Addiction - Ongoing attempted long term recreational use by SWIM1 and SWIM2

Discussion in 'Heroin' started by boy_char, Oct 19, 2011.

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  1. boy_char

    boy_char Newbie

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    SWIM1 (male) and SWIM2 (female) have been doing H recreationally for a short while now. It is a highly contentious issue as to whether long term recreational use is possible. So I thought to document their attempt here and see how this goes.

    SWIM1 is in his mid 40s and first did H when he was 20 in 1985. A friend of a friend injected him with a conservative amount, it was nice, nothing so great that wanted to do it again, until 2008. Sometime in 2008 he started obtaining a small quantity at a time, maybe 5 doses, a couple times a year when visiting a friend in another town. He'd smoke it, every day, until gone, and then not look back.

    Then late in 2010 SWIM3 a friend of SWIM1 got a regular connection. In December SWIM1 started buying 5 to 10 bundles at a time, and chipping away at it, snorting it, making it last months. He'd alternate day on and day off for a while, then he started doing a few days on and a few days off. At this point he usually goes 5 to 10 days in a row, but he always take serious breaks, 3 days, 5 days and sometimes 10 or more days. Today as I type he's 9 days off. Before his current break he went some two weeks in a row using, taking only a couple days off here and there.

    Tolerance has gone up but goes back down with breaks. For the first seven months he would never do more than a bag a day. Now sometimes five bags a day, but more often only one or two. It is expensive.

    For quite a while now he has been experiencing the mild symptoms when taking breaks. The main symptom for the first 3 or 4 days of a break is restless muscles at night when trying to sleep. This can be eliminated completely by smoking pot or by taking one vicodin. Then he goes a few days after the vics to make sure all opiates are totally out of the system and there are no more symptoms. This is something he started doing recently, a month ago he was just using pot for the symptoms. But he ran out of the good pot, and has to smoke too much of the crappy stuff, it's hard to get up every few hours in the night and do 6 bong hits. One vicodin completely eliminates the symptoms all night.

    Other symptoms include minor diarrhea, insomnia, lack of physical and emotional energy. All this passes after about 3 to 4 days. So even with more than ten day in a row, which he's done several times, he never had bad symptoms.

    SWIM1 met SWIM2 in June and SWIM2 started doing it too, casually. She does it mainly only at night when going to sleep, she gets dizzy if she stands up while on it, so she does it and lays still in bed drifting in and out of consciousness enjoying the beautiful dream state.

    She too very quickly started experiencing the mild symptoms when taking a break, mainly the restlessness. She too has not imposed a strict schedule on herself but is playing it by ear. She just did a long stretch of 11 days in a row using and then went 8 days off. Tonight she did a smidgen to beat a cough - which worked well.

    Both SWIM1 and SWIM2 are professionals with good jobs and a lot of responsibilities. So far their casual H use has not affected their jobs, friends or financial stability in any way. They believe they will never cross that line, because they have too much to lose, and because they care too much about their lives and are not willing to throw it all away for H. They believe there are two types of people, and that it's really a minority of people that would throw it all away for any drug. But let's watch and see, I will post regularly about their progress. It certainly has enhanced their lives up to this point.
     
  2. frog

    frog Silver Member

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    That's a very naive and ill-informed statement. Addiction isn't a conscious choice. It completely alters your reasoning and makes smart people stupid. Oftentimes you don't even realize you're throwing it all away until it's too late. Be smart, don't let it creep up on you.
     
  3. catseye

    catseye Gold Member

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    And that's what just about every addict says to start with. Have you met many that say "hey, I'm really looking forward to becoming a junkie, losing my job, having no financial stability, doing things I've never dreamed of doing to get by, crossing that imaginary line into 'real' addiction!"? :confused:

    I'm curious..if there are "two types of people", and you and SWIM2 are apparently "one type" = the 'minority' who are intelligent, capable, financially secure, with too much to lose and in control - well what does that make the 'majority' of users then? Are they stupid, incapable, unable to manage money, with nothing to lose and with no control? Hmmmm.
    I honestly don't think you meant it that way, but how (and more importantly, why) do you feel the need to justify your reasons for what amounts to 'addiction immunity' and distance yourself from any other user? Just some food for thought there.

