Jan 19, 2008
**A Junkie's Survival Guide to Detox & Withdrawal Symptoms** © 2008
The word junkie (or junky) was initially used to describe a heroin addict, "junk" being a slang term for heroin. EX: We are all junkies! Just one big dysfunctional family!
Addiction was a term used to describe a devotion, attachment, dedication, inclination, etc. EX: I am devoted to Vicodin!
Detox, short for detoxification, in general is the removal of toxic substances from the body. EX: Detox fukin' *****!
You are probably asking yourself, "who is this person, and how the hell do they know anything about detox and withdrawal?". Well, I am just a kindred spirit who has been through this nasty piece of work called hard core, out of control drug abuse. I have tried everything and anything to make the detox whirlwind easier. And let me tell you, it is not easy.
There are however, ways to make it bearable. This is just a small guide to detox. Tried, tested, stamped, and given the seal of approval by many professional junkies, (mu ha ha) And used by many more on a regular basis.
Ok so, who the hell am I? I am a 35 year old woman, Mother, nurturer, own my own business, author, avid reader, was once a shoe in for the US Womens Hockey team, all around pain in the a$$, "normal on the outside, twisted on the inside", stick figure artist (definitely not Picasso), going on 11 years as a straight up junkie.
Ten years ago, due to terrible sports related injuries that left me in serious debilitating pain, I found myself addicted to various pain pills. Eventually, my body became so immune to the pills, that I switched to more powerful drugs. Mainly Heroin, Meth, Cocaine and alcohol. (At this time, I am addicted to a nasty cocktail of various pills.)
The situations I would find myself in various times throughout those long years were not only scary, but down right unforgivable to myself. It took me a long time to figure out that my problems wouldn't go away with a pill, or a drug. Only when I hit rock bottom did I wake up to the fact that I was killing myself. I wont go on with my story because we all have one, and they are long, drawn out sob stories, not to mention we all have demons in the closet that need to stay there. At least mine do.
I think the scariest thing about habitual drug use is the eventual normalcy of it. You get to a state of needing the drug to be human. You can interact with humans, work, take care of your kids, do homework, play games, wash the dog, make dinner, pay bills, and live like anyone else, but you need that drug to function....to be "normal".
Drugs change everything about who you are....who you once were. They change you into a completely different animal. For example, my agoraphobia, which I never had in my life before detox, got really bad when I was on Heroin. I couldn't go outside without banging up a cc and mixing it with coke. (aka: Zombie dust) If I wasn't on anything, I made up excuses as to why I couldn't go out. And when I detox, it all comes back again until I am over the whole process. It will happen again, even this time once I am through with my last pill. As of this moment, I am on 17 Vicoprofin 7.5/200's a day right now in Jan/2008, (last week I was on 25-30 per day) including an insane cocktail of other miscellaneous zombie pills. And when I get down to the last few, I will start this detox program I have used for years.
The physical effects are horrible the first week. But after all is said and done, and you are feeling some what half way human, you need therapy. Detoxing is only the first step. It's the long term problems you will come up against throughout life that you really need treatment or NA for. Everyone gets to this point because they couldn't say no to their stingy addictions in the first place. And like a child, we need to learn all over again how to control our impulses.
Let me start by saying that pain manifests itself everywhere in your body and brain when you are going through wd's.(withdrawals/detox) Your body aches in places you didn't even know existed, your brain hurts, you get the shakes, you can't eat, you can't sleep, you look like a corpse, every single muscle in your entire body is screaming bloody hell, your legs are on fire and you can't control them. Sometimes you hallucinate. You get hot and cold flashes. You are vomiting out of every orifice of your body. You have scourging anger pulsing through your veins and you are cranky as hell. You are a ****in class A basket case. You want to kill everyone and let them feel the pain you are in. Your head is going a million miles an hour craving that last push/smoke/bump or pill.Your thoughts are demented. Nothing would make you happier than unloading a full gatling gun at the local Wal-Mart that sold you out-dated milk. You are a mental freak out living in hell. You want to DIE.........
Hell hath no fury like a detoxing junkie.
Believe it or not, there is light at the end of that putrid tunnel.....there is a way to return to normal....whatever the hell normal is these days. Eventually, your mind and body will ease, your self worth will come back. Your self image will improve, and your health will as well. Drugs back you into this mental corner that makes you feel VOID about your person. You could care less about yourself, much less anyone else.
