Written By: Fiona Stockard
Firsthand Addiction: What Withdrawal is Really Like
Today, we’re going to explore what withdrawal is really like. You won’t find any catchy medical lingo or D.A.R.E. warnings here. This is one addict sharing her experience, strength, and hope!
My (Many) Withdrawals
It’s no secret I’m a junkie. I don’t hide that part of my life at all. In fact, I wear it as a badge of honor. I survived my addiction and you can survive yours!
Today, I’m a sober junkie, an addict helped by good people, and the grace of God. That wasn’t always the case. For quite a few years, I was the most un-sober junkie around! During this period (I like to call it my blue period, after that J.D. Salinger story), I detoxed more times than I can count.
I went through hell each and every time I was dope sick. Ever detoxed? Well, let me tell you, it sucks! Ever wondered why junkies get crazy when they can’t get high? It isn’t just ‘cause we love drugs (though we certainly do). Junkies get crazy ‘cause they know how hellish withdrawal is.
Now, I’ve heard kicking benzo’s and alcohol are worse, but I don’t have personal experience with those. Yeah, I took a ton of benzo’s, but I was never physically dependent. I drank like a fish, but I never got the shakes if I stopped. If I didn’t do heroin for a few hours though, all bets were off. I was a mess, in literally every sense of the word.
The first symptom to hit me during detox was a runny nose. Pretty innocent, right? Not when you’re leaking buckets of snot and sneezing every ten seconds. Once that started, I knew the reallybad stuff wasn’t far off.
I’d start getting cramps all over my body. My legs, arms, stomach, neck, hands, feet…you name it. My muscles tightened and wouldn’t unclench. Think the worst Charlie-horse imaginable. No amount of hot water or massaging helped.
Then, I’d start vomiting. Like projectile vomiting. Everywhere. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Along with this uncontrollable vomiting, I’d get uncontrollable diarrhea. Look, I know, no one wants to talk diarrhea. It’s a very real part of being dope sick though.
Finally, I’d be weak and shaky all over. You know when you haven’t eaten for like ten hours and your body feels like it’s going to collapse? Yeah, I’d feel like that nonstop.
Signs and Symptoms of Withdrawal
In addition to my very scientific description, find some signs and symptoms of opiate withdrawal below.
• Extreme Anxiety
• Nausea & Vomiting
• Hot and Cold Sweats
• Shaking All Over
• Feeling Weak All Over
• Muscle Aching & Cramping
• Running Nose & Uncontrollable Sneezing
• Restless Leg Syndrome (oh boy does this suck!)
• Extreme Irritability
Everyone’s body is different. So, some people may experience different withdrawal effects. This one girl I got high with, when she started to kick opiates, she just spelt for days. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have minded being her!
I’m Going Through Withdrawal and It Sucks: Tips and Tricks For an Easier Withdrawal
This is the part everyone wants to know. How can I make my withdrawal easier? Well, the simple answer is that detoxing from anything sucks. There are some junkie life hacks that help though!
Go to Detox
There are tons of drug and alcohol detoxes out there. Most will taper you off with (relatively) safe medicine. The downside of going to detox is the cost. They’re expensive, with some charging upwards of $2000 a day!
Don’t Use Prescription Drugs
Many prescription drugs help with withdrawal, but don’t use them! Not only are you substituting one addiction for another, but I know I got my prescriptions from street pharmacists. The point of detoxing is to try and change your life. My life didn’t begin to change until I stopped buying pills from sketchy f**kers!
Use OTC Medicines
There are a ton of OTC medicines that help with being dope sick. These include: acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen (for the aches and pains), Benadryl (for the runny nose and to maybe get some sleep), and Immodium AD (for the diarrhea).
Vitamins are Your Friends
Most vitamins help reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. Think about it like this – the more good stuff you put into your body, the better you’ll feel. Particularly useful during withdrawal are: B-complex vitamins, mega-doses of vitamins C and D, and fish oil capsules. None of these are magic bullets, but they’ll help.
Restless Leg Syndrome is caused by a deficiency of potassium. While you could simply take potassium vitamins, eating food also helps ease withdrawal symptoms. So, combine eating food with taking potassium, and you get eating bananas! They’ll make you feel better, trust me.
Force Yourself to Eat
Like I said above, eating helps. Withdrawal takes a lot out of your body. If you’re not putting anything back in it, you’re going to feel even worse! Eating while detoxing sucks and yeah, you’re going to puke most of it up. Whatever you keep down though helps a lot though.
No one wants to be around people when they’re detoxing. Hell, it’s hard enough to make it to the couch! Have supports in place though. Sometimes just talking helps. If you want to reach out to us – shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or talk to us on Facebook.