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The return of cognitive abilities

Discussion in 'Freedom from Hell ~ Staying Clean~' started by onemoreaddict, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. onemoreaddict

    onemoreaddict Active Member

    Hi guys,

    I think it's day 16 since i last did junk and day 9 off of opiates, i have barely earned my right to post here, but here i go :)

    The last of WDs are slowly wearing off, and now i guess i'm in PAWS. One thing, that made me relapse quite a few times was, that i have always found myself unable to work without dope. I'm a programmer and my work is mental, so i desperately need my memory, concentration, logic etc.

    When i'm on dope, all is well, i can do work normally, but when off, i find that my mind just dazzles off somewhere and i am unable to accomplish the simplest of tasks (as opposed to my smackhead programming, which has produced quite a few good things). Programming is really a three step iterative process, consisting of 1. look, 2. think, 3. do. At step 2, no matter how much i try to stay focused, my mind just runs away and i forget things, so i have to return to step 1 and it's really a pain to work like this.

    I have read about PAWS and the memory problems and thinking problems in this period, so i would really like to know, how fast does one recover from those problems? And, are there by any chance any mental exercizes, that could help speed up the recovery of my cognitive functions. Or am i in the waiting game again?

  2. peacenik

    peacenik Administrator

    Hi Rox,
    It's good to hear you're hanging in there. I've got a couple thoughts.
    OK, this is part of the acceptance thing that is so hard. I know it's hard and I know that your work is important but I can only share with you my experience. And that was that I became aware that I was unable to live with dope.

    So, really I got to the point where even if I couldn't work, which I couldn't for a while, it was going to have to be OK because I no longer had the choice to use.

    It's interesting you put it that way because I think most jobs are similar. I've written here before about my first attempt aty going back to work when I lived in a recovery house. It was building some stone columns for a restaurant. I had a big stone pile and I would walk over and stare at it. And I just couldn't think which stone was going to work. Mercifully, I guess, this job was shortlived and I took some more time just getting better and going to meetings and after a time I found a job as an assistant, a more humble job, but I did it well and within a year I had worked my way back up and eventually made journeyman in my trade.

    Since that time I've had a great carreer and life. I never could have had this life if I were using. So that time when I was out of sorts, when I couldn't work? Well, it was tough,but it made me stronger, more appreciative of life.

    So it's really the the big thing about recovery, that it's about acceptance. Doesn't matter if you believe in a 12 step thing but the first thing you've got to do is accept that you are addicted. That means you've got to walk out of it one day at a time. You can't fight this, it will beat you every time.

    A lot of this post-acute stuff is mental. Think of your addiction as a living thing inside of you. He wants you to give him more drugs. So he's going to make all the symptoms you feel seem worse, he's going to whisper in your ear that you'll never feel right.

    People often ask when will this awful PAWS go away and I can never give a definite answer. But I can tell you for me it went away after I decided that I was not going to use even if it never went away. It's then the addiction realizes you've beaten him and he'll give up.

    best of luck Rox
  3. onemoreaddict

    onemoreaddict Active Member

    Dave, thank you very much for your reply.

    So it's a waiting game, or as you put it, waiting+acceptance game. Well, i guess i'll just have to suck it up and somehow handle it. It is good to know, that it *does* get better, i'll just have to manage my life and work around this temporary disability that i have. Well, i'll figure it out somehow. I have been thinking of getting another job anyway. At the moment i'm self-employed and if i don't do any work, i don't get any €s, and i definitely can't work the way i have so far. If i had a regular job, i'd have somebody bossing me around, but my tasks would be simpler and easier to comprehend then the whole projects i do myself now.

    I'm optimistic. Thanx, Dave :)
  4. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    After I detoxed, I was just obsessed. I was no longer using, but my mind was still consumed with wanting to use, wanting to control every feeling/state I experienced. I understand wanting to maintain cognitive abilities & be sharp. I used in order that I could control that, and also control my energy, and mood, and blah blah blah.

    So Dave talks about "acceptance," and for me a big part of that is just acceptance of reality, of what the hell is doing on right in this moment. If I feel unclear, I feel unclear. If I feel afraid I'll be unclear, I'm afraid. If I feel tired, I feel tired. Another way to say what Dave is saying is, I accepted that I was not going to control every last damn thing that was happening inside me anymore. Which has ultimately led me to accept myself for who I am and what I be Right Now. (don't always succeed at this :smile: --but I even accept that) The awesome thing is, today I can feel unclear, I can have a headache, I can be late to teach my class, and I don't have to use in order to experience or, rather, not-experience, any of this.

    I don't mean to get all woo-woo and philosophical on you, but this is just my experience. rock on. /G
  5. onemoreaddict

    onemoreaddict Active Member

    Thank you very much, guinevere64, for sharing your experience. I feel exactly the same way. I am totally consumed by the drug. It is constantly on my mind, it is in my every thought in every minute of every day. Right now my goal is to slowly get rid of that. Hopefully, i will succeed.
  6. onemoreaddict

    onemoreaddict Active Member

    Perhaps i am being too impatient here, and maybe it's just a product of me constantly examining my mind, but it feels as if my memory is beginning to return. Today i have had some conversations, during which I had glimpses of my old memory. The thing is, that i used to remember EVERYTHING and my memories of sobriety are those of my old sharp all knowing self. I don't want to be expecting too much, but i'd like to get at least some of that back. I was happy to see today, that little bits and pieces are slowly coming back. I guess it will take a while for my brain chemicals to return back to normal, but it really helps to notice, that it is actually happening.

    Today i'm glad to be me :) Love to all of you,
  7. Island high

    Island high New Member

    Day 10 coming up slowly, I've managed to motivate, an be productive. It's almost as if god(of some sort) has given me the get out of jail card. I've thanked him at least once a minute all day long. My semi ct detox must have been mild compared to most, but it was horrifying to me for those nine days still not normal, but I see the light at the end. Never will I go there again, this has been the biggest maybe most important endeavor in life I've ever gone through. Though completely possible.

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