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What Does Life After Drug Addiction REALLY Look Like?

Jimmy_Pop

Bluelighter
Joined
Apr 28, 2012
Messages
91
This is just a question for the people here who have been clean for a year or more.

In general, what is life like after you've really kicked all your drug abuse habits? Do you need to drop all your drug friends to make quitting permanent? Do you need to find something to take the place of drugs? Do you find yourself able to get more done?

I'm hoping I hear some good stories here because I'm really trying to work up the whole "sincere motivation" thing right now.
 

fallingup

Bluelighter
Joined
Jan 5, 2008
Messages
105
This is just a question for the people here who have been clean for a year or more.

In general, what is life like after you've really kicked all your drug abuse habits? Do you need to drop all your drug friends to make quitting permanent? Do you need to find something to take the place of drugs? Do you find yourself able to get more done?

I'm hoping I hear some good stories here because I'm really trying to work up the whole "sincere motivation" thing right now.
i stopped doing drugs because drugs stopped adding fun to my life, plain and simple. life sober isn't automatically better, but it's without question better than the alternative. there's no question that i had to stop and that i would have ended up completely losing my marbles if i hadn't stopped using - it got to a point where i developed bad physical anxiety symptoms out of nowhere and now I can't even take a dramamine pill or drink an energy drink without freaking out and wanting desperately to be sober again. i seriously had moments where i thought i was going to lose my damn mind. that is so frightening and i'm glad i pulled myself back from the edge.

i consider my drug anxiety a curse, because i can't enjoy beautiful substances the way i used to be able to, but also an INCREDIBLE blessing. i look back on some of my high times as some of the best moments of my life with friends, feeling amazing and making the most incredible memories. but the truth is that my life in between those moments was miserable and i knew it. i'm no longer willing to run my life and sanity into the ground chasing those moments. right now im actually able to make my day to day life into something that i love. i never thought that possible for me. i lived for the crazy high nights because my day to day life fucking sucked and didn't make me happy due to family problems, self esteem problems, social problems, etc. these problems are fading away for me now and coincidentally so is the dependence on drugs to make me feel special.

i also find that i like myself more, and others like me more, now that i'm sober. i still go out, i still have fun, i'm still crazy and fun, i still hang out with crazy fun people who do get high a lot. but i don't do things i regret and it's not the same crowd as before - it's a more real group of people. they get fucked up on a fun night out but there's a spirit of love and togetherness. it's not about trying to be cool, it's not about anything except love and friendship. i find that having this group of friends makes me feel like i don't need drugs to have an amazing, exciting life and to feel accepted.

i definitely don't think i will be sober forever. i think in the future i would like to go back to ecstasy and psychedelics (definitely no stimulants, maaaaaybe opiates/benzos). but for the next year or two, i'm in a fragile, vulnerable mental state right now and have no desire to do it. my mind is wayyyy too precious.
 

Whosajiggawaaa

Bluelighter
Joined
Jul 9, 2011
Messages
18,237
Location
The blanket party of the century
i stopped doing drugs because drugs stopped adding fun to my life, plain and simple. life sober isn't automatically better, but it's without question better than the alternative. there's no question that i had to stop and that i would have ended up completely losing my marbles if i hadn't stopped using - it got to a point where i developed bad physical anxiety symptoms out of nowhere and now I can't even take a dramamine pill or drink an energy drink without freaking out and wanting desperately to be sober again. i seriously had moments where i thought i was going to lose my damn mind. that is so frightening and i'm glad i pulled myself back from the edge.

i consider my drug anxiety a curse, because i can't enjoy beautiful substances the way i used to be able to, but also an INCREDIBLE blessing. i look back on some of my high times as some of the best moments of my life with friends, feeling amazing and making the most incredible memories. but the truth is that my life in between those moments was miserable and i knew it. i'm no longer willing to run my life and sanity into the ground chasing those moments. right now im actually able to make my day to day life into something that i love. i never thought that possible for me. i lived for the crazy high nights because my day to day life fucking sucked and didn't make me happy due to family problems, self esteem problems, social problems, etc. these problems are fading away for me now and coincidentally so is the dependence on drugs to make me feel special.

i also find that i like myself more, and others like me more, now that i'm sober. i still go out, i still have fun, i'm still crazy and fun, i still hang out with crazy fun people who do get high a lot. but i don't do things i regret and it's not the same crowd as before - it's a more real group of people. they get fucked up on a fun night out but there's a spirit of love and togetherness. it's not about trying to be cool, it's not about anything except love and friendship. i find that having this group of friends makes me feel like i don't need drugs to have an amazing, exciting life and to feel accepted.

i definitely don't think i will be sober forever. i think in the future i would like to go back to ecstasy and psychedelics (definitely no stimulants, maaaaaybe opiates/benzos). but for the next year or two, i'm in a fragile, vulnerable mental state right now and have no desire to do it. my mind is wayyyy too precious.
Good on you! Hate people who get sober and start preaching, and change their circle of friends.
 

