2 Years after quitting weed

Postby breakfree1985 » Sun Mar 06, 2016 1:33 am

I have to start by saying that I thought i would be in a much better place by now but that could be due to my own discipline to stay completely drug free. I say 2 years but in that 2 years I have done a few lines of cocaine and had a couple little tokes of a spliff. I admit i was weak in these times I have faced the darkest periods of my life and was chasing a relief in which I never got.

Apart from these little slip ups, I have remained quite healthy, hitting the gym 4 to 5 days a weeks, sticking to a healthy diet. There have been periods I have not drank alcohol for up to 8 months to see if that would relieve symptoms with hardly any noticeable benefits apart from not waking up without a hangover.

I am currently at the point of no alcohol as well as recently just eliminated caffeine out of my diet as the 3rd year is meant to be the best year in terms of full recovery. I am pessimistic about it to be fair. I mean there has been progress made but i am no where near the person I use to be before drugs took over my life.

In the beginning I had all of the symptoms that paws fill you with, but now I feel I am just left with a very damaged me.
I have been to the darkest lowest times where suicide was looking like the only option and I was seriously considering it. I persevered and got through that extremely tough time. Now I am still left with depression, not the manic type, just the feeling of a really low mood all the time and no enthusiasm for life.

The biggest problem for me is my loss of personality, I use to be a fun guy with a good sense of humor, now i struggle to connect with people and the issue with cognitive function makes me feel like a complete retard. I am extremely slow and takes me time to respond to people but even if it takes time I struggle to find words and string together a coherent sentence. My memory is terrible which contributes to my bad communication skills.

These lingering symptoms of bad memory, impaired cognitive issues and brain fog have left me with rather low self esteem and no confidence what so ever. I was a personal trainer for quite a few years and studied extensively about nutrition and I can't remember a thing about it. It would be great to know this is part of the healing process and its going to get better but i can't stop thinking this is me now and I have to get use to it.

I have challenged myself with different jobs to try improve how i am but nothing has really worked. Will have to see what happens over the next 12 months.
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Postby Davinci » Sun Mar 06, 2016 2:26 pm

I'm 19 months sober and I have the same problems that you have.

Have you already tried looking for a mental health professional? In my case they didn't help at all, but some people seems to get better after treatment.

My doctor said that it's possible that I had develop dysthymia and that weed could be the trigger. Dysthymia is like a chronic depression that never really goes away, google the symptons and see if you think you can have this.

I feel you man. In those 19 months sober I only had 4-5 days where I felt 100% depression free, with a lot of hopes and optimistic, and I don't think that those days are a sign of healing from PAWS, but just days where the depression doesn't hit me so hard.

I hope that it's not the case for you, but if after 3 years sober you still feel those symptons it's a good choise to look for mental health professional.

Let me ask you. Did you had "good days?" Where you felt completly back to your normal self?
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Postby breakfree1985 » Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:30 pm

Hi Davinci,

Congrats on making it this far and sorry to hear your feeling the way you are.

I have thought about speaking to a medical professional but one of the main things that put me off is the advocating of anti depressants, yes they do help some people but from my research, majority of the time it seems to make people worse in the long term, For me it is like replacing one drug with another.

I know how hard the struggle is to be in a perpetual black cloud and see how everyone around you seems so happy, for me it feels like i just don't fit in, but in saying that I applied for a job in Spain as an English teacher and worked there for 3 months. I still suffered with depression but there were days or maybe not days but periods throughout the day where i felt completely depression free and felt like my old self.

So to answer your question i would have to say yes there were days that I felt good. If in another year it is still prevalent I will definitely seek a professional.

The concerning thing though Davinci is reading about some of the old members on here and how much they recovered by this stage. If i knew i had to wait 4 years to be 100 % recovered that would be fine, just to know i would get back to normal would make me so happy.

Do you have cognitive issues? or memory problems? How about your anxiety? Any Head pressure? Head pressure is something I have suffered quite severely through this whole period.
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Postby wakinglife » Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:02 am

Hi BreakFree1985,

Congrats on two years, but condolences that you're not back at 100%.

Nearing 10 years drug free, it's a bit tough for me to specifically recall how I felt after 2 years off weed. It's all relative, but I think I was feeling pretty much back to normal at that time. One thing to consider is this: depending on how long your addiction lasted, you may have entered a different life stage now. As time progresses it's hard to say exactly how you would have felt at a specific age (and situation) had you never smoked cannabis in the past.

I tried smoking weed at a young age, but really didn't get addicted (i.e. chronic, habitual use) until I was in my 20s. When I finally quit I was 33. It's important to remember that you can't objectively compare how you feel now to how you felt "pre-weed". I had a different body and mind (along with vastly different social support networks) between the eras of partying through my twenties and being a 33 year old divorced father (when I quit for good).

