Sleepless nights and sweaty sheets.

After a series of catastrophic events in my life last week, I decided it was time to quit smoking the mezz. It’s been 6 days now. My heart races, I don’t sleep, and I have no appetite. It gets better every day though and my brain is no longer a clouded mess of bumbling thoughts.

Yesterday morning I awoke to the alarm after a restless night’s sleep, my t-shirt damp from night-sweats. My skin was clammy and it was cold as I rolled out of bed and went into the kitchen to make some coffee. The rain was coming down hard, as it has been for 2 days now. The dogs wanted nothing to do with the yard so I tucked them back into bed with Dominic. I poured a cup of coffee and set it on the windowsill next to the rollers with a bottle of water. After changing into some riding shorts I hopped on my bike. The Ipod was on shuffle and the music blasting into my eardrums was cathartic. I pedaled my bike, sweat starting to drip onto the floor, I watched my heart rate climb into the 160′s. I kept it there for an hour and the minutes passed by quickly. After my ride, I fed the dogs and we set out for a walk in the rain, which was no longer pouring, but sprinkling. I noticed the grass was greener and there are little buds sprouting on the trees. Spring is almost here. I can smell it, taste it, feel it.

My beautiful new steed:
bokor home 003

Much thanks to Kevin and Ron at my LBS, Bicycles and More (BAM!) for building her up. When I will be able to actually take the bike for a ride is still a mystery since all the local trails are closed due to muddy conditions. According to Kurt, owner of Smitty’s (my second go-to LBS), there are some nice gravely trails about 150 miles south down I-75 that are ridable, it’s just a matter of when. I only have 3 months to prepare for Mohican and I am starting to wonder if it’s even possible to be ready for a 100m MTB race in June.

Another cool race both Dominic and I might be doing this year is the Sub-9 Super D, which is a downhill race in Brown County. It looks super fun.

The AM Flatland circuit kicked off round one yesterday in Toronto. Dominic plans to be at round three in Indy in May and round five in Dayton in August.

This guy is pretty sick too.

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I got this ridiculous video from Jimmy P. on the Facebooks, who got it from the doucheblog. I thought it was hysterical, you guys might like it too.

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That’s all I got. I am off to bed, hoping for a little less sweat tonight and a little more sleep. I will leave you with this beautiful song, sung by the one and only Nico. Her voice just soothes me. Dirty sent me the translation of the lyrics which are pretty fucking awesome. I won’t post all of them but this is my favorite verse:

*edited – thanks to Doug P.

If I did a striptease for you
I would still have to tell you
that you are, just between us
kind of a voyeur, kind of a gangster
but these are only fantasies
from my mouth to my garter
For no one, not even you
can have a hold on me.

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About Judi

Bicycles are my salvation. They are my way of life. If you don't like it, then you can go straight to hell. Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

59 thoughts on “Sleepless nights and sweaty sheets.

  1. i’ll plow thru you links tomorrow, but i just wanted to voice my support of you deciding to stop the smoke. i quit some 10 years ago, just didn’t want to or need to any more. the government like us punks on drugs and in our houses too afraid of getting busted to come off the couch. f them

  2. nice. good for you. THC is profoundly addictive and the withdrawal can be miserable. you must think it’s worth it to endure the discomfort. and that is a sign your thinking is healthy.

  3. Good Luck with your battle. I grew up with an alcoholic parent. Six separate rehabs. The detox killed him twice but the hospital crash cart brought him back. I did finally get to see my father get off the juice and return to his non-abusive, happier state. That was a gift that many don’t appreciate. Seeing him interact with my kids in the way I wish he could have interacted with me gave me some joy.

    Weed always seemed appealing in my over-amped, iconoclastic, mile-a-minute life, as it seems like an opportunity to stop and smell the roses while giving the finger to The Man. But I can’t help but think of my neighbors who never leave the house because the TV and bong have them chained down. I sure as hell don’t want that.

    Dawn patrol in the desert seems to be the answer. Still mile-a-minute downhill bombing runs, but you can literally smell the flowers on the climbs. And you get the endorphin afterglow.

  4. I learned I was allergic to pot the first time I smoked it in college,
    after spitting up blood, going into anaphylactic shock, passing out and waking up in the ambulance. (Campus Doctor yelled at me that I should’ve figured it out — I already knew I had killer hay fever, after all).

    I also learned (not too long after) that riding a bike far and hard was far more effective for calming down my crazy restlessness, my shpilkes (no one called it ADD in those days, not yet). So keep on riding, and listening to your heart, and to those who love you. Great Big Hugs –B

  5. Smoking pot eventually becomes just one more thing to do to get through the day. The endorphin high is the real one, all the rest are just an attempt to provide the endorphin relief artificially, by using substances which approximate the effect of endorphins. Human beings in modern society are constantly subjected to the “flight or fight” syndrome; a normal reaction to stress, but are unable to complete the “loop” of hormonal activity to return to normal, because our bodies are designed to return to the “rest state” from the ‘excited state’ by the means of physical activity, specifically aerobic exercise, which produces the endorphins necessary to complete the “loop” to come back to the ‘rest state’. You are instinctively doing the right thing, Judi. Keep up the good work!

