How I got Addicted
Like everybody else on this blog I have decided enough is enough. Marijuana has had a grip on my life physically and mentally. I’m 26 and started smoking weed when I was 16. I smoked everyday from the age of 18 until the day I decided to quit. The most extreme I did was an occasional bong rip, maybe once a year which always lead to a bad high. I was a casual smoker, hitter box in my pocket. Just riding out a constant low level high all the time.
My group of friends are all pot smokers so socially it was great. We always had a good time as long as we were together and getting high. Some of my best memories have had weed somehow related to them. For the ten years I smoked I can honestly say it was a great ride. Luckily I’ve stayed out of trouble with the law and really haven’t had any issues other than a bad high here and there.
During my ten years I’ve quit a couple times. Due to an impeding drug test for work. So not using for a couple of weeks left me irritable at best but in the back of my mind I knew once that cup of pee was submitted I’d be firing up on my way back home. It was manageable because I was working out (trying to clear my system) and I knew I was gonna go back smoking as soon as the test was done.
Never in my life would I have thought quitting weed altogether would be the toughest obstacle to overcome.
Why I’ve Decided to Quit
So with the back story taken care of I’m going on 4 weeks sober. I’ve decided to quit because I want to start fresh. Have a new beginning at life. This past year I’ve gotten engaged to the most wonderful woman I could ask for. We have been together for 7 years. She has put up with my pot smoking since day one.
Not once has she criticized me for smoking all the time, she even laughs at my forgetfulness and dorkiness when I was high. One day I sitting think about my future, our future and decided enough is enough. Not only does she deserve my sobriety but so do I. I was tired of being lazy and just plain boring. Weed crippled my desire to go out and do things. At the time I was completely okay with that. Weed helped me disappear from all the stress that the world brought on. It even made my aches and pains go away.
Somewhere in my ten years of smoking it turned from a social activity to a dependence. My body and mind needed the drug. Up until the final few days I was oblivious to my addiction. I was a full blown addict. I saw this a decided to end it. With a bright future in head of me (wedding, her finishing school, and plans to move out of state) essentially start a new life I knew I needed to drop my addiction. Commence absolute hell.
I’m four weeks sober.
Like I said before I have quit multiple times for drug tests so the first couple weeks were not so bad. Just the usual irritable mindset, occasional headaches and the relentless desire to get high. Week three I started to get concerned. Now mind you this entire time I had no idea that marijuana withdrawals was a real thing.
The third week in I started having minor chest pains. Right around my heart area. During this same time I stared running again after a 5 year break. I pushed myself too hard and thought that these chest pains were caused from that. So I wrote it off being just a workout injury. My chest pains weren’t constant at first. It usually hurt with deep breaths only. By the end of week three I started to develops more symptoms. Twice my left arm went cold and tingly. And I was staring to feel anxious. Like mini panic attacks.
Mini Panic Attacks from Withdrawal
Both times my arm went numb I got scared and couldn’t stop thinking that maybe I’m having signs of a pre-heart attack. What made matters worse is there is heart disease in my family. But being the stubborn sob I am I wrote if off as being a one time thing. I’m 26 I can’t be having a heart attack that’s too young. So with a few more chest pains and small anxiety attacks I roll into week four.I start the week off like normal. Monday I have a pretty average day at work. When I’m working I have my mind off of my body so I don’t really feel my chest tightness or the anxious feelings that come with it. But the job ends and I load the tools in the truck. I have an hour and half drive I head of me (my partner is driving) and as we get underway I start to feel my chest pains.
But something is different this time. Now my heart is starting to race, the same way when you have a bad high. With that comes the shortness of breath and thoughts of impending doom. Before I know it I’m in a full blown panic attack. Feeling like a bad high but I haven’t smoked in 3 weeks. My neck gets tight and I get the cold sweats. Here I am stuck in a van for an hour and I’m having the worst panic attack in my life. I thought I was having a heart attack. Going back to my stubbornness I didn’t want to cause a scene so I just rode it out. Taking a couple sips of water here and there and thinking about the happy things in life. I made it back to the shop. I got in my truck and headed home. At this point my anxiousness has dropped quite a bit. I get home and try to relax. Now it’s about 4pm and I’m not expecting my fiancé home until about 10pm. I didn’t want to worry her about what had happened so I decided to wait to tell her. From 4pm to 10pm was rough. My chest pains were constant and so was my anxiousness.
I tried pacing around and doing small chores to get my mind off of it but had no success. So convinced I’m having heart problems I begin reading symptoms of a heart attack online. Wouldn’t you know it the symptoms I’m experiencing fit it perfectly. Now I’m really concerned. She can’t get home soon enough. When she does I tell her everything even the things over the past few weeks. She convinces me that we should go to the ER. I get checked in and put in the waiting room because it happened to be a busy night. Just being in the hospital made a sense of calmness come over me. I guess I knew that I would be okay. They finally get to me and take my vitals and draw some blood. My vitals come back good. Nothing out of the ordinary. I even tell the nurse about the history of use of marijuana. I wanted to be honest because I was so nervous.
During the whole checking in process the nurse had asked me a couple times if I had any history of anxiety problems. I said no because I really never have. They get me to a back room where I wait for the blood work test to come back and take some chest X-rays. I take my X-rays and wait for the doctor to come in and give me the news. When the doctor finally got to me and overlook all my tests he gave me a clear bill of health. I was amazed and worried all at the same time. I thought to myself that I’m glad my heart and lungs are normal but I know there is something wrong with me. I’m not crazy there is something internally wrong. The doctor diagnosed me with chest wall pain (costochondritis). Usually brought on by emotion stress.
I get a script of some muscle relaxers and sent on my way. The next day I finally get some sleep with the help of one of these muscle relaxers. I wake up around noon and feel better. Almost back to normal. Fast forward a few hours and I’m back in a full blown panic attack again. This time I’m confused and scared. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me. Even tho I have my loved ones around I feel helpless and the suicidal thoughts set in. I try taking some deep breaths and go for a small walk around the backyard. It helps. I calm myself enough to clear my head and gain my composure.
I still have no real appetite going on two days now. After I calmed down asked my fiancé if she could give me a message. I threw on some tunes lit some candles and let her get to work. Almost immediately I felt calm and back to normal. During this time I talked about what I’m nervous about or what may be stressing me (wedding, work, moving,etc.) I found this to help a lot also. I’ve always been an independent person and tend to keep things bottled up and deal with it myself. Talking about some of these things that were on my mind helped clear my head. So that night I started looking into what could be causing all this.
It dawned on me that maybe it’s possible I’m going thru withdrawals. That’s when I found this website. Reading all your posts about the troubles of quitting solidified my issues. I’m going thru withdrawals. It has brought great comfort to me knowing that I’m not alone in this and I thank you all for sharing your stories. My emotions have been all over the place. I guess what’s happening is my brain is trying to come back to reality.
Finding the normal ways of dealing with stress and emotions. I know that this depression or altered state of mind will pass. It’s all been caused by that herb. I can beat it and so can you. We are in this together. I’m seeking help from my loved ones. I’ve found that talking with people about anything or reading a book helps a lot. Just trying to keep your mind busy is the trick. Just these past few days has been the toughest thing I’ve had to go through. And I know it’s far from over. Never in my life would I have thought marijuana would have such a solid grip on my emotional well being. I will be sure to keep up on this feed and anybody that needs help overcoming their addiction because I know I need help.
With love — Jake