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Beating Synthetic Weed Addiction: Beginners Guide
Josh
Posted: May 1, 2013, 9:23 PM







For those of you who have come to this forum looking for a way to finally quit Synthetic Weed, this is it!!!

As you may have noticed the "Synthetic Weed" thread has drawn hundreds of addicts and thousands of viewers seeking guidance and has greatly helped many of us actively on the forum conquer this addiction.

I was an early poster on that forum and I'm happy to say that I'm almost a year clean without any relapses! There are many other veterans of this drug actively on this forum who have successfully recovered: DAC, Allison, Sash and Tog just to name a few (Sorry if I left anyone out!!) as well as helpful family figures such as Concerned Mamma (Thanks for all the help Mamma!) and Mumma Rainbow.

This thread is specifically for those of us who have made a full recovery to pass along any guidance or helpful strategies in coping with what you may have coming your way: The difficulties of withdrawals, detoxing, the emotional mood swings, the constant feeling that you will never feel the same.

In short, these all will pass! But it takes time and patience.

Many on this forum have asked me to repost my "survival kit" for the initial withdrawal/detox, which is pretty much your first three days off of synthetic. So here goes, along with anything else I can think of to pass to a new addict in recovery!
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Josh
Posted: May 1, 2013, 9:44 PM







For those of you caught in the spiders web of Synthetic, know you want to stop but don't know how, I'd recommend starting with a "Withdrawal Survival Kit": (I originally posted this on the first page of "Synthetic Weed" on July 21st 2012)

Emetrol- for immediate relief from nausea (pepto bismol doesn't work for me).

Benadryl- for when your about to relapse, this will calm you and help you sleep it off. As Allison has said, don't overdo the Benadryl, just take the recommended dose on the box!

Chocolate- supposedly helps with cannabis withdrawal symptoms. (I don't remember ever eating chocolate during withdrawal phase, but I wrote it almost a year ago so maybe I did?)

Gatorade/Pedialyte- Beverages that replace electrolytes etc. when you hit the wall of symptoms, blowing liquid out of every hole, it's gonna feel like you just ran a marathon and will need to be replenished with fluids and electrolytes.

Imodium AD- I had both nausea and diarrhea... at the same time while going through withdrawals. Trust me, it sucks. this will at least help with the diarrhea part.

Soups- All I could manage to eat for days after quitting were small amounts of soup. My main source of nutrients was chicken noodle soup broth. I tried to eat a noodle or two, but I had to force feed myself and made me feel nauseous after just a few.

Entertainment- Something you can lose yourself in, get immersed so your not just thinking about getting high. If your into books get a good book series, or a movie series. You will begin to feel physically like death but will mentally feel super-smart compared to your old, high self. Things you would never think would interest you will, probably because your brain will be begging for a distraction from your current condition.

Warming layers- Blankets, sweat pants, sweat shirt, items you can easily put on or take off. Your going to go through hot flashes like crazy for the next three days, possibly a couple weeks. You'll be hot one second, freezing the next. You will also continually wake up in a puddle of your own sweat for a while. It's normal, don't worry.

Pretty much imagine going into a jail cell for 3 days with the flu... what would you bring?

More to follow...


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Josh
Posted: May 1, 2013, 10:19 PM







I'll go ahead and give a snapshot of a year in recovery, what to expect:

DAY 1-3: Pure Hell. The rational, reasonable side of your brain had finally made the correct decision to stop this drug before it kills you. Problem: The rest of your mind and body will revolt like a toddler throwing a violent temper tantrum. Please warn your family and friends before you get started, or isolate yourself. I chose isolation for this phase. I'm not saying that's right, it's just what I happened to do.
As a full grown adult, I was reduced to newborn baby status on Days 1-3: Crying, puking, diarrhea, hungry, then nauseous and vomiting once I tried eating. Repeat. Could not sleep for more than a few hours, from what I remember. To be honest I think DAC, Allison, Tog, Sash or specifically Mermaid can better describe these days: I'm trying to remember what it was like a year ago and honestly my mind has blocked out a lot of it.


DAY4- first few weeks: Clouds will part and sunshine will spill through, the flu like symptoms have finally gone! I was euphoric these days, because I had beaten the demon. Once you've made it to day 4, DON"T LOOK BACK! Every day is easier after day 3.
You will deserve a sincere pat on the back once you get here. Please tell your story to others, it helps as well. By this time you can probably start eating your first solid food, for some reason I think I've read a few of us saying we ate spicy stuff? I have no idea why but I could only eat spicy boneless buffalo wings with celery and ranch dressing from Applebees. That's all I ate for lunch and dinner for nearly a week straight.

