Lee - Heroin User

I know it will be one long week. I also know that I’ll probably score once in that time.

I go for valium to relax the muscles and I find quinine good for cramps. I get all the usual prescriptions the clinics or doctors offer for symptom relief. I make sure I have plenty of fluids.

I know I’ll be upset and depressed, and just want to cocoon. I don’t want any contact with anybody. I know it will pass. I remind myself it’s all in my head, and I stop myself thinking negative thoughts.

Michael - Ice User

My top tip is sleep. Sleep lots. Lots. The lethargy is incredible. The detox takes about 7 days and I sleep most of that. I find I need to use an antidepressant such as endep, to help with sleeping. I also use clonadine to help with discomfort – some of the ice around now can hit you like a heroin detox.

I really think if you are stopping from quite a spell and you are looking at staying stopped that it’s worth getting a psych assessment, as sometimes that can help sorting out the right meds.

I get very anxious, paranoid and irritable. I get anxiety from cravings, but valium (or any benzo I can get) definitely helps me control that. I want calm surroundings, music I like. My advice is to not be around anyone who will aggravate you. If you are still in psychosis you will want to be on your own. You can get angry and aggressive from anything, you know, just from the toilet door not opening.

It’s also really important to drink heaps of water. Rehydrate continually. Water will clear it out, wash it all out.

You really need to let your body recover. You’ve probably run your body pretty hard while you’ve been using, so be nice to yourself. Remember to eat because you may not have done that for a while. I can really eat a lot. I eat lots of fruit and make sure I top up with vitamins. Also I find I need a good laxative because it builds up when you’re using. I once had an x-ray and it showed the stool all impacted and backed up from using. You need to clear all that in your detox.

Another thing is that you get really horny on ice and you have lots of sex. I know some guys who end up with red raw penises after an ice binge. So let all that settle down, be calm, be good to yourself.

I make sure I don’t give myself a hard time, that I am gentle and do all the things that relax me and make me happy. 

Nathan - Ice User

I can go up to a couple of weeks on ice, but I can feel when the psychosis is coming on. When the cash is running out, the realisation sets in that I have to pull up. I do it to get a break, and I know that I have to do it if I want to have another big pig out later!

My trick is to make sure I have plenty of sleeping tablets and heaps and heaps of cold drinks ready. I know I’ll be crashed for at least two or three days to properly get over it. I always feel completely drained and really short tempered. For me, I don’t want any support from others; I just want to be left alone to get over it.

Chanti - Ice User

I bomb for three or four days, but the dump is the easy part. I find day four/five is when it starts hurting for me. The real detox. I get so depressed. It’s really hard to get through it. I give myself pep talks: “It’s just a feeling, you big drama queen! You’ll feel differently soon”. The amount of times I have felt nothing would ever feel ok again is legion. But I do eventually feel ok and I have a better chance of it if I see the detox through.

It’s always best if I get out of bed and out of my head. I make appointments I can’t get out of, like with family. Yeah, I’m not at my best, but I need a distraction where I can’t easily leave and use. Just watching a DVD with someone safe can help. A laugh makes all the difference. I do all sorts of delaying and distracting projects - things I’ve been putting off like sewing buttons back on or using that craft kit I got given for Xmas. I keep myself busy at things that make me feel better about myself.

Milla - Heroin User

Sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I try to get my head right by telling myself it hurts, but it will end. I think it is a lot worse than flu, because the muscle thing is really bad and my head is awful. I have a real problem with running over bad moments in history and making myself feel bad about things I did or failed to do. I try to get out of my head by reading and watching TV and DVDs although my concentration can be a bit shaky.

If I can, I buy a little bit of methadone just for symptom relief. Because I’m not on a program, I find I only need a tiny bit, just a couple of mls, only ever by mouth, and just for the first three days. I also use good old Aspro Clear, which I find really helps, believe it or not. Other than that, I get anti-nausea tablets from my doctor, which I try to take as soon as I reach consciousness on the first two days, to maximise the chance of keeping them down.

I also drink copious liquids, long hot showers really help, especially when your muscles are screaming and you want to punch a wall. I get in there and really stretch my muscles around. Hot water bottles can help too in winter (the best season for detoxing). I make sure I have heaps of clean towels, sheets and trackies ready because I sweat a lot. I always feel very low energy and can barely walk, so need to be stocked up on food – like dry crispbreads and fruit – so I don’t have to go out.

The other thing that really helps me is masturbating – a lot. The orgasm really relaxes the body and I always seem to feel horny when I detox. I don’t want actual sex, and even if I am detoxing with my boyfriend we will masturbate together rather than have sex.

If I’m really serious I will turn off my phone and only turn it back on if I want to make a call and never look at the missed calls or messages. I have been derailed too many times by contact from the outside world.