    Heroin has beaten far greater than you or SWIM2 - I don't mean that nastily, but what I mean is look around you and realise that that there is no such thing as a free ride -- the lackadaisical attempts at controlled use and already creeping signs of physical dependency are big red flags.
    Read some of the journals in the addiction & recovery section - see how many others have walked the same path as you.
    I wish you luck...with an arrogant 'better then that' attitude towards opiates, unfortunately you and SWIM2 will need it.
    Please keep us posted and be safe.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  4. psyche

    psyche Palladium Member

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    While saying it's a minority of people who'd throw away everything may be dramatic underestimate, the post isn't really an insult to those addicted to opiates. This isn't about addicts. I'm pretty confident the OP understands that no one started out with a goal of addiction. Obviously this attempt requires humility. When it turns into certainty or arrogance, then the trouble begins.
     
  5. frog

    frog Silver Member

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    And that doesn't set off an alarm in your head? That's not recreational use anymore. When you start using every day, it's usually a clear sign you're already addicted, even if you stop for several days afterwards.

    You're walking down a path many have walked down before. Please read the many testimonies available on DF, maybe stop using for a while and think it through. Fight the desire to use for a moment and don't let it alter your judgement. The fact that you decided to post about your experience suggests that deep down, you may be sensing something's wrong.

    I'm genuinely anxious about you and your girlfriend.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  6. kailey_elise

    kailey_elise Gold Member

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    Even "every weekend, all weekend" isn't recreational use in my opinion...certainly stretches of nearly 2 weeks on & a week off is nothing even APPROACHING recreational anymore.

    Look at your progression right in this thread. Look at the "line in the sand" that you've erased & redrawn a number of times. Reread your post as if a close friend of yours wrote it instead of yourself, and tell me how you'd view their behaviour.

    * I used to make 5 bags last a week, now I can do 5 bags a day
    * I used to do a day on/day off, then 3 days on/3 days off, then longer stretches
    * Cannabis used to make my withdrawal go away, but now I need Vicodin (hydrocodone, another opioid, just like Heroin - of course it makes it go away!)
    * I used to do it once a year, then once every few months, now all the time.

    ^^^ Do you see the progression of use/addiction here? Addiction is not JUST physical dependence (although you both have that as well!). You keep justifying & rationalising your usage if you want to, but if you keep having that "I'm better than *THOSE* junkies" attitude, you are going to be in for a very very rude awakening sooner than you think.

    Very very few people go into opioid usage thinking they'll throw everything away, just to avoid being sick (never mind actually getting high). Almost everyone starts the exact. same. way. I maintained a "functional addiction" for years before it all went to shit. It nearly always does - unless you stop before it happens (how many people have actually done that? 1 in 1000?). I'm not trying to be an asshole, but do NOT think you're better/smarter/have more to lose than "other" Heroin users, because you're NOT.

    Addiction, particularly Heroin addiction, doesn't give a good goddamn if you're rich or poor, black white or purple, young or old, from a "good family" or "the wrong side of the tracks", male or female, gay or straight, smart or dumb, or any other kind of distinction you might want to make; addiction takes everyone the same, regardless.

    Now, having said that, I really do hope you can be one of those minority users who keep things "under control" (that's the minority, btw)...sadly, from what I've already read, I highly doubt it. But please, seriously, keep this journal updated! If you can, it will be a valuable resource (&, uh, might be valuable even if you can't).