  6. Sweet ride Judi…you will LOVE it as compared to your old rigid 26er. As for Brown County…DO IT. Whether it’s the DH weekend or some other…go there…trails are awesome, camping is right on them. Bonus…they tend to dry quickly, I am hoping to get there in late April…usually get a good offroad fix down there before shit drys up here in the Chi.

    And you are gonna need every bit of lung that you have to complete a 100m mtb race…getting rid of that smokey treat will go a long way towards that end.

  7. All well and good, but I think the leotard guy on the spin bike could use a bong rip or two.

    Just sayin’

  8. Actually THC is only mildly addictive. Compared to crack, coke, meth, heroin, nicotine, or even alcohol, it barely rates. Only about 10% of users ever get addicted (and that from National Institute of Drug Abuse, who’s data is skewed to support outdated and ineffective drug control policies). Withdrawal symptoms are mild. For most people it becomes a crutch and a habit, not something that they physically need. I’m not discounting that there is a period of adjustment as your body recalibrates to a un/less altered sleep cycle and breaking habituated patterns is often just as difficult as breaking physical addiction. Those habits are tied very tightly into the psycology of addiction.

    Judy’s kicked much stronger, so I have no doubt she’ll tackle this.

  9. out of all the substances i have managed to kick, the worst one by far was nicotine. i smoked camel’s from the time i was 12 until i turned 35. i quit the 1st time i tried and have successfully stayed off nicotine for 5+ years now. that shit was the worst, and its legal.

  10. Jimmy C – The govt (big business) wants you on coffee, alcohol, and prescription drugs. The biggest couch potatoes I know are drinkers. It is another sad cultural myth that smoking makes one lazy. I’ve had some of the wildest, hardest rides in my life w/ smoking pals.

    Dolak – Are you in the treatment industry or a therapist? Profoundly addictive, link please?

    Judy – Whatever is right for you. Night sweats sound like another issue other than less THC on board. How about that increased dream phenomenon; that seems universal (especially if you usually puff close to sleepy time) and is interesting (anyone got a link for that?).

    Those of us that use an illegal substance or behave strangely are constantly pressured to conform to social norms even if the behavior is insignificant. I bet you don’t give a negative thought to firing up coffee right? Therapists and treatment centers also want everyone to conform and they have careers built on it and have huge financial self interest in defending these stances even though they are flawed. Would the therapist you quote on your link say the same thing to us this AM when we fire up the coffee? Coffee is much more physically addictive than pot. This is what blows apart the scarred addict model; the so called professional always picks and chooses the substances based on social acceptance. If the theory held solid, they would’t be able pick and choose substances based on social acceptance. I hated myself so much this AM that I had 3 big mugs to escape some distant bummer day or period I had when I was a kid? Doesn’t seem too sensible to me, but hey they are the pros right? This afternoon when I’ll probably get baked before going xc skiing I’ll be doing it to escape childhood mayhem; not in my mind, just looking for that extra twinkle in the snow? I was talking with a pal (he brought up the escapism fr scarred youth dynamic) and we talked about journaling before and after hitting the drug of choice to see whether it seems escapist or enhancing. This would allow one to assess why one dabbles each time.

    I know you have been into some hard shit and by no means do I want you to live your life to less than the fullest, whatever that means to you. I’m just so sick of therapists/ treatment folk saying that if one uses certain substances it is because of mayhem as a kid or because I hate myself down deep inside. There are therapists that would also say we’re exercise addicts too; going out there and riding hard to knock ourselves silly to escape psycho scarring. I’m not saying that some peeps haven’t had shit go down that is wickedly scarring (like in those vids on heroin you linked a while back) and should be worked through with outside help, but most of us regular addicts haven’t, and we just happen to enjoy doing things to change up a moment in ups and downs of life. These bastards have no right to cause us undo stress for behaving normally and responsibly; they pathologize normal behavior which freaks us out (and causes night sweats, just kidding). Sorry for the long windedness but it is one hell of a fun topic.

  11. I can not buy a bag of weed. I’ll sit and smoke all of it like I was eating a bag of chips. Which as we all know, those two bags go hand in hand. So my policy is to smoke it only when someone offers it to me. And since I’m the only stoner in my group of friends it’s never around. Problem solved.

  12. “You know, this war on drugs is funded by tobacco and alcohol commissions.
    It’s not what drugs you’re strung out on they care about so much as whose.”
    -Todd Snider

  13. AA, i enjoyed your response here. if i asked you “what was the purpose of your essay” what would your answer be? i hear the coffee and exercise fallacy a couple times per month. but this is the first time i’ve heard the therapy conspiracy thing though, i thank you for that.

    try taking a peek at this stuff, it’s spot on. if you can’t tolerate all of it at once don’t worry. just take in a bit and that will be fine.

