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Ladybug--7-3-12 Blog

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Ladybug--7-3-12

Memories

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Aug 6, 2019

 

Quit anniversaries have passed & been celebrated quite a few times now for me.  Many who celebrate their anniversaries after many years of smobriety state that they have even forgotten that they used to smoke.  If true, good for them.

 

I remember myself as a smoker.  Time has certainly changed things up and has changed ME but I still remember how it was to be entangled in active nicotine addiction.  I remember how I felt, how I thought, how I was daily paying homage to cigarettes and what it took to get myself free from it.  

 

Is it a curse to remember I used to smoke?  Maybe but maybe not.  I don’t think of it every day or every week or even every month but there are reminders or “flashbacks” of it still for me at times.  I may be doing something, may be somewhere, may be thinking about something or even just get a whiff of blooming flowers with the change of seasons that can bring back a memory of my past smoking behavior.  It’s not a craving.  It’s a memory.

 

I don’t want to erase my memories.  I occasionally get a memory of times in childhood … and I smile.  I even have some very specific memories of myself at a very very early age.  They are a part of me.

 

I don’t want to erase all my smoking memories.  When an occasion causes me to remember myself as someone who used to smoke … I also smile.  I use it to pause to remember & appreciate that I am smoke free now.  I see a smoking memory as a precious gift which reinforces my smoke free choice no matter how much time has passed.  It keeps my gratitude front & center.  These memories are also a part of me.  

 

Smoking was such a huge part of us so why wouldn’t it be a part of our memory DNA?  It’s realistic & perfectly normal to still get glimpses or memories of our smoking past sometimes even after being quit for some time. Our old smoking life includes both good & bad memories just like our childhood memories.  Our past is still a part of us.  To deny our memories is to deny a part of ourselves.

 

It’s OK to remember.  It’s a gift for many of us not a curse or even a predictor of a bad outcome.  It’s really okay.  You are normal.  Remember, kick the thought out (don’t romance it), and then just keep moving forward smoke free. Smile!  Keep enjoying your Freedom!

Ladybug--7-3-12

Buffet

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Aug 4, 2019

 

An on-line community is just like IRL in many ways.  Not everybody on it will be everyone’s “cup of tea”.  Advice given may not be seen as great or even good for the individual it’s directed at (and it does seem that way sometimes even to others reading it).

 

Words matter.  Specific words used have different meanings & connotations and of course are then interpreted by those reading it.  Your interpretations are based on your own personal experiences, perspectives, and even mood that day.  (I try giving the persons “intent” the benefit of the doubt.)

 

Some people also just have different opinions entirely on how best to go about doing something or dealing with issues than you and this is no exception when quitting smoking.  There are some that are so dug in as to how they did it themselves that they have extreme tunnel vision and don’t see alternatives to their way.  They are not open to modify their advice to an individual person’s situation they are trying to “help”.  To them their advice is always clear, black & white, and right.  

 

There are a few things I don’t tolerate in 3D and most certainly have less tolerance for them on-line.  Disrespect and passive aggressiveness are some of my irritants as are helplessness, negativity & defeatist attitudes if ongoing.      

But that being said, here’s the thing.  An on-line community is just like a buffet.  You don’t have to like everyone.  You don’t have to listen to or follow the advice of everyone.  You have choices.

 

You can just skip that dish on the buffet table offering & move on to the next dish that has something more to offer you to your own taste.  Remember why you are here ... to get quit, to stay quit, or to help others do the same. Anything else is optional and can be freely discarded.     

 

Personally, I’ve always enjoyed the variety of people buffets.  I have found listening to others ideas & suggestions on a topic/issue can be very valuable. People think differently than you, value things differently, say things differently, mean things differently, and come up with things you never even thought about much less seriously considered as an option.  We can learn from each other if we keep an open mind.  

 

I encourage you not to quickly discard advice you don’t like because it may just be the key you need to unlock your successful quit/stay quit.  Listening to others POV or experience may be important.  Be slow to eliminate them from your plate because that’s how we all grow out of our own opinions & perceptions AND it can be not only a good thing but just the thing you need to hear to help you out.  