    All the very best,

    ~Kailey
     
  7. missparkles

    missparkles If you like crazy you've come to the right place. Platinum Member & Advisor Donating Member

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    I think everyone truly believes that they're only gonna be a recreational heroin addict to begin with, and everyone is successful at it...to begin with. The only difference being time. Some people can go for months, some years before they find themselves hopelessly addicted. So don't think that because you've lasted this long, that you're successful, cos that just ain't so. Now, whilst everything in your life is running smoothly, all is fine, but when a crisis hits (and one always does) you're gonna find yourself in trouble. A lot of people will have a bad day and go home and hit the bottle, cos basically, that's the only drug they have at their disposal. If you know you have heroin to smooth out the problems, which will you use? Heroin or some other drug? That's right...heroin.

    You know, I'm sat here wondering, if you're so happy, contented and successful, why the hell are you risking all of that for something that will take it all? Addiction doesn't differentiate, you can be a homeless junkie, or a high flying exec, having a successful life means you have all the more to lose. Just sit down and think about it for a while, are you prepared to lose everything, maybe even your life? I can't say definitively that it will happen, but I can sure as hell attest to the fact that I've never met anyone who can chip forever. And I've met a lot of people.

    And two people attempting to chip at the same time is usually fraught with complications, cos each person will usually be feeling differently on any given day. What happens if your girlfriend decides she doesn't wanna experience wd (on the non using days) and continues using? Trying to keep two addicts on the same page, at the same time, unless they're using every day, is a nightmare. Lets just say, if the chances of an addict chipping are extremely slim, what chance do you think there is of two addicts chipping? Do you think it's likely that two people who have just started using happen to be the two people who can chip, out of all the others that can't. See where I'm going with this? I don't mean to sound awkward, I just know what I said and what most everyone else says, when they first begin using.

    But don't take my word for it, just read through the heroin forums here. You don't even have to bother going to the recovery forum, there are plenty of chipping journals here. The people that started them also thought that they were immune to addiction too. They had carefully worked out strategies, had "thought" it all through. They always think they have a good plan, that's before you factor in those shitty feelings, the ones that you're already experiencing, if only mildly, at the moment. Cos when you're looking wd in the face, and you have heroin, but it just happens to be day one of your non using phases, what would you do? Use?

    Yeah, of course you would. Who the fuck wouldn't? So please, just give it some more thought.

    Anyway sweetheart, I'll leave it there. I wish you all the luck in the world, cos I know that you're gonna need every bit of it. :)

    Sparkles.:vibes:
     
  8. boy_char

    boy_char Newbie

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    Well, I meant they are part of the majority who are not willing to throw their lives away for drugs. I think it's a minority who are willing to do that. It's not about intelligence, I believe the more you have to lose the less likely you are to throw it all away. The majority of people who use drugs do not throw their lives away for them. I realize H has a hell of a pull, but I don't think it's a complete exception. SWIM1 and SWIM2 are on the road to find out. Maybe they're brave, maybe they're crazy, the point of this thread is to find out. Nobody is making any bets.

    boy_char added 25 Minutes and 14 Seconds later...

    I define failure as somebody for whom H becomes the most important thing in their lives, to the point where they'd trade their job, their friends, their family, their home, etc... Not whether they have physical symptoms sometimes. So once SWIM1 or SWIM2 cross that line and make a serious trade like that, I'll have to call it an ongoing success.

    boy_char added 4 Minutes and 32 Seconds later...

    er, I meant "until" SWIM1 or SWIM2 cross that line, not "once"..

    Is there a way to edit posts on this site?

    boy_char added 3 Minutes and 45 Seconds later...

    I disagree with this. I have to dig up this article I cut out of the Washington Post a while back where they found that among people who had successful lives, jobs, family, savings, etc... about 5% of people who started using hard drugs would throw it all away for drugs, while in the slums where people tended to have little to lose, the percent was a majority.

    We all know successful people who lost everything to drugs. But I believe that's the minority of those who dabbled.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  9. frog

    frog Silver Member

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    So, in other words, you're engaging in a notoriously dangerous activity to find out how bad you'll get hurt? That's just plain stupid. And I can say it, because I was stupid too. The appeal of drugs does that to you.