MONTH 1-2: For me the euphoric feeling of recovery subsided to an emotional roller coaster.... This is when the "will I ever be the same again" feelings really kicked in. I was VERY emotionally fragile. every time the phone rang my mind would reel, thinking it was going to be something horrible. I dreaded e-mails, phone calls, etc. Basically, the stressors of life become very hectic when you've been used to smoking your cares away for years, then stop. My mind had to figure out another coping mechanism other than drug use. Eventually mine became cooking/healthy eating and exercise.
During this time I could not watch the news, or even stressful TV shows. I had to strictly watch comedy and light hearted stuff. As I said, emotionally fragile. It WILL go away, I promise.
I also became very concerned with my health, the rational part of my brain kept wondering what sort of damage I had done. I went to the Doctors and had a plethora of tests run on me, even had my lungs x-rayed. I also had blood work done, cholesterol readings, blood sugar, blood pressure, etc. All tests came back that I was perfectly fine!!!!


MONTH3-6: New coping mechanisms developed, emotionally stable, life back to normal. After I got my tests back that I was perfectly fine, I began to exercise regularly, mostly just to clear all the tar and crap out of my lungs at first. Once I started exercising, riding my mountain bike along beautiful mountain trails, I found I extremely enjoyed being out in nature. I also got the natural "runners high" from exercise, without the drug use. I got a euphoric feeling from working out, being healthy and in nature.
I think most importantly it was a new activity that demanded ALL of my attention and focus when I was doing it. Ever zipped through single track downhill mountain trails on a bike? It's not something you do while also worrying about bills and daily stressors. I had found a new activity that naturally decompressed my emotions, and I felt elated every time I was finished. I also began cooking, and every time I prepared a new dish I became more proud of myself and my self sufficiency.

MONTH 6-10 (current time for me): Life is normal: every day stressors are there as always, but are taken care of throughout the day and not worried about at night. No major issues or concerns. I drink a mug of sleepytime tea before bed and sleep 8 hours every night (or close to it). I'm clean, organized, I eat healthy and I work out 5 days a week (I don't work out on the weekends, unless unintentionally like mountain biking). I spend time with friends and family, and no one seems to know what happened to me at all. None of my work friends or co-workers had any idea that I had gone to the edge and came back. I'm not sure how. I didn't ever smoke synthetic AT work, but I think in the end months before I quit I may have smoked before I went in...

Like I said before, much of that time of my life is kind of a blur now. I think my mind is past it, and doesn't like to revisit, or possibly doesn't feel the need to remember. Just don't do it again!

I would ask that DAC, Allison, Tog, Sash, Mermaid and all of us recovering addicts please add your recommendations, helpful tips and suggestions. It seems so far back to me now that I don't know how much help I can give to someone at day 1-3. I can't remember much of it like I could when I was first writing my posts on the other forum.

Let's open the floor to all!
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Posted: May 2, 2013, 2:36 AM


Posts: 79
Joined: April 15, 2013



I'm on day 4 now, and starting to feel more human again...Josh has covered everything I think...but I will agree that the first 3 days are the worst, and the first day was horrible! I couldn't stay alone the entire day, i WAS SO AFRAID I would cave and get more that I went to the hospital just to sit in the waiting room for a few hours until finally a drug and alcohol councellor sat with me and chatted until the tobacco store was closed, so if you feel you are caving, talk, post, anything that will stop you getting more that first day, it gets easier each day you are away from it, and as others have advised, get rid of everything related to fake!!! The temptation is too great, I know, I had tried this idea of weaning myself off just to binge on what i had...

I didn't have so much spewing and sh*tting on the first day, but did have an attack of this the previous week when I when a couple of days off it the week before, but I didn't make it through then and relapsed...my main advice would be to never give up on giving up...I went through 3 weeks of buying, smoking a bit then throwing it down the toilet, just to run down the shop an hour later to buy more, I wasted so much money, but I knew I didn't want to smoke it anymore, but was out of control, it's really just today on Day 4 that i haven't been watching the clock and waiting for the tobacco shop to close at 5...yes, you do feel much better on day 4 and I've been able to eat a bit too now, couldn't really stomach anything the first two days, I just had a bit of toast and vegemite really...good aussie cure all food, lol

And it really helped me to post on these threads, Allison and I got a bit off topic yesterday, but it was a good distraction and helped me kill the time to get through the day, I finally felt ok to go out for a few hours today trusting i would not be tempted to buy more. I hope this helps someone, and any questions I'm happy to answer..
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Concernedmama
Posted: May 2, 2013, 7:50 AM







Hey Josh,

I'm so happy you started a new thread for the recovery kit - I did it with my son in January and it helped immensely. He has since relapsed but feels he has it under control - of course it's the other way around but he doesn't see that.