Mr.Scagnattie

Bluelighter
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
12,855
Location
NYC, the heroin hall of fame.
It could look like a lot of things... depends on how serious you are about staying clean and more importantly why you got clean in the first place...

If you were tired of the way your life was and made the decision to get better all by yourself, for yourself... then life after drugs can be pretty awesome.. It depends on how hard you try to change your situation. If you don't have a job, no good friends, no good hobbies.. life will not be good and you'll quickly find yourself back where you were.

However, if you take steps to start partaking in all the awesome shit life has to offer... things will be pretty good. Take my word for it.
 

queenscarlet88

Bluelighter
Joined
Mar 19, 2009
Messages
188
Location
USA
This is just a question for the people here who have been clean for a year or more.

In general, what is life like after you've really kicked all your drug abuse habits? Do you need to drop all your drug friends to make quitting permanent? Do you need to find something to take the place of drugs? Do you find yourself able to get more done?

I'm hoping I hear some good stories here because I'm really trying to work up the whole "sincere motivation" thing right now.
I was addicted to benzodiazepines. I quit cold-turkey eighteen months ago.

I don't miss drugs. I don't miss the vapid and feckless drug users who used to be my friends.

Waiting for my brain to heal has been hellish, but I have a life now. I can't find the words to compare my life now to my existence as an addict. The quality of my life now is so vastly different as to be immeasurably superior.
 

RedRum OG

Bluelighter
Joined
Jul 18, 2009
Messages
3,137
Location
MN
Every persons story is unique and different.

Just got my 1 year the 17th !

I am exponentially more productive. Still keep in contact with junkies but don't really hang out, as all they ever want to do is nod off or get a ride to the hood to cop. I am still struggling hard to be happy, life still feels empty and meaningless without a needle dangling from my boney arm. However I enjoy having a personality again, and its nice to shower and brush my teeth occasionally. However unhappy or anxiety-ridden I am, for the first time in my life I can take pride in being alive because every day I don't buy a balloon is like accomplishing a giant mission and feels rewarding, helps rebuild the self esteem I've been tearing down my whole life.

Sobriety is always a great experience, even if you have to deal with some horrible times
 

dankhead88

Bluelighter
Joined
Oct 19, 2005
Messages
924
I feel good after quitting heroin or meth. During the time, it's good to see friends getting high with you, but when you become sober, you start seeing the grim reality of it. People calling 2 in the morning to get something, carpet surfing, anger issues, frustration, withdrawals, junkies nodding off, tweakers compulsively doing one thing for hours. you're able to see them in a different perspective and it saddens you that your friends are stuck in that lifestyle. Sometimes it really gets me if I've introduced the drug to that certain friend and I'm sitting here clean, while I watch them find their lost drug on the floor trying to find their dropped valuables. I feel responsible, but at the same time. We're all adults. I can't do anything about it. I can only give advice.

A part of me loves being clean, but a part of me wonders if I can use the drug more responsibly. The only fear is that I might get back into that lifestyle. Although, after quitting heroin for 5 months and using it again, I've managed to actually use responsibly, but how long can that last? Other than that, I've been clean off of meth for only half a month, but god, after ONLY using it for 4 months, shit got bad real quick. It's like I've relapsed but it's not a relapse since it isn't heroin or oxycodone.

When I did use heroin again though, I was only using to solely mix with meth in my rig, but I was hooked on meth, so I was concentrating on meth much more than I concentrated on heroin. When I was introduced to meth though, I was hooked on heroin which was 6 months before my 4 month meth use. I was focused more on heroin than on meth. It's strange how things went the other way around.
 

blight12

Bluelighter
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
1,629
Yeah it feels great if you stop because they get boring, stop adding value or not worth it anymore but if you love them and force yourself to quit just because "its the right thing to do", you will struggle and be unhappy, at least ime.
 

