Downer Junkie Asks:How Am I Supposed to Sleep?

March 1, 2010 — 10 Comments

One of my huge problems has always been that when I lay down to try and go to sleep…I think and think and think. Thoughts pop into my head about certain things I should have done, things I’m supposed to do, things I have no business worrying about but can’t help it. If you read my story you can see that this seems to be a big part of my drug use.

This was a major reason I would self medicate at night. I always wanted to just drift off to sleep without having to think about anything. I tried counting and deep breathing. But that didn’t work. Drugs worked.

But now what? I’m not taking drugs anymore, I’m in recovery. So do I just go back to worrying myself to sleep? No. Just like anything else, being able to sleep properly without drugs took work. I spent many, many sleepless nights my first couple of weeks in recovery just sitting up and watching TV all night. This was driving me crazy.

I took the advice of a counselor and started a bedtime routine. I didn’t have much of a routine when I was using. Usually I passed out on the couch with my clothes on. Glamorous, I know. But a bedtime routine? Yes. A bedtime routine. I start my routine by having a coup of sleepytime tea. Then I tried something really out of the ordinary for myself…bedtime hygiene. It seems kind of gross but when I was using I never even thought of brushing my teeth or washing my face before bed. Like I said, I usually just passed out. Then I usually write in my journal for a little while and then read.

Reading has become a big part of me being able to fall asleep. I suggest it to anyone who is having trouble sleeping. Get yourself on a new nighttime routine that involves positive, relaxing things. Stick to it even if it doesn’t work right away. Soon you will let your body know it is time to unwind, relax and drift away to sleep.

10 responses to Downer Junkie Asks:How Am I Supposed to Sleep?

  1. dear sir
    i had a addict to tramadol about 30 gr/day
    i have leaved that about 15 days ago but i cannot sleep in night please guide me a choice sleeping drug
    regards

    • You can come of Tramadol (another crap drug invented to make heaps of money at our expense) reasonably easy by drinking a lot of water (although this means a lot of midnight toilet rushes) and having an emergency supply of paracetemol.

      Realising it won’t last forever helps too – there is no back up drug – that’s silly – unless you genuinely have pain, not imagined. Benzo’s would be an EMERGENCY back up only for ONE NIGHT and you had a REAL reason to sleep (not just churning thoughts). Sorry, if you are serious, that’s the way the world turns. Don’t turn to drugs. What got you where you are now? And I am liberal in my advice but you really need to read up a bit more. Sorry, but sometimes we are too soft with one another.

      Mind you, if you haven’t slept in 15 days that is another issue altogether. I’d go to hosital (they are free here and I know they are pricey in the States but sometimes you have to weight things up). Sometimes you can dream you are awake, if that helps. Everyone over 29 usually feels a bit crappy in the mornings – slow process waking up – so don’t blame Tramadol for that. Blame life and getting older.

  2. It’s actually Dear Mam – but you didn’t know that, so I’ll let it slide this time.

    If I can’t take drugs to sleep…no one can!

    Taking a drug for sleeplessness is just a temporary fix. If it is your thoughts keeping you awake you need to find a way to quiet those thoughts.

    For me, reading is the only thing that helps. I read every night until I can’t keep my eyes open. Then once I put the book down, I concentrate on my breathing and I drift off to Lala land.

  3. Erin,

    How many sleepless nights did you have before you could finally sleep? I went 3 nights of insomnia and also thought I was going out of my mind. My doctor prescribed me Ambien CR and I was finally able to sleep on the 4th day by taking it but I ended up getting terribly sick and missed all of the next week of work.

    I felt so terrible and knew if I couldn’t sleep I’d lose my mind. I still have to take Ambien to sleep at night. I have no vacation left now that I can take but would love any suggestions people have to help me wean off of a sleep aid. I think that is why I still feel so bad and have no energy.

    Does the sleepy time tea really help? I think I’ll stop on the way home and get some and try that tonight.

    • LEAVE DOCTORS ALONE – THEY DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD UNLESS YOU HAVE AN AXE THROUGH YOUR HEAD. You cannot get off Ambien easily – usually it’s the very slow (year or so) route via diazepam (Valium) and REALLY using those halves and quarters. Never allow them to give them to you in a bottle – too easy to lose control – insist on blister packs.

  4. I can say for myself I didn’t want to get into the whole sleeping pill thing. I know myself pretty good and knew that I would probably abuse them if given the chance.