 

Trying something new might work out for you better than doing your same ‘ole things over & over again.  This is especially true in a quit.

 

Bon Appe’tit!

 

Have you stopped “smoking”?

 

When you take a “hit” or "puff" off a marijuana “cigarette” are you smoking?

 

When you Vape or inhale on a E-Cig “cigarette” are you smoking?

 

Here’s the thing. It really doesn’t matter what you call it … smoking or vaping or inhaling or taking a “hit” or a "puff" … your lungs only need & function best when taking in fresh, clean air into them. If you choose to smoke/inhale/vape/puff on any substances, I hope they do not include any addictive substances like nicotine in their mix. I am & will always be totally on the side of our lungs which does not like or need any of that “stuff”.

 

Living in a state where marijuana is completely legal for recreational use (plus of course for medicinal purposes & growing plants) I will say that there are other ways to use it if this is your choice besides smoking it. I hope you choose the alternatives to bypass your lungs. Your lungs will thank you. The oils, topicals, edibles DO have a beneficial purpose IMO (although I personally have not medicinally used them … yet lol.)

 

If you choose to Vape or use an E-Cig (with or without nicotine) is the reason because you just don’t want to quit smoking or believe that you can? In order to quit smoking you really DO have to quit smoking. I hope you don't exchange one addiction for another. Believe in yourself. It’s doable. Don’t settle for less than total freedom from all the “stuff”.

 

I’m still in healing & recovery mode. I owe it to my myself & my lungs to continue to reap ALL the benefits from my quit. I hope you choose to do so too. Best Wishes.

Ladybug--7-3-12

E-Cigs/Vaping

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Jul 25, 2019

 

 

Aside from the fact that lungs only love fresh, clean air, why is it acceptable to YOU to exchange one addiction method for another?  You don’t learn anything from smoking.  You learn from not smoking.  Using E-Cigs/Vaping IS smoking IMO.  (Doesn’t it require inhaling a substance into the lungs whether it emits smoke or visible vapor?  Does it even matter if the substance is labeled nicotine free?  Do you trust it?  It’s harmful to your lungs!)  

 

Why would I sanction using these devices?  Follow the money.  Look at who is manufacturing them.  We humans were given a brain so we can learn something.  Big Tobacco & other “entities” took us for a ride before so do we really want to go down that same path again?  The teenagers in the world are depending on us to get it right.

 

Notice the manufacturers don’t provide a Plan for usage of lower, measured, doses for gradual reduction of E-Cigs/Vaping to eventually eliminate them (it's up to the individual).  Noteworthy also is the fact that they have only claimed it to be an alternative to smoking not a cessation method.

 

Cessation communities should only “bless” alternatives whose goal is to eliminate an addiction.  To cite it being a better alternative to “smoking” is nonsense.   Manufacturers want to keep you hooked on buying their merchandise and at a higher volume than when you first start using their products.  

 

Again, don’t be fooled.  Cessation communities now include information (& make $$$ from their premium services) on quitting E-Cigs/Vaping.  Nobody should be surprised about this result, especially the professionals who sanctioned their usage previously (& still do) as a better “healthy” alternative to smoking.  Let’s ask your lungs their preference (which would be NONE).  

 

Our lungs don’t care that E-Cigs/Vaping is being mistakenly deemed as such & such percentage better for us.  It’s still being addicted to nicotine (do you even trust the labeling of these products?  If you use them as a alternative to NRT be sure to plan on how to stop using them.).  Time will tell the truth regarding the damage from them just like with cigarettes.  Popcorn lung anyone?  Don’t be their lab rat.

 

The ALA (American Lung Association) has it right.  As a volunteer certified facilitator to teach their 8 week smoking cessation course we have to sign a contract that we will not smoke for its duration which includes E-Cigs/Vaping. Lungs don’t know the difference.  Don’t let your standards down when helping people quit here.  (I recently saw an Elder suggest E-Cigs to help someone quit smoking.)   