RedRum OG

Bluelighter
Joined
Jul 18, 2009
Messages
3,137
Location
MN
Yeah it feels great if you stop because they get boring, stop adding value or not worth it anymore but if you love them and force yourself to quit just because "its the right thing to do", you will struggle and be unhappy, at least ime.

Very wise words my friend. IME forcing someone into rehab/detox or making them quit may work for a while but not long term. You have to make the decision yourself. Everyone gets nervous thinking about detoxing, but I don't see how people could think dragging someone kicking and screaming would benefit long term, it'll probably just make them want drugs more.

However some people need to be forced into rehab and does work long term, but kinda rare IMHO, no matter what that bullshit show "intervention" says
 

Mr.Scagnattie

Bluelighter
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
12,855
Location
NYC, the heroin hall of fame.
However some people need to be forced into rehab and does work long term, but kinda rare IMHO, no matter what that bullshit show "intervention" says
Yeah that's been my expierence too.. The people I know that stayed clean long term.. they had to do it on their own because they wanted to. Yeah there are the few people who got sent to prison or rehab, etc. where it was the kick in the ass they needed and they stayed straight but.... It's really not that common. Most of the time, if you were forced into sobriety in any way, you'll end up going back eventually.
 

asbeen

Greenlighter
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
47
Location
Dallas
I've been off of heroin since 2011...Now 4+years....I got on methadone, kept using occasionally for the first year, until it finally totally filled my opiate receptors and using had no effect. That gave my brain time to heal. I graduated magna cum laude with my Bachelor's degree in 2014. I'm currently detoxing from methadone, only 4wks left. I'm down to 13mg from 4yrs on 150mg.

I have yet to find a job bc I have a criminal record. (Possession for $2 worth of drugs -a state jail felony, a pot charge from when I was 18 and misdemeanor theft.) The youngest charge is 6yrs old, but people hear felon and think you hurt or victimized someone (other than yourself. ) I have horrific scars all over my body, huge ones 3-6 inches, on both upper arms and a huge gash in my thigh, all 3 from surgeries to remove necrotic tissue caused my muscling my shots when my veins went mia. my shins look like a spotted purple leapord, I had to have most of my teeth pulled, now am in an upper denture, I have spider veins popping up to compensate for my destroyed veins, and I'm not even 30 years old. I had no idea how much irreparable damage I could do to my body and my life in under 5 years.....

All that being said, my life is pretty good. Worlds better from living in a squat house with other junkies on disability, having to go out and hustle, steal/sale, panhandle everyday. I don't miss spending hours crying on a bathroom floor looking for a vein, or going to jail, or shitting and puking all over myself in said jail, I don't miss the shady characters and vultures that smell desperation and try to get you to sell your soul or body. In short, I don't miss heroin, except maybe occasionally just the excitement of the lifestyle, you have such a well defined purpose, get $, get heroin, repeat. It took me several years to get mad at heroin, I was so in love with it. I wanted to WANT to quit for years, but I didn't (want to.)

I've been with the same boyfriend from the start to finish. I started heroin with him, and quit with him (kinda, i was a few months behind), now we've been together sober as long as we used, its been 10 yrs. I know that's rare, but it's not impossible. He just quit cold turkey, the last time he went to jail, I needed methadone, we all have our own path....

The laws have to change...I have a felony record for life....for having $2's worth of heroin on me....7 years ago, at age 21. Its just like why I'm pro needle exchanges, people have to have a life to come back to if they ever get free from it. I was lucky enough to find a pharmacy that sold points without a script, so I never had to share needles, just used my own old shitty ones,but they've since changed their policy. Too many junkies in the store I'm guessing....

For the record, I didnt do NA, or any real treatment other than methadone maintenance, we all have our own path...I look at heroin as the forbidden fruit that humans were never meant to try. It loops you in and hangs on tight. But life is so much better on the other side :)
 

asbeen

Greenlighter
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
47
Location
Dallas
I definitely second that, most won't get clean until they want to...so many jails and rehabs....none worked for me...but methadone blocked my receptors so using had no effect...That finally let me free
 

Burnt Offerings

Bluelighter
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
4,833
Location
USA
I was only clean for an entire year when I was on probation, when I wasn't doing any drugs. Of course, the only drugs I had done up until that point were marijuana and MDMA, which would freakin' pale in comparison to what I would later get into, but still. I resented the hell out of the legal system, and if anything that entire experience did nothing but "radicalize" me; I lit a fat bowl the minute the clock struck midnight on my final day. Sober life pretty much sucked. I never plan on stopping consuming cannabis.

