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Cold Turkey

Going 'cold turkey', or 'clucking' is an expression used to describe the process of drug withdrawal.

If you ask a handful of drug addicts what withdrawing from drugs feels like; I can guarantee that the phrase "it feels like you're dying", will be the most common response.

When I used to be an uppity, snobby, judgemental so-and-so towards drug addicts, I'd roll my eyes and think "darling, that's soooo melodramatic, what a hypochondriac. Total exaggeration".

Then I became a drug addict...and quickly realised that "it feels like you're dying" was the understatement of the century. I'D PREFER TO DIE.


In all my eleven years of addiction, I have not come across a single realistic description of what withdrawing from drugs ACTUALLY feels like. So I am going to describe it in agonising detail, step by step, from beginning to...uh...I can't say 'end' because it never actually ends.


LET'S GET ONE THING CLEAR. THE AMOUNT OF DRUGS AN INDIVIDUAL CONSUMES, BARES NO RELATION TO THE SYMPTOMS OF DRUG WITHDRAWAL.

Withdrawal symptoms normally begin to kick in around six hours after the individual has consumed the drug.


6 HOURS LATER...

  • Your skin starts to feel uncomfortable, the muscles in every part of the body begin to ache and get restless. You are swinging back and forth repeatedly from hot flush to cold shiver. Though your clothes are damp and stuck to your clammy skin, you simply CAN'T get warm. Energy slowly begins to drain out of your body. Your eyes are beginning to water, your jaw aches from yawning, and you have short bursts of sneezing fits.

9 HOURS LATER...

  • The hot flushes and cold shivers have ramped up in speed, and are slamming into you with twice the intensity. The clothes you're stood in are soaked from sweat, but you still cannot get warm. The aches in your muscles now start penetrating into your bones. You are weak and listless. You feel like there's creepy crawlies moving around under your skin, and can't stop the frantic uncomfortable itching on the surface of your skin. You're now beginning to feel mildly nauseous too.

12 HOURS LATER...

  • Moving becomes agonisingly painful; even blinking hurts. Yet your skin is crawling underneath and itchy on top. Your muscles begin to spasm involuntarily. Every part of your body becomes individually restless- each arm, each leg...all separately consumed by restless energy. You've started to vomit and have episodes of diarrhoea which are increasing in regularity. Puke, shit, puke, shit, it's relentless.

16 HOURS LATER...

  • You cannot believe that you used to take actions such as- swapping sweat drenched clothes for fresh, the ability to get to the bathroom independently, and having control over bodily functions, FOR GRANTED! You are now too weak to perform these tasks. You're spewing out of both ends simultaneously.

20 hours later...

  • Every inch of your body; skin, muscle, bone, tissue, blood...every area throughout your body is in agonising pain. Aching, itching, skin crawling, tremoring, sweating, lethargy, on and on it goes. It's at this point you would steal from your family, rob an old lady, overlook the welfare of your children. To put it bluntly, you'd sell your damn soul in any desperate effort to stop the torturous suffering.

CONCLUSION

  1. You would too. You would shrug off your morals, kick your principles to the kerb, and resort to desperate measures.

  2. I attempted to write the experience in gruesome, graphic detail. But it doesn't come close to the horror of what drug withdrawal feels like in reality.

  3. Addiction is defined as a relapsing brain disease; not a choice. If you have the audacity to attempt to help an addict, without experiencing addiction yourself...SPEAK TO THE HAND.

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