You live in a house of pain.
It takes a long time, and a lot of damned balls to self evaluate, to internalize all of the bullsh*t you have created, and get pissed off enough at yourself for the sh*t you have done to your loved ones, your body, mind and soul. Only then can you put the pieces back together. Only then, can you begin to break free of the pain you have built up around yourself.
It's hard to go it alone, but there are millions of addicts out there who go through the same nightmare when they decide to stop. I promise, it gets better every day....I cut my intake from 25 to 20, now I go down to 17, and my body is already starting to coil up into a mass of sickening pain, my brain is turning on the multiple personalities....all of them bad bad bad. But you don't have to go it alone. This site, and many others, are out there to help you....to realize there are others who are detoxing, who are clean, and who are still on the junk. "I am not alone". No, you're not...
NA/AA meetings may seem a waste of time to most junkies, but let me tell you something.....there is no greater feeling than sitting in a room filled with junkies just like yourself. People who have the same messed up feelings and physical pain as you do, all admitting that they are not in control of their lives. And for the first time you might finally admit to yourself that you are a drug addict.... that very moment is the start of your new life....that is, IF you choose life. I am not going to preach the 12 steps here because I never believed in them on a spiritual or personal level. It is a great concept, but I have my own personal 12 steps as I think everyone should. I am not knocking the 12 step program. If it works for some, than more power to them.
Thinking back, (and that is very hard for me to do, my hard drug usage has led to memory loss) I wish I had all that money I blew on drugs over the years. I could have a huge jacuzzi tub and some killer stock! Maybe in something as pathetic as Starbucks. A junkie stock broker. Oh yes.......they exist.
Ok, back to reality. Did I mention that addicts have the most interesting fantasies? It always consists of a lot of money, and a lot of drugs. But you already knew that...didn't you?
Here we go......
**Detox 101....the Junkies Survival List**
Prior to detox, set a day you are going to start. Before that day arrives, be sure you have the following items. If you are unable to get the Rx's, I have added replacements in a natural form.
1. Advil/Motrin/Generic Ibuprofin - be sure it's the big bottle, you will need it. Immodium AD....believe me, you WILL need this! For those of you who cannot take Motrin/Ibuprofin, Tylenol Quick Release caps work fine.
2. Heating pad/Electric blanket. - These are good for the chills, and also to wrap around your legs when they start to jump, and are in pain. The heating pad is great for trouble areas on the back, shoulders, etc.
3. Bath tub/Jacuzzi/Hot tub. If no bath, a shower works too.
4. Natural juices. Fruits and vegetables high in anti-oxidants are good to juice. Blueberries are an excellent source. (Look up fruits high in anti-oxiodants and drug detox fruit cleansing on the internet) If you do not have a juicing machine, then Knudsens or Odwalla is a good maker of juices. For Odwalla, the following are your best bets due to the nutrients and vitamins in the drinks: Blueberry B Monster, Super Protein, Berries Go Mega, and Odwalla Superfood (Superfood tastes like grass but it is the best booster I have ever had) are all good choices.
5. Water. LOTS of water. Flushing the system is a must during the detox process. Not Kool-Aid, iced tea, Coca Cola, NO CAFFEINE, organic yuppie way too expensive fu fu drinks.......just water.
6. Rx - If possible the following drugs will help immensely:
Xanax/Aprazolam - this will help with the mental and psychological pain you will be in. It will also mellow you out when you are craving (enter drug of choice) badly. It helps with irritability and depression as well.
Ambien/Valium/Halcion/Lunesta, etc - this will help you sleep. If it's one thing addicts all have a problem with during this process, it is insomnia. Sleep helps during detox in more ways than one. Not only will it cut the duration in half, (you sleep for hours, so of course it is going to shorten the detox) it also helps your brain and body recharge.
