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How are you capable of being as happy sober as on your drug of choice?

chinup

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OP keep in mind that sober when you're just coming off regular use doesn't feel like sober when your brain has had time to readjust. using an opiate regularly will be affection your opioid (no shit!) and GABA receptors. you need to give them a chance to recover before you write off sobriety.

i've been in rehab 6 weeks not consumed crack for 7. i'm still pretty joyless and don't laugh much. my brain chemistry was so fried that i was incapable of any joy or laughter when i arrived. it wouldn't be fair to compare that to the most intense highs, cos that is literally the price of those highs. luckily dopamine receptors improve a large amount in a few weeks.

do i think being sober could be as good as my DOC? no. i like injecting crack and heroin and do not believe there is a natural way to get to that state. do i believe that a 24 hour period of sobriety can be better than one with a few speedballs? yes. i've naturally experienced rushes better than smoking heroin.
 

AlphaMethylPhenyl

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Hey so I made the title change, consistent with the rules and our pro-recovery stance here at MH. Instead of asking if, we ask how.

I'm sure y'all will have a lot to say, based on the pro-recovery change in the title.

So, regarding the above post...

Opioids do not increase GABAergic transmission. If anything they reduce it. Secondly, word in the commons is that 12 months clean time significantly improves cravings and otherwise PAWS. You can increase your speed of recovery by adopting productive habits. No doubt, these take discipline. It's harder to do than taking a hit or blowing a line. But its an investment in your future, a positive one. At least in the US, its all about quick highs: fast food, cigarettes, porn, and so on.

But let's look at these things on a timeline graph. You'll see all the quick fixes, whatever they are, starting out great, and becoming at least useless, if not toxic. You'll see all the delayed gratitude beginning slowly, but if kept with, giving much more aggregate pleasure, in total, as opposed to the quick highs.

These things I talk about don't simulate a crack or heroin high. They're very different in nature, so are hardly comparable. We're not talking about rushes here. We're talking about all of the benefits of stability. These are countless, including in physical health, emotional health, relationships of friends and loved ones, economics (a whole can of worms in itself), not always looking for the next armed gangster to score from, not waking up sick, not stealing family heirlooms to pawn--no emphysema, heart disease, stroke, or fillers caught in your cells--and more...Essentially, it's a choice between life or imprisonment. And it's never too late to start.
 

chinup

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Opioids do not increase GABAergic transmission. If anything they reduce it.

...
Essentially, it's a choice between life or imprisonment.
gah sorry for the false info, i was told this by one of my support workers here in rehab but i think i probably misunderstood them.

and yeah. drug addiction reduces life to an animalistic hellish existence, a prison of your own making.
 

Vastness

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Interesting thread topic and subsequent discussion. I saw this a while ago but didn't respond, my answer then would have been no, with some caveats. I guess, actually it is still no, although my drug(s) of choice are not the ones that make me most reliably happy - but also yes, again with some caveats.

GABAergics are probably the most reliable happiness drug for me. As someone else noted, though, this question is partly a functional question about physical reality, and partly a more abstract, cost-benefit analysis of using substances to elevate one's baseline state of consciousness.

Anyway in answer to the first question - speaking for myself - I am not currently capable, as in, AT THIS MOMENT, of being as happy sober as I would be on certain drugs, but that's a consequence of my brain's attempt to rewire itself when I have taken GABAergics, or whatever else it might be. If I were to abstain, I believe I would be capable, although this is only for myself. I'd say most people would be capable, but the difficulty of the road to sober happiness will depend of their own drugs of choice and their life experiences, as does everything.

The second question is a particularly interesting topic because obviously everyone's baseline state of consciousness is somewhat different, largely due to circumstances completely outside their control. I would really like to write a couple paragraphs on my thoughts on this but I'll try to keep it more brief. In short, I think that generally when people argue for a predominantly sober existence, with as few drugs as possible, only enough to be able to function as part of society, what they are really arguing is that the potential negatives far outweigh the immediate benefits of going for a more elevated baseline state of consciousness. I would not dispute the reality of this situation for a moment - very few of us are doctors, psychiatrists, or even in tune enough with our own feelings to be trusted with our own prescriptions (by which I mean, deciding ourselves to take things to be happier). But that said, I do envision a utopian future where the baseline state of human consciousness is artificially and permanently elevated through either genetic engineering or novel pharmacologic agents so that we are all far happier, more open, more productive, and less prone to psychological injury - and if this sounds like a desirable outcome for the future of humanity I think most would agree that it is a sliding scale from this down to taking more substances than needed for "enhancement", provided negative side effects can be controlled.

