh this is by knowing that it will come and then pass. It's been sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
HARD that I cannot believe I've made it this far. I cannot wait til my 1 year anniversay :)

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#22

Postby olskoolru » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:44 pm

Vape Addict wrote:Reading your posts is helping me stay strong in my conviction to quit weed for good - glad to know there will be light at the end of the tunnel cos feels so dark right now. Seeing how you are all getting through it is stopping me from caving in :)


I know EXACTLY how you feel Vape Addict. Stay strong.. you can never be certain how long it will last, but you can be certain that it won't last forever.

Stay strong!!
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#23

Postby TheSuede » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:47 am

hello olskoolru! (are you in Russia btw?)

Well that was a slap in the face, thank's anyway for the info. But it really sets up a hurdle or more like a wall of pain to get out of this addiction. I have quit the big H twice and that was easier than this! Altough I was only on it for a few months, It was out of my system in a matter of months (completely gone that is).

I'm thinking (negatively I know) that to quit and getting back to yourself takes as long time as you been doing it. Smoking for ten years mean abs,, for ten years? Or is it always about two years??

Keeping a more or less complicated/qualified job seems impossible when considering both the AWS/PAWS.. I'm not rich and cannot take two years off… godamit!

God luck to all of you!
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#24

Postby olskoolru » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:39 pm

TheSuede wrote:hello olskoolru! (are you in Russia btw?)

Well that was a slap in the face, thank's anyway for the info. But it really sets up a hurdle or more like a wall of pain to get out of this addiction. I have quit the big H twice and that was easier than this! Altough I was only on it for a few months, It was out of my system in a matter of months (completely gone that is).

I'm thinking (negatively I know) that to quit and getting back to yourself takes as long time as you been doing it. Smoking for ten years mean abs,, for ten years? Or is it always about two years??

Keeping a more or less complicated/qualified job seems impossible when considering both the AWS/PAWS.. I'm not rich and cannot take two years off… godamit!

God luck to all of you!


Hey The Suede,

Don't look at it as a negative thing. Knowing what was happening to me was a godsend because I initially had NO idea what was wrong with me and knowing about PAWS put things in perspective. At least you know that whatever you are going through is temporary. It doesn't have to be two years and many are better after 6 months, but only time will tell. I had an extreme case and am now feeling pretty awesome after 11 months. If it's really bad now, it won't always be so. Keep a journal so you cN more easily see the improvements you make. Private message me whenever you'd like. Oh and I am not in Russia, I am in California.

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#25

Postby olskoolru » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:34 pm

netty28661 wrote:Great post olskoo,
The book on the link you've posted is fantastic & I would recommend it to anyone quitting weed.

The following link also has some excellent info on RE PAWS:
http://whatmesober.com/personal-writing ... very/paws/

Jannette


Hi Netty!

Just following up and checking on your recovery. You should be at almost the 2 year mark correct??
Hope all is well! I wanted to let you know that you have been a great help to me and many others on this forum and I wish you the best :)

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#26

Postby olskoolru » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:36 pm

TheSuede wrote:hello olskoolru! (are you in Russia btw?)

Well that was a slap in the face, thank's anyway for the info. But it really sets up a hurdle or more like a wall of pain to get out of this addiction. I have quit the big H twice and that was easier than this! Altough I was only on it for a few months, It was out of my system in a matter of months (completely gone that is).

I'm thinking (negatively I know) that to quit and getting back to yourself takes as long time as you been doing it. Smoking for ten years mean abs,, for ten years? Or is it always about two years??

Keeping a more or less complicated/qualified job seems impossible when considering both the AWS/PAWS.. I'm not rich and cannot take two years off… godamit!

God luck to all of you!


Hey Suede,

How's it going? Haven't heard from you and was wondering.

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#27

Postby olskoolru » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:58 pm

This forum member only smoked for 1.3 years and went through hell, but stayed positive. I also included a reply to his post. It's incredible how PAWS affects us so differently.

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Post Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:14 am


1 year without weed. my recovery story with PAWS Report post Reply with quote

Hello,

The 26th of March marks 1 year weed-free for me!

It has been the worst and the thoughest year ever, I had tremendous PAWS, as some of you already know I was a complete mess, had panic attacks, anxiety, DP/DR, bad memory, etc...