 

Quitting smoking can be scary & cause much anxiety but if you are going to quit then go full out & don’t settle for less than the full prize … total freedom from active nicotine addiction and other “stuff”.  You & your lungs are worth it!

 

(As always, take what you can use & leave the rest.  My thoughts, my opinions, my post.)

 

(Just in today's news:  https://www.wearegreenbay.com/news/local-news/eight-teens-hospitalized-vaping-believed-to-be-cause/

Ladybug--7-3-12

7 Years

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Jul 3, 2019

Celebrating 7 Years of Freedom!

 

I have not smoked for 7 Years.

I have recovered a year of my life time.

That's ONE FULL YEAR that I would have wasted smoking.

 

How many terminally ill people do you know that are told they have 6 months to a year left to live that would love to extend their time for another year of QUALITY life?

 

You & your time are valuable!

Take your life & your precious time back.   

Tell Big Tobacco to take a hike.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Celebrate whatever smoke free time YOU have (& keep building on it)!  No Seven Year Itch nonsense for me.  Happily living in Freedom!  Join me!

 

Ladybug--7-3-12

Dad

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Jun 22, 2019

My Dad quit smoking when he was 62 years old.

 

He was diagnosed with cancer when he was 66 years old and went through numerous treatments … surgery, radiation, hormone replacement and was declared "cancer free".

 

He passed away from cancer when he was 72 years young.

 

The last full year of his life (cancer returned) he had weekly chemotherapy treatments.  If you have difficulty quitting or staying quit I suggest you spend some time in a Chemo Room. 

 

I miss him.  I always will at times.  I don't miss seeing him suffer.  Those of us that have walked the path with someone at the end of their life due to cancer (I have done so more than once) cannot ever forget or not see what we did while helping them transition from this world.  It changes you forever.  It is not a "natural" movie maker's ending.  Trust me.

 

If you are still smoking … please stop.

If you have already quit … stay that way.

 

Ladybug--7-3-12

Stop the Cravings

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 May 27, 2019

 

Two ingredients to a quit that are 100% guaranteed to eventually stop the cravings (or at least no longer have them rule over our life) and a potential third one is offered for your consideration.

 

#1 DON’T SMOKE.

 

Don’t smoke & eventually you will not crave to smoke or have incessant thoughts to do so.   Keep smoking and you’ll continue to have cravings every 30 mins or so.  Simple (I didn’t say easy).

 

#2 TIME.

 

Every single one of us starts at Day One and goes through whatever it takes to keep moving forward smoke free.  It’s not harder for you than it was for most of us.  You are NOT unique in that way.  Neither were we special “snowflakes”.  Choose it for yourself & then give yourself the time to find the peace & gratefulness in it.  That time varies for each of us.  

 

#3 STOP THE NRT.

 

I’m adding a third to this “simple” formula because I’m seeing more & more people abusing their chosen NRT aid & wondering why they are craving.  Overuse of self-administered nicotine products will cause more cravings (ie mist spray, gum, lozenges). Think.  It’s no different from when we smoked.  We would have one which then would cause us to want another one 20 or 30 mins later.  

 

Self-administering individual doses of nicotine in another form (NRT) whenever we want one does the same.  It may tamp down your “need” but only because you “fed” your addiction.  You then want another “hit” later.  Understandable.  

 

Be sure to use NRT self-administered doses of nicotine appropriately as directed and then follow a planned reduction schedule to eventually get yourself off them.  Total freedom from nicotine should be your goal.  Don’t sell yourself short of this goal.

 

DON”T SMOKE (#1), give yourself the gift of smoke free TIME (#2), and if used, STOP THE NRT (#3) eventually to reach THE Ultimate Freedom from active nicotine addiction.  It’s a

truly wonderful place to be!

 

Ladybug--7-3-12

Memorial Day

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 May 26, 2019

     From a former service member to all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country … Thank you.  You will never be forgotten.  R.I.P.

