Heroin withdrawal – what it’s really like

Heroin withdrawal generally takes 3-5 days but symptoms can linger for 7-10 days. Read on for a description of heroin withdrawal from a man who’s been through it. From the book “What’s Left of Us”, Richie Farrell describes heroin withdrawal from the inside-out.

minute read

Day Two. Morning.

It’s 2am and my leg cramps refuse to let me sleep for more than twenty minutes at a time. Sharp, cutting, heroin withdrawal compresses my calf muscles into several knots the size of golf balls. I just finish jerking off for the tenth time since midnight. I’m completely dry, shooting blanks. The orgasms last only seconds and kill the pain for just one short breath. I cannot go on inside this fucking shit-hole.

“Heroin. I need Heroin. Fuck this. Fuck this,” I yell sharply into the cool dark air.

There is absolutely no point is staying here. All I do is talk about my past. I’m outa here tomorrow. I can’t take another five days of this nonsense. My stories ain’t ever gonna change anything I’ve done. What happened to me is “House Business.” Dad said we don’t speak ever about stuff that goes on inside the four walls of our house. It was his Number 1 rule.

I followed Dad’s rule the morning I gave the eulogy at his funeral. It was December 11, 1984. I had about twenty minutes before I met Mom at O’Donnell’s Funeral Home for our last visit with Dad. I needed heroin and I couldn’t mess around with “beat” bags. I grabbed a couple “rainbow” bags and bit the corner. Quinine! The bitterness flip-flopped my stomach. It was pure. The baby laxative was too easy to spot, it made you want to shit immediately. I needed two bags, cost me eighty-bucks.

Lying was easier whacked on heroin.

About the author
Richie Farrell won the du-Pont-Columbia for directing the HBO documentary film, High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell. That film inspired the 2010 major motion picture The Fighter that went on to win academy awards for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo. Farrell's memoir What’s Left of Us: A Memoir of Addiction has been optioned for a movie and currently in development. Richie Farrell is one of the top substance abuse and motivational speakers in the United States. More Info @ My Heroin Life.


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  1. Yes Brother, 3 days. Come out the other side. It can be done. It can be done. Surly, with every difficulty there is relief. Be strong. Be alive. Beat this evil drug. I’m a veteran. I lived through combat in Iraq. That was much fucking harder. I’m on day 2. Thank GOD the sun is up. Yes thanks be to GOD, the world keeps turning. I keep seeing the battle field. Bodies bloating in the Arabian sun. Oh GOD what have I done. I can do this. I’ve been through worse. I long for peaceful sleep. Kick this shit. F#ck this drug. Fu*k it.

  2. Ivwme then addicted to Pills and methamphetamines at the same time and trust me pills are far worse to kick than any drug out there pills are basically heroin an opiate and opiates / heroin or the worst by far drug you could ever ever imagine putting yourself on it has the worst side effects in any drug in the world it makes you honestly feel like you’re dying with several several withdrawal symptoms from meth not so bad you sleep you eatwake up your good the opiate side of withdrawals are everything from cramping legs unable to walk to extreme diarrhea the coughing II can’t sleep nausea basically the flu from hell and you know in your brain all it takes is one little pill and all this shit goes away very difficult to kick but possible it’s better to go to a place change up your people places and things for as long as you can financially to better your mind and heal your body if this just means going to a hotel to shit all over it and go through hell for three or four days because that’s what the drug is it only stays in your system for 3 Days that’s it it can last up to 5 but normally not 3 days if you can go 3 days without taking a pill or doing here when you’re good if you go 3 days the worst is over trust me

  3. I am sick to the back teeth of my heroin addiction. I’ve tried going ‘cold turkey’ numerous times. By day 4, my head flips & although the physical withdrawals are lessening by this point, my anxiety levels are sky high & the thought of using heroin takes over my mind completely. So, yet again, I’m straight out the door. & scoring heroin.
    I can’t seem to work out if the heroin is so weak these days that it does nothing to me or the fact that my habit is now so ridiculously big (I’ve smoked nigh on a teenth in the past 12 hours); but I’m just not getting high off it at all. I’ll go to sleep & within an hour or so, I wake up with the beginnings of withdrawal once more; the sniffles, coughing etc. I would have thought if the heroin I’m using was strong then I wouldn’t be starting to ‘cluck’ after an hour or so’s sleep.

  4. I’ve never tried heroin, but I did take oxycotin once. My then girlfriend said that was bassicaly the same thing. If so I don’t get it. Being unable to keep your eyes open, unable to interact with your environment, being horny but not able to do it, what’s the point? I truly hope that everyone who wants to clean up can. Even a shitty life is better if you’re alert enough to dodge the turds.

I am ready to call
i Who Answers?