My Journey Quitting Juul: Relapse, Recovery, and Maintenance (Part 3)

Quitting finally sticks

My vaping addiction continued. After my last post, I tried to quit but fell back into full-blown addiction again. This relapse continued for weeks. I was pre-contemplative of my addiction again.

For the most part, vaping has no adverse side effects for me. I still go to the gym frequently and can run fast sprints on a treadmill and not be winded. That is how I justified that I my health had remained intact. If I could still run sprints, surely nothing was wrong with me.

But then, suddenly, the dangers of vaping hit me close to home. My good friend’s son was admitted to a hospital with lung problems from his vaping. His son’s habit was similar to mine – he vaped the same products that I did. He was in hospital for almost 3 weeks. The horror that my friend went through as his son recovered hit me hard. I knew that I had to quit and do it soon.

I talked to a physician about what I could do. She told me I could take Naltrexone to curb cravings and Clonidine to reduce the withdrawal symptoms that I get when I don’t vape – I start to get headaches about 30 minutes after my last vape, and she explained that the Clonidine would help me to get through these headaches.

Taking two medications, to quit JUULing seemed excessive to me. While I wanted to do it for the purpose of this blog, I was concerned about taking the same medications that I used to curb opiate addiction.So I was armed with the fear of vaping from the ordeal my friend’s son went through in the hospital, along with the conversation with a physician, and the feeling that knew that I had to quit. But I spent another week contemplating when I would quit. I keep saying “one more day”, “one more weekend”.

I went back on the nicotine patch. The first few days off of the vape are hell. I had constant headaches and I was so tired all the time. I slept 12 hours one night. I started doing what I’d done when I quit drinking – I counted days. I can now say that I am 30 days free of vaping. It has been hard but also rewarding. I still have the urge to go back to vaping multiple times a day, to feel the pull into my lungs to get the quick fix.

Kicking the habit of vaping is hard. The potential side effects are not easily visible. It’s not quite like drinking, where you get drunk and wake up with regrets, or drug addiction, where you have to go to the black market to buy the goods. Vaping is legal and easy to do. You can get the products everywhere and you can vape anywhere you want to.

Now I am in the maintenance phase of recovering from my JUUL addiction. I have to think about my addiction almost daily and remember why I want to quit.  If I don’t consciously think about recovery, it would be easy to pick up a JUUL Again. Just like I did when I recovered from alcohol, I keep counting days. I badly want to be free of this addiction.

Adam Banks is a certified recovery coach and interventionist at Suntra Modern Recovery.  He received an MBA from the University of Chicago and built a company which United Health Care acquired. He learned his rigor and attention to detail from his career as an airline pilot, holding an ATP, the FAA’s highest license.

Suntra Modern Recovery provides medical treatment for alcohol and opiate addictions via video visit with medical doctors. Suntra’s alcohol and drug intervention services are available in New York, Long Island, and the Hamptons. Treatment for opiate and heroin addiction, including Suboxone treatment, can start today.

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