Category Archives: Practical Advice on Keeping Clean

About the Big Craving: a Favorite Trick That Always Worked For Me

3 of series of 3 posts on cravings

In my first six months of getting clean, I had lots of using thoughts and many full-blown cravings. And though I employed the various tricks to “stop the thought” or “kill the craving” that we looked at in the previous blog posts, sometimes with a particularly strong craving I found myself overwhelmed. I was a hair’s breadth away from using.

You know the moment: your mind already knows exactly how to find the drug, which hotel to use at, the excuses I’d give my friends so as to drop under the radar for a day or two, and so on—all elaborately planned out in detail. (Sometimes this plan took less than a second or two to formulate; it was that fast.) Whenever this happened, I knew I had to bring out the big guns, so to speak.

Continue reading About the Big Craving: a Favorite Trick That Always Worked For Me

How to Kill a Craving

 

2 of series of 3 posts on cravings

The good news first: that intense, physical craving will generally last only 30-90 seconds unless you start moving toward drug use. If you can wait it out, or counteract the craving, it will pass soon enough.

Say, you are triggered and then have a pleasurable thought—what’s called a “euphoric recall”—about your using days. Almost always it’s only the pleasurable part of the high recalled. The disease doesn’t want you to remember the whole story.

Continue reading How to Kill a Craving

Stopping a Thought Before It Becomes a Craving: The Basics

1 of series of 3 posts on cravings

Time for a few posts on the basics. Some practical, useful information that you may already know, but is always good to be reminded. So, here goes…

To begin with, the process usually works like this: Trigger – Thought – Craving – Using.

Continue reading Stopping a Thought Before It Becomes a Craving: The Basics

Hi Joseph. What is happening to me?

With traffic averaging over 20,000 visitors a month, I get serious email. The rawness and brutal honesty of my readers never ceases to amaze me. Here’s a few I found interesting. I didn’t have to dig deep. From the month of December 2016…

12/2/16

Hi Joseph,

My name is Marianne and I’m sort of a meth junkie. Once a week I get a $40.00 bag, snort it by myself in about 2 or 3 days, then go on with life until the next week. This has been going on for about 10 years, more or less, and until recently I didn’t think about stopping, rather it was my treat to myself. I have no other vices, don’t drink, smoke, or sleep around, don’t have meth mouth, a face full of scabs, or support in any way and at 66 years old it’s very hard to change. I don’t ever feel a physical need to tweak, but the stuff makes laundry and house cleaning enjoyable. How can I start the process of quitting?

Continue reading Hi Joseph. What is happening to me?

What About Using Marijuana To Help You Quit Meth?

Special Note: I know this post is viewed as controversial, especially by many in the recovery community who believe abstinence from all substances is the only way to successfully quit meth. (I’m already getting pushback.) Like it or not, the fact is marijuana is used “medicinally” as well as recreationally. Here, I direct you to those thousands of alcoholics/addicts who, following their M.D.’s direction, have treated Parkinson’s, cancer, AIDS wasting syndrome or a host of other conditions with marijuana safely.

EDITOR’S SECOND NOTE: This excellent article from April 2, 2017 in The New York Times looks at both sides, but you can tell where it’s going to land by the title: “Addiction Specialists Ponder a Potential Aid: Pot.” For me, it’s a must read.

I’m asked this question, or a variation of it, often: What do you think about using marijuana to help quit meth?

Continue reading What About Using Marijuana To Help You Quit Meth?

You Gotta Do It: Changing Those Old Patterns and Routines

We hear it all the time in recovery: You only have to change one thing, everything. Of course, that’s an exaggeration to make a point. And that is: You can’t keep doing the things you did while high, and expect to remain clean and sober.

To get clean you have to start changing the people, places and things in your life that you associate with using. You have to change those daily patterns and routines that will lead, ultimately, to your picking up the pipe or syringe again.

Continue reading You Gotta Do It: Changing Those Old Patterns and Routines

Crystal Meth Anonymous: Pros and Cons

 

Where else are you going to find a room filled with ex-tweakers, from all walks of life, every social bracket and sexual orientation, than at meeting of Crystal Meth Anonymous? 

