Citation: Aqua Dementia. "Two Years of Addiction: An Experience with GBL (exp82119)". Erowid.org. Jun 28, 2011. erowid.org/exp/82119
I am female, aged 20, and I have used GBL at doses up to (and sometimes exceeding) 20ml a day, almost every day, for the past 2 years. However, I first tried it when I was 15. This report constitutes an effort to summarize my experiences. However, it should be noted that it cannot possibly be complete. To truly understand these experiences, you would have to live them. Furthermore, this level of use and dependence on GBL is more than an addiction - it constitutes a commitment – you have to think about it constantly. You wake up in the morning and have to think about how you’re going to transport your doses around for the day. You risk falling asleep wherever you are, and you have to consider that risk in your day-to-day life. You never sleep for more than a few hours without having to re-dose. It affects every aspect of your life.
I took GBL for several reasons. Firstly, I was bored with life. I had no friends, and spent most of my time in my bedroom, on my own. I did college work, watched TV, smoked weed and slept. That was it. I didn’t have any hobbies, or interests. In fact, there was virtually nothing I enjoyed. I never experienced genuine emotional pleasure, and I was constantly on high alert. I could never relax around anyone, even my own family. GBL changed this. Suddenly, I felt like connecting to other people. Goals felt achievable, stress was relieved. I felt able to touch others emotionally, and was able to relax enough to be touched by others in this way. Things magically became interesting, and genuine pleasure was felt on all levels.
The second reason I took GBL was as a cure for social anxiety. I have always been ‘awkward’, in social situations. Although I appear confident, my guts are always squirming in discomfort whenever I’m around people. I constantly fear what others are thinking about me, what their intentions are and what kind of competition or threat they pose. GBL reduced these feelings, and brought me ‘out of my shell’. I still hate going out – I avoid interactions with people whenever possible – but when I do spend time with people, I now feel like talking to them. I feel like sharing my life and being a part of other theirs.
I usually mixed between 5 and 8ml at a time in 300-500ml of liquid, usually a fruit juice or sugar-free fizzy pop. I found that it tasted best in lemonade, but the taste was always extremely potent, as was the smell. I certainly can’t imagine taking it accidently. Even when drinking it with fruit juice rather than soda, it caused me to burp and break wind A LOT. I would get stomach pain due to trapped wind and would sometimes spend over an hour a day in the bathroom struggling not to throw up as I burped.
Drinking GBL constantly has been harsh on my overall health. Despite diluting it greatly my oral health deteriorated – my gums would split, my teeth would ache, my taste-buds would swell up and the roof of my mouth would become extremely irritated to the point where I felt a constant burning sensation over the entire area. My lips also became very dry and split, and any small cuts would become extremely swollen, giving my lips a ‘bruised’ look. Because of blacking out I would also sometimes bite my bottom lip, exacerbating the problem. I occasionally experienced a sore throat. Wearing lip-balm helped my lips a lot, and I highly recommend drinking GBL through a straw to minimize contact with the mouth and rinsing out the mouth with water after each sip of GBL taken. When I ceased taking GBL I had an extremely furry white and yellow tongue for a few days, in what looked somewhat similar to an oral yeast infection. It cleared up without requiring treatment. My skin (particularly on my hands) was quite dry when using heavily.
I found that I needed to drink a lot more water when I was taking GBL. I often awoke feeling dehydrated, even though I was drinking huge quantities of liquid when I dosed, and I believe that this can be explained by GBLs action in the body as a salt. Also, within 5 minutes of taking GBL I would feel an urgent need to defecate. When using GBL for the first time or after a break in using this can cause diarrhea and a sore bottom, with a burning sensation when I would use the bathroom.
For the outsider looking at a person who is on GBL, even slight overdoses can appear bizarre. My hands and arms would twitch uncontrollably as I passed out and I would proceed to ‘nod’ in and out of consciousness. Time is distorted in this state – it seems like I would have closed your eyes for one brief moment, but 20 minutes would have passed. My boyfriend often had to tell me to go to bed when I had been drinking GBL because I would fall frequently fall asleep at my computer and drop things – including lit cigarettes (very dangerous!) – before my head ‘snapped’ back up again and I would awake for a brief moment and realize what was going on. I often fell asleep in highly inappropriate places – on my desk during college classes, on the train, at the cinema, at a rock club and even whilst giving fellatio. I also fell asleep on the toilet several times, and once in the shower, where my mother found me when water started leaking through the ceiling downstairs. When I did ‘come round’ I would feel perfectly alert, as though I had never been in such a state – it was very easy to forget about the collapse when I woke up feeling so fantastic. Sometimes, I could shake it off or prevent collapse by walking around, but it doesn’t always work and put me at huge risk if collapsing in public. I discovered this the hard way after collapsing in a city centre with my boyfriend – but not before walking into a number of walls and throwing up on myself.
Care when dosing is extremely important. One of the most humiliating effects of passing out like this is that I could wet yourself – I urinated the bed several times during the most severe periods of my addiction, including once when my boyfriend was in it. Most of the time these ‘sleeps’ only ever lasted a few hours, and once I became ‘hooked’ on GBL I would never sleep for more than 3 hours without waking up. Sleep time could be increased by taking a small dose every half hour until collapse, making the offset as gradual as the onset. Still, I often went days, even weeks, without sleeping at all. The exhaustion was unbearable, but my mind wasn’t tired. The best way I can describe it is that my mind felt ‘bright’, ‘alert’, and I was constantly thinking.