I don't know what I would have done if not for this board. I was able to glean a spark of hope that this stuff can be beat. Reading everyone's posts and seeing the absolute suffering hurts my heart for all of you so much. I live it everyday but just on the other side - I have the worrying, the insomnia and downright FEAR of what will happen to my son if he doesn't quit. As it is he has a trifecta working, cigarettes, alcohol and fake bake. I think he is going to be the kind of man that has to hit rock bottom first before he will be able to pull himself out of this.

I live in Texas and they are/have presented a bill to ban all synthetic/designer potpourri/marijuana - Hopefully it will be out of our stores soon too. Your survival kit will be used again.

Take care everyone and know that prayers are said on your behalf everyday. Stay Strong!!!

CMama


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Posted: May 2, 2013, 7:59 AM


Posts: 421
Joined: February 24, 2013



Greetings to all - unfortunately I dont have much time right now. Thurs and Friday are the busiest days of my week , but I will put down everything others dont touch on tonight. Thanks to Josh for taking the ball and running with it , both in the beginning and now. Your input has been vital and beneficial to all involved with this synthetic nightmare and you are well past the point where you would even need to spend your time here - again..thanks!

A year ago I was in jail for 4 days stemming from an argument I had with my wife. Everything reminds me of that life - changing experience. I had not been in a jail for over 20 years at that point. The last for a fake ID I used in college (ooooh!). But this experience was precipitated by using spice/synthetic and it came at a very critical time in my life. Until my jail experience I used it moderately...to sleep and to escape the overwhelming pressures and stress I had in my life at the time. But the jail experince perhaps triggered something of a full nervous breakdown I believe. I shut down, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I gave up on things that I had worked a lifetime for - my business, my coaching, and my standing in the church and communtiy in general. It was then that I indulged in the full blown, everyday use that so many on this site have come to know.

Coming out of this addicion is not so easy. I have had many experiences with pot and believed I was dealing with something similiar...which the synthetic is not. There is a physical side to the addiction, and withdrawals to deal with after quitting. There is also a change in how the brain functions at a fundamental level that I am still attempting to understand. I cant go into all the details at the moment as I am late for work....but I will go into much greater detail later when I can be free to write.

So please...all you who contributed to the last thread on 'synthetic weed' , add your very important and useful information to kick this new thread off in a way that will invite, encourage, and supply vital information for anyone tangled in this horrible web.

I will be back in...13-14 hours or so...

later

This post has been edited by DAC on May 2, 2013, 8:01 AM
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Allison
Posted: May 2, 2013, 2:53 PM







Welcome, seekers.

Obviously if you have stumbled onto this site and this forum, you realize that synthetic has become an unmanageable problem and are looking for ways to overcome it. That is a huge step. And you have come to the right place.

It's important to know you are not alone. Even though this drug has a very unique way of isolating everyone it sinks it's claws into, you are so not alone. Many, many people have fallen victim to the exact same thing. And many, many people have traded away their families, friends, possessions, health, (both physical and mental) and even their freedoms as human beings. Please don't let the shame over that prevent you from getting free. You aren't the only one. You are probably going to have to face some hard truths along the way; it isn't easy but it definitely beats the alternative.

And it really isn't your fault. Everyone who started using this drug bought it in good faith that it was an easier, convenient and legal alternative to weed. We have all been fooled. It is nothing like weed. It is more like herbal crack. It is designed to get you hooked and keep you coming back for more. I truly believe that.

Follow Josh's advice for the "starter kit" to a T. It really does help. There is no drug that is going to prevent you from feeling all of the effects of the detox, but you can at least soften the blows a little bit.

And we addicts by nature demand instant gratification. There is no such thing when it comes to breaking free of this. You HAVE to resign yourself to the fact that you are going to suffer through the three worst and longest days of your life. It's different for everybody. And the severity of the withdrawals depends a lot upon how much you used, how often and for how long.

Just trudge through it. You will make it. And you will be numbered with those who have overcome this.