All that said, in today's reality I do believe being independent of external chemical crutches is the sensible ideal to aspire to even if we sometimes fall short, individual medical histories notwithstanding, of course.

In my own experience although this is categorically not something I would recommend to anyone, I have found taking small doses of psychedelics at infrequent intervals to be a helpful supplement to other positive psychological habits in feeling more happy sober, although I don't want to go into this too much because I feel this forum is not the place. What I would really recommend however is getting into some form of meditation to anyone struggling with wanting to take something more often than they would like - after and including following the advice of doctors and registered medical professionals, of course.
 

CoastTwoCoast

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The thought of trying any psychedelic has always frightened me. If you're already majorly depressed, bipolar, etc, it could possibly make things worst because the drugs reflect the state of mind you're already in. I don't need a horror show happening in my mind. It does help some people though so that's good.

It's been over a decade of me trying to find something that keeps me alive and it feels like I'm running out of options. A drug works until it doesn't. Then you have to start all over again if you're lucky to find anything that works at all. It's beyond exhausting.

If you have bipolar, major depression and anxiety even to the point of agoraphobia, then you'll always need some type of medication to function. The sorry ass psychiatrist I'm seeing is taking all patients off of klonopin. A benzo at least helped me get out of my front door.

She acts like klonopin and gabapentin are more dangerous than the amphetamines she prescribed me a year ago. I just need to find a different clinic. I'm sick of incompetent doctors who really don't know what the hell they are talking about.

Anyone who can be completely sober and function were probably "normal" to begin with.
 

Vastness

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^ Oh yes, for sure, psychedelics aren't a magic wand and are not suited to everyone, and even those for whom they are suited should really be looking to do it in a controlled environment with the assistance of at least 1, and ideally a few, psychedelic-friendly mental health professionals in a meticulously planned session, rather than just dosing themselves alone or perhaps with a well meaning but probably a little clueless trip sitter (no offense to all the trip sitters out there, just talking statistically here, most of us are not involved in any actual scientific study of using psychedelics to treat mental health conditions). For myself, I see them now as maintenance to build on as solid a foundation as I could make - but I can remember times in my life I wouldn't have dreamed of tripping.

I'm sorry to hear of your struggles. It's also very disappointing to hear about doctors making decisions about the medication of their patients based on any other factors than whether the benefits outweigh the potential risks, and unless there has been some recent shocking discovery about the dangers of klonopin that sounds like what is happening here.

I do somewhat agree with you that anyone who can function completely sober "was probably normal to begin with", although I have presumed your definition of "normal" to mean either "free of any maladaptive genetic predisposition to psychological injury and/or free of any life experiences that might cause such psychological injury", or any combination or variation thereof.

I think it is highly likely that our mental state has more to do with our genetics and with experiences outside of our control than many people would like to admit. Everyone likes to take credit for their own achievements (and are not necessarily wrong to do so), but it's debatable how much utility this line of thinking has for those who are already struggling. And in any case none of us really know what we are capable of if we had lived a different life, or even in the future of our own life, no matter how well we think we know ourselves.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this now except to say that there are hazy lines between everything here, I'm not sure there is any right answer but all any of us can do is muddle through it and hope to be alive to see the day when psychiatry matures into a hard science and this strange scatter-gun approach to mental health will be a thing of the past.
 

CoastTwoCoast

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^ Oh yes, for sure, psychedelics aren't a magic wand and are not suited to everyone, and even those for whom they are suited should really be looking to do it in a controlled environment with the assistance of at least 1, and ideally a few, psychedelic-friendly mental health professionals in a meticulously planned session, rather than just dosing themselves alone or perhaps with a well meaning but probably a little clueless trip sitter (no offense to all the trip sitters out there, just talking statistically here, most of us are not involved in any actual scientific study of using psychedelics to treat mental health conditions). For myself, I see them now as maintenance to build on as solid a foundation as I could make - but I can remember times in my life I wouldn't have dreamed of tripping.