Several times, just before I collapsed, I would throw up violently. Nothing stinks like GBL vomit. This would happen particularly if I mixed it with alcohol. I was always careful never to drink heavily, but even a small glass of wine with dinner would be enough to react horribly with GBL.
The day after using a single dose, I would get a toxic-feeling comedown, mostly emotional. I would be aggressive and temperamental, and I was skittish and mentally and emotionally fragile. Withdrawal from GBL occurred, for me, after at least a week of dosing around-the-clock, and was truly horrific. The worst of my withdrawals followed several months of constantly sipping GBL (to the amount of around 20ml a day) and then dosing at least 3 times during the night, usually taking another 15ml or so over this time period. I experienced extremely uncomfortable tingles throughout my body that would be accompanied by pain. My head ached. Sensations of touch were distorted – my hair felt like dry spaghetti, as though it may suddenly snap. My skin felt like sandpaper. Some things were unbearable to touch, such as rough fabric, as though it threatened to graze the skin off my body. I felt vulnerable, and as though my family were vulnerable. At the time, only women were living in my house and I clearly remember thinking that we needed a man to protect us. When I saw that a male friend of my mother’s was asleep on the sofa downstairs I was hugely relieved. I was terrified by the notion of demons, and the future.
I also had intense feelings of dread. I experienced visual and auditory hallucinations. I was highly sensitive to external stimuli, and the sound of children playing or conflicting noises dragged through me painfully. I had severe convulsions and the shakes, and I alternated between feeling as though I were boiling hot and freezing cold. I sweated an unbelievable amount – I couldn’t smoke a cigarette because it would become soaking wet and fall apart before I’d even finished rolling it. My face was so oily it felt like it was practically dripping off me, but the rest of my skin was dry and rough. My eyes looked different, and it was commented on by other people. They were small, red-rimmed and looked as though they had sunk into my face. GBL comedown and withdrawal can cause insane dreams. One I had involved me and my godparents taking LSD, and then my eyelashes turning the wrong way around and scratching my eyes out - I had not seen my godparents in months, and I have never taken LSD. The withdrawal lasted for around a week, but my addiction has never ended – I went back to using a few weeks later.
Provided I'm not using GBL, alcohol really helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Marijuana helps, too, but probably with a pipe or a bong – it’s impossible to hold a cigarette without it dissolving in sweat. I have read reports that state that withdrawal gets worse each time you go through it. This has not been my experience.
Undoubtedly my worst experience whilst under the influence of GBL happened a few months ago, and ended up with me in a kind of psychotic state. I threw up in my bedroom and my boyfriend tried to clean me up and put me to bed, but I said I needed the toilet. I walked to the bathroom but passed out on the toilet. My boyfriend came and cleaned me up, and again tried to get me to go to bed. However, I threw up again and then tried to go downstairs. He tried to stop me, but was unsuccessful. I ended falling down the stairs and bruising myself all over. This is the point where I lose a bit of my memory and there are blank spaces. I remember going into the garden and somehow falling over again, cutting my knee and ankle. Now bleeding and covered in vomit, the next thing I remember was falling over in the living room. Again, I caused myself a bit of damage, and I looked up and saw my brother. My brother and I have always had a weird relationship and I find him very intimidating. His presence must have disturbed me emotionally, because I freaked out – I started screaming and crying hysterically. Again, at this point, I lose some time... the next thing I remember was throwing up again violently all over my bedroom, which my boyfriend kindly cleared up. The next morning I woke up and couldn’t remember a thing – it took a few days for the memories to come back to me and there are still gaps from that night. I had not taken anything other than GBL and had never had an experience like that before, nor have I since.
Carrying GBL around everywhere is hard work. I’d have to try to make sure I had enough on me to ensure that no withdrawal symptoms kicked in but not so much that I would get tempted to take it all and resultantly pass out. I would sometimes carry round as many as 4 bottles with me, and when going out to clubs or other places where I may have been searched on entry, I would put a couple of doses in a plastic test-tube and then hide this in an empty tampon packet. GBL would, however, leech colour from bottles and the colour of the GBL would change accordingly. It can also completely dissolve some bottles.
Despite all I’ve said, GBL can be an incredible drug. I’ve had far more good experiences than bad, and there were plenty of times when I took GBL and did not pass out, vomit, or experience any negative side-effects whatsoever. It’s also extremely cheap, and enhances sex. I have never needed any medical help as a result of using GBL; I have never been taken to hospital, although I’ve had a few close calls with worried relatives.
There are certain harm reduction methods that I would recommend to anyone using GBL. 1) To protect your mouth, dilute it greatly, use a straw, wear protective lip-balm and rise your mouth out after drinking it; 2) never mix it with alcohol or any other intoxicants, including prescribed medications; 3) do not use it for more than a few days or addiction can develop; 3) the second you feel your eyes starting to close against your will, get to a safe place where you can sleep it off; 4) never smoke unless you’ve got a sober sitter. It’s so easy to fall asleep and accidentally set something on fire; 3) when sleeping, lay on your side to prevent accidentally choking on vomit; 5) don’t take it if you’ve got to go out somewhere, as collapsing in public is just too dangerous; 6) drink lots of water; 7) use a moisturiser to prevent dry skin; 8) be careful not to get it on your skin – it can cause a nasty burning feeling and dry, flaky skin; 9) colour your GBL with blue food-colouring to ensure no-one drinks it thinking it’s something else, and always label it clearly; 10) keep it in an appropriate container.
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