Ladybug--7-3-12

Corridor Signs

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 May 20, 2019

 

 

Visualization was one of the tools in my “Tool Box” that I used in my early quit days to make the right choice when the Nic O. Demon was incessantly messing with my brain.  It’s important not to let smoking thoughts roll around in your head for long (to quickly kick them out each & every time).  

 

I eventually learned to swiftly dismiss these thoughts without spending a lot of time thinking about them with a simple hand gesture upward & to the right (although probably not what you may be thinking! lol).  It involved using corridor signs.  I’m sharing it in the hope that it may help someone.   

 

I pictured myself literally walking down the corridor of a Multi-Use Medical Center.  When I stopped at one corridor that splits off into different hallways to the left & right as possibilities instead of just straight ahead I automatically looked up at the signage hanging above to see which direction I needed to keep walking in to reach the destination I wanted in my life.

 

I saw these corridors as CHOICES I could make in my Stay Quit AND future life.  The Radiology Department to get a CT Scan/MRI/X-rays to get the status for a suspected or ongoing medical condition was STRAIGHT AHEAD as was the Pulmonary/Respiratory Department for a follow-up appointment for asthma/COPD & other breathing issues.  If nothing changed I knew I would continue to be headed straight ahead in this direction.  

 

The corridor to the LEFT would take me to the Lab for diagnostic tests.  The Physical Therapy/Rehab Depts for ongoing therapy was further down this same path.  It also led to the Business Office where I could pay in person for ongoing, extensive medical care bills to keep my account up to date since incurred expenses seemed to be gaining momentum.  

 

I could also choose to take an immediate RIGHT to head to my Primary Care Physician’s office for a routine well adult visit.  A RIGHT turn would give me hope for continued healing & recovery.  A RIGHT turn embraced everything right & beneficial about staying quit. I chose to take a RIGHT turn because I knew that no matter how long we smoked that it was never too late to stay quit to accrue some benefit(s) from it.  

 

All corridors were possibilities or choices I could make for myself.  The different choices led to different consequences and different outcomes in my life.  A simple hand gesture upward & to the right kept me on track without thinking about smoking for any length of time.  It can for you too.  Don’t be afraid to change the direction YOU are heading in to impact & make a better ending for yourself.   

 

Which corridor will YOU choose to take?  Choose wisely.

 

It’s never too late to quit smoking or to choose to stay quit no matter your age, how long you smoked, or your current medical conditions without receiving some benefit(s) from it.  Health declines for most people with age some of which we cannot control but we all know there is a huge difference because of a person’s smoking status (or you’ve been living under a rock!) and this IS something we have total control over.  

 

How many of us told ourselves or heard the “old” saying when we smoked, “Well, we all have to die of something.  At least I’ll do it my way & die happy.” Raising my hand.  The difference is it’s no longer true for me ... or funny either.  It’s just a stupid cliche.  Of course it matters.  

 

You absolutely can influence (even halt) the progression of some medical condition(s) if you don’t smoke (think COPD).  You may not even acquire some conditions (heavy smoking is one of the causes of DVT Deep Vein Thrombosis) and you may even be able to eliminate some (like high blood pressure).  Keep smoking and its the same ‘ole same progression downward with time.  “If nothing changes, nothing changes.”  Another well known cliche but so very true.  

 

As different as your life may be as a smoker from a non-smoker now there may be a HUGE difference at the end of your life if you remain a smoker.  You may become dependent upon the environments you find yourself in (hospital, assisted care, even your home) and the people who support you.  Will they be willing to get & give you your drug of choice (cigs/nicotine).  You may be dependent upon when, where & how much time you are even given to smoke.  

 

Do you think it will be pleasant to be actively addicted if you have no control over what it takes to be able to smoke?  Do you think it will be easy going through nicotine withdrawal every 30 mins or so of your every waking moments if you can’t smoke while dealing with the other changes you are going through physically, emotionally, and mentally?  