I'm sorry to hear of your struggles. It's also very disappointing to hear about doctors making decisions about the medication of their patients based on any other factors than whether the benefits outweigh the potential risks, and unless there has been some recent shocking discovery about the dangers of klonopin that sounds like what is happening here.

I do somewhat agree with you that anyone who can function completely sober "was probably normal to begin with", although I have presumed your definition of "normal" to mean either "free of any maladaptive genetic predisposition to psychological injury and/or free of any life experiences that might cause such psychological injury", or any combination or variation thereof.

I think it is highly likely that our mental state has more to do with our genetics and with experiences outside of our control than many people would like to admit. Everyone likes to take credit for their own achievements (and are not necessarily wrong to do so), but it's debatable how much utility this line of thinking has for those who are already struggling. And in any case none of us really know what we are capable of if we had lived a different life, or even in the future of our own life, no matter how well we think we know ourselves.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this now except to say that there are hazy lines between everything here, I'm not sure there is any right answer but all any of us can do is muddle through it and hope to be alive to see the day when psychiatry matures into a hard science and this strange scatter-gun approach to mental health will be a thing of the past.
I'm really happy psychedelics are working for you.

My psychiatrist is stopping klonopin because she read a report that it causes dementia in old age. That still doesn't necessarily mean dementia will happen, but who cares about old age? I realize I'm on borrowed time with all these illnesses. People with anxiety and agoraphobia are suffering now and need help. I'm mid 30s and back to being stuck inside of my house. This is no life. She's the same genius who told me Adderall has no tolerance when I saw her at my last appointment. I had no idea she isn't well-informed on what she is prescribing. I only know now since I am experiencing the aftermath of quitting. So I'll find another clinic.

Thank you for being patient and answering back. All of my thoughts are extremely dark so I'll take a break from this place until I find new treatment. Take care of yourself.
 

Xorkoth

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Are you dependent on klonopin? If you are your doctor is being really irresponsible stopping it, you'll need a slow taper to avoid withdrawals which are quite dangerous.
 

CoastTwoCoast

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Are you dependent on klonopin? If you are your doctor is being really irresponsible stopping it, you'll need a slow taper to avoid withdrawals which are quite dangerous.
Hi, no I'm not dependent on klonopin so withdrawals aren't a problem in my case. It's just that it helped me with anxiety when I needed to go out. She's not even replacing it with something else so she's doing a major disservice to her patients. Thank you for your concern. :)
 

Mycophile

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Of course, looking back on this thread now, I have to add that I don't really think I phrased it properly or explained fully what I meant, because honestly, I don't believe any feeling of euphoria obtained PURELY by a drug, and not accompanied with doing something else fulfilling on it (like lets say, using Kratom to enhance performance at your favorite sport, or using Adderall to enhance your ability to write a paper for school that you are really proud of)...I don't actually believe MOST of those euphoric feelings brought about by drugs to be TRUE happiness.

I do think that true happiness mainly comes from either significant accomplishments that took lots of hard work and sacrifice or relationships with people who are important to you.

I guess I think psychedelics might be a bit different, because despite the fact that I haven't had all that many really mind blowing revelatory trips, I think it is possible they can have lasting beneficial effects under the right circumstance but only SOMETIMES...and that those might go beyond the fleeting pleasure of your more common drugs.

I mean if you can take a drug and feel amazing and then have it wear off and not feel good anymore then obviously that wasn't REAL happiness.

When I think of the things that make me happy I think of big achievements in my past that improved my sense of self that still bring a smile to my face and that I can tell people about and be proud of.

I mean generally, as soon as a high is over there's no more pleasure.

We don't usually sit around thinking about how great a high was once it's over and CONTINUING to get enjoyment from the fact that it felt good, cause it was a simple chemical reaction and now it's over, so yeah, obviously USUALLY drugs don't bring true happiness.

BUT...if you are able to use a substance to make positive changes in your life that you would not have been able to otherwise, and then the positive changes continue to make you happy AFTER the drug has worn off, then that's a different story.