All of the things you're doing sound really healthy: regular exercise, abstaining from basically all mood-altering substances, etc. The head pressure thing does sound like something you might want a doctor to assess. The suicidal thoughts are (in my humble opinion) a huge red flag to get professional help. I fully respect that anti-depression medication might be something you aren't eager to try, but perhaps CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) or another form of therapy (individual, or group; possibly for recovery, but more likely to treat any potential underlying depression) might help improve your quality of life.

I'm not on here often enough to keep checking in and answering a lot of specific questions, but I do truly hope that you get some help in your struggle. Keep in mind that this forum is also a form of therapy. You might try reaching out and being a mentor to "younger" addicts in the earlier stages of recovery. Getting back to the physical condition that you are able to be a personal trainer (even in a voluntary capacity, with senior citizens or something) might also help you.

On a final note, I have recently admitted to myself that I live with depression. Notice, I didn't say "suffer from depression", since that statement kind of bums me out just to put on the page. I have recently toyed with the idea of quitting drinking (haven't had any booze since Jan 2nd), mainly to help with troubled sleep cycles (waking early, unable to fall back asleep). I think that the years of smoking cannabis (and using and abusing other substances) was an elaborate way of self-medicating for my own underlying mental health issues. I don't want to hijack your thread to talk all about me, but I just want you to know that you're not alone: I'd say that every person who struggles with substance use issues is probably compensating for something out of order with their mental health. I wish you all the best in getting whatever helps you get back to 100%, and allows you to live a life filled with meaning, joy and positive interaction with the world.


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Postby kashsan69 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:31 am

I appreciate you being so honest with yourself and the feelings you are experiencing. You sound like you are back in a dark spot, of which I can currently relate. But we must remind ourselves that it is only temporary. It is possible that you are being a little too hard on yourself at the moment and "this too soon shall pass." The bottom line is that certain lies just can't be considered, such as getting into the mindset that hurting yourself is an option or that getting high is going to improve your situation. As you have recently learned, at this point in the process, getting high actually does quite the opposite by bringing you to an "all time low."

Wakinglife provides some great advice and when reading many of his previous posts, you know he has been there in his journey. I agree that it's hard to compare things now with how you felt before, as you are indeed a different person today for the better through all of your life experiences. I feel that it's like the grass seems greener thing when we recollect previous notions of how we felt or acted pre-pot. At times I too get caught up in thinking that "I'm half the man I used to be" when all this really does is make me feel worse. You are still that same person before you smoked weed and that awesomeness just needs to shine through all of the layers of our superficial worldliness, which I am finding out personally, indeed takes time.

I feel that so much of what we deal with is attitude and with your actions of doing the right thing, these are literally the only two things within our control. Getting professional help from an addiction specialist or other professional and a support recovery group may also help you in getting to the root of the issue or at least help you process your thoughts. Meds may also be an option but not necessarily the answer. Of course, as you have figured out, you can't be hitting a joint or doing lines at any point during the recovery process in order to be genuine. I also agree that not drinking is also a good idea, as I finally learned personally and felt that I had to give up the drinking thing a few years ago (and don't miss it a bit)!

Weed it different though and much more insidious, as it tricks our minds into accepting a shell of our true selves with respect to our potential and how we care, feel and relate to others. The second we get high we think we're fine just the way we are and are simply being too hard on ourselves. It temporarily inspires us into thinking we can be greater than we really are by flooding us with all sorts of well-meaning thoughts and brilliant idea that rarely get acted upon. Then we start thinking if only we can control this demon without all of the ugly mess it creates. Now it's time to rationalize, justify and lie to ourselves and others about how it really affects us by talking ourselves into thinking that we're not really addicted and that it's normal and okay to smoke here and there.

But it's NOT normal and it's not okay, as we know all too well that this road ultimately leads back to being a chronic toker. We must stop smoking, stay clean and keep on hanging on with hope that we will get ourselves back and even surpass these preconceived notions of who we really are and who we can become. Not by changing the external circumstances or work environment in order to stimulate our mind but rather by changing the way we think and working on our heart. There is little doubt that you are certainly on the right track with nutrition, exercise and the other healthy lifestyle choices you have embraced. However be cautious here, as this can also feed your ego in ways that are not consistent with getting to the core of your genuine, true and humble self.

What I don't hear from you is any spiritual connection that you are currently experiencing. This is typically the rock of any healthy recovery and the crux of the step right after admitting that there is an issue here, a fact of which you clearly agree. This is the step of hope that we come to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us into not doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Don't be afraid to turn to your higher power or God to help guide you. Always remember, as it is written and the warning is clear: "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8 NIV :idea:
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Postby netty28661 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:41 pm

Hi breakfree, thought I would give you my perspective on things. I agree with everything wakinglife has said & kashan reiterated.