    Carnes was addressing one specific type of addiction here but it does indeed apply to all addictions. http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=326140&id=784336531

    same thing on photo bucket: http://s481.photobucket.com/albums/rr175/tomdolak/addict%20core%20beliefs/

  14. Good luck with quitting. I know a few people who have gone through it. It’s not easy, but it is doable. If you quit tobacco, quitting reefer will be cake. Like everything it is an exercise in moderation. Nature strives for equilibrium. So, why would we treat our habits any differently? See, the sweet blend of caffeine and the poly-blend of compounds that make up marijuana have me waxing idiotic. Time to put this effort into my schoolwork.

    One last bit: Smokes trails, not blunts; might be a new slogan?

  15. ah, buk, that’s funny. but i’d stay away from even gentle teasing like that in this case. an old timer (a guy with 22 years sobriety) told me addicts are extremely egotistical and thin-skinned. that jibes with what i’ve seen in addict behavior over the past 28 years of working with them. even if your intent with that pic was benign it will very likely be interpreted as an attack. that will generate feelings of shame and humiliation in the addict and then, instead of sitting with those emotions and examining them, he will counter attack in order to distract himself from the inconvenience and discomfort. it’s much easier them to instead imagine they are victims and then point fingers and and judge in order to protect themselves. now, if you knew the guy and had a better idea of just how fragile and sensitive he is, then i’d say go for it because you’d know when to quit so you don’t retraumatize him.

  16. here are some first hand accounts of people who know how well THC can alter the medial forebrain bundle (the reward system including nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area) so that the substance is absolutely, positively required for basic everyday function. there are also posts regarding the withdrawals which can be just awful and last up to a year:

    http://www.uncommonforum.com/viewforum.php?f=10

  17. Congrats on quitting and joining the rest of us here in unmitigated reality!

    I can tell by the wonderfully descriptive way you write about your dogs, music, riding and Nico that you really and truly enjoy them,… and life in general. The sleepless nights go away relatively quickly. Meanwhile, the undistracted enjoyment of riding and everything else in life gets better and better.

  18. BTW, here’s slightly better translation of Nico. (I speak French more often than I speak English))
    Si c’est pour toi que je strip-tease
    Il faut pourtant que je te dise
    Que tu es, soit dit entre nous,
    Un peu voyeur, un peu voyou
    Mais ce ne sont là que chimères
    De ma bouche à ma jarretière
    Car personne, pas même toi
    Ne portera la main sur moi.
    If I did a striptease for you
    I would still have to tell you
    that you are, just between us
    kind of a voyeur, kind of a gangster
    but these are only fantasies
    from my mouth to my garter
    For no one, not even you
    can have a hold on me.

  19. doug p, way better translation, thanks! sexier even. im editing the post.
    dolak, MUAH! XXOO! thanks much.

  20. AA
    the smoke made me lazy. the crack made me lazy. the lsd made me lazy, the mushrooms made me lazy, the speed made me lazy, the pills made me lazy. the cocaine made me lazy.
    I went from daily riding (no car) to just being lazy and never going outside.
    Somewhere along the way I realized that i was lazy. I could have been before all the drugs, or i could have been as a result.
    just because you think one drug doesnt hit you this way or that doesn’t mean everybody is like that. I walked away from all the others. But the THC and Nicotine were the hardest to quit. I had to do it. I saw the hand of the government in them both.
    Now i’m back on the bike (no car) and yes I’m crazy, but not too lazy anymore.
    cheers

  21. me, i could pore over stuff like this for hours (the little Delta symbol and the superscript “9″ right in front of the “THC” are so neat!)

    but if it’s not your flavor i’ll sum it up like this: THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain’s reward system and causes the release of dopamine. just like all other addictive drugs.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=ft0zUYCMaiQC&pg=PA78&lpg=PA78&dq=marijuana+and+medial+forebrain+bundle&source=bl&ots=x8FXr-kzts&sig=bxXtQ6ZIfKteA8o92qEQ94EvI_4&hl=en&ei=7sN1TZOJLu-J0QHlxdHmBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=marijuana%20and%20medial%20forebrain%20bundle&f=false

  22. Judi…

    I read your blog, faithfully…and wanted to comment numerous times, but it always seems someone has already said what I wanted to.

    But, today I really want to convey to you how strong I think you are.

    Conspiracy theories and caffeine plot aside…I think this is your last leg of a long journey. You are there.

    Your blog usually makes me hurt for you…the angst, the discrimination that you sometimes get from people, and your unrest. But today, your post made me smile. Today your post shows a quiet maturity and a serenity that fits you well. I like the kick ass Judi too, but this Judi seems content.

    You are great! Hang in there!

    V~

  23. Judi,

    Used to be a wake and baker @ Ole Miss for 3 years. after the “summer of the drug” where I tried just about everything I knew I had to stop drugs, All of them. That means nicotine too. Used to smoke at least 2 packs a day for a while there. USed to call me “Toker”, yellow fingers the whole nine.That is when I found Mt Biking. I won’t say that it saved my life, I will say that it replaced the high’s that I needed earlier. Focus on the bike, but don’t get so focused that it becomes the drug that you have to have, more than time with your hubby. Will be thinking of you, Yew can dew it!.