And yeah, while I think all drugs should be legal, for the most part, with most drugs, it's usually a risk/reward deal.

The doesn't mean everyone necessarily ruins there lives or is always less successful if they ever partake in their drug of choice, but there's always SOME kind of toll to pay the piper at the end of the day, and that's not generally the case with pursuing non-drug related activities that bring TRUE happiness.

I'm not completely sober or anything, but I'm working on significantly cutting down on certain substances now.

I'm doing better with Kratom (far from perfect), but not very well with Dexadrine.

Other than that, I drink some beers but not like crazy, drink too much coffee, and I need Klonopin for anxiety but that's prescribed.

I'm planning on continuing to work on reducing my psychological and physical need for all the substances I use and working more exercise and healthy habits into my life...though I haven't really started yet lol...but I know I'm going to.
 

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I was never truly happy on my DOC (real DOC lovers probably cringe everytime they see us using it for drug of choice).

I mean any pleasure was completely fake. I don't consider that indulgence happiness at all. Life is beautiful sober.
 

Mycophile

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I was never truly happy on my DOC (real DOC lovers probably cringe everytime they see us using it for drug of choice).

I mean any pleasure was completely fake. I don't consider that indulgence happiness at all. Life is beautiful sober.
While I agree with you on most accounts, what about when those of us with problems like anxiety and depression feel as though our mental illnesses causes us to act in ways that are not our "true selves?"

While I take Klonopin for anxiety, it is not CLOSE to as effective as Kratom in terms of making me act without so much fear and indecision in my life and think more rationally, yet it lasts 4 hours instead of 12 and the half life is about 8 hours or something instead of Klonopin's 5 day half life or whatever, so it is a bad choice for me to become dependent knowing that I would quickly suffer WD.

On the other hand, benzos are WAY worse for you yet I've been dependent without facing WDs for about 14 years cause it takes so long to leave my blood stream.

I don't care as much about euphoria as being able to use something to self medicate so I can't rationally without unreasonable fear in my way and think logically about attacking problems in my life, and certain substances help with this.


The pleasure isn't fake if you actually make progress that lasts after the drug wears off.

More and more this is what I want in a drug, and yet I have found that the few substances that have helped with this come with too many side effects and are not usually prescribed by doctors.
 

CoastTwoCoast

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An MAOI works wonders for those of us with treatment-resistant depression. Only thing is doctors are afraid to prescribe it because it interacts with certain food and medications, OTC medications. You even have to wear a bracelet when you go to the hospital showing you're on Nardil or Parnate so they don't give you anything that will kill you. I might ask about Nardil. It worked many years ago before it "pooped out".

Hypnotherapy is another idea. There's a place in my area with 5 star reviews.

I found a psychiatrist I'm going to start going to. He does TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation). It's worth a shot.

http://thomasparkmd.com/home/tms-transcranial-magnetic-stimulation/

I'll give them a call in the morning and set up an appointment. Today was a better day. I have to remind myself I'm going through PAWS from quitting Adderall over 4 months ago. There are some really dark days, but things will get better.
I warn people about amphetamines because it's a bitch when it stops working and going through withdrawals. I understand why people run back to it in desperation, but I refuse. That will only end in psychosis or death. Doctors don't understand amphetamine withdrawals or how dangerous it is. They are ignorant.
 

CoastTwoCoast

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While I agree with you on most accounts, what about when those of us with problems like anxiety and depression feel as though our mental illnesses causes us to act in ways that are not our "true selves?"

While I take Klonopin for anxiety, it is not CLOSE to as effective as Kratom in terms of making me act without so much fear and indecision in my life and think more rationally, yet it lasts 4 hours instead of 12 and the half life is about 8 hours or something instead of Klonopin's 5 day half life or whatever, so it is a bad choice for me to become dependent knowing that I would quickly suffer WD.

On the other hand, benzos are WAY worse for you yet I've been dependent without facing WDs for about 14 years cause it takes so long to leave my blood stream.

I don't care as much about euphoria as being able to use something to self medicate so I can't rationally without unreasonable fear in my way and think logically about attacking problems in my life, and certain substances help with this.