    Again, that's plain stupid. You're essentially waiting to get hurt to declare it a failure. Well, sure, it's a success as long as everything goes well. But once you lose something, it's already too late. Please, don't wait until it's too late. You're in a position to prevent it from happening.

    Don't be cocky with addiction. It doesn't matter how much you have to lose. Once you're addicted, the only thing you'll care about is scoring.

    Several people have warned you. Figure it out.
     
  10. boy_char

    boy_char Newbie

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    Here's that Washington Post article I was talking about:

    postimage.org/image/27g998q1w/full/

    You'll have to paste that into a browser.

    The study finds that there are two types of people and that recreational H use that never progresses is not as rare as we think. Maybe recreational users are a hundred times less likely to post about it online than people with a serious H problem?

    I may be wrong, but I really think SWIM1 and SWIM2 fit the parameters of people who can do it, they have strong wills and have made it this far through life, they are not kids, he's mid 40's and she's 30's. They are responsible people, so if it turns out they can't, then maybe the hype is true. I'm curious to see how this ends up.

    Keep in mind, if one or both my get the bad physical symptoms at some point and as a result just hang up the hobby for good, rather than start destroying their lives, then I would still call that a success story. The acid test for failure is to trade anything meaningful in life like job, friends, family, food money, health etc... for H. Until then, I'd call it recreational. That's just my definition. Others will obviously disagree.
    [​IMG]

    boy_char added 9 Minutes and 36 Seconds later...

    Can we avoid name calling in this thread? I'm just asking, and saying please. Anyway, they aren't doing it to find out how bad they'll get hurt. They are doing it because they love the pleasurable high they get from it. It has wonderfully enhanced their lives ... lately. That high is worth it until it costs them more than it's worth to them. Let's see how they deal with that if and when it happens, until then, we should keep an open mind. Nobody here is going to talk them out of doing this, because they've already read endless threads in many forums and they know how much respect H deserves.
     

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  11. assholery

    assholery Silver Member

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    You can't continue using without doing more and more and getting deeper into addiction.

    Your brain chemistry is changing.

    You don't have the control you think you have. The ONLY way to assure you don't become a junkie is to stop your use now.
     
  12. boy_char

    boy_char Newbie

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    Sure when you put it that way, it sounds classical. The progression has more to do with testing the waters. I think he's found the limits and I don't expect any further progression, at this point I expect usage to plateau. I don't expect anybody to believe this, let's watch and see, I promise full disclosure.

    boy_char added 3 Minutes and 28 Seconds later...

    How do you know? SWIM1 has been using H quite regularly for almost a year, yet he's had no opiates of any type since Saturday, four days ago, and he feels absolutely normal. No depression, no cravings, and he's busy doing other things. I think this is an interesting case study, we will find out what happens, as long as this forum is still here.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  13. catseye

    catseye Gold Member

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    ok, firstly this article, published in 1991, is about cocaine. Not heroin. Addiction research has come one hell of a long way since then, especially in the area of brain involvement and genetics.
    Cocaine and heroin are apples and oranges - primarily in that cocaine does not effect the brain and the body in the same way, nor does it have the same mechanisms of addiction as opiates.
    Secondly, this is 'research' in the loosest of terms. It was an ethnographic study conducted on approximately 22 people (it doesn't give exact numbers of participation) who were well-known to the researchers - so, small scale and dodgy by any stretch of the imagination when trying to apply the results to the general population. Ethnographic research is a snapshot in time - it is not meant to be used as definitive assessment of a population, forever. From what I gather, out of the 22ish people followed, 2 developed severe addiction issues. So that's a 1 in 11(ish) chance.
    From where I stand, those are pretty crappy odds.

    The bold statement in the article, "In every survey and study commissioned to gauge the scope of America's drug problem, one result has held constant: Most of the people who use alcohol, heroin, cocaine, or other recreational drugs never develop the life-warping craving known as addiction" is quite possibly one of the most bizarre and incorrect statements I've ever read. Who the hell pulled that out of their arse? I've got reams of studies, stacks of research that directly contradicts that.
    To clump alcohol, heroin, coke and other 'recreational drugs' when discussing addiction is insane - each affects differing amounts of the population and the addiction levels per substance varies greatly.