I’ve heard it said by more than one recovering addict that, especially in those first few weeks, the only time they felt calm was at a meeting, only then did their mind stop racing. In the early weeks of recovery, you might find that meetings offer the same calming effect for you. Continue reading Crystal Meth Anonymous: Pros and Cons

Is It Also Time to Quit Cigarettes?

If you smoke cigarettes, now is also a great time to quit them. Not just because quitting is good for you—which it is—but because ditching cigarettes actually increases your odds of successfully quitting meth . . . big time.

Here’s a tough statistic. If you smoke cigarettes, you have a 45% greater chance of relapse.

Why? Mostly because of chemicals added to the cigarettes that serve as “addiction boosters.” These addiction boosters actually open up the same receptors in your brain that are affected by meth. This means smoking cigarettes while trying to stop meth makes quitting much more difficult because you’re continually triggering those receptors in your brain into thinking meth is soon to follow. To put it simply, your brain associates the cigarette fix with a meth high. Continue reading Is It Also Time to Quit Cigarettes?

3 Things You Can Do That Will Really Help You Stay Clean After You’ve Quit

 

A return to the basics this posting. They may seem obvious, but how often they’re not practiced. Let’s look at three things that you can do to help yourself stay clean after you’ve quit.

1. Do Not Isolate

Continue reading 3 Things You Can Do That Will Really Help You Stay Clean After You’ve Quit

Telling On Yourself

 

When you’re triggered or have a craving to use, one of the best things you can do to counteract it is to “tell on yourself.” That means talk about it with someone—give them the gory details of your flashback, craving or fantasy. You’ll be amazed at how confessing a craving will lessen its power over you. For your sobriety, it’s crucial that you find a best friend – several if you can – with whom you can be completely honest.

If you are working a CMA, NA or AA program, this person will most likely be your sponsor. But even though you tell your sponsor everything regarding your addiction, I think it’s very important to have other sober friendswith whom you can come completely clean too. I’ve got a handful. The more sober friends you have who understand, the better. When we keep our urges to use secret, we’re far more likely to relapse.

Early in my recovery, out of nowhere, the thought crossed my mind that on my next trip into Los Angeles, I could have a one-night party. (After all, I’d been sober over six months at that point, didn’t I deserve a little reward?) So within ten seconds, I planned what lie I would tell my friends in Palm Springs, the lies I’d tell to my L.A. friends who thought I was coming to visit, planned exactly where I’d stay to party, from whom I’d buy the drugs (online) and exactly how much I would pay for an eight ball. Really. In a matter of seconds. My monkey mind ran with it, planned the whole thing out.

In maybe ten more seconds, I was floored by guilt. Immediately, I extended the thought to include how awful the end of the party would be, how I’d feel when I crashed the day after—then I realized: Who was I kidding? I’d never partied for just one night in my life. My usual run was 3 to 5 days, always 5 toward the end. No, if I used, I’d party for days then crash briefly and rationalize that, since I’ve lost my sobriety already, I might as well party for a while longer. And so the cycle begins all over again. I might go on another year-long run, or worse. When my mind played thorough this possibility I was relieved because the urge to use, the sudden fantasy, had been busted. Still, I knew what I had to do.

The next morning, I took two sober friends aside and confessed the whole thing to take away any power that it might hold if I kept it secret. I eventually shared about it at a group level later in the week, disempowering the fantasy even more. Having a friend, or several, you can share everything with is crucial to sobriety. Because we have to learn not to shame ourselveswhen our disease rears its ugly head. It’s not a weakness of character to be triggered or get lost in a using fantasy. It’s what the malfunctioning brain of an addict does—craves more drugs.

How we treat that craving is the key.Don’t keep it secret. Take away your disease’s power over you by “telling on yourself.”

You CAN quit crystal meth. Learning strategies to better maximize the possibility of truly quitting is what this blog is about. I hope it’s helped. Peace.