  24. The indoor cycling gymnastics video just made my morning. Who comes up with this stuff? That is one of the most obscure, utterly ridiculous competitions I have ever seen. I mean what’s next? There’s an ironing board right beside me, can I base an event around it? I haven’t won a bike race since I was a kid, but I will rock the shit out of some indoor ironing board gymnastics. Gonna go beadazzle my bibs in preparation.

  25. And I want to apologize for being the only one who is consistently amused by the silly videos while simultaneously avoiding the serious conversation.

  26. First thing I’d like to say is I support any decision that you have made to be free of a substance. I understand that you don’t drink – and support that a great deal (other ways to get ‘drunk’ such as on love)
    My reaction to your ordeal is simply: From pot? Sweats and no sleep?
    This might be the way it is for you, but it’s the most extreme reaction to stopping pot I’ve ever heard of, out of hundreds of cases of people I know. Most stoners I know take long breaks and they do just fine.
    Personally, I like to smoke at least once per day. It has been the only thing that helped my gut ‘cure’ irritable bowel syndrome. It gets me in touch with truths that I may not want to face. It also helps me get motivated and troubleshoot, believe it or not. I was stuck on a ‘no-start’ issue years ago with my Mercedes and took a little toke, got under the rig, and found the problem. I will not claim it is a miracle or a necessity, but some people really do need it.
    When I run out, I get a little bit depressed the next day, the second day I feel fine, and a light craving exists for weeks after that. I think that anything can be addictive. Bread is addictive, and I have friends that rail against bread as an evil thing that I should stop eating. If I run out of flour, and I start cooking rice… no withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, addictive ‘all or nothing’ mindset or a deeply ingrained emotional reason exists for these reactions to happen. I stand against others’ using your example or any similar extreme example to be a basis for the continuing irrational prosecution of people who peddle pot or smoke it, or for the laws to remain so unfair anywhere in this country. In Kentucky, the laws are draconian, and you can go to PRISON for having more than 5 grams, if caught; mandatory sentencing. A lot more people’s lives are ruined by that then by smoking it. Moderation doesn’t work for you, but it works for most of us. My point is, by telling this story, you’re feeding the wrong fire and what we need, collectively, is enlightenment, not a continuation of the paranoia circus. I hope you respect my opinion. Thanks.

  27. from http://www.marijuanawithdrawalsymptoms.com/

    “Marijuana is known to have a major damping effect on the user’s ability to enter the dream state while they are asleep, in fact heavy users may go for years and never experience a dream. One of the most unpleasant marijuana withdrawal symptoms is the return of their dreams. Often for the first few days these dreams can come in the form of some very vivid nightmares that can cause the person to wake up in a cold sweat.

    A fair percentage of people report flu like symptoms as part of marijuana withdrawal including sweats, chills and nausea, there have been reports of diarrhea as well although these seem to be relatively rare. Most of these symptoms of marijuana withdrawal start almost immediately, but only last a few days for which the former user can be truly grateful. Many drug withdrawal symptoms can last for months and in some cases for years. For a select few drugs the recovering addict may have to endure certain symptoms for the rest of their lives.”

    from http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20080507/withdrawal-symptoms-from-smoking-pot

    “Heavy Pot Smokers and Withdrawal Symptoms

    The study involved 469 pot smokers, ages 18 to 64, who were recruited using word of mouth and advertisements. None of the participants suffered from recognized psychiatric disorders.

    About one in four reported smoking pot more than 10,000 times in their lives — the equivalent of daily use for 27 years. More than half smoked more than 2,000 times.

    “These were heavy users,” Gorelick says.

    A total of 42.4% experienced at least one withdrawal symptom — most commonly, cravings, irritability, boredom, anxiety, and sleep disturbances — when they tried to quit.”

    not everyone is the same. just sayin’…

  28. Does quitting weed because of the fact that it had a negative impact on someone’s life equal villification of marijuana? God no. Can some people take a hit of weed now and again and be just fine? Obviously. Just like some can drink a beer and enjoy it responsibly. Just like some can eat food normally without delving into compulsive overeating or other food disorders. Identifying the addiction is no more villifying pot than identifying an overeating compulsion is about villifying food.

    Its about a tendency to not be able to control one’s behaviour, even when the habit has begun to make life unmanageable, relationships difficult or wounded, and self-image distorted. It sometimes has more to do with individual brain chemistry, life history, learned behaviour, etc. than the actual subtance itself.

    Quitting any behaviour that has turned into addiction can cause serious withdrawals that often manifest themselves in a very physical way – sleeplessness, irratibility, anxiety… Shit, I know of folks who have had the same symptoms from quitting a SHOPPING addiction. In this instance it may have less to do with THC in one’s bloodstream than the fact that suddenly someone is faced with being in the middle of the ocean without the life raft that kept them afloat for many years.