It may take awhile for your brain to bounce back to normal even after you make it through the 3 day mark. Please look up "Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome." Many of those symptoms you will still be dealing with. You will feel like you've gone insane and have done permanent brain damage to yourself. I promise you, you haven't. It just takes a while to heal. It's normal and it gets better and gets better pretty quickly, really.

I really wish everybody the best. And God is always there when you are ready. We look forward to hearing from you on the sister thread we have kind of taken over. :)
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Posted: May 3, 2013, 9:17 AM


Posts: 421
Joined: February 24, 2013



I first came to this site after stopping smoking synthetic after an extended period of use. I , like many who came here, considered spice/synthetic to be a substitute for actually smoking marijuana. I came here to get information, to read , and to occupy my mind since in the beginning I did not understand why I was having such a problem putting it away for good. I cant say enough how reading the experiences of others helped!

Initially, it was to help me sleep. But as with anyone who has an addictive personality, it grew to be more and more as time went by. I have been on and off again with this drug for over 2 years - quitting many times for periods of days, weeks, and even up to 3 months at a time. So when I first came here, it was an attempt to understand exactly what was going on with this particular drug - and me! I had no idea that there were physically addicting chemicals being put into the blends.

I had smoked pot in the past and had NEVER had any trouble quitting. I have a seasonal business and would smoke during the winter months and lay it down 'cold turkey' each and every Spring. I would be completely clean for the next 8 months, and could do this seemingly at will. But pot isnt physically addictive, only psychologically addictive, and I was able to overcome the mental part with ease. Spice/synthetic was much different.

The first day is when most people will repeatedly fail. Consider this, I NEVER bought more than one package at a time. Subconsciously I was going to quit every time the bag ran out....only I never did! In the beginning a 1 gram bag would last 4 - 7 days...at my worst? I was going though a 3 gram bag every day and was still making the trip to buy one...each and every day.

The last such period was for 4-6 months or so almost non-stop (there were small breaks) and when I tried to quit after a prolonged period of time I became acquainted with the reality of the how bad the withdrawals could be. The physical side is one thing, but the mental is what I believe causes most to fail many times before being successful at quitting for good.

On day one you will have an almost constant urge to go out and get more. One excuse after another will pop up and almost any rationalization will be enough to trip you up. For me, it was literally every 10-15 minutes I was having this battle and one of the reasons I started reading everything I could about what it was I was dealing with. I needed to occupy my mind now that I had nothing else to do so. It is so easy to give into because the difference between the 'down' feeling of withdrawal, and the 'instant good mood' feeling of returning for 'just one last time' is like the difference of night and day.

Immediately after stopping your energy level will be down, you will be irritable, and in just a lethargic - yet angry , state of mind. For me, I kept asking myself "Why cant I do this if it gives me the motivation to get things done"? But the truth is, once you start smoking again, you will get little done past that first high. It's a cycle thats hard to break...Anyway, on day one I would often do nothing but lay around and have these mental battles all day long. I would eat NOTHING and would physically feel sick - mostly diarhea and a lot of coughing. But the mental? The guilt , the depression, the regret, coupled with the almost constant temptation to end the suffering by giving in ' just one last time' was worse.

I have a theory that because the synthetic is so much more powerful ( I have read it is 20 - 800 times more potent than THC) , and the duration fairly short lived, that the constant use (every 20 - 30 minutes) most experience when smoking all the time will similiarly cause someone quitting to experience these 'relapse tempations' much more often - and much more severe as compared to other drugs. It seems the rational mind knows it should stop when high, but when away from smoking (even a few hours), the non-rational thinking drives us back into use. It is just too easy to relieve the distress your body and mind will feel once you have quit for a while

Once past the first 24 hours the temptations ease a little, but it will still be an ever present thought for up to week sometimes. It seems to get easier after 3 or 4 days because the physical side effects will begin to subside. But this is just the start. Dont be fooled by thinking that once the immediate cravings end that you are home free. It seems the synthetic changes thinking at a fundamental level and 'relapsing' can be triggered at any time over the smallest of things. Any bad day can become too much, and your mind knows how to end the suffering...at least temporarily.

The less you smoked, the less pronounced these symptoms will be. But dont be surprised if you try and quit multiple times before finally succeeding. If you were depressed, or going through trouble before escaping into the synthetic, these problems flood back with an even greater intensity after stopping. But they will only get worse if you continue to use ....so dont!

Hope this helps.
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Concernedmama
Posted: May 9, 2013, 9:03 PM







I'm bumping this post back to the top - I see that we have new people wanting advice.

Take care everyone and stay strong - praying you for you all.

