Extreme Cannabis Withdrawal - 6 Months Clean

Postby weedhater » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:20 am

Greetings fellow pot fiends and those in recovery,

I am happy to have found this forum. I am in need of all the support I can get and it seems that there are others here suffering from similar problems.

I started smoking cannabis 10 years ago, due to peer pressure in high school. It started off as a weekend thing with friends and escalated from there, but it never did me any good since day 1. I honestly have no idea why I ever began smoking this addictive f***ing garbage in the first place. I was a good kid from a good family. It has always been an anxiety provoking drug for me, with horrible side effects both during and after the high. I would typically seize up - get all clammy and awkward and be unable to properly communicate with my friends. It was never even a good time for me, apart from the first 50 times or so, but I found myself quickly developing strong uncontrollable cravings to use the drug when I was sober.

Panic attacks have always been a risk associated with my cannabis use. The more often I used weed, the more frequent the panic attacks became. I never had panic attacks while sober, I would get them when I was really stoned - and I didn't understand that it was known as a panic attack back then, I just thought of it as getting really baked. But if I smoked too much I would experience rapid heartbeat, and tightness in the chest as well as extreme, miserable anxiety. There came a point when I no longer received any beneficial effects from smoking cannabis at all, and these terrible highs would always happen. Mind you, I was still spending a large portion of my life sober at this point, but I have developed strong cravings - plus a lifestyle where I was constantly exposed to the drug by my friend circle - and was unable to give it up despite the obvious loss of magic.

I should have quit years ago, or better yet never even started, but even though I had started feeling like complete sh** whenever I got stoned, I would desire it so badly when I was sober that my solution to the problem was to raise my tolerance to a very high level so that I could continue to enjoy the herb. If I smoked cannabis on a habitual basis, I would not get anxiety attacks when I was stoned. I would experience a sense of inner peace, a meditative state of awareness, and euphoria. It was fun. The issue with this was that I was no longer a sane individual when I was sober and either way I was unproductive. I was not eliminating the side effects that have always been associated with my cannabis use - I was pushing them into my sober state of consciousness, a high strung state of perpetual anxiety and obsessive thoughts over cannabis which I would go to all ends to avoid.

I had a deep internal conflict at this point of my life, somewhat of a split personality. I knew that I was better off as a sober person. When stoned, all I ever thought about was how badly I needed to quit. When I was sober, all I ever wanted to do was get high. At times when I couldn't afford it, I would find myself seeking out roaches in the smoking section in the forest and hitting them in my pipe. As a habitual pothead, I was able to get by in life but my memory was shot, and I had become extremely unmotivated. My personality was obliterated to the point that I was literally a shadow of my former self. An apathetic zombie. One of my greatest strengths before my cannabis use, was my relentless motivation to improve myself and I had lost this ability completely. I managed to get a degree in engineering while stoned the whole time, and even though my bad habit pretty much destroyed a large portion of my university experience, which should have been some of the best years of my life, my ability to get by allowed me to remain in denial, as well as my ability to remain highly physically active while stoned.

I was doubtless clinically depressed, at this point in my life, and very lonely as well since my drug addiction had isolated me from the opposite sex. Due to the way that cannabis had short circuited the pathways in my brain responsible for action and motivation, I was habitually unresponsive to the opposite sex which was one of the strongest catalysts that further fuelled my depression and abuse.

At this point, I had started to develop severe withdrawal symptoms. I had moments of clarity and tried to quit cold turkey multiple times. It wasn't so bad back them. I would get about half the calorie intake, and sometimes puke from eating food. I would spend days pretty much bedridden with depression before recovering. I would struggle with insomnia and sleep paralysis. I would have a lot of rebound anger, and I was very high strung, but I managed to get through this without seeking medical attention - multiple times - before the inevitable relapses would occur. It took about one weed free month before I was able to function properly, and two months before I would be feeling great. And that was the longest I made it before relapse, usually encouraged by a "friend"

I found the love of my life and this helped a lot. Despite all of this, my depression has been permanently relieved since I met this angel of a human being. The hole in my life that I was filling with weed no longer existed, but I was still a drug junkie. I also got into my first high paying career job. I then had a sports injury, and I began to suffer severe chronic pain in my spine. I went from being an athlete, to an individual who could not work out anymore and wanted to curl up in a ball all day and even then i was in unbearable physical pain. I had found connections to extremely potent strains of sativa and indica marijuana at this point. I started using thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of cannabis, and invested in many bongs, plus a vaporizer so that I couldn't get caught at work. I was in too much physical pain at this time of my life, and the stress from my work environment was too much to bear. I hit the vaporizer for an hour before heading into work each morning, and I had lunch at home so that I could continue to function. Then I would smoke bong all night long after work. After 6 months of this behaviour, I called it quits because I couldn't be up on my feet for 10 hours a day or focus on my work enough due to the physical pain.