    However, I know from my own experience that as soon as someone does some self-reflection and decides that dealing with their addiction is the best thing for them, others around them often freak out. Sometimes because it makes them ask themselves questions that they really don’t want to. Sometimes because it creates a foil for their own behaviour. They sometimes think the person who got sober is now judging THEM, which is rarely the case. Trust me, we are too busy beating ourselves up (or at least figuring ourselves out) at that point to give a shit about what someone else is doing.

  29. I love coffee in the morning. I love booze in the evening. Ain’t got a lazy bone in my body. And I never smoked anything, ever. Someone probably has a statistic for that if they cared to look.

  30. Quite the debate here. Bottom line Judi is you do what you gotta do. Nice bike by the way. Here’s to some awesome Spring rides, huh?

  31. @ expat in NL, consider my mind blown.

    Just goes to show, if you can dream it, there’s probably already a website devoted to it. What a world.

  32. Speaking from experience, it’s pretty easy to be a douchebag. I give the kid a 8.9 on the 10 High scale. His only issue is that he is trying way too hard. He needs to let the choreography flow out of him. But he makes it look like a math test. I think it’s because he’s scared of what he’s doing.

    I like the tangents here. Here being DC. I even the arguments or debates or whatever bullshit commentary is growing. I even like the lame ones. I know there is a need for awesomeness to always prevail, but sometimes it’s just about pedaling and the whereabouts therein. Think of it as a wide range gearbox of bike riding.

    Rock on mother fuckers.

  33. Dolak #13- took a peek at your stuff, slowly as instructed. You had me exited, but it wasn’t too insightful, seemed like same old pop psych info. You say it applies to all addictions even though it’s sex addiction you’re linking too, those broad parameters are handy aren’t they, especially when hunting for more clients? Granted I’m throwing out broad generalizations too, the devil is always in the detail.

    I was going to behave just like you said in #16 as to #15. Thanks for saving me from more retraumatization. Instead I’m just chillin w/ the emotions and examining them; although it’s pretty boring really. What should I look for?

    #23 – Looks like you did spend quite a bit of time and still came up empty. Every pleasure in life brings dopamine activity just like addictive drugs. Keep looking, good luck.

    You can be proud of continuing the drug war by voicing the dangers of this wicked drug that has never killed anyone, and doesn’t cause and can actually stifle violence; unlike alcohol and prescription drugs.

    Now that I’ve thrown more poo at you I must also say you are in a far more noble profession than I am (tradesman/ biologist) ; I just think the models need to change toward behavioral/ cognitive therapies that deal with present and recent life action ($, family, work, future outlooks) instead of going way back to kiddie trauma. Even if one uncovers past traumas, it still comes down to what am I going to do at this moment and in the near future.

    Judi- Sorry if I hijacked the post. Hope you are doing good, steering clear, and getting your feet on the ground. You and Dom just gotta hang in there, be a team, and work it out; life has a way of swinging around to goodness if we can give it some time. Best wishes.

  34. AA, first i’m a huge fan of cognitive behavioral therapies. at age 9 i stole (and read out of boredom) a wayne dyer paperback, Your Erroneous Zones. it made sense. and i say Aaron Beck is one of the main reasons i do what i do.

    but i’m quite interested in your reaction to trauma and your enthusiastic desire to leave examination of trauma out of any treatment for addictions. simply, trauma is at the root of all addictive disorders and so what does it mean if a fella is so ready to avoid talking about trauma? show me an addict who says he wasn’t beaten/yelled at/abandoned/molested/or a witness to the same and i’ll show you a liar (how can you tell if an addict is lying? his lips are moving, that’s how you can be sure.)

    traumatic experiences delay or prevent development of prefrontal cortical neurons (PFC) and anterior cingulate (AC). without these structures working properly you’ll see an inability to regulate the duration and intensity of emotional states. that is, emotions tend towards the negative, they gain momentum and spiral downwards towards despair. the sequence seems to be: solitude –> boredom –> thinking –> anxiety –> depression.

    PFC and AC are also critical for initiating and nurturing relationships with people since they play a central role in empathic thinking. relationships are absolutely critical in the treatment of addictions. the focus of psychotherapy is often on restoration of relationship capacity via a sort of rewiring of PFC and AC.

    there is also the issue of PTSD. unprocessed traumatic memories exert their influence in response to specific triggers. but sometimes that happens spontaneously. trauma is a serious and real issue which deserves quite a bit of attention.

    here are a couple of my favorites on trauma and how it contributes to adult psychopathology (including addictions).

    http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Trauma-Attachment-Mind-Brain/dp/0393703967

    http://www.amazon.com/Traumatic-Relationships-Serious-Mental-Disorders/dp/0471485543

    with the tome on cannabis i’d hoped you would recognize the effect it has on the reward/motivational center of the brain, the medial forebrain bundle. it’s much more than a simple gush of dopamine. it’s a gush of dopamine that eradicates all bad feelings and then causes structural and functional changes in the brain. in an over simplification, you might imagine the cannabinoid receptors in that area increasing in number and efficiency. soon behaviors that lead to THC getting to where they generate the best feelings (and squash the bad ones) are encouraged so they become a priority. then old priorities like interacting with people, having healthy relationships, helping others, intellectual/academic/athletic/vocational pursuits become meaningless. you’ve got your motivational toxicity.