The pleasure isn't fake if you actually make progress that lasts after the drug wears off.

More and more this is what I want in a drug, and yet I have found that the few substances that have helped with this come with too many side effects and are not usually prescribed by doctors.
Benzos are better than nothing at all. It helps me get out of the house. The next psychiatrist better prescribe it. Generalized anxiety disorder is clearly one of my diagnoses, as well as bipolar 1 and ADHD.

Benzos aren't bad as long as you taper off of them safely or at least have some Gabapentin or another benzo around in case you run out. Otherwise, you risk seizures and/or death going cold turkey. I've been trapped for months since I haven't had klonopin. PAWS from quitting Adderall adds to me being afraid to go out. I'm way more insecure and uncomfortable in my own skin. I'm too aware of myself...worried about what people think of me. Amphetamines masked that.

Kratom has helped with PAWS on certain days to get me out of a really low mood, it doesn't last though, you're right about that. Tolerance builds fast. An MAOI is good long-term and it also helps to stop from self-medicating because you'll be too scared to really try to combine anything with it. I remember it kept me from alcohol and other drugs. I focused on eating right, sticking to a strict diet and exercise.
Also, I mentioned hypnotherapy and TMS so there are other options. We just have to try them.

What sucks is after battling these illnesses for about two decades, fatigue takes over so it's not always easy to jump up and try something new.
I have to try though because I can't go into the new year feeling hopeless or I won't make it.
 

AlphaMethylPhenyl

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That's sort of what it comes down to. In many cases, people just have to pull up their bootstraps and exercise all of their will to persevere.

It sounds like you were on a benzo and adderall for a while, CoastTwoCoast. What happened? Just guessing (this happens a lot), a doctor trusts you in giving out those meds. If you break it, they more than likely won't allow you to take it again. Do you take any medication? How is like to be you these days?
 

CoastTwoCoast

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That's sort of what it comes down to. In many cases, people just have to pull up their bootstraps and exercise all of their will to persevere.

It sounds like you were on a benzo and adderall for a while, CoastTwoCoast. What happened? Just guessing (this happens a lot), a doctor trusts you in giving out those meds. If you break it, they more than likely won't allow you to take it again. Do you take any medication? How is like to be you these days?
I was on Adderall for a lil' over a year. It was fantastic at first, gave me hope for a future. I went out of the house with confidence and talked to every one. It made me feel like a version of myself I always wanted to be. Then tolerance built and the drug backfired, it made me irritable and disconnected from everything around me. I was stuck in my head, full of anxiety and thinking way too much. I knew it was time to quit. So it's not like the doctor stopped me, I stopped myself 4 months ago.

My psychiatrist was weaning all patients off of Klonopin the whole time. She was only giving me 15 pills a month while I was dating my ex boyfriend to help me with anxiety and then stopped prescribing it. I see people who don't even have anxiety get tons of benzos like it's nothing.

So I'm going to find a new clinic where I can get what I need.

I actually went out today, forced myself. It wasn't easy. I had to be in a huge crowd all day at Secretary of State, but I made it through. It's awful to always be so self-conscious. Everything went well though.

Currently, I'm not on anything from a psychiatrist. I quit Adderall and the klonopin is over. I occasionally take Kratom and Gabapentin for PAWS. When I go to a new clinic, I'll see what the psychiatrist says. Hopefully he or she prescribes a benzo. I'm willing to try an MAOI again. It forces me to get my shit together. He might suggest TMS. I'll do anything except ECT. I'm not going to give up.

How are you? Are you diagnosed with anything? If so, is your medicine working?
 

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CTC, thank you for the link about TMS. I see that it also works for autism spectrum so I'll look into it in my area. I tried hypnotherapy, but had little success with it. But I only gave one practitioner a try, so maybe that's something I should try and revisit.

Low dose Adderall (10mg/2x day) has been a godsend for me, but I only take it on workdays for the issues that you mentioned. Also, my psych doc prescribes IR so if I only work a half day, I only need one. I crunch numbers for a living and I make a lot fewer careless mistakes than I had prior to Adderall. I had misgivings about Adderall at first (memories of cocaine) but instead of making me manic and feel like my heart is about to explode, it just lets me calmly focus.
 