 

Wouldn’t it be much easier transitioning through your life changes if you had the old “ball and chain” of addiction off your back?  Think about it.  We will all be quit in the end.  Wouldn’t you rather pick the how & when and circumstances of your own quit rather than live the "it is what it is" in this situation?  

 

Choose to quit NOW to get that “monkey off your back”.  Choose to stay quit to continue to accrue more benefits from not smoking.  Give yourself a chance to make a better ending for yourself.  It's never too late!

Ladybug--7-3-12

Should I Tell

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 May 12, 2019

 

Should I tell someone if their way of thinking … of quitting … is detrimental to their quit?  Or should I just let them learn (hopefully) & watch them try to do it their own way, sometimes over & over again?

 

I believe each persons’ quit is … well, theirs.  I also believe in sharing my journey in the hopes that it may help someone in theirs just a “smidgen”.  I don’t believe in telling someone what they should or must do but I will offer my thoughts, resources, experience & insight in the hope that it may help them.

 

Quitting smoking for most is life changing.  How could it not be since it was a huge part of our life for many years?  All that time & money spent smoking too.  A waste surely but it also got me to where I am today as … ME.  I honestly would not have analyzed myself to the same degree that I have done after I quit smoking so in that respect it was beneficial for me.

 

Sure, I have regrets that I smoked & have consequences from choosing to do so but I’ve forgiven myself and left my regrets behind me.  I don’t wallow in the past.  A well known motto I’ve embraced for myself is, “It is what it is.”  

 

We are all accountable for our past choices but it is not necessary to live in regret or stay in guilt for what we did to ourselves & others as an active nicotine addict.  I encourage you to leave all that behind you & keep it where it belongs … in your past.    

 

No matter where we are in life we can make a difference to someone.  I recently heard this from a very wise terminally ill person who chooses to live each day in pure JOY (paraphrasing),  “One day we will all die, but in all those other days we will not, so make each & every one of those other days count.”  “Do not simply exist.  Choose to INHALE & thrive AND share.”  (***)  

 

You can make a difference for someone willing to listen & learn so, YES, you should tell them your thoughts if you feel it may help them.  Use your example, experience, trials & tribulations you have had & still do now, and let others know about them, so they can perhaps make better choices & endings for themselves.  

 

Choose to Tell.

 

(*** This paragraph is dedicated to the “Other Days” of those on this site who wrote they felt forgotten on Mother’s Day.  You DO matter & will always make a difference to someone.  Personally, I try to always count my blessings before my trials & tribulations because it helps me keep gratitude front & center in my life.  Hugs.)

 

I know you can pinpoint WHEN you started smoking but have you taken the time to analyze & understand WHY you started smoking?  Is there anything that could get you to not only think about smoking again but to actually do it? Have you answered these questions & others in your Stay Quit?

 

I believe its important to address not only the WHY in retrospect but to really explore the WHAT IF’s in your future.  It can be helpful, enlightening, and even essential for us in our healing & recovery to try to foresee any pitfalls we may encounter in our quest for a lifetime of smobriety.

 

Its true that if we still want one we may still be at risk of smoking one but what made us want one in the first place?  It wasn’t the physical addiction since we were “virgins”.  Is the reason now no longer an issue for us or could it become one again if our life circumstances change (or if we haven’t changed ourselves)?  

 

Have you thoroughly educated yourself about nicotine addiction so you are on solid ground for the rest of your life?  Do you still think you enjoyed smoking or have you worked hard to change that falsehood within yourself?  If you relapsed previously & went back to smoking have you addressed the reason for it so you don’t repeat it?  

 

Is there anything that may happen to you or a loved one in the future that would threaten your smobriety?  Would you ever reach a point where you just didn’t care about staying smoke free any more (or about anything for that matter)?  Is it important to you to have a smoke free ending to your life?  I encourage you to seriously think about any possible risk situations for yourself.     