    carnes’s description of the inner world of the addict http://s481.photobucket.com/albums/rr175/tomdolak/addict%20core%20beliefs/ is critical in understanding all addictive disorders. i’ve said this many times: “addiction is a disorder of intimacy: sufferers hate themselves and with projective identification they seem to hate others. they detest much about the way they believe they are and attempt to conceal all but what they fabricate as the public persona. it’s a nervous proposition and the risk of being found out causes a good amount of anxiety. the longer lasting and the more complex the charade, the greater the shame an addict experiences. but the bottom line is ‘you will *not* see me as i really am!’”

    spend some time here http://www.uncommonforum.com/viewforum.php?f=10 if you can tolerate doing so. the stories these folks share are amazing. it’s stuff mostly separate from the neurobiology and psychology discussions. but you have to conclude after reading for a while that a marijuana is profoundly addictive, it can ruin lives, and it is insidious in its action – it feels sooo good, how can it be bad???

  35. 1 of 2

    AA, first i’m a huge fan of cognitive behavioral therapies. at age 9 i stole (and read out of boredom) a wayne dyer paperback, Your Erroneous Zones. it made sense. and Aaron Beck is one of the main reasons i do what i do.

    but i’m quite interested in your reaction to trauma and your enthusiastic desire to leave examination of trauma out of any treatment for addictions. simply, trauma is at the root of all addictive disorders. show me an addict who says he wasn’t beaten/yelled at/abandoned/molested/or a witness to the same and i’ll show you a liar (how can you tell if an addict is lying? his lips are moving, that’s how you can be sure.)

    traumatic experiences delay or prevent development of prefrontal cortical neurons (PFC) and anterior cingulate (AC). without these structures working properly you’ll see an inability to regulate the duration and intensity of emotional states. that is, emotions tend towards the negative, they gain momentum and spiral downwards towards despair. the sequence seems to be: solitude –> boredom –> thinking –> anxiety –> depression.

    PFC and AC are also critical for initiating and nurturing relationships with people since they play a central role in empathic thinking. relationships are absolutely critical in the treatment of addictions. the focus of psychotherapy is often on restoration of relationship capacity via a sort of rewiring of PFC and AC.

    there is also the issue of PTSD. unprocessed traumatic memories exert their influence in response to specific triggers. but sometimes that happens spontaneously. trauma is a serious and real issue which deserves quite a bit of attention.

    here are a couple of my favorites on trauma and how it contributes to adult psychopathology (including addictions).

    http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Trauma-Attachment-Mind-Brain/dp/0393703967

    http://www.amazon.com/Traumatic-Relationships-Serious-Mental-Disorders/dp/0471485543

  36. 2 of 2

    cont’d

    AA, with the tome on cannabis i’d hoped you would recognize the effect it has on the reward/motivational center of the brain, the medial forebrain bundle. it’s much more than a simple gush of dopamine. in an over simplification, you might imagine the cannabinoid receptors in that area increasing in number and efficiency. soon behaviors that lead to THC getting to where they generate the best feelings are encouraged so they become a priority. then old priorities like interacting with people, having healthy relationships, helping others, intellectual /academic/athletic pursuits become meaningless. you’ve got your motivational toxicity.

    carnes’s description of the inner world of the addict http://s481.photobucket.com/albums/rr175/tomdolak/addict%20core%20beliefs/ is critical in understanding all addictive disorders. i’ve said this many times: “addiction is a disorder of intimacy: sufferers hate themselves and with projective identification they seem to hate others. they detest much about the way they believe they are and attempt to conceal all but what they fabricate as the public persona. it’s a nervous proposition and the risk of being found out causes a good amount of anxiety. the longer lasting and the more complex the charade, the greater the shame an addict experiences. but the bottom line is ‘you will *not* see me as i really am!’”

    spend some time here http://www.uncommonforum.com/viewforum.php?f=10 if you can tolerate doing so. the stories these folks share are amazing. it’s stuff mostly separate from the neurobiology and psychology discussions. but you have to conclude after reading for a while that marijuana is profoundly addictive, it can ruin lives, and it is insidious in its action – it feels sooo good, how can it be bad???

  37. AA, a quick and dirty blurb on what constitutes addiction. the key term here is motivation toxicity. it’s also been called monomania.

    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=151885844866997

    tom, you’re an addict! we’re ALL addicts!

    by Tom Dolak on Friday, February 4, 2011 at 11:39am

    less than 30 days after i moved into YogaHouse i was informed i was an addict – just like them! there were 4 of us in the kitchen when the then 9 y/o girl informed me: “you drink too much coffee.” the 47 y/o addict yoga instructor and his addict girlfriend were horrified at having their secret talk exposed!

    into action! the yoga dude attempted some passionate blabbering 12 step/buddhist nonsense argument to convince me i was just like him. i listened. and walked away to enjoy my brew. Trungpa would call this a trip. he laid his trip on me. cool.

    well, what is addiction?

    from a nice article by Michael A. Bozarth.