The first 3 months were HELL, I was feeling stuck in that never ending cycle of pain, frustration and despair. Honestly, I was thinking I will never become normal again and that I was going to feel like that for the rest of my life (from which the suicidal thoughts...)

Anxiety slowly subsided by the 6th month, my memory was back, but then a very powerful depression, fatigue and the lack of motivation kicked in. I couldn't go out, couldn't socialize, couldn't find just a little bit of a happy feeling inside of me!

It's the 8 to 9 months when I began feeling slight better, began socializing and partying in moderation and had short moments of feeling a small percentage of "happiness".

So, today marks 12 months clean for me and i'm definetily doing so much better! I do no longer have anxiety and when i'm depressed I can do something to overcome it.

I still don't feel completely back to normal, I rarely get enthusiastic or happy and do the majority of things like i'm on autopilot, i'm not living in the moment! I do not feel happy but it's not like i'm feeling bad, it's more like i don't care. I'm not in the mood for a party but do it anyway. Not in the mood for socializing or dating a girls but do them anyway.

It is probably just another stage of the recovery, and since the worst is now gone, I can have the patience to see how things go in the upcoming months.

Today, I feel quite normal. Probably to normal, which I hate! Smile

There are many people on this forum who already found out what a slow recovery process it can be! Some may be feeling good after 6 months, others after 1,5 years but the good news is that we DO recover!

For those who still struggle, you have to be patient! Exercising is a must! Take some good vitamin supplements, omega 3 and take some time to meditate!

After everything that I went through I will definetily never smoke again! I've seen so many stories similar to mine, it is incredible how such a harmless drug can be so damaging.

Thanks to those who have helped me during the early stages of my recovery!
Best of luck to you!

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Post Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:08 pm

Hi bvl - well done you! Feels great eh - reaching that 1 yr mark, who'd have thought. We definately have gone through very similar feelings throughout & yes its been hellish but my god so worth it.

Keep up the good work! My year is on 9th April so I'm not far behind!

Jannette
x

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Post Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:40 am

hi BVL !

It s really good to see you are getting out of that damn fog!
Your post is full of hope for many people including me.

If you remember, like you i've been through hell and am still on my way back.
i can totally relate to your feeling of doing things without really taking any pleasure in it, not feeling in the moment etc, it too shall pass with time.I was impressed to see how your PAWS exactly fits what i feel.
Im 1.2 year clean and it was by far the worst year of my life but if that makes the rest of my life a better place that's Worth it. I always thought weed was harmless but it really takes a man to give it up when that was part of your lifestyle for years or décades.

i've not been on the forum for a long time but im wondering how are people like n1k0gr33n and others doing?

Good luck and keep strong BVL blue sky is waiting for all of us behind the fog!
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#28

Postby TheSuede » Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:49 am

It seems, and I'm sorry if I'm being a bit critical, you are all doing the right thing. But it seem that a lot of quitters are expecting some kind of nirvana after quitting. Being normal is not being constantly happy and feeling positive. People who have never smoked a j, also feel miserable and depressed and have the same problems that you define as PAWS. Life is not only sunshine and "happy feet". If you are a depressive person to start with, and that's maybe why you took to smoking so strongly, don't expect quitting to suddenly make you happy. Be a realist and exept who you are and handle it, don't go on forever thinking about the herb only. Exercising, meditation and a purpose in life is important for everyone.
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#29

Postby olskoolru » Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:45 pm

TheSuede wrote:It seems, and I'm sorry if I'm being a bit critical, you are all doing the right thing. But it seem that a lot of quitters are expecting some kind of nirvana after quitting. Being normal is not being constantly happy and feeling positive. People who have never smoked a j, also feel miserable and depressed and have the same problems that you define as PAWS. Life is not only sunshine and "happy feet". If you are a depressive person to start with, and that's maybe why you took to smoking so strongly, don't expect quitting to suddenly make you happy. Be a realist and exept who you are and handle it, don't go on forever thinking about the herb only. Exercising, meditation and a purpose in life is important for everyone.


Suede,
No one said that life is all fun forever. Everyone has their ups and downs yes, but PAWS is far from a an occurence that happens normally to people. It exacerbates all of the issues that you already have in your life and adds a bunch more like pain.


Some of us live in a negative and sorrow filled world, while others live in a positive and love filled world. Same world. You just pick which life you want to live. To each his own.

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