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My experience with kicking opiates/PAWS
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My experience with kicking opiates/PAWS

Hey everyone. I thought I would share a little bit about how its been for me, as far as the post acute withdrawals go, after getting clean from iv heroin addiction. On October 7th I will have 8 months clean from opiates, this is the longest I have ever gone without opiates since I first started taking them 5 years ago. I started taking 10/650 hydrocodones when I was 16 (for recreational purposes) and almost immediately became addicted. By 17 I had 'stepped up' to up snorting oxycodone and using fentanyl patches, which I did on a daily basis for 1.5-2yrs. I had done heroin a few times by then but I had already long been an opiate addict by the time I started doing heroin. At first I was just snorting it but by the the time I was 19 I was IV'ing it several times daily. I had also done a very wide variety of drugs aside from opiates by this time, including but not limited to weed, cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, GHB, LSD, ketamine, ecstasy, xanax, and many many more. Needless to say I was in pretty deep as far as drugs are concerned. In addition to my heroin addiction, I was also addicted to crack cocaine, and was mixing the two drugs for IV use (yes IV'ing not smoking crack) on a daily basis for about 1.5yrs.

My life was already out of control long before I started doing heroin, but it seems like once I started IV'ing my drugs, it spiraled downhill much faster than it did when I was only snorting opiates. Eventually I ended up going to rehab this past February and have been clean from opiates and illegal drugs since. Although it has been hard at times, and some days even as recently as yesterday, I was 'positive' I was gonna buy something (either crack cocaine or heroin) that night. But luckily I didnt.

As for my acute withdrawals--they lasted about 10 days. When I was at the detox center which I spent 10 days in, the doc had me on Suboxone for the first 3 days, then baclofen+trazodone daily and phenobarbital every 3 days. I had pretty bad RLS during my withdrawals that persisted for awhile after my acute withdrawals were done with, despite the fact that I had complained about it to my rehab doctor and he prescribed me Requip for the RLS (which by the way didnt seem to have any effect on my RLS), and the RLS lasted for 1.5 - 2 months after my last dose of opiates. Sleeping was a hard task during the first 2 months mainly due to the RLS. In my opinion that was always the most uncomfortable part of the withdrawals, the terrible RLS and inability to sleep.

For me, I didnt really notice the PAWS too much for the first 3 months, but I was in rehab that entire time. As soon as I got out of rehab the PAWS hit me like a brick wall. I was completely and utterly unmotivated to do anything. Every day was a chore as opposed to a blessing, particularly small tasks such as brushing my teeth or taking a shower or washing my clothes became huge tasks that I absolutely did not want to do. I didnt want to do anything at all besides sleep all day. The one thing that gave me any joy was playing video games, which I did (and still do) a lot of. I woke up every day thinking "man its gonna be absolutely terrible dealing with this boring day." The boredom was unbearable at times. The depression was just unlike anything ive ever experienced before. And to make things worse, I still live with my dad, and he does not know about post acute opiate withdrawals and refuses to listen to me when I try to tell him about it. He was constantly on my ***, hassling me on a daily basis to go out looking for jobs and to take an unusually (for me) heavy load of college classes and to quit being so 'lazy and unmotivated.' I was so unmotivated, that even the thought of getting a job in addition to going to college (ive been going to college for awhile now even during my addiction, but never had a job before) was sooo unappealing. I feel like he is under the impression that now that ive gone through the physical withdrawals I am absolutely cured and back to the same person I was before I started doing drugs 5+yrs ago, but that simply is not the case whatsoever.

Anyways, now ive been almost 8 months clean from drugs. I am going to college and I also landed a part time job (my first job ive ever had) delivering pizza.  I feel like things have gotten better than they were 2-3 months ago. Before, I would wake up absolutely dreading every single day and trying to sleep as much as I could to make more of the time pass by. But luckily for me that intense depressed/unmotivated feeling has seemed to dissipate a little bit over the last month or so. It wasnt too bad for the first 3 months, but I started noticing the paws in the 4th month of being clean. Months 5 and 6 were the worst for me as far as paws go. I have now almost completed month 7 and I have noticed a definite easing of the paws symptoms. It might just be because I am actually doing things on a daily basis now (school and work) as opposed to just sitting around the house being depressed 7 days a week.