At this point in my life, I was smoking at least an ounce a week, and even that wasn't enough. I craved another hit incessantly. I had also moved on to potent imported hash, and hash oil that was around 90% thc. It was the only thing that mattered in my life, and I smoked bong from morning until night.

After a year of pretty much enjoying myself in a stupefied, euphoric state of mind that was getting me nowhere in life, the weed turned on me once and for all. I had begun to taper off, because I had started to experience worrisome panic attacks when I was high. As my tolerance substantially dropped, the panic attacks became so severe that I was forced into cold turkey. What followed was the most insane nightmare I have ever experienced that I have yet to recover from.

I couldn't eat any food without puking for 10 days, and was reduced to skin and bones. I had intense pressure in my chest and felt that I was always on the verge of a panic attack. At night I would pace back and forth. I would regularly experience full blown panic attacks that were simply out of this world in intensity. This was not the withdrawal that I was typically used to going through, it was a whole new world of torture. It was also hell on my sensitive back.

I was going on a bender, since the alcohol would calm my heart down. I got into see a doctor since I seriously thought that I was going to die of a heart attack, and was prescribed seroquel as an antipsychotic. Although I regret taking this medication, it helped me get through the first 3 months which were an absolute nightmare. Then it stopped working, and I increased my dose substantially. No amount of the antipsychotic was enough to calm me down, but I didn't know what else to do. I began to drink with it, and at this point I was having the worst panic attacks of my life which culminated in an emergency visit to the ER. All of this was a brief slip-up in my recovery, which I quickly got a grip on.

After that incident I withdrew from the seroquel which wasn't so bad. I no longer drank any alcohol whatsoever. I have not had a hardcore panic attack since. I now realize that the high dose of antipsychotic had been aggravating the panic symptoms. At this point I realized that progress was being made. As a sober individual, my experience of life was no longer a perpetual, full blown panic attack like it had always been since the day everything was triggered. Rather it was a state of uncomfortable generalized anxiety in which it was pretty difficult to function and insomnia was prevalent.

I presently am definitely doing much better. I am 6 months clean of the weed! I have been using alprazolam and etizolam moderately to control the anxiety and to sleep, for the past little while. I am not perpetually on meds - I allow myself to vibe with the extreme generalized anxiety that I am experiencing as much as humanly possible. However, there is no way that I could be med free at this point. Not quite yet. I'm really just grateful that I am no longer suffering full blown panic attacks, and it's just generalized, extreme anxiety now. I worry about getting hooked on the alprazolam and etizolam, but these are not drugs that I am fiending for a high. When I am on one of these substances, my anxiety is 100% diminished and I go straight back to the awesome person that I know I should be, and who I will be permanently, when I free myself completely from this enslavement to cannabis. It would be irresponsible to try to use these drugs on a perpetual basis to live a completely normal life right now, because tolerance and dependence would arise, but I use very low doses twice a day to experience much needed moments of clarity and a break from the bs. Hopefully within a few months I will no longer need to do this, as I seem to be recovering slowly but surely.

And this is where I am today. Every day is one hell of a fight, but things are clearly getting better. I can say that I no longer have any desire or cravings for marijuana whatsoever, and using it in the future is not going to be a problem. In fact, I can't stand the stuff, I've been around other smokers and it just seems like a stupid joke to me. I am not depressed whatsoever, but I am still suffering from severe anxiety although it isn't anywhere near as bad as it was 6 months ago. I just hope that I can get back to my good old self, sooner rather than later. My lifestyle is great, although I can't exercise due to chronic pain I eat as healthy as possible and maintain a slim figure.