In fact, if you can take 4-5 days off from work, stay at a friends house, have someone watch the kids, whatever you need to do to be alone for those days, you can actually sleep through your detox. Of course you will wake up to eat, drink, and take more sleeping pills, but I have gone this route before and it worked. But, you have to be very. very careful about how many sleeping pills you are taking. If 1-2 pills won't do it for you, then forget about sleeping through detox. This may not be the healthy way to do it, and I ain't no doctor, but some people have debilitating withdrawal's like I did, and really don't have a choice. (ex: Heroin, Methadone, and some crack/meth junkies, and even some long time, hard core alcoholics)
CAUTION/WARNING: This is not, nor is it intended to be alternate medical advice. Be sure to speak with your Doctor or seek medical advice before taking any medications or starting a home drug detox program.
The above drugs are only to be taken during the first week of detox. For habitual long time addicts, you may require a longer dosage period. For Heroin and Methadone users 2 weeks or more. The Xanax and sleep aides can become addictive if abused. The best way to make sure you do not become addicted is to have your doctor only prescribe enough for 10 days. With no refills!! You know what they say, "if you don't got em', you can't take em'".
If you are unable to obtain a prescription for the above drugs, then the following natural supplements can be exchanged. Myself and others have taken every one of the following natural supplements. If you take them correctly, and stay hydrated, THEY WORK.
Arnica, Devils Claw, & Cats Claw: They all relieve pain, swelling and stiffness.
Sam-E: Reaches pain receptors in brain and can also work as an antidepressant.
Black Haw and Cramp Bark: Antispasmotics which relieve muscle and menstrual cramping.
As aromatherapy, lavender essential oil helps to calm anxiety and stress.
The German Commission E recommends the use of Hops herb for discomfort due to restlessness or anxiety and sleep disturbances.
***Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata)*** If you don't get any of the supplements listed so far, at least get this one...you won't be sorry. This acts like a sedative. It gives a very relaxed high and is a mild hallucinogen. It can be taken as a pill, or by tea. I recommend tea due to the human body absorbing the herb faster when in liquid form. I cannot begin to tell you how much this has helped me when I was having horrible cravings and mental anguish, including the shakes and irritability. If you can find this in liquid form, GET IT, and take it in tea, water, etc.
Peppermint oil stimulates and counters insomnia, shock, mental fogginess, and lack of focus. Stimulating the mind and calming the nerves makes peppermint oil ideal as a physical tonic and emotional soother.
For anti-depressants: A very potent root, St. John's Wort's action of mood modulation takes place at the synapsomal level where it works to inhibit the reuptake of three of the four known feel-good neurotransmitters. They are serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. Anyone who is on an anti-depressant (MAOI/SSRI) should understand this. Like many of the pharmaceuticals that inhibit the reuptake of only serotonin, this process, when taken in Rx form (Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, etc) can take up to 6 weeks to take effect. St. John's Wort works more gently, faster and broadly. Given that it effects three neurotransmitters is probably why it has such a low side effect profile.
For sleep: Valerian root and Melatonin. Take them together and you are in la-la land. Warning....Valerian Root stinks, but it is very effective. Don't let the smell fool you.
All of the above supplements must be taken as described on the bottles. Always try to get either liquid form, and if possible full spectrum. You can also do a search on each supplement online, or at your local library.
For those of you on any kind of thyroid medication: I have checked each supplement to make sure they will not have any adverse reactions with thyroid medication. ( I am a user of Thyroxine and have to investigate anything I take in case of a reaction.)
7. If you are unable to get the prescriptions OR the supplements, then the following over the counter aides will help A LOT.
The first thing I recommend is Pamprin in the BLUE box, NOT the pink. The pink box does not have Pamabrom in the med. Yes GUYS....Pamprin. And don't worry, it is not going to make you grow boobs or turn you into a chick. The acetaminophen/pamabrom combination is a pain reliever for pain associated with back ache, headache, and muscle ache and can be used as a mild muscle relaxant. It also has a mild diuretic which is good for detoxing. The faster it comes out, the better you will feel!
Secondly, a very good OTC drug is Alka Seltzer Plus Night Time Cold medicine "effervescent tablets" in the green box. One of the ingredients in this OTC drug other than (per pill) acetaminophen (250mg) is Dextromethorphan (10mg) It's uses in medicine range from pain relief to psychological applications. Also in the med is Doxylamine Succinate (6.25mg) which is one of the many sedating antihistamines on the market today. (you have to be 18 to buy it)
8. And lastly, be sure you are taking a regular "full spectrum" multi vitamin to replace all of the minerals you have lost during drug usage. GNC makes a nice Full Spectrum Multi for Men and Women that is easy on the stomach, and comes with or without Iron.