    Sorry to rain on your parade, but to base your 'experiment' on a two-decade old bit of uncertified (as in where was this academically published? was it peer-reviewed? what impact rating did it/the journal receive?) and irreplicable 'research' is foolhardy beyond words.
    Actually, in all fairness I know where that research was published, both in article and book form...you might want to have a read of them in their entirety rather than just a cut & paste summary from the Washington Post:
    1. Cocaine changes: The experience of using and quitting, by D. Waldorf, C. Reinarman, and S. Murphy (1990, book).
    2. Pharmacology is not Destiny: The Contingent Character of Cocaine Abuse and Addiction, Reinarman et al, Addiction Research & Theory, 1994, 2:1, pp21-36.

    Reinarman and Murphy did some interesting work on the social construct of addiction and it's all good in theory, when viewed as a snapshot of the era (1980's-90's) based on what was known at the time...in practice, on the ground...things have changed, we've learned more, research moves on. Check out people like Philippe Bourgois if you want to read some up to date stuff on life as a heroin addict and how it fucks you up.

    What I'm trying to say is this: when researching anything, one cannot pick and choose the ideas that most appeal to the reader - you must weigh the evidence.
    And a landslide of evidence contrary to what you choose to believe says that this article is dangerously out of date and incorrect.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  14. Space Numpty

    Space Numpty Bad Mother-Fucker Palladium Member Donating Member

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    Trust me. This forum will be here. I don't know why you felt the need to make that comment.

    And you're right. This is an interesting case study. Like two little rats in a cage. I can't say i'm looking forward to watching you both rot just to prove a point, but you seem to be hell bent on the idea so lets hope others pay attention and learn from you're mistakes. Thats about the only positive thing i can think of in this situation.
     
  15. snarkymalarky

    snarkymalarky Titanium Member

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    IMO the pattern of usage described in the OP is way too heavy to be sustainable long term. Maybe if you could limit yourself to once a week? It sounds like the OP is using most of the time with some breaks thrown in -- the opposite scenario, where one is not using most of the time and only uses every now and then, would be much safer long term.

    Of course you might be the exception to the rule, but you have to realize that the odds are very much against you...
     
  16. missparkles

    missparkles If you like crazy you've come to the right place. Platinum Member & Advisor Donating Member

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    I have to agree that the feeling, the high you get from using heroin, is out of this world. But that makes it more dangerous, in an addictive way. It's just so "moreish" and the desire to use just a tiny bit more, get a little bit higher, is just so compelling. It's that compelling that I sometimes have to quit reading the heroin forum, cos sometimes when I read a particularly descriptive post, I can taste it, I can even feel that buzz, just for a few seconds.

    I used to think just like you, it was all about doing it differently "this time" making sure there were enough non using days in between the using ones. Every damned time I quit heroin and decided that I knew the score, I told myself this time I was gonna do it differently. I made sure I had at least a week on then a week off, but hell, it didn't work. Then I tried only using at the weekend, but you guessed it, it was an abject "fail." I even had a stint of only using after 6 pm, God knows why, I think by this time I was clutching at straws to be honest. And no, it didn't work.

    I can remember all of it, I started with so many plans, with so much thought put into it, I even planned to fail so that I could try to anticipate it. But do you know the one thing I can never recall, and that's the time when I crossed over from what would be considered to be recreational use, to addiction. Looking back, I do remember when I could pick it up and just as easily put it down, and would do so. Then came the time when I found myself making excuses for my drug use, I think this was the time that everything changed. And that's the problem, you never know when you cross over from recreational use to addiction. You only find out afterward, when it's too late to quit without it being incredibly painful.

