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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:18 pm 
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I figured this would be a place to share something I observed in my hundreds of addiction -> detox -> clean -> relapse cycles back the in the day. Whether or not it was with my DOC (heroin), methadone and subutex, the story was always the same. Detoxing off opiates is significantly easier to handle as a non-smoker.

I booked into a detox once after having a really nasty habit thinking the detox would be hell, based on past experience. The only difference was I'd quit smoking a couple of months earlier, so I'd have more drug money. And I tell you, how easily I cruised through that detox, I could probably have not gone in there at all. Hell I could probably have almost worked through it.

The time I detoxed off suboxone (jumping off a decent dose) as a non-smoker was much easier to handle than the same dose withdrawing as a smoker. It's funny how much of a difference it made. At the time I thought it made my withdrawals half as easy to handle. I guess same might apply to how you're taking care of your health in general?

Anyway. Hope this helps some people.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:48 pm 
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That is a very interesting observation, Tear. I'm very interested to see if others will post about having similar experiences. What I remember about going through withdrawal and smoking is that usually at certain parts of the process it became difficult to smoke. I had friends who had this happen to them too--it was like, we still wanted to smoke but it became very unsatisfying. At times I felt I didn't even have the attention span necessary to smoke a cigarette. Sometimes I'd keep lighting a cigarette and putting it out after only a few puffs and then l'd light another one after maybe just a couple of minutes. But...I have heard that a lot of rehabs do NOT recommend that people try to quit smoking at the same time as quitting opiates--they may have a philosophy kind of more like "best to work on one thing at a time." Also, I'll share another experience about WD and tobacco....when I spent 5 days hospitalized in a psych ward the staff confiscated my cigarettes and there was a strict policy of no smoking allowed--the unit had no outdoor area but anyway they would not allow patients to smoke, not even those who had "walking privileges" which allowed them to go on supervised walks away from the hospital. Now, when I entered that psych ward I was 8 days off heroin--and desperate to try to stay off it and I was having a terrible time with the withdrawal process--physically, especially the relentless insomnia, but I think it was even worse mentally. I had no intention at that time of quitting smoking. But I wanted to stay hospitalized as long as possible ..or to get transferred to a different inpatient situation and I tried to get my doctor to help me with that but he refused to do more than add 3 days to the initial "48-hour hold" I was under when I was admitted. But...after a couple of days I found myself having dreams--not about heroin but about smoking cigarettes. And...even though I still wanted to stay in an inpatient situation longer in order to stay away from heroin--at a certain point I just felt like "I've got to get out of here so I can have a damn cigarette!" It was the first thing I wanted to do when I was released....but the staff never returned the pack of cigarettes they confiscated from my when I was admitted--I assume some staff member took it for themselves.

Another thing about withdrawal--I usually did a lot of heavy drinking to try to help me get through withdrawal. NOT a good idea! A lot of the time I just got drunk on the very first day of my attempt to quit heroin and then once sufficiently drunk I'd call the dealer and that was that. But other times I was able to last for a while, days or weeks, before relapsing on the heroin again and I'd drink heavily all through the withdrawal and after that the PAWS....Boy, I just felt like HATED and DESPISED being sober so much all the time back then. I have to say I often STILL have a hard time with it. But...it was probably my severe lifelong depression to begin with that made heroin attractive to me. Anyway, I have heard that drinking alcohol can make withdrawal symptoms worse. I wouldn't be surprised if that's true. For one thing, I know that drinking tends to disrupt the sleep cycle and the last thing anyone going through WD needs is anything that will contribute to poor sleep! And being chronically hungover and dehydrated obviously isn't going to make anything easier either. But... the one thing the drinking did help with some was..I found it was the only thing that would take away the horrible chills. And the horrible endless depression, but of course only in the most temporary way.