Oddly enough even though opiates were easily my biggest/"main" addiction, I feel like the battle with them has been much easier than it has with cocaine/crack. I rarely ever crave opiates anymore, but I still crave cocaine/crack on a daily basis.

Anyways, I just thought id share my experiences with you guys. Thanks for reading.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there----
I am absolutely thrilled to hear your story! I've been here since August and have seen some of your posts. Congratulations on a fantastic amount of clean time. With your history of bellyin' up to the all-you-can-ingest drug buffet for years, it's even more amazing! I may have not seen it in your post, but are you getting aftercare? Most of us recommend NA or AA (some addicts just naturally fit in better in an AA group, which is fine), and if you can get it, counseling is one of the best things around to stay clean and gain an understanding of yourself. And I'd like to suggest that you invite your daddy to go to NA, too, or have him go to Alanon/Narconon for an understanding of drug addiction, how it affects families, and how he can support you in your abstaining from drugs. In addition, if you are open with him and invite him to take an active role in your recovery, it should bring you much closer together. I wish you all the best--post often and let us know how you are doing!
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Avatar_m_tn
Yea I just wanted to let everyone know how it has been for me. One thing I forgot to 'stress' in my first post though, is the fact that im only 21 years old. I never really noticed/thought about it before I was in rehab, but apparantly the acute opiate withdrawals tend to be worse the older you are. That would naturally lead me to believe that the post acute withdrawals can likely be more intense and last longer depending on how old you are. I am not trying to discourage anyone but that is just my assumption and I am no doctor either.

As for aftercare--yes I do go to AA meetings every once in awhile. I havent been to any recently because I work (9.5hrs each day) Friday-Monday and then have school Tuesday and Wednesday. When I was in rehab for 3 months they made us go to AA, NA, and CA meetings on a daily basis. But like you mentioned, I always felt more 'at home' at AA than NA or CA, so when I do go to meetings I tend to go to AA as opposed to NA or CA. I think I will ask my dad to go with me to a meeting next time I catch one. While I was in rehab, he went to the 'family' sessions/classes the rehab offered. Maybe they didnt mention anything about PAWS though, or maybe im just getting the wrong impression from him, because he definitely does not seem to think that I might still be suffering from opiate withdrawals. Although ever since I started school and got a job he has lightened up a bit.

Anyways, thanks for responding!
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Avatar_f_tn
What a wise and articulate person you are. You explain yourself and expience very well. It is so encouraging and inspiring to hear what you have struggled with and what you have climbed out of. Maybe in time when your load is lighter you can help others in this journey of addiction. You have a very positive way while being informing at the same time. So happy to read your post.
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Avatar_m_tn
Keep going positive, I am 21 and was addicted to cocaine for a year when I was eighteen, along with being addicted to substances in general. I spent three years obsessed with searching for the next high whatever it would be. Getting immersed in reading was tremendously helpful. I could not pay attention to anything for long after my drug binges until I started reading again.

Also, at the same time as I started reading prolifically I started dropping lots of acid. I experienced one of the best summer's of my life at 20 when I got a vial of 200 hits of acid for 500 dollars. It was a great time and really helped me positively. However, I realized that I had to move on, and despite my current lack of acid I no longer crave to find substances. I try to put my energy into school, I am currently a senior in college, and activities.

It is always tough to keep your mental energy in balance though. Really glad to find someone so articulate who has gone through so much.
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Avatar_m_tn
By the way I have never been addicted to opiates, but I hear it is terrible. One of my best friends had to switch schools and had to go to rehab for months over oxycontin and blues. Glad you're making it. One of my friends recently also got screwed over with an intense crystal meth addiction, I hope he's okay. One of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Unfortunately crystal meth is one of the few drugs available in Japan.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for posting and congratulations on your clean time. Wow, what a story and your Si young. If you could get off all those powerful drugs than you can do anything. You truly are an inspiration. I hope you find aftercare that works for you. A lot of people say it's vital and I happen to agree.
Great job!!!
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