What does "Full Spectrum" mean? = Certain imbalances can occur when we take a few nutrients in high amounts in the gross absence of others. Meaning, you can go to your local grocery store and pick up a bottle of vitamin C, but in that vitamin c are other ingredients that may be there to keep the pills fresh, have a better taste, etc. Full Spectrum means it contains 100% of the vitamin with no extra fillers.
9. Eat something that is naturally sweet. (fruits, dark organic chocolate) Stay away from refined sugar and mixtures containing refined sugar, including sucrose, dextrose, corn syrup, brown sugar, turbinado. Avoid artificial sweeteners. They can all make you even more cranky.
*************Time to detox***************
At first sign of aches and pain, take 800 to 1,000 mgs Ibuprofin, or your pain/swelling supplement. Then get in a hot bath. Drink water or natural juices, or both. Xanax/Supplements for the first 5-6 days to help with the emotional pain.(I take 4 Xanax or if I want to go natural Sam-E with Hops per 24 hours) But no more than 8-10 days, you don't want to get hooked on that demon Xanax. (Believe me, Xanax wd's SUCK) More hot baths. Lots of water to flush the system.
FOOD - Fresh veggies, greens, blueberries, protein, good stuff for your body. Suggestions for rich detox foods are: broccoli, red and green vegetables, cauliflower, beets, onions and garlic. Beans are an important detox food and a major source of protein and are a great source of fiber.
More excellent foods for your detox are kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo and soybeans. It is very difficult to go wrong with legumes, so pad your new diet with this source.
Keep it light on the meals. Instead of snacking on chips, candy and cookies, try to snack on nuts and seeds as a healthier source. Try sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, and walnuts. The elimination of fast foods, red meats, pork, junk foods, and sugary drinks will help speed up the detox process. And last but not least, no fried food.
It can be really hard to eat good while detoxing. Sugar and fatty foods have that "feel good" taste to them, and when a junkie is cranky, they want to feel good by any means, including food. But just remember, if you eat good while detoxing, you are going to have a shorter detox time. And, you are giving your body back the nutrients it has lost due to drug use. Get a good start on rehabilitating your insides and you will not only feel good, but look good too. You can be 100% clean and still look like sh*t if you don't eat right. So just think about that......
Sleep as much as possible.
You are going to be pissed off and your body is going to feel like road kill for 5-6 days, depending on your drug usage, and how long you have been dosing. But hang on! Keep all hands and feet inside the ride. It's quite bumpy...but it will end.
Every day you will feel better.
It is very important to stimulate your senses. Read your favorite book, play your fav video game, read the posts and journals on this forum, play with your kid's, have sex with your spouse, rent some movies you have always wanted to see, go outside and work out, run, scream while your doing it. Do whatever it takes to get your mind off of the w/d's.
Stay away from stress, and most of all people, bro's, and friends who won't be supportive. Even the best buddy that likes to get drunk watching "Monday Night Football", or the girlfriend who comes over every Tuesday with a couple bottles of wine to watch "The Bad Girls Club" .....stay away from them until you are clean and can handle temptation. Lock yourself in your house and turn off your ringer on the phone if thats what it takes.
And for god sakes, change your number if your dealer has it!
Keep up the regime for as long as the wd's are unbearable. If possible, take time off work so you are able to stay in the comfort of your own home. Within 5 days you should start feeling better, depending on your previous drug usage, how long, and what type, it could take upwards to 20 days.
Baths Baths Baths! Every time you start to feel like hell, take your Ibuprofin and a Xanax, or Ibuprofen and your mood enhancing /pain supplements, and take a hot bath. If you are concerned about drying out your skin, then add some oil to your bath. I recommend Dr. Bronners Magic Hemp pure castile soaps. They have a wonderful peppermint body wash. It's not only good for the skin, keeping it hydrated, but it has a very powerful mint smell to it. Perfect for relaxing in your tub, or in the morning while in the shower to get you going.
Another excellent remedy for an aching body is Epsom Salt. Pour 1 cup of salts in your bath with some peppermint or lavender oil and soak for at least 1/2 hour. Also, add a few drops of the peppermint oil to a bowl full of hot water. Take a wash cloth and soak it in the liquid. Remove and put cloth on your face for 5 minutes and inhale. Good stuff man......good.