Anyway, I hope some others will also respond on this topic regarding experiences with tobacco smoking and WD. Thanks for bringing it up.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:40 am 
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I've about come full circle with the cigarette thing dammit. I jumped at 8mg about 45 days ago and when I did I immediately noticed the smokes were aggravating things, making me feel awful and I put em down, real fast. I was smoking between 1.5 to 2 packs a day at the time of my jump and by the 4th or 5th day, just like autononymous said, I was lighting smokes, having a drag or two and immediately putting them out. I had a pack last me a week and I thought GREAT! I'm gonna quit smoking too!! NOT. Sure as I started feeling better, I started smoking a 'lil more, and a 'lil more... At this point in time, a pack will last me a whole day, sometimes I smoke just a half pack in a day. I have no intentions of quitting anytime soon, but I also don't see getting back up to 2 damn packs a day either... One thing at a time... You seriously make me wonder how differently things would have gone had I at least slowed my smoking a while before my jump. Really interesting. Something to think about for those about to jump... Coffee, I've not gone back to coffee, I was a serious coffee drinker before I jumped and found out real quick it was a bad, bad idea to continue. I may have 1 slow cup if I'm dragging ass in the morning, but then it's decaf after that, if at all. I can't even drink Tea after noon anymore, that bums me out, but I can get decaf tea too. My body is so sensitive to everything now, even things like an aspirin, I had a headache the other day, took an aspirin I had on my desk and I actually felt it. I felt an aspirin?? Holy shit. Alcohol, I rarely drank while on subs, maybe a margarita at dinner with friends or something, and I remember one night sometime after my jump, I was desperate for sleep and slammed a few (ok more than a few) jack 'n cokes, not even thinking about the caffeine in the coke etc. So I got to be awake the entire night and experience the whole process of the alcohol wearing off and the hangover setting in. Terrible, just terrible LOL. BUT I was reminded exactly why it is I do not drink.

-RSJ


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:05 pm 
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I’m not sure what my situation necessarily means but ill through it out there. I smoked for the last 12 years. When I was sober I would average about a pack a day. When I was on opiates I would average 2 packs per day including the whole time I was on suboxone. I quit suboxone and cigarettes cold turkey 24 days ago. Once I got the subs/opiates out of my system I didn’t want anything to do with cigarettes and I still really don’t. I had a ‘fairly’ painless experience withdrawing. Again, not sure what that means but there it is…


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 Post subject: smoking on opiates
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:37 pm 
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I think a lot of people would smoke more while on opiates. for me, sub never had that effect but I used to love to smoke while I was on heroin. Bad combination though--nodding off with a lit cigarette in hand is most dangerous. but I think a lot of people find that there is something about being high on opiates that makes smoking extremely enjoyable. And something about opiate withdrawal seems to make smoking incredibly dissatisfying.

Another thing is how you will sometimes hear people say that "quitting smoking is harder than quitting heroin." I think that is a big myth. For one thing, in a lot of ways it's just a case of comparing apples to oranges. and I think that if people hear that statement it may just discourage them from trying to quit smoking. i guess it is undeniably true that since cigarettes are so readily available it is probably almost always harder to STAY AWAY from relapse triggers than it would be for heroin or most other opiates. But in terms of the withdrawal--I can't agree that withdrawing from smoking cigarettes is harder/worse than opiate withdrawal. Although....for me, I think the obsessive and near-constant cravings may be of comparable power. But....the smoking cravings area craving the activity of smoking, while craving for heroin is much more of a craving to be high, and not as much about the activity of taking the drug.

I think it's clear in my case that cigarette addiction has been a bigger health issue for me than my opiate addiction. And...I don't think there was ever a time when if I could have had ONLY either heroin or ONLY cigarettes but not both, that I wouldn't have always chosen cigarettes over heroin, believe it or not, I think every time I would have chosen cigarettes hands down. But, I still think that is a different issue than that of which one is harder to quit. And the smoking addiction is maybe even more irrational than the heroin addiction....


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:52 am 
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I quit smoking feb 1st and jumped off sub april 15th...........I still felt wd...........it wasent bad cuz I weaned down to a very low dose but I did still wd, now I tried jumping a year earlier, while I smoked and ended up in the hospital with dehydration from vomiting, BUT I jumped at a much higher dose ( dont remember the exact dose) but it was somewhere near 4mg, so I am not sure if not smoking made it easier but what tearjerker said is interesting


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:46 am 
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I have not even started my taper yet but am moving to NC in a month and plan to be done smoking by then. So I hope that it helps when it comes time to jump. Opiates too made me crave cigarettes and I hadn't smoked in almost 3 years until i. started the pills and like auto nodded with a lit cigarette. I still craved cigarettes on suboxone. I was switched to subutex 4 days ago and my cravings for cigs has dropped dramatically. Right now my grandmother (we are extremely close) is in icu dying from copd and stage 4 lung cancer so that may be the reason for the drop in cravings. Although she has been sick and terminal for a while and the cravings were there prior to the switch. I am extremely lucky person and have always found not smoking to be quite easy except while on opiates. It will be interesting to see how my withdrawls are since I won't be smoking. It will be a while but I will post my experience.