CMama
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Posted: May 14, 2013, 7:36 AM


Posts: 421
Joined: February 24, 2013



For those attempting to quit just know many of us have tried several times before successful. I wont consider myself a success until I have gone a complete year free of ANY substance!!
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Posted: May 15, 2013, 2:37 AM


Posts: 79
Joined: April 15, 2013



Yep, I've relapsed again on synth, Dac you saw it coming, and I think I did too, as much as I don't want it, I want it...but not too far gone, a few days, and want to stop, again, of course...so back to day one, but I've had a few day one's now, now I want to get to 7 days, 4 days seems to be my breaking point, and the hurdle i need to get over, so here I go again :(
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Posted: May 15, 2013, 4:06 AM


Posts: 421
Joined: February 24, 2013



mermaid

Its good to be honest! If you read my earlier posts you know I did the quitting thing many times before I finally got over it. I know it was finally made illegal here, but I could get pot, and probably the synthetic over the internet if I really wanted it - I just havent tried. Just keep your resolve - your perspective on what you have accomplished over the last couple of weeks. Take into account your use before and compare it to now. When I first started posting on this site I was quitting from smoking as much as 3gram a day. All my relapses since then combined to only about 3grams total! And that's for almost 3 months now!!

Thurs will be 5 weeks completely clean - I had many day 1's and it can be depressing. But you know so much more now. When you do relapse it will reaffirm your desire to quit. You want to quit - I can tell. That is the biggest step! You are just experiencing a path that some of us must take before we can finally get hold of sobriety for good. Its the age-old short term want vs long term need question. You know where you want to be - it should be an easy decision - a straight path. But for people like you and me it ends up being a long - winding path. Still, eventually you/I will get there in the end.

Regret is the hardest thing I personally have to deal with. Beating yourself up only makes it more likely to again fail. So get day 1 over...Get onto getting past day 4, and very shortly you can start measuring in weeks!!

Your writing is a means to an end. It is a form of self-discovery and a way of processing the conflicts you are encountering. Your slips and setbacks can save others from doing the same. If not, they can soften the blow for others who will experience the same problem with the synthetic tempation. You have much company and compassion here - everyone wants the best for you in the end.

So keep us informed!
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Posted: May 16, 2013, 12:22 AM


Posts: 79
Joined: April 15, 2013



Thanks again Dac, yes I've heard it can take 5 times or more to quit smoking, so why would this smoke be different I guess, and I'm pretty well there I think, because it would have to be that or more if I include pot...

I just know it doesn't make me feel good, I have like 5 seconds, if that, of the 'relief' of dragging on a joint, then just that too high feeling, come down and 15 minutes later do it again...over and over and bloody over, until my lungs are burnt out shells, and there's no where else to go but bed to try and stop for the day, that is if I can stay in bed as I usually just get up over and over and don't stop until it's all gone, sound like fun! lol, no relaxing stone here...and this is what I have to remember, the reality of it, not the illusion of what I think it will do, like be some hippy on the mellowest trip ever, not a care in the world, groovy man.... has never happened, where does my brain get this illusion??? Doesn't matter because illusion it is, and a tricky illusion too, wants to suck me in even now, but it won't today, and I plan to say that everyday, something has to change this time, and I'm going beyond my apathy and lack of any motivation to put activites into my life, whether I want to at first or not, I have to force myself...

And keep letting it all out Dac, it's what I need to do as well,..I always think no one wants to hear my crap and I keep it in until I get overwhelmed and then I relapse, I have never been able to pick up the phone to ask for help, but as we are anon here, and people can scroll through if they don't want to read it all, we have an opportunity to let it all out, a problem shared is a problem halved, and if you venting makes you feel a bit better and stops a relapse the I say write as much and as often about anything!!! This is what I need to add to my survival plan, and you are showing me the way...

Have had a rough few weeks worrying about my daughter, who isn't healing from an operation properly and has to have another fix it up op soon, (yeah just because your husband is now a quad doesn't mean you get a free pass through the rest of life..)so have to give over that worry as It's not helping with where I need to get, so need to work on lovingly detaching, listening but not taking it all on...it's been a horror couple of years and she didn't need this, but life goes on being life, and this is just another bump, and that's how I need to see myself in this, getting over another bump, hope the road smooths out soon...
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Zyzz
Posted: May 17, 2013, 6:56 AM







Amazing to read so many people who share the same experiences as myself. Like countless other I tried synthetic almost 2 years ago as a legal alternative to pot. I've tried to quit many times but always find an excuse to relapse.

