(My apologies, I write this little part now because i only intended to write a paragraph or so but i have just realised that I went a bit nuts and like i usually do when i start writing, i find it hard to stop)
i am a new user here and just first of all wanted to thank others for sharing a very familiar view of the problems we are facing day by day or week by week. This has been very helpful to me the last 48 hours. Although alot of users seem to be based in USA all to many things were scarily familiar (i am from scotland where cannabis use is widespread and introduced more often than not at a young age)
Personally speaking, this is my 3rd day going cold turkey and to give you a bit of background on this, i was a long term smoker, for the past 3 years i have been puffing all day every day, except the few occasions where i actually made it out to a family do and did not puff, or atleast tried not to but often failed so except for those days were there was a "dry spell" or "x has been busted, none until monday" etc.
Well I say 3 years, My original problem with puffing was that i actually started when i was 13 or 14 and in high school, by 15 i was a everyday smoker and this lasted until I was 19. In which time I did not take care of myself, and fought with my parents a lot, mostly my mum as she was perfectly aware of my addiction, as was my father as he was an alcoholic (he was 26 years off the drink when he died recently, and i never witnessed him drinking as he gave up before i was born) so do not let this give you false illusions of my past, my parents always done their best for all of us so I have no complaints there, but my smoking weed tore my relationship with them apart. She used to steal the bong from my room and bin it while i visited friends, and the worst point that I actually have a memory from back then was when she confiscated 1/8 i bought, and i pinned her down by the throat and told her to give it back. This was a dark, shameful time of my life and I regret most of my actions, but the pinning down part was the peak I think because by then I no longer wanted to get stoned, I needed to get stoned.. I did not smoke to get high, I smoked to feel "normal"
I quit at 19, it was not hard because I had got myself into so much trouble where i lived growing up with owing dealers money or ripping people off (Im a nice guy, i did not want to rip anyone off, but my "need" to smoke super-seeded that, and was let down by "friends" who would not pay up when i was due to give in money etc) I quit as i moved country in honesty to get away from it all as my brother was living in ireland it was the best option. I realise now looking back that i did get withdrawal symptoms perhaps but I had so many other stuff going on with moving country that i do not think that i noticed them as heavily as I have done this time around.
I did give up for a few years but i took it back up to around 2001 or 2002 my memory is hazy, mostly because I felt I understood addiction at this stage and would never let those "dark times" come back again but that was only occasional as i was still working at the time, but If memory serves correctly I did end up smoking most days as i was sick of getting drunk. I was not a drunk but instead a 21 year old who had a new-found passion for getting laid and having fun.. I justified my smoking by saying it was better than going out and getting pissed, that "you would not find a stoned guy in the street at 3am wanting to fight for no reason".. perfect justification in my mind back then and was enough to make me start smoking most days of the week, immediately as i got home from work and at weekends was soon as the morning coffee was poured. I was also doing a lot of music festivals back then and started to take some ecstasy and cocaine, although this was only tested I was never really a "class A" user. Which in some way also justified me smoking my "class C" Drug of choice.
but i started to get really bad anxiety/panic attacks after a 5 day music festival in England full of pills, smoke and speed... so that began a terrifying stage in my life where i gave up everything, went to doctors and was led down a path of anti-depressants and benzo's (xanax) to make sure that the anxiety did not make me lose my job. It was only after running out of work several times and ending up back home that led me to this, however after 6months or maybe it was a year, my brother moved back to scotland and I gave up the xanax (which i think looking back had became problematic and i became addicted to taking these to "feel normal") infact I remember calling them normality pills as i could get on with things with no crazy panic attacks to effect my life.
The panic attacks past and i gave up my xanax dependence (6 months, perhaps closer to a year), and I did get back into a place where i was 22 or 23, living with my (ex) partner and although i was still taking anti-depressants this did not bother me as I had beat the dependence on xanax . And if memory serves correctly I do not remember having to take mind altering drugs as I was on anti-depressants and also gabapentin. I was also so scared of getting those panic attacks again that the thought of smoking hash or drinking was out of the question, I gave up drink and all drugs during that time.
I was back to unemployment after giving up my job (i gave up before i was forced to leave, and sadly this only lasted until I got a really bad abscess in my mouth (those 6 years smoking pot i did not take care of myself, and my mouth is in bits but that's a diff story!) The abscess in it self was not the problem, but the dentist gave me high strength codeine painkillers which because of my addictive nature, i started to take these even after there was no pain and started to go to doctors to get prescriptions and lied to get them. Although there was no real "high" from them, they are opium based and would give a nice light headed feeling that i became accustomed to over time, and before I knew what was going on I was taking 8-16 of these tablets per day (2 every 4 hours max was soon 2 hours, and then 1 hour at times if i was just back home from work).
I think because my mum has been taking codeine painkillers most of my life I believed this was not a problem, i was just on the "upper strength" ones. 2 or 3 years passed before I weaned myself off these by changing to normal strength, and because there was no high or even lightheaded feeling i took more than i should to try and achieve this.. did not work but i continued taking them most days anyway, not sure why looking back.. mmm i think i took them before drinking alcohol to get drunk faster was about the only thing.
I had split from my partner at this stage and had a place of my own in the city centre of dublin, I was back working in a good job and was doing well at it and promoted into a similar position and became a team coach because of this. I was drinking a fair bit but I was 26 and enjoying life, and because of my dad problems with drink it has never been a thing I would ever rely on as I was so well aware of the outcome. It was around this time though that I invited 2 students to come live in my spare room.
This was now 2008, they were smokers, and although for the first couple of months my fear was enough to tell me that I never wanted to enter that dark time of my life again. I started to have an occasional smoke BUT only if I was drunk. This is not because I did not want to do it not drunk, but because my fear of the panic attacks I had a few years earlier were enough to scare me in to not doing it. The fear left with drink..
But after sittin up smoking one night after drinking, I had took the day off work and puffed 1 pipe.. I was scared of the anxiety feelings coming back but not enough to not make me do it.. they moved out not long afterwards as did I but it was around then that i started to smoke on a daily basis again. Using the same line I told myself 5 years earlier that "it was better than getting pissed out of my skull" and allowed me to relax.
It was because of my smoking again that I started to under-perform in my job, I was lazy.. I drank to much red bull because I was up smoking until 2-3am the night before "dreading having to go to work". As soon as i was home from work I was puffing again and since there was no panic attacks I did not care to much. I told myself that I was well aware of the dangers but that If i could quit once or twice then I was strong enough to quit whenever I felt the need to.
Sadly the need to quit never came around?? Why would i want to quit when I felt so contented.. ?? So if i was happy there was no "problem" right?
I lost that job, I was late most days by 5-10mins or always on warnings or final warnings because sometimes I did not show up at all. I was constantly tired at work due to smoking everyday but was offered a "golden handshake" to walk away with a good reference.
That was in 2009, and i continued to smoke all day, everyday. I told myself it was fine because I lied that much to the people that cared around me that I think I even started to believe my own bullshit. People said I had a problem, So instead of admitting it I would just see that person less, and tell them i had not been smoking. I still lived in ireland so my family was not aware of any of this, and visits home became so infrequent it was sometimes a year or more passed before I would visit. I had been tempted to quit a few times but the days I went without were spent with no appetite, no sleep (sound familiar?) so i would get a bong hit as soon as possible. Even then those days without were not because i quit, but rather because No contacts had any..
(continued next post i ran out of characters!!)