Citation: PD. "Seven Years Gone: An Experience with Tramadol & Heroin (exp103998)". Erowid.org. Sep 23, 2019. erowid.org/exp/103998
The summer marks my seven year anniversary with tramadol, and it's definitely been a roller-coaster ride that Iíve only just gotten off of.
First, a little background: I've tried almost everything. marijuana, cocaine, heroin, Percs, Oxys, LSD, DMT, DOB, mushrooms, ketamine, benzos, ecstasy...even over-the-counter drugs like DXM and diphenhydramine. Whatever I've been able to find, I've tried. Going to college in NYC, everything was relatively easy to come by.
In early 2007, I was depressed and lonely and did everything I could to bury those feelings.
I was depressed and lonely and did everything I could to bury those feelings.
I had tried heroin about six months earlier and used it frequently, but didn't want to become a full-blown junkie. Searching for pills on the internet, I came across tramadol and was surprised at how cheap large quantities were and how easily attainable it wasÖso of course I dove right in.
After a month or two of very regular usage, I began to notice subtle withdrawal effects whenever I went more than 24-hours without dosing...depression, anxiety, mood swings, chills, all that good stuff. Nothing too severe but definitely noticeable.
As I continued to dose regularly, my tolerance built up quickly and I was soon taking VERY dangerous doses...sometimes up to 25 50mg pills per day....that's 1250mg/day for anyone keeping score. I quickly noticed what I (and others) call 'brain zaps,' what felt like small power surges in my brain that made my vision white-out, my teeth clench, and my face grimace. In hindsight these were obviously a bad sign, but I refused to let them bother me.
In may of 2007 I had my first seizure. I was hanging out with a couple friends in their apartment, relaxing and getting stoned. The next thing I know, I'm surrounded by EMTs and being wheeled out on a gurney into an awaiting ambulance. While in the emergency room I denied any drug use and after performing a battery of tests, the doctors let me go the next day, having concluded there was no explanation for the seizure. I, of course, knew the truth, but I decided it was a one-off episode and resumed my usual tramadol regimen.
Over the next four years I had at least ten more seizures. Most of them occurred in the privacy of my own apartment(s), but several occurred in VERY public places....one was in times square, another was at my cousin's wedding, and yet another happened at work. Each of these ended with me in the hospital and my family in hysterics over the doctors' inability to determine the cause.
Because of all this, I gradually began reducing my dosage to a point where the brain zaps finally vanished. Unfortunately, the withdrawal stuck. Whenever there was a problem receiving my order and I ran out, it was hell on earth. I already suffer from restless leg syndrome but during withdrawal that restlessness spreads over my entire body and no sleep aid, whether it's a single ambien or five, helped one bit. By this time I had a reliable heroin connection and would cop whenever necessary to stave off the withdrawal. But when you're snorting dope on the sly in your friend's bathroom at two in the afternoon just to feel normal, you know things aren't going well.
It's now been more than four years since my last seizure, and Iíve only just stopped taking the trams a week ago. By the end I didn't really get high from them anymore, I just had to take them in order to fall asleep. After slowly weaning myself down over more than a year, the enormous ball and chain that I thought Iíd never shake is finally gone. I couldn't take a vacation or travel without a significant stock of trams and I felt so beholden to the medication that it made me sick. And it still makes me sick.
So I spent seven years as an addict. I've spent thousands of dollars on tramadol, thousands of dollars on heroin, and thousands more on medical bills because of the seizures, probably doing more damage to my body and brain than I really know of right now.
But Iím free. Free from the cost, the stress, the sickness. The first few nights were very restless but I bit the bullet and pushed through.
The first few nights were very restless but I bit the bullet and pushed through.
And now, more than a week later, sleep comes naturally, and while Iím still not quite sleeping through the night, I can feel it getting easier every day.
I can't believe it's been seven years...I don't know how I kept it going, but an addict will do anything and everything possible to support his or her habit.
I feel so much remorse for what I did to my friends, my family, my coworkers. and the worst part is, they didnít even know it. I lied to and manipulated the people who love me the most without a second thought.
That pain will never go away.
But at least it can serve as a reminder of the right way and the wrong way to live.
September 2019 Update:
Five years later, life is better than ever. My personal, professional, and familial relationships are so much stronger than I had ever thought possible. My career is advancing and I haven't had any health scares in a long time. I think back on all of the time I wasted during those seven years and although I wish I could get it back, those experiences have made me who I am today, and they've inspired me to push ahead with a vigor and an urgency that I probably would've never felt otherwise.
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