Recently I've been able to abstain during the work week and "allowed" myself to smoke on weekends. Unfortunately i "reward" myself on holidays by going hard and smoking everyday, every couple of hours or even more often.

My wife has no real idea as to the extent of my addiction - she has caught me a couple of times - but I am pretty good at only smoking when she is out of the house or preoccupied (I generally smoke in my garden shed where my family have no interest in going).

Several times I have had "moments of clarity" and thrown all the synthetic out - this usually happens straight after I have smoked and am in a drug induced haze. As the high wears off I find myself going through the bin trying to find what I have thrown out or race down to the tobacco store to purchase more.

I have to quit - if not for myself or my health for my family. On weekends I regularly withdraw from family activities so I can stay at home and smoke. I hate doing it and beat myself up and don't want to feel like this anymore - I feel weak and ashamed.

I know this drug is affecting my memory and I have trouble sleeping at night waking several times a night. To get back to sleep I often sneak out to the shed for a hit.

I haven't smoked for two days now but going without for 4-5 days isn't such of a challenge. Interestingly I've never experienced the withdrawals of not being able to eat solids or being physically sick.

I live a very busy life, have a good job, coach sport at a high level, own a nice house and a have a sensational family but this sh*t is a secret shame that I am so embarrassed about. I worry about the health affects and my greatest fear is not being around to see my children grow up, marry and have their own children.

Writing this post has been therapeutic and I am glad I stumbled across this site. The advice and experiences of others gives me real hope. I will definitely keep visiting and updating my story. Any additional advice to beat this demon will be greatly appreciated.

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Posted: May 17, 2013, 3:11 PM


Posts: 421
Joined: February 24, 2013



zyzz

When reading your story I draw several parallels to my own. Last year I felt I could 'control' the use by only smoking a couple times a day, or like you, going days without and then 'rewarding' myself with indulging myself as much as I wanted when I had the time. I have a large family - 5 kids, only three left at home. I coached baseball for years. Was on the finance board at church , taught sunday school...a completely functioning 'addict'. I say addict because I could not just 'lay it down' the same way I had pot so many times.

I have a seasonal business so I have 4 months downtime. In my younger days I would 'reward' myself for a hard-worked season by allowing myself to smoke pot in the off-season. Usually from late Nov til mid March. Pot was not a problem...easily picked up a put back down. I didnt mix work and 'pleasure' so I would stop cold turkey each year in the Spring and not even think about it till I was done with my work for the year.

But I had 'moral' problems with smoking pot. It also was illegal. So about 10 years ago I quit smoking altogether and went the next seven clean. Then I tripped..I found a pot pipe with resin in it at the end of my season and didnt throw it away immediately. I ended up trying it out again and IMMEDIATELY was remined of why I loved this certain drug. It wasnt long after this that I began hearing so much about the controversy surrounding K2. And low and behold they were selling it at my local gas station....that began my current troubles.

At first the synthetic was not as strong as pot, much shorter in duration, and because it was legal I didnt have to worry about my reputation being ruined over getting pulled over with it. I got to have my cake and eat it too! Get high legally and not worry about getting caught!

But I still grappled with the moral issues. I didnt feel comfortable smoking ANYTHING and if I didnt want to be seen as a pothead - I also didnt want the stigma of using ANY drug. But thats where the mental debate began that still rages in some ways to this day. I had heavy financial issues weighing down on me..mostly from building houses and holding one at the wrong time when the market crashed in 2008. A house that was to cost 90 and sell for 130 ended up costing me $15k when I finally sold it....almost 2 years after I built it!

I wasnt sleeping, had chest pains, and never seemed to have any peace of mind. Thats when the synthetic came along and offered me my 'stress relief'. But it did something else as well. I was already questioning where I was at in life in regards to business and working such long hours that I hardly ever saw the kids when I was 'in season'. The synthetic led me to change how I saw these 'unsolvable problems'. I felt peace for the first time that it would work its way out. I dont know how to explain it other than to say I am intense, focused, and obsessive about solving whatever problems I may have in life....the problems I had experienced for so long seemed to not have a solution, so I didnt sleep well and could not find much enjoyment in life because of these problems. The synthetic changed my mood almost overnight. It seemed to 'unbundle' my thoughts so I didnt obsess as much. It also seemed to give me 'new' ideas that I had never considered before...

Like the writing. I never had a desire to express my thoughts in a literary medium. I was so guarded and private I was actually afraid to write anything down for fear that someone else might accidently stumble across it and read it. I had such low self esteem in terms of expressing myself that I would never play the guitar when others could hear me, would be horrified to sing in front of someone, and was terrified of speaking in front of even a couple of people.