I have always been a soul seeker, and all the suffering I endured has been a blessing in disguise since it has truly helped to awaken my consciousness to a higher state of awareness of being. I am a very spiritual person and the way that I experience reality these days is totally different from the way things used to be. As I grow older I am blossoming into a wise old soul with a new outlook on consciousness and life. I feel like such a fool for getting so caught up in weed. I never knew the withdrawal could be such a nightmare. Choosing to explore my consciousness with mind altering substances, I should have stuck with the mushrooms and lsd. Once a season and apart from that I will have nothing stronger than green tea. But for the time being I have a long road of suffering ahead of me.
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#1

Postby weed_victim » Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:16 am

I feel you brother. We all made wrong choices in life. There is nothing you can do expect waiting and go through this hell unfortunately. I would say do your best towards your girlfriend. You really need her. Although the suffering I am also blessed with a great girlfriend that really support me. I am nearly 4 months free and I still have several months ahead of me. You seem optimistic and that is a good thing. Keep it that way. You are about this experience changes our prospectives of life. I feel I learned a lot. I wish you all the best :)
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#2

Postby weedhater » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:27 am

Thanks man, get well. Cannabis is a harmful pest that has invaded society with its delusional charm. I have not met a single individual in life who has benefitted from their use of this drug. Every single user of the drug that I know in life, is on some level a drug addict. The majority of them are living in denial about it - they will even show off about it - and they will encourage you to fuel your habit, claiming that any "side effects" you experience have to do with your own personal problems. People like to be righteous f***kers regarding their weed fiending. That is bs. Weed wrecks the neurochemistry of the brain after a while. Listen to yourself, not any of these weed promoting lunatics. If you smoke cannabis on a regular basis, then you need to stop before it is too late. Things can and do get worse, and you do not want to hit rock bottom like me before working your way up. The stuff has the potential to destroy your mental health.

"Medical marijuana" for the vast majority is a manifestation of the drive of the addict to fiend for this drug and have their pathetic addictions permitted and justified by society to further promote their state of denial. Awaken your being from this bs, and tell yourself "**** smoking weed"

The suffering has been so bad, that I have considered turning to heroin. Not to get high, but to calm my mind down, free myself of chronic physical pain, and get on with my life. I am aware that it is the most effective depressant medication in existence with the potential for long term use if regulated. As a daily heroin user, I feel that I would be functioning instead of suffering and that it would be easy to hide. Plus, I have never in my life been a fiend for a stupid high like I was with the cannabis, and I have tried all sorts of supposedly more dangerous and addictive drugs like cocaine and meth which never took hold of me or f***ed with my head like the weed which made me completely psychotic. If things don't get better in a few months, then I am going to require self medication with downers to a stronger degree. Heroin is enticing to me because I know that it would allow me to get on with my life, and the addiction to it in my opinion would be on a totally different level than my idiotic drive to pointlessly fiend a stupid weed high. It would be self medication in the sense that I am no longer looking to get high, just get myself straight so I can work and I am aware that narcotic painkillers in low doses is a completely different beast than being a dumbass stoner.
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#3

Postby weedhater » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:09 pm

I would NEVER use heroin though. I'm just pointing out the apparently logical thought processes that are my present state of messed up mind in PAWS.

I'm not even comfortable using these benzodiazepines and thienodiazepines. However, they rid me of all anxiety, and they have skeletal muscle relaxant properties too so it's really quite wonderful to be normal while on them. These drugs I am presently self medicating with have the potential to induce severe withdrawals including grand mal seizures and I am wary of this. But I don't really have a choice apart from continuing to use them at the bare minimal amount I have been at for around a month, while enduring the highest possible amount of suffering. My anxiety can and will improve over time. It has only been 24 weeks since I quit using cannabis (the devil), or 168 days. I need to be patient, it is going to take a while because of the sheer mass of cannabis products I was involved with.
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#4

Postby Salsa » Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:09 pm

Very powerful thread, mate. Would you mind telling us how old you are? I'm curious. :)

I see you went (and still go) through real hell. I think you got a clear sign that drugs are NOT for you and that you'll have to go through a heavy penance because of using them. I believe you'll become a much stronger, wiser and calmer person with a clear vision and life purpose once you come out of this purgatory. Therefore heroin is really not an option. It is a drug which destroyed too many lives and you really don't want to be one of these people. Stay away from it and don't think about it.

I feel you allot when you say you are afraid to get hooked up on benzos. I also use lorazepam (ativan) but really try to keep it at very low dosage and not more than 4 days a week. Benzo withdrawal would probably cause all the panic to come back so be very aware of their danger. Yes, they truly help and make you feel so normal, but they take their toll.

Very nice to read your story. Keep us updated about how you're doing.
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#5

Postby weedhater » Mon Mar 31, 2014 7:32 am

Mid 20s dude.

So I don't really have time to lie around anxious suffering like this. I need to do something with my life, and I've already been idle for a few years because of how useless I was as a result of the full-time weed habit.

My biggest fear is that I am not going to make a full recovery. That I have triggered a permanent anxiety disorder. After 6 months it just seems like this anxiety is a chronic physical ailment that isn't going away any time soon. What if I still feel like this, 2 years down the road? That is a frightening thought.

