Citation: SeroZero. "The Quit Smoking Usig Kratom Story: An Experience with Tobacco & Kratom (exp101814)". Erowid.org. Sep 17, 2014. erowid.org/exp/101814
I am a 23 year old law student on his final year. Since I live alone, I also make a living as a part-time federal office drone. This is important because there is something about government work that sucks the soul out of its drones that I have never encountered working in the private sector before.
I think it is because the machine is simply too big and one feels like an insignificant little piece working to achieve ends beyond his ability to even understand. We are mostly stuck doing insignificant work (the hiring guide even tells you that while the work you do might be considered childlike/crap/borderline useless normally, remember that you are in the service of a higher calling and yadda yadda) that entails no intellectual performance, no originality, no individuality. In that sort of culture, drug usage is rampant as the only steam valve available to open. This is made abundantly clear in, for example, the Japanese 'salaryman' culture, where office workers are often spotted in trains or subways late in the night/early in the morning, drunk off their saddle and slumped over in a stupor after working impossibly long overtime hours that can stretch well in the double digits per day.
Long story short, a lot of public servants smoke, and a lot of them drink. Although this is purely from observation and experience, the rate of smoking addiction/alcoholism seems much higher than in an average sample of the population. I never understood why any of the above was appealing to anyone, until I got addicted to the first (I never liked the second). I always was more of a cannabis guy, an habit (I partaked every day for 6 months) I had no difficulty whatsoever to kick.
Like most people, I never really wanted to have a nicotine addiction. It crept up on me, without warning. It is very insidious. It started off by bumming a cigarette every now and then from a colleague on my break. There is something about filling your lungs full of smoke that makes one feel alive. It certainly did for me. I loved the warm feeling of the smoke dancing around in my lungs : I've even thought of smoking catnip just for that feeling. It just makes me feel so much less empty than usual.
In addition, nicotine is quite the powerful anxiolytic, which really helps with the aforementioned anxiety from feeling so small, tiny and useless at work. A long time ago, I bought a pack. I'd smoke two a day, but only at work. Then it was three, then five, then eight, at work and at home. I'd buy more packs. One time, I didn't have any smokes on a holiday where all the stores were closed. I felt like crap : irritable, sleepy/lethargic, uncomfortable in my own skin, and I felt those notorious mental cravings all day, and that is when I knew I was addicted. It didn't bother me since I had been smoking for just a few months at that time.
I was not ready to quit yet : smoking was just too convenient (and legal), especially at work. I decided to quit when I lit one at work and felt incredibly nauseous - same brand as always, same circumstances as always. Maybe it was a bad batch. Either way, that experience made a light bulb flare up above my head : I was paying a fortune to kill myself slowly. Nevermind the stimulating anxiolytic, nevermind the smoke in my lungs ; I don't want to die any time before I absolutely have to.
So on I went to a glorious adventure : quitting cigarettes. Even though I easily put aside my weed habit, I knew this would be a different beast because of how I felt when I skipped a day of fixes. I tried cold turkey a few times : a complete and utter disaster. I never made it past day 3. I attribute this to the fact that I used to smoke quite strong cigarettes (classic Dunhills, Hunter S. Thompson's brand).
The government says that cigarette cravings last just two to three minutes, I'm telling you this is complete and utter crap. I timed one once and it lasted around 20 minutes. That is a long time to go with only one thing on your mind, especially because I felt them so strongly that my mind would project the 'smoking permitted' (a lit cigarette with a green circle around it) sign in my vision non-stop for those 20 minutes. It wasn't an hallucination nor a visual - just what happens when you concentrate on a thought : you can 'see' a faint outline of it in your head that translates into seeing it in your visual field. In this case, it was completely involuntary : I could not stop thinking about the cancer sticks, no matter what I tried. So I failed under the thrall of weakness and always ended up buying a pack.
Other symptoms were lethargy, hacking up disgusting globs of mucus that coated my throat's irritated areas and a general feeling of discomfort almost like fever. One notable case was when I was undergoing the classic irritability from nicotine withdrawal and my girlfriend was so annoyed with me she told me to just go buy a pack and smoke one before she went crazy. Sweet! Peer acceptance and rationalization : an addict's worst nightmare. So, of course I went ahead and bought more smokes.
I tried patches. Quitting smoking is perhaps even more expensive than just smoking. The pricing of nicotine patches is completely exorbitant and is quite near outright abuse. Anyway, that didn't work either. Even on the weakest patches, my arm would hurt and feel very heavy and my skin would break out at the patched area. I was told I was allergic to the patches (but not the smokes?)
Finally, the answer came, ironically, at work. The same place that made me start would make me quit. A colleague had told me all about kratom, this new herb he was using for his migraines. I had tried it in the past for seasonal depression and felt great. On the uptake, kratom makes me stimulated, euphoric, concentrated, and possessed of a misleading clarity of mind, because I find that my short-term memory is affected similarly to when I smoke pot.
When I'm at the peak, I feel a very pleasant body buzz, kind of like being wrapped around a warm, soft blanket all day long. On the comedown, I feel relaxed but scatterbrained and my concentration takes a hit, and I can easily enter 'waking dreams' where I'm not sleeping but dreaming while being unaware of either state of consciousness, which often causes me to jolt awake and open my eyes. So, in accordance to its traditional use, kratom is very good for manual labor (and office droning), but poor for studying as I find it can make one prone to forgetting material due to the impairment of short-term memory even though one feels very awake and mentally present - it can bring one to be quite overconfident in one's retention, in fact. I'd also read it kills nicotine cravings, so I decided to try it more fully.
I told my coworker to give me two weeks' worth and offered to pay him ten bucks for his trouble. He usually takes it capsulated but didn't have time to make some for me, so he told me to eyeball it using a slim pill bottle (the same you'd get for Ativan, I'd wager). He usually took a full pill bottle but I took a half to three-quarters because I did not have any tolerance. I took it straight from the bottle with water. This stuff tastes like ass though, but I found out how to take it without tasting it too much : closing your glottis, flatten your tongue, keeping the tip under your bottom teeth. Pour water in your mouth, making it a recipient, then dump some powedered kratom, making sure not to get any on your tongue as this is what triggers the vomiting reflex for me. I ended up being able to take my dose in two shots at the end - it's somewhat of an art.
First day without smokes went like bliss. I did not feel any cravings for nicotine, and the euphoria, pleasant body buzz and painkilling attributes of Kratom ensured I felt no physical discomfort aside from the globs of mucus in my throat. I felt euphoric and productive. I took it every two days so as to not replace an addiction with another and also to acquaint my body with the feeling of having nothing psychoactive. Two weeks later, I stopped the kratom, and I haven't felt a single craving since. In fact, I smoked one just for fun after a week's waiting period : it made me sick more than anything else and my body rejected the idea of having any more. I'm now a month free of smoking and my body is thanking me for it : I have no more phlegm, my pulmonary capacity is coming back slowly and my cardio seems even better than before I started.
One thing though : some users report that kratom makes them want to smoke more. I tried having kratom and smoked a cigarette under its influence (back when I still smoked and was not quitting) and I found that smoking with kratom makes one crave nicotine more than normal for a few days/weeks when one takes subsequent kratom doses. It also brings uncomfortable nausea and is not at all pleasant.
Well, that concludes my report. I quit an average smoking habit for ten bucks and no effort, and I can say it was even pleasant. I hope this wonderful herb helps other nico-captive people!
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