But all of the sudden I was writing A LOT!! I was playing the guitar AND able to sing along - something I had never been able to do before. And I got this idea to do comedy and even got up on stage 7 times last year...At the time I attributed this to the synthetic...

But now, after putting the synthetic away and being able to process things with my mind uncluttered? I believe I was going through some sort of mid-life crisis. The synthetic eased the pain of this crisis , but the new direction I wanted to take in life was more due to my writing out my thoughts than anything. I was conflicted because of the drug so I wanted to sort out my thoughts by writing to my pastor... Once I started I couldnt seem to stop. It was like a lifetime of ideas flooded out of my mind seemingly at once!

The mood, the energy, the outlandish ideas I had for my 'act' I believed were a credit to the drug...but now with the perspective of time and the absence of any drug influence at all, I am happy to report that they are even better now than when under the influence! I dont have trouble focusing, I remember more, and I dont lose my train of thought halfway through a setup like I did when I was smoking. And the fear of performing ( I used to have to get high to get on stage) has been replaced by a DESIRE to do so!

Wierd...I know...but true.

I cant say how much it helps to take the time to write out the thought process and conflicts you may have as you wrestle with the reasons 'to do' or 'not to do' a particular drug. I wanted to have this discussion with people who knew me...but couldnt get a decent conversation. I was trying to explain things with an open mind...theirs were closed! I really didnt experience any growth or resolve any of these questions until I began writing in this forum. Not only did I hear shared experiences, but I got useful feedback as well. For the first time since this started, I began to understand what the synthetic's effect on my behavior was.

I read another (stacey-24gordon) remark that the drug wasnt a 'problem' for me , but a 'solution'. And that really made the most sense of what I had experienced. It took away stress, helped me sleep, and took me in a new direction.... or so I thought. The reality was that it 'added' stress, it interrupted my sleep, and clouded my mind so that it impeded my progress pursuing a new 'direction'. It definitely has a very short term - short lived benefit. But the long term effects - wasting time, diminished health, and creating distance between loved ones are just not worth the price.

This is me with a 'short' reply...

keep coming back

This post has been edited by DAC on May 17, 2013, 3:39 PM
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Posted: May 17, 2013, 3:53 PM


Posts: 421
Joined: February 24, 2013



mermaid

I dont know if you go back and read your earlier posts, but you sound much better...more articulate! I think that like me, you had a lot of thoughts saved up that just needed to get out. I feel better the more I write. If I want to go back and retrieve something - I can. I know at one point last year I did not want to listen to radio, read a paper, or even watch TV because I had so many unvoiced opinions stored in my mind, I just couldnt fit any more in!

Coming here, free of judgement, without the worry of 'running into' people you have opened up too helps immensely. Getting feedback, knowing you are not alone, and that you share struggles others have had decreases the feelings of isolation. It IS theraputic. It IS part of the recovery process that should not be ignored! It took me a long time to get to this point of being able to share my thoughts, and I seem to never be able to empty what I have stored....

Of course some may be saying to themselves...Damm! I thought he was almost done.

But I wont be done til the problems are gone...and that will be far off into the future...Also, helping others helps yourself. Dont forget that! Do what you can for your daughter. Listen, be there for her, but dont feel it is your obligation to SOLVE the problem. Just be a comfort to her as you can. She will need an outlet as well...Maybe she would want to write to you? Emails, facebook, twitter, I personally dont do much of these anymore but it helps to get it out one way or another...

Looks like the storm has passed...back to work!
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Posted: May 19, 2013, 3:47 AM


Posts: 79
Joined: April 15, 2013



In reading your post Dac I could see how my own building stress culminated in my seeking relief in a substance I though offered a safe (like pot) legal option for me beacuse i can't drink...

I look back over the past 2 years and see that the accident, having to give up my job and home, caring for grandkids full time, and even my cars motor blowing up, it's a no brainer that i did look for the relief I THOUGHT this synth would bring, bloody miracle I didn't drink again as well!!! Was NOT the answer and just added a new problem, relapse into substance abuse...

And can I say to any family members who are reading here for info, ask yourself whether you've ever found stress so high that you've had a couple of glasses of wine, or taken a calmative, that was legal or prescribed, or eaten that comfort food, or went shopping for things you didn't need, or thrown yourself entirely into work ...I think we have all done it, we are human, the thing is just because what someone else has picked up isn't what you would, or if they have the addict gene and find they can't moderate or put it down, there should be no judgement ever!!!! Only ever love and support as they find their own way out with information given by people who care enough to share their own experience...and people who try to control others are just control addicts themselves, they need to get well too!!!

