My other posts have given more details surrounding the issue of my addiction. In this post I specifically want to talk about the progress and effects of my addiction to synthetic marijuana, also known as “spice” or “K2”. The synopsis is that this is dangerous stuff!
I began using spice as a replacement for marijuana (pot), seeing it as a legal alternative. My understanding was that it was essentially the same thing as pot, but sold retail over the counter so I didn’t have to get busted. Within three to six months I was going through three to four grams daily (at approximately ten to fifteen dollars per gram).
I was already experiencing withdrawals including nausea and anxiety. I would smoke a bowl to go to bed, smoke a bowl if I got up at night to use the restroom, and smoke a bowl when I got up before I even made coffee. By this time I had begun to keep a pipe in my car, smoking a bowl before I left my apartment, then another bowl before I left my car to go to work. I’d come out at lunch and smoke a couple of bowls at lunch. Before long I was taking “smoke breaks”, coming out to my car once or twice in the morning and again in the afternoon. I was no longer functional at work and lost my job.
I had stopped taking my medications, psych medications for manic/depressive/bipolar disorder. I was having to self medicate the lows anyway I thought, so why bother with my prescription medications? Once I stopped using the prescription drugs use of spice took off. I had no thought of being an addict at this time. I simply thought I was doing what I needed to do to feel ‘normal’.
I overdosed the first time during this period. I smoked some stuff that I hadn’t tried before and went to lay down. Within a few minutes I was paralyzed. I could swallow and blink my eyes, but I couldn’t so much as move a finger. I could feel my heart beat once or twice “thump thump”, then stop. I would gasp and my heart would start again. If I weren’t such a healthy and strong woman I have no doubt that I would have died right there. After perhaps an hour and a half I was able to move again. I loaded another bowl, albeit with less than before.
When I lost my job I loaded my car (which I hadn’t made payments on in about three months) with some clothes, dropped off some photo albums off at a friends, and headed to Las Vegas where I theorized that I would make a living gambling. I ran out of money and gas on a long stretch of New Mexico highway and tried to beg for some money. I found that I had become invisible. People treated me like I had the plague. I prostituted myself for the first time at that truck stop. There is always a man around that will give you a twenty to give him oral sex.
When I got to Vegas my situation didn’t improve. I would make a little money gambling, then lose a lot. I’d make it up hooking, only to do it over again. Before long I was hooking all day every day. All I cared about was getting high. I was going through five to ten grams of spice at this time, plus a couple of bottles of hydrocodone, plus whatever my ‘client’ had in his bowl when I arrived.
I overdosed the second time while in Vegas. My price was either cash or drugs, negotiable depending on how bad I needed to get high. In any case, the party never started until I got high. I usually had no idea what I was smoking. I came over to a clients apartment and he had a bong waiting for me. I got high and, by the time he had finished with me, I was paralyzed again like I had been the first time. I slid off the couch onto the filthy carpet, naked and filthy from what he had done to me. Again I could feel my heart stopping, but this time was worse, and I prepared myself to die. When the john saw that I was dying, he grabbed me by the wrist and drug me into his shower, putting me under cold water and slapping me until I could tell him where my car was. He carried me out and threw me and my clothes into the back of my car and left me there. Still, it was several months before a friend talked me into coming back home and staying with her.
I had cut off all contact with my friends and family except for one friend, and I had refused to answer any of her calls or texts except the occasional late night text which I knew she wouldn’t answer. I had convinced myself that giving oral sex to strangers was less degrading than working in an office writing software, and had saved up several bottles of hydrocodone, planning to commit suicide when I finally lost any will to go on. In fact, I had lost the will to live months before, but was only surviving on the desire to continue getting high.
My friend convinced me to come home and stay with her the next time I went broke, so I did, and arrived with twenty dollars and a car that was repossessed almost immediately. I stayed clean for a few months simply because I had no money, no car to get out to turn tricks, and I stayed busy working in her backyard and garden. I drew unemployment from my prior job and saved up enough money to get a cheap car and immediately starting using spice again, going right back to prostitution to get it.
I had a car accident after about six months and had no money or insurance and had run out of drugs. I attempted suicide with a bottle of hydrocodone two days later. My friend came home early and found me and I spent some time under watch at the county hospital then locked down in the psych ward. The day after I got out I realized that I wouldn’t make the day without taking the money my friend had given me to get my scripts filled and buying drugs. I attended my first Narcotics Anonymous meeting that evening.
I managed to stay clean for about six months, although I quit going to NA after about three months. The profanity and anger never helped me. I was clean, but I had not recovered. I was a dry addict. I had found a job and on the day I bought a car with money I saved up I went and got high. I spent the next four or five months trying to quit by myself but never could. I would go a day or two, but the nausea and anxiety was too much. In the last month before I was fired from this job (there had been two others in there somewhere in this story, but things are a bit fuzzy) I was going out to my car three to four times in the morning and again in the afternoon in addition to smoking before and after work and at lunch! I was going through five to ten grams of spice per day.
I was experiencing blackouts, and had overdosed twice more. I would get out to my car, smoke a bowl, then take off for home, coming to an hour or two later in an area of the metroplex that I had never even been in before and didn’t know how I’d gotten there! Twice I was busted with cops banging on my window, sitting in my seat with a pipe in one hand and a lighter in the other, sitting at a stop sign completely unconscious.
I had begun to hear phantom music after I’d returned from Vegas. At first I thought it was a neighborhood band, then I thought the wiring in the house was picking up a strange radio station. By the time I was having blackouts almost daily I was hearing phantom music almost all times of the day. It was never the same music and never music that I was familiar with. It always sounded like the tinny music you hear when someone’s headphones or earbuds are over bleeding. My brain was making up music on the fly that was completely unique. I was going insane. I had used so many drugs that I had caused brain damage and my brain was screaming for relief.
My friend had kicked me out and I was living in my car the week or so before I checked myself into rehab. As a transsexual woman, I had been treated horribly during my stays in the psych ward and in jail. I was terrified of going into rehab and instead was living in my car, spending all my money on spice, knowing that it was only a few days before I’d have to turn to prostitution again. A friend from work talked me into going into rehab where I did not let them know I was a transsexual woman so they treated me as any other woman and I was in the unit for almost two weeks before I voluntarily let everyone know.
I couldn’t eat for almost a week. I had stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea as well as horrible anxiety. I know that alcoholics and heroin addicts probably have worse withdrawals, but spice withdrawal was horrible.
You can read about how I was healed in my other blog posts. The point here is how I, an educated and intelligent woman with a good job history and capable of making eighty to ninety thousand a year salary decided instead to prostitute herself for a cheap high. During my addiction I had actually convinced myself that I was doing what was best for me.
I have some simple advice for you if you are thinking of using spice. Do some research. You’ll find I’m not the only person who has become addicted to spice and has had brain damage or worse and who has experienced horrible withdrawals. Spice is some nasty stuff!
Thank you, Elisheba for sharing your story with us here. I wish you the best of luck with your addiction. You can read more about Elisheba @ http://elishebaruth.blogspot.com/