It's tough not to use benzos all the time because they make me completely normal.
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#6

Postby Salsa » Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:26 am

I feel you so much bro, I am in the same boat (mid 20s, have to finish school, start career, parents pressure, no girlfriend, not many friends ...).

This thing is really hard but we'll have to work out through it. Try to adopt more positive thinking. I know it's easier to be said than done, but it will help. Eliminate negative thoughts, work on yourself, accept anxiety and situation you are in and I'm sure this thing will eventually pass. You'll grow much smarter and mature from it. You are an intelligent person, you are not some dumb ignorant, and intelligent people are more likely to have anxiety issues.

Benzos are awful, but when there is a pill that can help, say **** it and use it. :)
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#7

Postby weedhater » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:28 pm

Man, I feel like I am finally in a position to fully utilize my potential in life, but this residual anxiety is holding me back. It's not social anxiety or anything like that - this is crippling, debilitating physical anxiety that just completely takes over my body and renders it useless and suffering, and the only solution if I want to function is to take a benzo.

I haven't experienced the dark side of these benzos yet, if anything I'm just happy to have found an effective medication that doesn't seem to have any real side effects unless it is overused. I don't see how taking a mg of xanax a day for the next few months is going to destroy me in the long run, it's going to help me get over this hurdle of weed recovery.

Alcohol is something that I have also always struggled with - can't stand the stuff, and I'm really sensitive to the toxic physical effects. I used it a lot when I was younger, mainly due to social pressure. It makes me stupid for days after I drink, and a night out would get out of control more often than not. But I haven't had a drink in a few months now. I get brutal hangovers and any amount of that stuff is bad for me. I think it has to do with my heightened sense of awareness due to meditation, general intelligence, spiritual practice and occasional psychedelic use - alcohol is the devil in my opinion.

The side effects of my full fledged cannabis addiction were too numerous to mention: terrible social anxiety, physical anxiety, no dreams at night, lack of motivation, loss of zest for life...

The only drugs I have ever had a positive reaction to are mushrooms and LSD.

But now I am in a position where I am free from my two vices, for the first time since I was a teenager. I don't even know what I am capable of accomplishing because the marijuana and alcohol have been f***ing with my body and mind for so long. It's great and all, but I would be the happiest dude in the world if I could get through a productive, pain free day without having to take any benzos.
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#8

Postby weedhater » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:40 pm

I have a few good friends, but spend too little time with them. I am generally introverted but I love intelligent conversation - it's just too hard to find these days. Without my girlfriend, loneliness would be a problem for sure like it used to be. And the way I see it, things can always get worse so I should be happy where I am today. At least I'm not a hardcore pot fiend anymore, I'm alive again.

I do a lot of reading, and through this I have found so many authors with likeminded views. I study eastern religions, mainly buddhism and ancient yoga doctrines, and have been practicing meditation for many years. Along with tripping out on mushrooms and doing yoga this has changed my perspective on life forever (in a good way), and I find it hard to relate to the typical human being who is living completely within the illusionary realm of worldly existence that I have been working on transcending for years.

But my social anxiety has gone WAY down since I stopped smoking weed, and I'm no longer afraid to express my unconventional views to other individuals in an attempt to get them to think outside the box. In essence, I am a weirdo but what's the point in being your average macho dude who is focussed on acquiring things such as money, sex, power, and dominance over others? I am too humble for my own good.

But I definitely feel you - we seem to be going through an early midlife crisis. I have graduated with a good degree, but there aren't many jobs out there and I've fallen behind in life due to my bad habits. A lot of my anxiety is most likely stemming from the fact that I have not found my place in the "real world" yet, and I need to get going before it's too late. But at least I stopped blazing so hard - I'd hate to wake up from that stoned slumber at 30, realizing that I wasted all my 20s away.
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#9

Postby olskoolru » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:58 pm

Congrats on your quit. Keep it up! You may still have a long way to go. It could take up to 2 years for heavy users. I'm at a year and a month and am slowly feeling better and better. I can relate to a lot of what you said. Check out my 1 year anniversary post. May shed some light.

Stay strong, be good to yourself, know that you CANNOT rush recovery (just not possible), and stay away from the weed or you'll start your recovery all over again.

best wishes!

OSR
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#10

Postby weedhater » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:35 pm

I read through some of your posts - very encouraging stuff.