    So having tried recreational use, and having been a heroin addict for over 40 years, I'm really in no position to tell anyone how they should use heroin. I couldn't do it, so how the hell can I tell anyone else how to. But I can tell you what to look for, the signs that mean you're starting to edge into that place where the lines get blurred, where addiction begins. Hopefully, if you're really determined to use anyway, which you seem to be, you'll be able to take a step back before it's too late.

    Just a few things to be aware of...

    1. If you find yourself getting defensive about the amount you use, or how often you use.

    2. When day to day responsibilities begin to be neglected.

    3. When relationships with family and loved ones deteriorate due to your drug use. When you neglect close friendships.

    4. When life begins to revolve around using your DoC. When you're not using, you think about using most (if not all) of the time?

    5. When you're prepared to go to any length, maybe putting yourself at risk, to obtain your DoC.

    6. When you find yourself attempting to rationalise, intellectualise or minimise your drug use. This can be with others when they question you, or to yourself. When you find yourself using these common defense mechanisms you could be in trouble.

    7. When you use your DoC because you've had a bad day, have a problem with your girlfriend, got a promotion (this does happen) when usually, you wouldn't need to use anything on these occasions.

    Now I'm not saying this list is definitive, by any means, or that I've remembered all of the things that I did back then (remember, it was quite a long time ago ;)) but these are the things that I remember.

    I do hope you'll rethink this idea, but I have a feeling that you won't. I could spend all night just writing one post after another telling you about addiction, and what I feel the future holds for you. Will that help you...I doubt it. I think you're big enough and experienced enough to know just where this (quite possibly) will lead. So the best thing I can do is try to keep you as safe as possible...if that's possible. I'm not encouraging or enabling you to use, you came up with that idea all on your own. I'm just adding some "beware" moments, moments when hopefully, you'll stop and rethink this whole idea.

    Well, that was the idea. :s

    Sparkles.:vibes:
     
  17. TheBigBadWolf

    TheBigBadWolf Imperial Wizzard Gold Member Donating Member

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    boy char,

    you1 and 2 are blindly on their way into deep fat addiction. Their behaviour is yet far away from being recreational use.
    As long as they deny this there is no point in discussing it any further.

    What DF members try on here is to keep them from hitting rock bottom. We all know that this doesn't work as long as the subject is in denial.
    I daresay they both insist in doing their own faults for themselves, and I hope rock bottom won't be all to hard for them. Resistance to counseling is part of addictive behaviour, that is how it is like.
    Alas.

    I can only wish them insight in their situation an bid them to furtheron keep posting the progress of their use, so if they see upcoming problems, DF community can go on counseling and perhaps then help them to get things sorted out.
    But this won't happen until their denial is over.

    All my good wishes are with you, you1 and 2.
    TBBW
     
  18. boy_char

    boy_char Newbie

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    The statement in article sounds right to me. I've known hundreds of people who dabbled with hard drugs and the overwhelming majority of them never had drug problems. Can you show me any studies where in a random sample of people who use drugs the majority of them become addicts? That's not even true about alcohol, most drinkers never become alcoholics.

    I know many people who have tried H and never done it more than once or a few times. Of dozens of people I know who have tried H, I only know two that became junkies. And it was predictable beforehand, from their personalities. I don't know many long term recreational users, I admit. But I do believe it is possible. I'm not suggesting anybody try it, just hanging out the case study here for anybody who's interested. Not looking to get flamed. if possible, just looking to share a case-study.
     
  19. Dark Mage

    Dark Mage Titanium Member

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    Just because You knows dozens of people that have tried H and haven't become Junkies doesn't mean this is typical or isn't going to happen to them.

    I have had 5 of his friends die of Heroin overdoses and has known at least 20+ people from just his senior class of High School who have become Heroin addicts.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  20. snarkymalarky

    snarkymalarky Titanium Member

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    Sure, dabbling is ok. To me dabbling means trying a couple times, definitely not doing it more than a handful of times or with any regularity. The usage you described in your original post definitely isn't dabbling...
     
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