My experience is that i'm coming upto 4 years clean in April, I smoked weed for 10 years, the last 5 heavily, although only my partner & son knew. I came upon weed late in life as pain relief after breaking my hip. I was 50 when I quit. My memory, capacity to learn & retain info is pretty bad, sometimes I wonder if I have early onset dementia. So I'm unsure whether my memory problems are weed related or just my age or the fact I'm going through the damned menopause! Like wakinglife says we do not know how we would have been at the same age without having had drugs in our lives.

I did suffer from Paws & it was a long recovery journey, especially the first 18 months, I suffered awful anxiety & depression, I did try anti depressants for a while which didn't help. At the start of year 2 I started to meditate, at first i wasnt that hopeful but was desperate to try anything. I went to a Buddhist Temple than ran meditation workshops, which I found really helpful.

I have to say that at your stage I did feel better than you seem to be but there are so many factors to take into account, even in my 3rd year I was still noticing changes for the better. I still suffer occasionally with depression/anxiety but I would say it took 3 years for me to feel what I think is "my normal". I still meditate & exercise around 5 times a week - I feel it literally keeps me sane.

With some of your physical symptoms I think I'd check them out with a doctor. Obviously depression can cause physical problems & unfortunately it's really difficult to find a health care professional that understands weed addiction & that it causes withdrawal.

I would also say read posts made by olskoolru, he had an absolutely awful time with his recovery.

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Postby Davinci » Mon Mar 07, 2016 4:29 pm

breakfree1985 wrote:
The concerning thing though Davinci is reading about some of the old members on here and how much they recovered by this stage. If i knew i had to wait 4 years to be 100 % recovered that would be fine, just to know i would get back to normal would make me so happy.

Do you have cognitive issues? or memory problems? How about your anxiety? Any Head pressure? Head pressure is something I have suffered quite severely through this whole period.

I know what you mean, the uncertainty about getting better is terrible, especially when two years had passed and you still feel bad.

I have all the problems that you listed above cognitive issues (slow thinking) memory problems (which fluctuates to very bad to "normal", but not normal like before the weed). My anxiety is the only thing that seems to be getting better, and when my anxiety started to lift I tought that the lack of motivation and depression will lift too, but that didn't happen.

About the head pressure, I never had this kind of sympton. Can you expand a lit bit about this ? I sometimes feel as if somethings is moving in my head, some parts seems to get hotter (I already look for a neurologist and that nothing wrong with my brain).

Another thing that seems to fluctuate a lot is my insomnia. Some days I can sleep 7 hours and other only 3 hours, but is definitely is better that the begining of this process.

I should mention that I develop depression during the use of weed and not after and I think this is important because a lot of user of this foruns don't seem to have a problem when they were using the weed, but only after they stop.

On the emotional side, I don't have a lot of emotional pain as before, but I have a "whatever" feeling for everything that happens to me. If I won the lottery I couldn't feel nothing, if something bad happen I also can't feel nothing.

About medication, I already tried 11 differents AD and they don't helped me in the long term and the side effects were very bad to me. But it doenst mean that you can't benefit from it, everyone brain chemistry is differente and some people seem to get better.

I hope that you get better man. Feel to PM any time.

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Postby akash agarwal » Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:17 pm

Anyone has idea ..dp dr surely go away?
I m almost 4 month clean and i smoked very very less like ( half joint 4 times a week for 3 month)
No cigratte no alcohol no bong nothing .

The only symptom bother me since first day its DP DR ..i m not able to function or being social much
I cancelled trips picnic ...my gf forcing me to go on fort but i feel scared and horrible DP DR if i go away from city .

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Postby Oak » Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:30 am

Weed is a big factor in anxiety and depression but there are other things, medical, envriomental, genetic etc. Weed sometimes mask existing inherent issues like serotonin or thyroid hormone deficiency, or just the need to deal with life - which can be often painful and frustrated. Taking the weed away, is like getting off a pain killer, and part of the challenge is to face issues that should have been dealt earlier, but have were pushed a side because of the powerful sadation effect of the THC. I think it's critical for chronic users to seek proffesional help from experts. Try to understand your body and your life BEYOND the PAW. Sometimes just balancing the gut bacteria or talking to a therapist can make a tremendous change. In almost all cases of chronic users, the physical PAWs subside after a few weeks. The THC has a tendency to be stored in our body fat cells longer that other drugs, but no more than 3 months. The mental, social and dependancy issues may take longer to disappear - but are relatively treatable, given the right support and good physical health Cases of long chronic depression and anxiety induced JUST by weed exist but are quite rare, and are usually related to other problems. Evidently - depression and anxiety cases are the biggest epidemic of modern society, and most of them are not related to drugs addiction. Stress, lonliness, social media obsession - these are big contributors.
So - check yourself, seek for help, and don't think that chronic weed use is a terminal desease.
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