Although I've done a fair amount of hard drugs, I've never really sunk down into the depths I've seen others sink down into...I've only ever bought anything when I've had a bit of excess spending money, when I'm broke I simply stop doing drugs. Never really resorted to theft/selling my shit/ripping people off etc. The behavior I've seen some people resort to in a desperate attempt to no longer even have fun but only achieve a maintenance of their own physical addiction has often repulsed me actually, and I've thought it was pretty pathetic, and I don't like thinking like that; I don't like "looking down" on other people. I imagine being liberated from that shitty behavior must be refreshing indeed.
 

sighkosis

Bluelighter
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
86
Location
finding and holding on to the light
I still consider myself very much a work in progress, but I thought I'd offer my experience.

I'm an IV heroin and meth addict, though my true weakness is the needle itself; as recently as January, lacking either of my drugs of choice, I'd shoot up ketamine, MXE, even my prescription Seroquel--anything for even a taste of the rush. My downward spiral began last fall, as daily IV use coincided with my first full manic-psychotic episode. In January, I was diagnosed Bipolar I, and went to the ER for methoxetamine overdose twice in two weeks. That was my wake-up call, and I made the hard choice to enroll in a sober program abroad, far from my dealers and enablers.

I've been here for two months, and have been clean from H and meth for 2.5 months. I'm proud of my achievement, as small as it seems to some, because the sudden loss of all my drugs, and my very lifestyle, was a difficult and painful transition. I dreamed about needles almost every night the first few weeks. The dreams are rarer now, thank God, but even now, not a day goes by without thoughts of using. However, I'm far enough removed from my previous lifestyle that I've gained the perspective I've needed, and can see my use for what it was--true addiction, destructive to my mental health when I most needed healing, and destructive to my family, to whom I caused so much pain as they tried everything to help me.

Even here, I'm still not completely sober; I drink coffee, chew nicotine gum (weaning myself off cigarettes--and I think I've kicked that for good; I don't crave them anymore), sometimes take more than my prescribed dose of Klonopin, and on a few occasions have brewed poppy seed tea with seeds bought from the store. (Another thing I've learned: when you're an addict, you can never completely escape temptation.) Yet my abstinence from the needle, from heroin and meth, and even from cannabis (which I'd vaped daily for the last several years), has improved my self-confidence like nothing I'd imagined--I no longer see myself as a slave to my hedonistic impulses, but as a strong woman making the conscious choice to care for her body and mind. I've adopted healthy habits like drinking tea in the evening instead of shooting dope and vaping, meditating nightly, cooking healthy meals, and going on long hikes in the wilderness. I have one more month in the sober program before I return home, and to be honest, I'm still considering trying to chip my beloved heroin and meth. I believe I've developed the inner strength to resist falling into a pattern of use--especially as I'm haunted by memories of my past self, desperate, lying and stealing to support my habit. But I'll tread with caution, knowing that I have the strength to make the responsible choice.

If I've learned anything from my near-sobriety, it's that I'm stronger than I think, and that I have so many beautiful possibilities for the future that I don't want to throw away for synthetic happiness squeezed in through a pick. I've promised myself that I will continue my positive practices, and for the first time in as long as I can remember, I *like* myself--and nothing, no drug, can compare to that. I refuse to fall into the traps of my past life--scraping by without sleep or food, treating the people around me like dirt, fraternizing with the very worst kinds of people. Sobriety is still a daily struggle, but I can wholeheartedly say that the freedom is worth the pain, every single day.

Hope this helps. :)
 

Ignot

Bluelighter
Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
365
I still consider myself very much a work in progress, but I thought I'd offer my experience.

I'm an IV heroin and meth addict, though my true weakness is the needle itself; as recently as January, lacking either of my drugs of choice, I'd shoot up ketamine, MXE, even my prescription Seroquel--anything for even a taste of the rush. My downward spiral began last fall, as daily IV use coincided with my first full manic-psychotic episode. In January, I was diagnosed Bipolar I, and went to the ER for methoxetamine overdose twice in two weeks. That was my wake-up call, and I made the hard choice to enroll in a sober program abroad, far from my dealers and enablers.

I've been here for two months, and have been clean from H and meth for 2.5 months. I'm proud of my achievement, as small as it seems to some, because the sudden loss of all my drugs, and my very lifestyle, was a difficult and painful transition. I dreamed about needles almost every night the first few weeks. The dreams are rarer now, thank God, but even now, not a day goes by without thoughts of using. However, I'm far enough removed from my previous lifestyle that I've gained the perspective I've needed, and can see my use for what it was--true addiction, destructive to my mental health when I most needed healing, and destructive to my family, to whom I caused so much pain as they tried everything to help me.

