Greg: What’s up everyone? Greg and Matt here. Project Unbroken, make sure you subscribe below.
Today we’re going to be talking about heroin withdrawal. We’ve both gone through our shares of heroin withdrawal quite a few times. What I want to do is kind of read off here what common websites says withdrawal symptoms are then we’ll describe if we think this is correct and exactly how we felt.
The biggest ones they say are nausea, agitation, abdominal pain, depression, sweating, muscle spasms, shaking, cravings, nervousness, and relapse. Matt, do any of those ring a bell?
Matt: Yeah, yeah. All those ring a bell, but I think what that list reminds me of, personally, is, I think, the first time that Greg and I tried to get off of heroin and we went to this sketchy doctor down in Wilmington, it was basically just a big rip off scam and the guy … It was intended just to be for Greg but I think he gave Greg two weeks worth of Suboxone pills? Is that about right?
Greg: I believe so. A week or two, something like that.
Matt: We ended up splitting the pills so we had even less than that and in my mind, I was like, “Alright if I can get away from the physical withdrawal symptoms, I’ll be okay. Suboxone works and you can check our other videos for that and the success that I’ve had with it, but what that did not do was it didn’t give me enough time to start to work on the psychological issues that withdrawal, I don’t know, throws at you, that you might not explain. So yeah, cold sweats, nausea, stomach cramps, all that stuff sucks and you feel terrible. It’s basically like the flu on steroids. It’s really, really bad. But even after you get through that, the psychological changes, or issues that you’re going through, trying to get over, that’s a lot harder. That’s a lot bigger … It was a bigger struggle for me to deal with and a lot longer struggle.
Greg: That’s a good point. So when you first start withdrawing from heroin, it depends on how extensive you’re using, usually it can hit anywhere out from a few hours after you used to 12 to 24. It just depends on the person, how much you’re using, but I think a lot of people when they think of withdrawal, they think of those initial symptoms. And yeah, it fucking sucks. The worst probably initially but I think what Matt’s talking about is long term when you get out of that physical stuff. The mental stuff just keeps hitting you and keeps hitting you. And you’re like, “Man, is this ever going to end.”
Let’s go back … When you first start withdrawing from heroin, what I remember the most is first of all, you start getting really cold and that feeling that nothing’s right.
Greg: Nothing’s right in the world and I’m giving Matt flashbacks here. Nothing’s right and you feel horrible like death is around you. You just get that really bad feeling. And then you start feeling sick. Your stomach starts hurting. Your legs kill you. At night, you just can’t get comfortable. You can’t sleep. I think minutes feel like hours. Seconds feel like hours, maybe. You go through a night of withdrawal and it feels like you’ve been through a week. That’s what type of pain it is.
The initial pain, what I remember the most is the restless legs, not being able to sleep. Oh my God, the anxiousness. Just the … Just wanting to jump out of your own skin. I would get up in the middle of the night and I’d be hurting. I’d barely be able to stand up because I’d be so sick and I’d just walk around my house with a blanket on me and just pace, back and forth in my hallway. Hop in the hot shower. It would relieve it for little bit, start freaking out. Craving’s are through the roof because you know if you can just get the drug everything goes away immediately.
Yeah, withdrawal sucks, man. And that initial phase is definitely the worst, but once you get out of that initial phase and all that physical stuff starts fading, it’s really a slow process. Then the mental stuff really takes a long time to get back to normal, at least a few months. You can speed it up with exercise, nutrition and all that, but … And I think that’s where a lot of people falter is they get out of that initial phase and they think “Well, okay. I can withdraw for a week and then I’ll be good.” But then the week comes and they’re like, “Well, I still don’t feel good about my life.” You know what I mean?
Matt: Yeah, and I think a lot of times that one of the reasons that people are using is to help anxiety issues or depression issues or things like that. So when they happen to flare back up after you’re trying to get off of heroin or whatever you’re on, it’s a lot harder to deal with than it even was in the first place because you used to have a coping mechanism in the heroin or, again, whatever your addiction was. So that now that that’s away, you have to start to learn how to cope with these thoughts or feelings without any chemical help. And that can be a reason to get anxious on its own. So it’s just a vicious cycle of trying to have the daily, regular, normal stressors of every day life and learning how to cope with those without any substance abuse tied along with it.
Greg: Yeah. The good news for those of you going through withdrawal, this shit makes you stronger. I know that sucks to hear when you’re withdrawing you’re like, “Fuck you. I don’t want to hear that shit right now.” But honestly, going through it makes you so much stronger. Because I’m at a point now where I think back on that and I think, “Hell no. I’m never going back there again.” It keeps me out of that type of stuff. It makes every day things that maybe other people struggle with seem like breeze to me.
So look, if you’re struggling with withdrawal right now. Focus on those first few days. Get through it. Yeah, it’s not going to get back to normal after that, but it’s going to get better each day and you can get to a place where not only are you through the withdrawal, but you’re going to feel better than you ever did in your entire life. So there’s incredible hope for you.
Matt: Yeah, and that goes back to my whole point of learning how to use coping mechanisms that deal with every day stressors in life. You get really, really good at it because it’s almost … I look at it like working out with a weight vest on. It’s like you have this weight on your shoulders and when you learn how to figure all this stuff out and make smart decisions to improve your life, when you get away from your addiction and further away from all the withdrawal symptoms, regular, normal, every day problems are nothing. Greg and I are both business owners. We are constantly putting fires out all day long and people we work with are like, “Damn, you guys move from one thing to the next and you don’t let anything really stress you out.” That’s 100% attributed to us going through our addiction and finding recovery, because you get used to just dealing with shitty circumstances and situations and learn how to deal with them in a healthy way.
Greg: Yeah, so again, if you’re going through withdrawal, there’s hope and try to embrace it. I know you probably don’t want to hear that right now, but trust me. Try to embrace the pain right now because it’s going to help you in the future. Get through … Just focus on those first few days. Get to that point. It’s going to be a struggle after that. Be prepared for it and just start moving forward. Every day will get better.
Hopefully that helps you with withdrawal. Hopefully that helps explain what it feels like. You got anything else for them, Matt?
Matt: No, I think that’ll do it.
Greg: Okay, cool. If you all like this video, let us know. Comment. Like the video. If you can, share it, and we’ll see y’all in the next one.
Matt: See you guys.