    Like I said I got myself on a strict bedtime routine which I got used to pretty quickly. Nighttime tea which I found worked for me (even if just mentally), Night time hygiene. Sad to say that this was lacking for a long time while I was actively addicted.

    Next I read…and read and read until I can’t keep my eyes open. That’s basically how I got through those beginning months.

    Now, I don’t have to think about it so much. I just do my nighttime routine and I usually fall asleep pretty quickly.

  5. Hi

    I have the same problem. I am still using relatively (for me) small amounts of alcohol when I get home, then nod off about 8.30 (I get up c. 5.30 for work) and wake at 2.00 PM and PANIC – the old small problems become WW2 if you know what I mean.

    Yet to come up with a real solution but these may help:

    a) Don’t use Benzo’s Inless you blitscrieg – sorry about the WW2 references all the time) – they just knock you off for an hour or so;
    b) No Alcohol or tobacco – I know it is belted into us but they don’t help, no matter how bored or panic sticken you are;
    c) and yes, warm milk DOES HELP (now, who would have thought mainstream medical advice was of any use – I always know better!;
    d) Go back to bed – you are getting almost as much rest awake as asleep – hold that thought!!!
    e) Enjoy the drowsies as they come through – even though it is a bummer when you are with friends in your dreams and you wake up alone again….
    f) You are doing everything right (sort of) so skip any guilt trips;
    g) I was going to say ring someone up and tell them you are from a new phone company and would they like to hear your new deals (dunno why that works – it is mean) – you really cop abuse and I think your poor victim will sleep OK – just don’t ring me);
    h) Have a shower and pretend you are someone normal like Carole King or someone?

    Don’t ring friends unless it’s an emergency – you will lose them,

    Hope that helps. Maybe it might help to know you are not alone (although our time zones are different) and there is someone going through the same torture as us.

  6. Funny.

    People go to doctors for help. They are just people, stumbling around in the dark (especially in this field but they need to look like they know what they are doing – now that’s a joke!!!!),

    I work in the health field and a GP (with a strong D&A background once wrote a prescription for me that said no going to Doctors with these sorts of problems) unless you need the key to Suboxoe program or Done (well…your choice – it does stabilise) – or if you have a broken arm or something sort of really obvious.

    Most psychs are useless – anti depressants (SSRI, SNRI are all basically the same crap no matter what they tell and they are causing a real problem for the future; tricyclics are a bit different in that they are are useless or send you into a come and if any prescribes Nardil – or “one of the much older ones I have found to have benefits in cases like yours”, just get up and walk away) are very widely misunderstood – if you have been comatose for two weeks – sure – they may help – otherwise they are junk. Just junk. Another thing they never tell you is if you are drinking you will get no effect from them at all.

    Look for good ears, be a good ear, praise your victories, forget your failures (like, unless you are a mass murderer or something equally ghastly, like started a war by accident – now, come to think of it, there are a few of those – the ones that started the GFC are different – they did it on purpose), people are only interested in themselves usually). Life may seem like it goes on forever but it is short. And no one want to end up in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s – loose point but it will sink in if you think.

    You can interpret that two ways – 1. Your agony in this stuffed society will also be short, or

    2) Better get it get it together quick cause all those fags will kill us quicker than anything esle.

    Love you all I suppose (P.S. can anyone tell me what LOL means? – I thought it was lots of love thing but it’s now turning up everywhere?).

    Sorry – I am as weak as you but these are observations from a 55 y.o. hill (there’s a reference there – anyone get it?). Don’t fret about self medicating, fret about self OVER medicating!!!!

  7. Sorry about the typos – funny “hou” get used to spell check.

  8. Try something with Melatonin. It is considered safe (not mind-altering) by leading authorities on addiction and works with circadian rhythms to restore sleep health. This is my FAVORITE one, it has lavender in it too, which has long been considered as a natural sleep-aid: https://www.youngliving.org/rs_ord_item_detail_popup.asp?ITEM_CODE=4760&IS_GUEST_SHOPPING_MODE=1&CC=

    My friend is a recovering addict and it has really helped him to overcome insomnia. Personally, I used to take Ambien but once he got clean I stopped. The sleep essence has helped me overcome that tremendously. If you don’t want to get that specific, just google “melatonin” and you can find it in many vitamin/health care aisles. good luck !!!! zzzzzzzzzzzzz

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