If you are interested in more herbal treatments for detoxing from drugs, or just cleansing for the health benefits, please feel free to message me. I am a walking weirdo junkie with mega experience in the herbal field, and I love to share the knowledge.
****For Methadone and Heroin users****
I do not recommend this for anyone wanting to detox from Methadone or Heroin. Don't try to taper the Methadone unless you are working with a Doctor to do so. If not, stay on your full dosages. You could possibly die if you try to go "cold turkey" after taking it for a long time and are on a high dosage. Unless you are a professional that understands the gradual lessening of dosages, you are only kidding yourself. You will shock out and your body is going to shut down. Go to your doc and look into Suboxone. You shouldn't have to live in hell in order to get clean. I can't begin to tell you how much Suboxone helped me when I was detoxing from Methadone.
Methadone is really no different than any other opiate drug. It's just stronger and binds faster than any other substance. If you think Methadone is any different from Heroin with wd's, well you are only trading in one crutch for another. Plus, you are going to live in your own personal hell for quite some time if you go it alone. In fact, you can hiss and b*tch at me all you want, but you are seriously retarded if you think you can do it cold turkey and all by your lonesome. "I'm gonna go CT and fu*kin kill myself! Yeeee haw!!!!" You will more than likely end up in the ER.
People who come off of such high doses without tapering either:
A. - Seizure out/Convulsions/Cardiac Arrest
B. - Break down and use again
C. - Suicide due to the mental strain
D. - Make it for some unbelievable reason, but with some physical (internal) damage.
I've been on both ends of withdrawals, heroin and methadone, every user of methadone will always tell you the same, as I do; I can kick heroin anytime, mostly needing just a friends help, but methadone.......that is something else. In 10 years of heroin addiction, I've kicked 5 times, 'cold-turkey'. Sure the wd's were horrible, but I did it. In 10 years on and off methadone I've never been able to kick it without core treatment.
The only way to do it safely, and with results, is with a ************** doctor, or rehab. The good thing about rehab, is you discover how to keep yourself from falling into that trap again, and how to resist the temptation of only taking that "one" hit. They give you tools to use in order to stay clean.
It is the same thing with Heroin. Get professional help. You cannot do it yourself unless you have Suboxone and help from a Doc. There are too many physical consequences that come with self detoxing from Heroin and Methadone. I almost always needed help detoxing from Heroin, but it was never as bad as Methadone. My main problem was the cravings. But, that is where treatment helps in more ways than one.
Heroin is not cool, it is not a good excuse for a "pain killer", it is not a "social drug", it is not a fun drug.
When I met Heroin, I fell in love at first syringe. And this is the same with many Methadone addicts. I could operate like a normal person without having to use a pipe, or take a pill. I detached from all human love. Only pretending to be the perfect Mommy for my kid's sake, the perfect boss at work. I gave Heroin some of the best years of my life.
But, one day Heroin failed me and didn't love me back. To make a long fuked up story short: I overdosed on over 2 cc's of China White. (better known in the medical community as α-methylfentanyl). Waking up in the hospital in extreme pain, every part of my body was screaming, and remembering everything from the night before....the amber liquid going into my vein, feeling as if my heart exploded...... scared the living sh*t out of me. I knew then that I needed help to push the monster away. And Suboxone along with heavy treatment, helped me see the drug for what it really was: A pleasurable KILLER.
So if I can do this....if I can detox from almost every street drug known in the USA (and China : ).....you can too. Detox is nothing but a blink in a humans lifetime. Like the small town you passed by but didn't see because you lit your cigarette.
With that said, I wish every junkie/addict...whatever you like to call yourself... luck with detox, and luck with life. I hope every single one of you who reads this comes out on the other side shining. Remember, life is beautiful. And we only get one chance at it. Love yourself and those around you.
Redemption is all about helping yourself and others. With your experiences, maybe you can help out a fellow junkie who is crying out for help. The only people who really understand us are fellow drug users...once a junkie always a junkie...you many not be using, but you will always be in the club.
"Welcome to the Junkies Club, wanna cigg?".
How wonderful does it feel to help a fellow user? It's like bringing a scarred, broken life into this world, but with hope and a new beginning. Not to mention the big karma points. :D