Even here, I'm still not completely sober; I drink coffee, chew nicotine gum (weaning myself off cigarettes--and I think I've kicked that for good; I don't crave them anymore), sometimes take more than my prescribed dose of Klonopin, and on a few occasions have brewed poppy seed tea with seeds bought from the store. (Another thing I've learned: when you're an addict, you can never completely escape temptation.) Yet my abstinence from the needle, from heroin and meth, and even from cannabis (which I'd vaped daily for the last several years), has improved my self-confidence like nothing I'd imagined--I no longer see myself as a slave to my hedonistic impulses, but as a strong woman making the conscious choice to care for her body and mind. I've adopted healthy habits like drinking tea in the evening instead of shooting dope and vaping, meditating nightly, cooking healthy meals, and going on long hikes in the wilderness. I have one more month in the sober program before I return home, and to be honest, I'm still considering trying to chip my beloved heroin and meth. I believe I've developed the inner strength to resist falling into a pattern of use--especially as I'm haunted by memories of my past self, desperate, lying and stealing to support my habit. But I'll tread with caution, knowing that I have the strength to make the responsible choice.

If I've learned anything from my near-sobriety, it's that I'm stronger than I think, and that I have so many beautiful possibilities for the future that I don't want to throw away for synthetic happiness squeezed in through a pick. I've promised myself that I will continue my positive practices, and for the first time in as long as I can remember, I *like* myself--and nothing, no drug, can compare to that. I refuse to fall into the traps of my past life--scraping by without sleep or food, treating the people around me like dirt, fraternizing with the very worst kinds of people. Sobriety is still a daily struggle, but I can wholeheartedly say that the freedom is worth the pain, every single day.

Hope this helps. :)

I was in rehab for three months once. Holy shit that was the longest three months of my life. It's actually been two years since I left inpatient rehab. For some odd reason, I never used Crack or Cannabis since I left rehab. I walked into a liquor store a few weeks after arriving home from rehab, picked up a bottle of some Single Malt Whiskey....and It's been my Drug of choice since than....and my prescribed adderall, and a little bit of valium at night. BUT, I am no longer paranoid, crawling on the floor looking for rocks, or pawning everything I own.
I'm an addict, for sure. But at least I can lead a somewhat normal life.
 

CrowetheCat

Bluelighter
Joined
Jan 5, 2015
Messages
148
Location
The Wild Wild West
Very interesting topic. Thank you for creating this thread. I don't have much to add, because my sobriety count is... maybe two hours. But I'm hoping to learn from the responses.
 

asbeen

Greenlighter
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
47
Location
Dallas
Let me reiterate this, drug addiction is like a possession, your like a zombie watching your life go to shit and you can't stop it. For opiate addicts, I strongly recommend an opiate atagonist (?) Blocker whatever..it gives your brain a chance to heal, once you can't get high anymore. I tried to quit so many times and failed. Would come straight out of rehab to the dealer, I even used in one rehab...you're not ready until your ready, but keep going, eventually it will take :)
 

TheLostBoys

Bluelighter
Joined
Aug 14, 2010
Messages
4,330
Location
East Coast
There are a ton of functional alcoholics that are judges/lawyers/doctors etc......& one of the main reasons is alcohol is legal, & you can buy as much as you want.

If opiates were legal, & priced accordingly, I think there would be a ton of functional opiate addicts as well.

Is there such a thing as a functional crack head? Or coke head? Even if the prices were regulated, could meth/crack/coke addicts function in society if these drugs were legal & priced accordingly?

As for life after alcohol/drug use......well the depends on the user, the drug, & how deep they went into the game.

Most, if not all addicts quit because they can't afford their addiction anymore......their life style exceeds their income.

Of course there are millionaire addicts, & they go into detox because they get tired of the lifestyle......

Life after drug use for years is probably a boring one if you started taking drugs to feel the boredom......& if so, its gonna be tough to fill the void, that's why addicts tend to relapse.
 

PsychedelicWizard

Bluelighter
Joined
Dec 2, 2014
Messages
249
I personally believe nobody stays clean forever, once you go down that rabbit hole and find Wonderland, you are always going to keep coming back.

Just my honest take on it.
 
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