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 Post subject: Drug Therapy?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:45 pm 
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Trying to stop smoking or ingesting nicotine in any way is one of the hardest addictions to break. A lot of people have stated it was harder than kicking heroin. That's a bold statement but it does give an idea how hard it is. Not just the physical w/d but the mental addiction is the worst. Our whole life is centered around the habit.

My question is has anyone tried Chantix or Wellbutrin to stop? My Sub doctor gave me Wellbutrin and it did help with the cravings for nicotine. I was chewing the Nicorette gum in large quantities that equaled 2½ packs of smokes per day. Like an idiot I went cold turkey and of course went ballistic on everyone around me. It was worse than when I quit smoking 21 years ago. Back then I was smoking a little under a pack a day. That one I planned out perfectly with many tools and it went without a hitch. My wife couldn't believe how easy it appeared to be to quit smoking. Again it was my addicted brain that almost had me pick up another smoke. I won't post how I did it unless you ask. The gum was another thing. Terrible stuff and almost impossible to break that habit.

Funny how I can stop the really hard ones but opiate addiction still keeps a low profile in my head. I never think about nicotine but will probably always think about drugs.

Sorry for the long rant, it was really just to ask the question about Chantix. Wonder if it really works or not. And what kind of side effects does it have?

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:08 pm 
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I was prescribed welbutrin for depression couple of years ago. I didn’t stay on long but I will say I went from smoking 20 a day to about 3. I’m pretty sure it was originally created as a smoking cessation aid.

My buddy from work has tried Chantix twice now and both times needed to come off because of suicidal thoughts. I know him pretty well and he doesn’t seem like a ‘suicidal type of guy’ whatever that means. I’m sure everyone differs in the reaction but thought I would throw that out there.

I do have two friends that have quit using the electronic cigarettes. It’s basically nicotine, flavoring, and water vapor. It cuts out about 5k chemicals. Still addicting? Yes but much better for you….at least from the current studies.


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 Post subject: smoking cessation meds
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:45 pm 
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Me too, when I first started on wellbutrin for depression I found my cravings for cigarettes were reduced--even though I wasn't thinking about quitting. Al.so I used Chantix to try to quit. It helped a LOT but I'm still struggling (not on chantix anymore)to quit all the way and stay quit.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:42 am 
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I started as an alcoholic, and I know that smoking made alcohol withdrawal much worse. I could actually see myself shake worse when I smoked, got hotter, more nauseous, and all the other alcohol w/d symptoms got worse with cigs. My husband used to not smoke during alcohol w/d and he had an easier time than I did. I just couldn't stop, I would still light them up even though I KNEW it would make me feel worse!

I've been on subs for a year and a half now, and I quit smoking last month! I did it using Chantix. Now I tried wellbutrin, and it didn't help me quit. But again, my husband cut down to about 2 cigs a day on Wellbutrin without trying. So everyone is different. Chantix has been great, the only side effect for me is bad dreams. To me, they are worth being a non-smoker. I also chew some nicotine gum, but I've been careful not to get addicted to that so I am down to about 2 pieces/day of that after 5 weeks. I am weaning off chantix now, and noticing that my cig cravings are getting stronger so I can say that the chantix helped.

And to close the circle, I am now weaning off of subs. I am down to 3 mg/day. I know I have a ways to go yet, but I've been freaking a little seeing how hard the jump can be for some. This idea about it being easier as a non-smoker gives me some hope!

Good luck to anyone out there contemplating giving up the cigs. I am so glad I did! I can't believe that this former alcoholic, drug addict, smoker has become what I am today. Suboxone started that process, and I am forever grateful.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:00 am 
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I quit by smoking those e cigarettes for about 3 weeks and I got tired of feeling like I was hitting a crack pipe and switched to nicorette gum, after 3 weeks on the gum I was done with it all


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