    So what constitutes the pathological control of behavior termed “addiction”? Certainly not the fact that a substance activates a brain reward system nor the fact that this same system may be involved in the potent reward produced by addictive drugs. Simple activation of brain reward systems does not constitute addiction!

    *Rather, the extreme control of behavior—exemplified by a deterioration in the ability of normal rewards to govern behavior (termed motivational toxicity)—is the distinguishing feature of an addiction.*

    Some drugs quickly and uniformly exert extreme control over behavior (e.g., cocaine, heroin), while other substances exert a much less potent influence on behavior (e.g., moderate alcohol consumption, occasional nicotine use). The fact that a chemical (e.g., nicotine) influences behavior does not constitute addiction any more than the chemical reaction that produces a taste (e.g., sugar-associated sweetness) which influences behavior constitutes addiction.

    http://www.addictionscience.net/ASNreport01.htm

    [img]http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_t25cbBoQP_8/Swl_7jAbCPI/AAAAAAAAAEw/4lNKzCQvzsM/s1600/coffee-you-can-sleep-when-youre-dead.jpg&imgrefurl=http://confessionsofacrossfitcoach.blogspot.com/2009_11_01_archive.html&usg=__JzA8qNbjHY8Q8CARNav58jFYEFI=&h=450&w=351&sz=57&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=S4aqlIKVPuZcYM:&tbnh=159&tbnw=124&ei=ltx3TaipCIf2tgOV8OzHBA&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dcoffee%2Bmug%2Byou%2Bcan%2Bsleep%2Bwhen%2Byou%2527re%2Bdead%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1280%26bih%3D642%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=107&vpy=75&dur=7145&hovh=254&hovw=198&tx=132&ty=144&oei=ltx3TaipCIf2tgOV8OzHBA&page=1&ndsp=19&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0[/img]

  38. …sounds like somebody is highly addicted to the concept of ‘behavioral processes’

    …just sayin’…

  39. I’ve never gone to jail for having too many lattes or stolen from my mother’s purse to finance another bike ride.

  40. Really.. I gotcha… Hello!!! Thank you for taking the time to inform us about the niche, I am intrigued about it and love reading more details on this topic. If possible, as you get additional info, would you mind updating your blogs with more articles? Us readers like the posts. LAter!!

  41. smoking the weeds quells the rampage within…I’m talking about others, of course.

  42. d- 42. I stated in my first post that there are some folks that have had traumas that need to be worked through w/ outside help. We’re generalizing here with no case specifics right? It seems like the majority of folks that go there will keep behaving the same way, but they now have a legit excuse for the behavior; it can become crutch like. A scenario like -”I’m screwed up according to the therapist and jeez, I still want to do my bad habit/s, discovering those historical tidbits wasn’t that significant in motivating me to change my old habits that were developed because I’m broke as hell and/or not as pretty as I want to be”. If things were just put in a more present context of behavior, then it just becomes something that was developed later in life and became pathological now. And the reasons for the behavior are easier to connect with. It doesn’t attach as much deep significance and can’t be used as a crutch/ excuse as much.

    #43 – You are over dramatizing the experience pot use and motivations. Yes, there are a few freaks that will go down rd but the vast majority never do. My understanding and experience is that there are a set number of receptors which is the nice thing about pot; you load them up and no matter how much more you puff you aren’t going to get more intoxicated; maybe more slight fuzziness from other biochem actions but that’s about it. The fact that pot is illegal is a huge factor in creating the shut in hard core smoker. Some of that Carnes hate is directed toward our society for being so ruthless, narrow minded, and judgmental. Those are legit reasons to be pissed at the world. Plus how many puritans are on anti anxiety drugs nowadays? Self hatred and anxiety are occasionally experienced by everybody.

    Part of the issue here is that you are dealing w/ a very small % of folks that really off the deep end. I’m talking about the large majority of folks that use daily and feel stress from the extreme puritans.

    Have you ever smoked much pot? There is a cool book series called Pharm-a-co-pia (yes, goofy titled) or something like that. The pot chapter has a cool section where the author poetically states that those that have smoked a shitload and are regulars should slow down sometimes and those that haven’t smoked much should hit it to discover the beauties of the buzz. That’s a truism to me.

    I meant to add that helping people is noble, but stating that pot is “profoundly addictive” is hokey and probably does more harm than good. Especially if you consider all the drugs floating around in todays world.

    People like drugs and will use them no matter what. Given that fact then shouldn’t we have more safe options like pot available? If pot was legal and socially accepted we would have far less social mayhem than we do now.

    The folks at the uncommonforum are at rockbottom. Good for them for changing behavior but many are influenced by puritanical stances that pervade this day and age.

    I can’t help but go back to the fact that the treatment/ therapy industry is for profit and wants clients and seems to continue to pathologize fairly normal behavior. #44 You even have the gall to close out your posts by stating that moderate alcohol and tobacco use are ok, but obviously not moderate pot use. That is narrow and shows your lack of rationale, really sad. Your statement should say “some people are particularly susceptible to any and all intoxicants….; it’s the people not the drugs that are behaving strangely and will behave strange no matter what right?

