It was in college, for most of a year. Every night, I'd be snorting the stuff; I couldn't make it through the night without it. I kept telling myself it would be easy to stop, but somehow I never did. Yes, I had a monkey on my back, and its name was Neo-Synephrine.
Okay, it sounds silly, but almost anything can get you hooked, and most of them aren't good for you. In this particular case, I liked to blame my allergist, although that isn't really fair. When I went off my allergy shots early in college, he prescribed Nasalide, then a relatively new anti-allergy medication that you inhaled. The instructions were quite clear that you should take it with a completely clear nose, and suggested using a nasal spray to clear it if necessary. Of course, my nose was never clear (that's why I wanted the allergy medication in the first place), so I got rather into the habit.
It's a little hard to describe how good it feels to have clear sinuses when you live forever without them. After a fairly short while, I found that I couldn't sleep without a clear nose, and given my natural predilection towards insomnia that wasn't good. So it became very easy to just use it every day, and ignore the little warning on the bottle. (Which even then said not to use it for more than seven days in a row.)
This continued for most of a year, until one night Sophomore year, when I took my nightly hit and it stung slightly. I didn't think much of that until the next night, when taking it again felt like I'd sprayed molten lava into my sinuses. That finally got the message through that I was doing myself real damage, and I went cold turkey. It meant a long time of really bad sleep, but it was clear that this situation wasn't tenable.
That was about 18 years ago, and I've been on the wagon until yesterday. My current cold is bad enough that I clearly wasn't getting any sleep unless I could clear my nose, and nothing else was working. And without sleep, I'm not going to recover from this one.
The new nasal sprays make the old ones look pretty pitiful by comparison. Within two minutes of the first shot, my sinuses were dry as the Sahara, moreso than they've been in many a year. It actually ached a bit, but the feeling of being able to breathe completely clearly was still pretty intoxicating, and it actually lasted a full 9 hours, long enough to get some real sleep.
And now, I face the slightly intimidating prospect of dropping the stuff again as soon as the worst of the cold has passed. It's nothing like the difficulty of kicking a real drug, of course. But to a true insomniac, there are few things more appealing than a decent night's sleep, and it's always a little depressing to have to throw away my crutches again...