 

I thought out different scenarios for myself.  I had already taken smoking as an option off the table from Day One but I had one weakness/loop hole which I had to “plug”.  I worked hard to successfully eliminate it or, should I say to be more accurate, to address it and then put up my warning guard rails around it.

 

The Personal Relapse Insurance Policy I chose to put in place remains important to my lifetime sobriety.  I feel confident that I will no longer smoke but if I need it I have it up & “running” at all times.  The mental warning system I chose will loudly shout out to me if I ever cross the line I have set for myself in my thinking (which is where any relapse begins).

 

Do you have a Personal Relapse Insurance Policy?  I hope you consider getting one in place that will work for you to keep your Stay Quit safe(r).

 

(Celebrating 2500 Days Quit today!  You can do it too!)

Ladybug--7-3-12

I'm Quit

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 May 4, 2019

 

I see many people say that they are quitting smoking when they have actually already quit.

 

NO you are not still quitting smoking when you haven’t smoked for an hour, a day, a week, a month, or whenever. You ARE quit (THE EVENT).  Now you are working on your Stay Quit (THE ONGOING PROCESS).  

 

As hard as the launch or get quit was, it’s done, and the real steadfast work has begun in the Stay Quit phase.  Give yourself credit for being quit already even if it has “just” been an hour because you are building on that smoke free time.  Smoking is no longer an option.

 

It may seem like a simple point (or even ridiculous to some) but your self-talk is so very important.  Instead of telling yourself & others when asked, “I’m quitting smoking” say “I HAVE QUIT SMOKING!”.  There is a difference.  You have already done it.  You never have to quit again if you don’t smoke again. Pat yourself on the back … and then move on in your Stay Quit and focus ahead on your smoke free life.

 

Congrats for making a great choice!  You ARE quit!  Repeat.  You ARE quit! Stay that way!

Ladybug--7-3-12

Piece It Together

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Apr 30, 2019

 

How hard or easy it is for you to quit does not predict the long term outcome of your Stay Quit.  All quits are NOT the same either whether it be our own quits or others quits.  In my experience I found that the harder it was for me the more personal work I had to put into it & the firmer I built my foundation.  It was a good thing for me although I didn’t feel that way at the time.   

 

Education, mindset, commitment & perspective made a huge difference when I quit smoking this time.   It helped me understand & overcome the initial “Lizard Brain” most of us have as active addicts which told me many things including that I could not quit cold/smart turkey.      

 

I didn’t appreciate & value my first quit (of a year & a half) because it was so easy for me to quit (sorry, but true).  This time it was hard.  Much, much harder.  Chosen meds were removed from my Tool Box one after another.   I felt great anxiety just at the thought of quitting without “help”.  

 

Chantix (my miracle drug for my easy quit) was stopped on Day 6 (a day before the actual quit day) because of an extreme side affect.  The patch was stopped after 11 days due to a severe allergic reaction and then Wellbutrin had to be discontinued on Day 32 also due to an extreme side effect.  (I realized much later that I had truly taken smoking as an option off the table from Day One because smoking never entered my mind with my initial setbacks.  It really worked!)    

 

My point?  If you are using a aid & it “fails you” it does not mean you have to return to smoking.  Instead piece the different methods together & use your other chosen tools from your “Tool Box” and keep moving ahead smoke free. Your doctor can also be a great resource so I highly encourage you to get your doctor on board with your quit.  Mine was with me every step of the way.      

We never know how much harder it may be for us the “next” time so I encourage you to just hang on & keep building on your smoke free days. Piece your aids together if you have to & don’t return to smoking.  It doesn’t matter how “ugly” you do your quit because if you don’t smoke the days count the same.  In fact, the harder won it is the more you may appreciate your Stay Quit.     

 

No matter how I felt or what happened to me or what I thought I cemented my quit foundation one hard day at a time in the beginning.  I appreciated any smoke free time.  It was my most precious gift to myself & I treated it as such and hung onto it for dear life.      