CoastTwoCoast

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CTC, thank you for the link about TMS. I see that it also works for autism spectrum so I'll look into it in my area. I tried hypnotherapy, but had little success with it. But I only gave one practitioner a try, so maybe that's something I should try and revisit.

Low dose Adderall (10mg/2x day) has been a godsend for me, but I only take it on workdays for the issues that you mentioned. Also, my psych doc prescribes IR so if I only work a half day, I only need one. I crunch numbers for a living and I make a lot fewer careless mistakes than I had prior to Adderall. I had misgivings about Adderall at first (memories of cocaine) but instead of making me manic and feel like my heart is about to explode, it just lets me calmly focus.
That's good Adderall is still working for you, it's best to take a break with it on days you don't need it. Look for any signs of wanting to increase your dose or take it more often, it's a slippery slope from there. I used to take IR too.

Yes, look into TMS. I called and made an appointment today. I go next Wednesday. They want me to see a therapist first for intake. Looking forward to it!
 

aihfl

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^ Got some disappointing news on that front. Since it's only FDA approved for "treatment-resistant depression" Florida Blue Cross Blue Shield will only cover treatment if two or more antidepressants have failed. My ADs are actually working just fine, it's other issues that I thought might benefit from TMS. I asked if there might be any clinical trials I might qualify for, but unfortunately, there weren't. If I had the cash for TMS laying around, I'd probably just do ketamine infusions.
 

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You are the first person, ive seen, express the exact same sentiment that i have regarding kratom. I am so thankful for this plant.

I was "in the dumps" depressed, for maybe 20 years, before I went to therapy. They IMMEDIATELY, prescribed me Lexapro, at 10mgs. It was too much, and I started to split the pills into 5mg's once a day, after my second dose. It began to help, I didnt have the negative thoughts racing through my mind, 24 hours a day, I regained my ability to articulate, at work, and generally didnt worry about anything nearly as much. After about a month, I felt oddly numb and lethargic. I just did not care about anything. It was mentally painfully for me to do anything. To go to work, open my laptop, iron my clothes, etc. Plus, it KILLED, MY SEX DRIVE, DEAD. I didnt want to do anything. I knew I had to stop.

I had tried kratom, a few months before, because one of the few things, that made me feel like "myself" was tramadol, and I only discovered that, by accident. I had gotten it prescribed a few times to help deal with my sciatica, and this past year, I had a really terrible bout with it, and the doctor wouldnt prescribe it to me, because of the opioid scare. Mind you, I have only had 6, 30 day prescriptions of Tramadol, written for me in the last 7 years!! Yet my doctor would not give me the only thing that worked for my excruciating pain.

When I quit the Lexapro, I decided to give kratom a try, because I had heard that it helped with mood, I decided to give the leftover kratom, I tried for pain a shot. 2 teaspoons in about 6 ounces of grapefruit juice.

I swear to everything, by the third or fourth day, it changed my outlook, for the positive. I am the most positive person at work, I am outgoing, and have zero issues, approaching or speaking to strangers, I connect with my family more, etc. This is from a guy who felt almost completely hopeless of ever being happy.

I think that I probably did have a chemical imbalance, in my brain, and I just happen to stumble upon what works for me. I cant speak for any one else, but I am so thankful for it, and afraid that the government, will make it illegal.

I did get a sense of euphoria, a couple of times, and it was fantastic, but that was only a few times, and I'm not chasing euphoria or a high, just the sense of "well being", that I have when doing things that, we all do every day. I can even take criticism, constructive or otherwise better, and act, without emotion, because my thinking is clearer. No, it has not made my life perfect, I have personal challenges I still need to overcome, but I feel like I am in a better position to address, and correct those issues, and if I fail at any of them, I can think clearly, assess, and address, without beating my self up, or giving up.

Wish I had found this stuff 20 years ago.

Would love to chat with you or anyone, who has used it, is using it, or wants to try it.

I dont have any friends that have used kratom, and the few people who I have tried to explain the difference it is making in my life, just dont get it.

If anyone wants to talk or ask questions, im here for you.
 
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