I have a long way to go, but there is no going back. It was ruining my life and even with the mental health issues I am going through, my quality of life is still much better than it used to be as an enslaved, idiotic dope fiend. Wish I would have known it could get this bad - f***ing years of withdrawal - but there was nothing that ever could have stopped me from doing this to myself. I was a horrible fiend and my sole purpose in life was to consume as much cannabis as possible. It weakened my mind so that finding the strength to get off it was near impossible. I had been trying to quit for years and it was just one relapse after another and this was the only way it ever could have ended.
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#11

Postby Salsa » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:35 pm

Man, your posts are so powerful and realistic. I love reading them. Stay with us. :D
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#12

Postby Furtive » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:56 pm

That's such an extreme story!

Good luck, I hope you don't ignore panic attacks and increase intake of any other drugs ....
I think you'll find LSD/mushrooms are even more damaging
If you do that (ignore panic attacks and triple your intake for a year) with them too.

Stay clean!
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#13

Postby george5030 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:27 pm

This is one of the most extreme stories Ive known! This helps me very much to keep myself motivated because I know there is a bunch of people going thru the same shhhhit as all of us. Some cases worst than others but the good knews are that all of them are temporary and will get better with time. Ive been 9 months off pot.. well I relapsed just once on december 2013 so Im not sure if the cycle began again. The symptoms kept the same intensity and didnt got worse like they were on the 1st month so I dont know if I only have 4 months or 9... but yeah Ive definitely seen improvements over the last months. One thing that hasnt helped at all is that I dont have much to do everyday. I can wake up at anytime I want and cant socialize too much because Im always home (except from my weekends). Im kind of like obssesed with a girl and this makes me feel depressed sometimes. Ill be moving on April the 28th to Montreal because Im going to college so I hope things get better once I move even though Ill miss my family soooo much :(.

I still have minor anxiety and sometimes symptoms of depression. I have had awesome days but bad days still keep coming. I have irrational thoughts about questioning everything everyone does and life in general which bothers be enough. I drink every once in a while to have a good time but not too much cause I hate feeling more anxious the next day. Some weeks are better than others... I feel lonely sometimes though. This forum has helped me on a tremendous way with my recovery.

Any replies and advice that can give me hope will be much appreciated.

Love and luck to everyone.
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#14

Postby weedhater » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:01 am

Thanks for the insightful replies.

Man, Montreal is awesome you'll love it there. Amazing city, nightlife, plenty of good looking women : )

Don't let yourself get lonely/depressed over girls man, or hung up on a specific one when there are millions of others out there. Everyone faces rejection. This is one of my struggles that led me to abuse cannabis. It was like I had this illusionary relationship with a female plant and otherwise I was overwhelmed with loneliness. Sexual frustration is a huge problem for lots of males. It really sucks when a girl you like is not into you, or you don't know how to advance. We are no different than the other mammals where the males have to compete for the females, who have the option of having sex with any guy under the sun basically, and it can be really lame.

I would recommend studying buddhism and practicing meditation, because if you reformulate your concept of what it means to be a human by identifying more with your surroundings than with your physical body then it's easier to be happy alone. Appearances can be deceiving and really, we are all one consciousness in this together. So a hot babe is fundamentally the same as a scrawny geek if you can transcend your biological instincts, internal desires and cognitive prejudices. I have spent months of my life alone in the forest without coming in contact with humans, and being able to be happy alone is a sign of great wisdom. Be strong and don't let that sh** bring you down.

And keep in mind that most girls aren't attracted to potheads and the negative consequences of being a stoner on your social life typically make it harder to connect with them. If you just be yourself and get out and socialize without letting your desire of women get the best of you then good things will come your way.

I was never addicted to mushrooms/LSD/DMT, using them perhaps once or twice a year while seeking spiritual insight and exploring the alternative realms of consciousness out of curiosity. This hardly qualifies as abuse in comparison to spending my entire life fiending bong rips, hash, and hash oil to ward off withdrawal symptoms despite a myriad of godawful side effects... I know what my problem is. I don't use anything these days, but psychedelics never made me anxious in the debilitating way that weed always has nor could I see myself ever making a habit of that.

When I was a big stoner, I used to blame the awful side effects I was experiencing on my mild history of psychedelic drug use and alcohol drinking. This was a form of denial that allowed me to continue seeing my herb addiction in a positive light, even though what f**ks me up is the WEED.

I have recently seen some improvements in my life, in that I am going back to school among some other things that really should be bringing my anxiety levels down because I have a plan of action for the next couple years. My anxiety has not gone down one bit, because it is a direct result of the post acute withdrawal syndrome caused by marijuana abuse. There is nothing that will help me get past this except for time. Weed messed with my brain, and nothing will cure that except taking care of myself and never smoking pot again for the rest of my life.
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