The nightmare all began summer of 2014.
I had been living in Texas for several months after moving away from my home of Mississauaga, Ontario, Canada and had just gotten married when i made the startling discovery that i would need to be drug tested for my immigration medical exam as part of the process to secure my green card.
Being a heavy pot smoker for over six years, I had always used it as a tool to stabilize my mood and cope with my crippling anxiety that i have been struggling with since my childhood.
When i realized i needed to get clean for the impending drug test, i panicked.
How was i going to quit this cold turkey – a habit that had been engrained into my lifestyle for years – while still being able to manage my mental illness in a new country that i was still adjusting to?
The story unravels from there.
Some “friends” in my neighborhood took wind of the peril i was in and introduced me to something i had never even heard of before moving here…Spice.
My neighbors informed me that it was just a herbal mixture that could mimic the effects of marijuana while not being traceable on drug tests – and it’s legal to boot.
I could just smoke it in the meantime, while i was waiting for the THC to leech out of my system for the upcoming drug test.
Being the overly self indulgent and stubborn individual that i am, and always looking for an easy way out of a sticky situation, i immediately took them up on their offer, completely oblivious to the danger and horrible side effects of this drug and its propensity of holding people hostage in the steel like grip of addiction.
My first hit of the stuff was like nothing i have ever experienced before, first an instantly gratifying high with an intense rush of euphoria followed by feelings of anxiousness, nervousness and paranoia. A very intense, erratic and impulsive high that would eventually mellow out to have an almost calming and sedating effect on my mind and body.
“This is great” i thought, “I can definitely survive smoking this stuff for the next 3 months until i can pass my drug test”
I started smoking spice daily in place of marijuana, my addictive personality eventually took hold and i was now leading myself down a road of self destruction with no idea of the impending doom that would lay ahead.
Everything was going fine for the first few weeks, but things gradually started taking a turn for the worse.
I began noticing startling changes happening to me – my appetite all but disappeared, and i started to lose weight at a very rapid and unhealthy pace.
My mood swings became more severe than i had ever experienced; any small problem or or slight indiscretion with another person would send me into a fiery fit of rage and anger over which i had no control until the feeling passed.
My mind became overtaken with paranoia and anxiety, i always felt like someone was after me. Places i used to go for fun became too overstimulating for me, triggering massive panic attacks that i had never experienced on such a level.
I was irritable and unpredictable; one minute i would feel on top of the world then the next second i would feel like throwing myself through a window.
I had lost all control of my emotions and rational thought process. I was doing things on impulse that i wouldn’t have normally done had i thought about what i was doing.
Bad bags would send me into a psychotic episode and caused me to be violently ill and i experienced mild seizures epileptic like spasms coming down off the stuff.
My sleep patterns became completely disrupted. I was lucky if i could get a few hours in; every 2 hours i would wake up and take a hit then fall right back asleep.
I was now so dependent on this drug that i needed it just to sleep through the night.
At one point during my addiction, i didn’t sleep or eat for five days straight and i could feel my body starting to shut down on me – even after this i refused to give up.
“I’d rather deal with these awful side effects then be sober”, i thought. “Anything is better than being sober, even if it’s like this”
I started alienating myself from friends, as all i wanted to do was retreat into the darkness of my apartment and smoke my precious spice as i thought it was the only thing that would make me feel better when ironically enough it was the very catalyst of all the negative changes i was experiencing in my mind and body.
My life continued in a downward spiral, as i refused to believe that the spice smoking was the source of all this inner turmoil i was experiencing.
My addiction had a vice like grip on me at this time of which i was in complete denial of.
I continued smoking spice for the better part of the year, increasing the amount i smoked and potency of it in accordance with my tolerance of it which was increasing at a quick rate.
My habit became unsustainable: my husband couldn’t keep up with the spending habits of my drug addiction so i resorted to pulling money out of my line of credit and transferring it into my us bank accounts in order to support my habit which pushed me and my husband further into debt.
I was spending about $1,400 a month on spice and had no intention of slowing down anytime soon.
I finally hit rock bottom, when i had a mental breakdown because the stuff that i had so eagerly wrapped my life around was no longer getting me high.
I started having suicidal thoughts, because i thought life wasn’t worth living if i can’t have this high anymore. So i started contemplating suicide.
Even though my husband had to practically drag me against my will to the psychiatric hospital, i am so thankful that he did because it saved my life.
I honestly don’t know how it’s possible that i’m still here after smoking so much of it at such a high potency for an extended period of time. I just take it as a gift from god.
Now I feel that i have to contribute something back, and that was the catalyst for me to create a support group. A safe place where addicts, families and people in recovery can find solace in a community where people are fighting similar battles along side each other who will support each other and cheer one another on when someone has reached a small milestone and most importantly educate!
We must educate people on the horrible side effects of these drugs and all the monsters it turns people into in its wake.
This drug is wreaking havoc in our communities and it has the potential to destroy an entire generation, if we don’t rally together and pressure our government to rid the streets of this horrible drug!
Join me on my recovery! Let’s help each other through this! i know we can do it! Let’s get better together and make spice history….together we can!