I'm a 43 year old male from UK, and I feel like I should have known better at my age than be smoking this rubbish, but well, I know I'm not alone.
Been smoking various blends for years, the original Spice, Black Mamba but in the last 9 months its been Magic Dragon, or MD as it now seems to be known.
I had a really good break from December 2013 through to mid Feb 2014, but then it crept back. I was suddenly at a loose end one weekend and thought I'd be fine to just have one little smoke and I bought a 1g bag. That was the start of another slippery slope. My craving just got worse and worse. My whole life centred around smoking and when I wasn't smoking I'd be thinking about the next time I'd get high. I'd panic if I had none to smoke, making excuses to be leaving work earlier to get a supply. Throughout the summer, some weeks I'd be smoking 6-9 grams (I dare not calculate the money I've spent on this stuff). I've wanted to stop again so many times and each time I bought a new bag and lit the first joint I regretted it and promised myself it would be the last time. It never happened.
My physical and mental health have taken a huge battering. I'll list some of my symptoms.
- Food - I could only eat after smoking. Then I would binge eat and literally go through the fridge like a plague of locusts. I would literally eat so much and be so full that a few times I was sick just from the sheer amount of food in my stomach. When not smoking the mere thought of food would have me feeling as sick as a dog, even seeing food on the TV really revolted me.
- Sleep - My sleep was severely disrupted. On most weekends I would start smoking at 5.30pm Friday and go right through the night with no sleep, just smoking joint after joint through into Saturday afternoon. If I did go to bed I would wake several times in the night and be really desperate for a pee. I seemed to be peeing every 10 minutes and a lot of it too, just couldn't stop.
- Hot/Cold - Some nights I'd wake up sweating like crazy, the pillow and bed clothes would be wet through with sweat. At work I'd swing from breaking out sweating one moment and be freezing cold the next.
- Tongue - I had the thickest, grey/white coating on my tongue. It looked disgusting. A tongue scrapper wouldn't shift it totally.
- Memory - I have huge blank spaces in my memory. I've watched whole TV series and couldn't remember anything about them, weekends would pass in a blur and I'd have little recollection of what I'd done all weekend. I started being really forgetful and was struggling at work. It started to be noticed.
- Social - I withdrew from friends and family. Ignored phone calls, didn't go out, damaged long standing friendships by basically ignoring and not communicating with people. Monday mornings I was like a zombie in work. Quiet and withdrawn.
- Hair - In July this year my hair dresser noticed I had a small bald patch at the back of my head. I have had mild alopecia before about 20 years ago, but this was different, over the next few months my hair rapidly dropped out. The patch grew from the size of a 5p coin and now is the size of a DVD, with multiple other matches across the back of my head. I now shave my head bald as it looks a huge mess and is very embarrassing. This was one of the things that made me realise I was really doing damage to myself.
The final straw came 2 weekends ago. I got my regular supply of MD and lit my first joint. Instantly I knew something was different. The blend was different and not in a good way. After a couple of minutes I had an intense pain in my chest, my heart was racing wildly and I felt like I was about to black out. I thought that I was about to have a heart attack and that really scared me. As soon as I was able I tipped the rest of the bag down the loo, but only 30 mins later I was scrabbling around in the bin for the remains of the joint I'd thrown away and I even scooped up wet floating leaves out of the loo to smoke - pretty disgusting behaviour! I smoked a bit more (thinking I'd be OK) but I felt very ill, the worst I'd ever felt on MD. I felt really rotten for 2 days after.
This was the turning point. I went cold turkey and its now been 2 weeks since my last smoke (still smoking normal cigs). This time I've not gone through the really bad withdrawal symptoms and have managed to function quite well. I've regained interest in hobbies, reconnected with friends and generally felt like a fog has cleared. I have more energy to do things and I'm focusing on the future.
My symptoms 2 weeks into recovery are muscle aches, especially in my neck and shoulders and a headache that I can't seem to shift. I'm a little irritable and snappy. My appetite has improved greatly and my terrible cough has subsided. My tongue looks a nice pink colour again and I'm even starting to see a little regrowth of my hair.
Sleep is much better, and most nights I'm sleeping straight through. I do tend to hit a wall of tiredness about 3pm when at work and can't stop yawning.
I did have some pleasurable times while high. Music sounded great, I got absorbed in TV & Films (just couldn't remember them the following day!!), and felt in a creative space which allowed me to think more openly. Ultimately however I feel I've paid a price with my health and a huge one financially. I have mounted up debts, even getting behind on priorities like my mortgage and utility bills. I gave up on my career, taking a job well below my abilities and going backwards about 20 years in terms of salary.
I just hope and hope that I can keep strong and this time make it last for good.
I hope this helps others out there who are struggling too.