My rant, sorry, but I get a bit fed up with judgement and controlling...doesn't help, never has and never will...

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Posted: May 20, 2013, 8:26 AM


Posts: 421
Joined: February 24, 2013



mermaid

I think I answered your last post on the other thread , so the detailed advice about synthetic I will put here. Completely a**-backwards which is what most should expect from me now!

When quitting, and having relapses, you will notice that the severity of the withdrawals will lesson. The drug wont become the issue it was when it was an unknown and you were surprised by the physical downside. There will be a noticeable pattern and you will come to think that it might even be 'controllable'.

Dont fall into this trap. If you continue to slip and relapse the severity of quitting again rapidly drops off and you will mistakenly believe that the relapses themselves are controllable. This is where I was at last year going into my season. I 'gave myself permission' to repeat this process off and on , but the use steadily increased again. In my case, when something traumatic happened - going to jail. I completely went off the deep end and got high every minute of every day for a while. This led me to the severe withdrawals, depression, and further stress and problems sleeping which only led me back to using at a lower level I even stopped twice for two months and still fell back to this pattern. When I first started posting I did the same thing as you - clean two weeks..then the slips...minor at first - then much more frequent!

Glean what you can from my mistakes and try not to repeat them.

I wish you luck!
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Posted: May 21, 2013, 3:30 AM


Posts: 79
Joined: April 15, 2013



Yes, I can see this was happening to me, just had to see how it only took two days after what I thought was the 'safer' relapse on pot to become the synthetic again, and it was more intense, and I felt even more depressed than the first time, that scared me, as I was depressed to start with, I was thinking that life was just too hard after the second relapse, and we all know where that thinking leads...

Like I answered on the other thread, my cravings seem to intensify each day I'm away from it, (this doesn't seem to happen to everyone thankfully, they seem to lessen, so lucky me!!..) I know this has to pass eventually, but as the underlying problem was still there, going through the pain with nothing is just unbearable, but I've done a wise thing today (finally) and was really honest with a doctor, and may I say, this doctor listened and realised that what I was going through was serious, it felt good to pour it out and to be taken seriously, really good...

Your experience hasn't been a waste, because now you can relate it to people like me who sincerely want to get away from this stuff, and give us some understanding of the process of getting clean again...:)
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Posted: May 21, 2013, 10:20 AM


Posts: 421
Joined: February 24, 2013



mermaid

I hear people talk about quitting a drug like its just as simple as stopping the use. But I have always known that it was much more than that. Simple will power....'Just saying no' is a short term solution just like 'doing' the drug is a short term solution. The REAL issues that keep coming back again have to do with something much deeper. I know you went a long time without anything to drink...and I had done the same thing with pot. But in the end we let our guard down and got caught up in a 'substitute' addiction that replaced the old. Only this time we had more reasons for a need to numb so it has been harder to get away from. There are still many unknowns about what is in the synthetic weed, why it is so powerful, and why the mental desire is so great for some weeks or months away....

I believe that it comes down to compulsion. You mentioned several things you have done compulsively over the years...I could list many different things for myself. I call this an all or nothing type of mentality. But it has to do with a kind of single-minded approach to life that I believe is just typical for addict's. We cant do ANYTHING in moderation. And consequently, this excess leads to either being REALLY happy or REALLY down depending on where we are in life. The knowledge that a substance can change this mood? Just an increased temptation and mental battle when we dont have the substance.

If you consider yourself a type A personality - independent, strong will, dominant, take charge, etc then you will believe that a drug can be controlled. Mind over matter, just put it down, then pick it up at will. I still believe this to some extent , but there is something about a mental 'cure-all' that will cause it to get out of control. Its a short term fix to MANY problems - but remember, the long term disaster it can bring.

Its like I have this wound that has scabbed over and really itches... I know I shouldnt scratch that itch because it will just reopen that wound and it will take longer to heal. But once I start to scratch a little? It's not long that I am furiosly scratching away , ignoring the blood, the pain, and the damage I know I am doing because it just 'feels so good' to not itch any more....Of course when itch is gone I feel bad, regret what I have done, and bandage the sore back up....

Only now its going to leave a really nasty scar!!

An addicts 'wound' is in the head....just another theory....

This post has been edited by DAC on May 21, 2013, 11:26 AM
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