 

It’s hard when you’re an active nicotine addict.  No doubt about it but if you don’t smoke and give yourself time you can regain control of your brain … or at least to the point that the Nic O. Demon is no longer whispering constantly in your ear.  (By the way, the reason those whispers are so powerful is because the Nic O. Demon is YOU (your self-talk) and knows all your weaknesses & likes to exploit them fully to try to bring you back to Nico Land.)  

If you are going through hell with your quit recognize that it’s because of your smoking and what you are going through is the price we pay to rid ourselves of our active addiction.  It’s temporary.  Focus on the goal … to be smoke free and to achieve peace & gratefulness about it.  The when for each of us varies. Don’t smoke & give yourself the gift of time to reach Freedom for yourself.

  

If you have to keep piecing your quit tools together … do it … it all counts.

 

Knowing about PAWS helped me. I hope awareness of it helps those who are wishing for it to just be all over. Patience. You'll get there! I promise; if you just don't smoke.

 

FOR THOSE IN THEIR "STAY QUIT" MODE (Approx. 4 MOS to 2 YEARS QUIT towards FOREVER!):

 

*** PAWS -- The 2nd Stage of Withdrawal ***

 

The first stage of withdrawal is the acute stage which usually lasts at most a few weeks. During this stage, the physical withdrawal symptoms experienced may be different for every person.

 

The second stage of withdrawal is called the POST-ACUTE WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME OR PAWS. During this stage you will have fewer physical symptoms, but more emotional & psychological withdrawal symptoms.

 

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) occurs because your brain chemistry is gradually returning to normal. As your brain improves, the levels of your brain chemicals fluctuate as they approach the new equilibrium causing Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms. Most people experience PAWS.

 

The most common PAWS symptoms are: mood swings, anxiety, irritability, tiredness, variable energy, low enthusiasm, variable concentration & disturbed sleep. It feels like a roller coaster of symptoms. In the beginning, your symptoms will change from minute to minute and hour to hour. Later as you recover further they will disappear for a few weeks or months only to return again. As you continue to recover, the good stretches will get longer & longer. The bad periods of PAWS can be just as intense and last just as long.

 

Each PAWS episode usually lasts for a few days. There is no obvious trigger for most episodes. You will wake up one day feeing irritable and have low energy. If you hang on for just a few days, it will lift just as quickly as it started. Each episode is time limited.

 

Post-Acute Withdrawal usually lasts for 2 years. This is one of the most important things you need to remember. If you're up for the challenge you can get through this BUT if you think that PAWS will only last for a few months, then you'll get caught off guard, and when you're disappointed you're more likely to relapse.

 

* BE PATIENT. You can get through recovery one day at a time. If you resent or bulldoze your way through it, you will become exhausted. PAWS symptoms are a sign that your brain is recovering. Don't resent them. Remember, even after one year, you are still only half way there.

 

* GO WITH THE FLOW. You'll have lots of good days over the next two years. Enjoy them. You'll also have bad days. On those days, don't try to do too much. Take care of yourself. Focus on your recovery and you'll get through this.

 

* PRACTICE SELF-CARE. Give yourself a lot of little breaks over the next two years. Tell yourself "what I am doing is enough". Be good to yourself. Sometimes you'll have little energy or enthusiasm for anything. Understand this & don't overbook your life. Give yourself permission to continue to focus on your recovery.

 

PAWS can be a trigger for relapse. You can go weeks without any symptoms & then one day you wake up & are hit like a ton of bricks. You'll have slept badly. You'll be in a bad mood. Your energy will be low. If you think that PAWS only lasts for a few months or that you'll be different and it won't be as bad for you, then you will not be prepared for it & will get caught off guard but if you know what to expect you can do this. Relax. Don't get caught up in PAWS.

 

Remember, EVERY RELAPSE, NO MATTER HOW SMALL UNDOES THE GAINS YOUR BRAIN HAS MADE DURING RECOVERY. WITHOUT ABSTINENCE, EVERYTHING WILL FALL APART. WITH ABSTINENCE, EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

 

(Modified Source: addictionsandrecovery.org)