    Good fun D. Hope you’ll open yourself to accepting pot as a safe and pleasant intoxicant option. Lord knows the drug war has not worked and is ruining normal peoples lives every day (unless you’re in the prison industry). The legal options are not based on rational analysis; it’s big business profits that run the show there. Oh that’s depressing, where’s my smoking kit? Cheers.

  43. D- We haven’t covered the fact that pot and psychedelics are now being used in combination w/ therapy and it is working. If you took a client that isn’t a regular smoker and got them baked and into talk therapy, I bet you would be amazed. This is the beauty of the drug, it fires up parts of the brain that were snoozing and can open one to unique insights. I suck at computer tech so no link, but look at maps.org. Really neat work they are doing; based on rational science, not cultural myths.

  44. AA +1. I’ve been half-heartedly working on similar responses to dolak’s over-generalization, pop-psychology, and one size fits all statements. There’s a reason pop-psych and anecdotal evidence aren’t accepted by the scientific community. You don’t find out the rate of alcoholism in society by only surveying people in bars. I’m going to guess that the folks on uncommonforum have many more problems than just pot. To be clear, I’m not (and I don’t think AA was either) saying that trauma isn’t a contributing factor to addiction. I’ve seen friends go down that hole, but you can’t shoehorn every addiction into that box. Coke, heroin, and meth are fundamentally different drugs than pot, shrooms, and mescaline. And both groups need to be dealt with differently than food or sex addiction (which are things that we evolutionarily hard wired for). Yes, there might be common neurocenters, but they cannot be treated the same. Finally, I think people that have ACTUALLY dealt with their demons, are rather strong and thick skinned. It’s those that use addiction as an excuse for continued poor choices or who are still trying to work through their problems that are weak about it.

  45. I think you all have landed on the wrong site. This is drunkcyclist, not sobercyclist, not drugcyclist…drunkcyclist.

    Perhaps we need to pass around the peace pipe, drink a beer, go for a ride, stop the happy horse shit and look at a boob or something?

  46. i appreciate everyone’s comments and input here. its been an interesting discussion. people, re-read #32 Low Brow’s post. sure some of us can have a drink, smoke a joint, chill out. those of us born with the addiction gene can’t just take ONE hit, snort one line, drink one beer. for us, we have a chemical imbalance in our brain and we just want more and more and more. today is day 10, BTW.

  47. Perhaps I should clarify:

    I am one hundred percent supportive of sobriety if that’s what people need. Just sayin’ sometimes it’s more fun to talk about bikes and boobs, rather than what people think of pot.

  48. All my friends that smoke dope are doing the same shit they did ten years ago……..Judi..power on.. thoughts and prayers are with you. I come from a family that has the gene and it scares the fuck outa me every day.

  49. I’ve been away for a bit, first the flu then just hanging out with my kids.

    I just want to say, whatever works for your is fine with me. Whether you roll that shit or decline it when offered makes no difference to me – just as long as you’re happy doing what you’re doing.

  50. AA, i’d love to have your input on my facebook posts. friend me up, i’m tom dolak in boulder, colorado. all of my more benign material is open to the public. you can read and comment on everything.

    i’ve been around addicts for quite a while and i’ve heard all the rhetoric they use to explain and defend themselves. i understand what they’re doing and why. and it’s fine, it’s reality. i’m a big fan of reality. as far as addicts justifying and rationalizing their disease, there isn’t anything new, just variations on the same theme. http://www.bma-wellness.com/papers/Excuses_Alcoholics.html

    a couple of clarifications. you got confused here when you wrote “#44 You even have the gall to close out your posts by stating that moderate alcohol and tobacco use are ok, but obviously not moderate pot use.”

    you may have been referring to #45 where i posted a really poignant quote about motivational toxicity from an article by Michael A. Bozarth. the words there are his, not mine. did you take a peek at that and get some insight into how we define addiction? it’s not the substance that matters. it’s the way that substance rearranges priorities.

    there was no discussion of moderate marijuana use in that post, post #45. rather, it focused on nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine.

    AA, find me on facebook and dive in there and tell me what you think. do it!

  51. D: Thanks for the invite. I’m not a facebooky yet. Sadly, I’m also fearful of disclosing my personal info after admitting to being a regular puffer. I have a wonderful life in a small town and my wife has a job where my coming out of the closet in the community wouldn’t be good. Is there a way to keep some anonymity and look at your stuff? Internet discussions can bring wild stuff out of folks and I’d hate to learn that you are a cop or in law enforcement and want to tip me off as a social menace. This isn’t some classic pot induced paranoia, just an unfortunate part of life if one chooses to continue to smoke er up and keep up appearances w/ a wide variety of home town and internets peeps. It’s been a really fun and thought provoking exchange.

    One more quick question- was some of that addiction writing on your photo page based on Ken Wilber’s 4 quadrant/ holonic philosophy? He’s a Boulder based guy, just curious.

    Judi- keep on trucking, head held high, playing life as ideally as you can.