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I'm confused...
  1. #1
    TerranceH is offline New Member
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    Question I'm confused...

    When I was 18 or 19, nearly a decade ago, I was placed on Xanax .5mg 1 tablet per day as needed for general anxiety and sleep problems. Since then, I've been prescribed every benzo around. The highest dosage regimen I was ever placed on was 4 1mg tablets of klonopin per day as needed. That was about 4 years ago. For the past 2 and a half years at least, I've been prescribed 3x 10mg tablets of valium per day as needed, and I usually wait as late in the day as I can stand, and then take all 3 for maximum effect. I'm also a moderate alcoholic, and back in my worse days, I would have to supplement my benzo regimen with alcohol because I'd need more. I'm very aware of how dangerous and ill-advised getting a dual dependency like this is.

    I've seen the worst benzo withdrawal has to offer. If I went even a full day without taking my meds, the next day would be worse than hell, with all sorts of paranoia, anxiety, and alien feelings that would make me nauseous; feels like you're going to die. I know exactly what benzo withdrawal feels like, and can feel it as soon as it begins coming on. I used to not be able to drink coffee because I'd essentially overdose on caffeine and it'd whip me into a paranoia and anxiety storm. For the past two years, I've also been wanting to get off of benzos. I've wanted to see what it felt like to live life without the influence of pharmaceuticals again, to see if I could handle it... to see if my sense of taste and smell would come back, to see if I'd have more energy and could actually function in society again.

    Five days ago as of typing this, I woke up and sat where I'm sitting right now, reached down, and grabbed my bottle of vodka. It had 2 swigs left in it, so I polished the bottle off and tossed it in the garbage. That day I forgot to take my valium. I didn't realize it until that night, and said to myself "Eh, I feel fine. I'll just take it tomorrow as soon as I get up." ... I'm now starting day six without any valium or alcohol. I've been drinking 2-3 cups of coffee a day, often back to back. I've been driving around and socializing, something I would have barely been capable of last week. I've never felt this peaceful and focused, that I can recall. This is... or was(?)... not an attempt to get off of my meds, which I've attempted and failed countless times in the past. I carry a bottle of water and my bottle of valium with me everywhere I go, ready to take a few tablets as soon as the withdrawals come on.

    I'm not bragging. I'm not typing all of this up to show off or anything. I wouldn't wish benzo withdrawals on anyone in the world; that's how seriously I take it. I'm typing this up because I'm genuinely confused and wouldn't mind answers. Why am I not writhing in agony, seizing up and spasming, or losing my sanity? How is this possible? What's going on? Why do I feel better than I have in years? Nothing significant has changed in the past few days. I'm pretty knowledgeable in regards to the topic of benzodiazepines. How they work, their chemical reactions, the structural changes they cause in the brain. Can anyone more knowledgeable than myself explain what's happening here? I know I shouldn't even be questioning something like this, really, but my curiosity is too much.

    PS - As someone that's lived with this class of medications for nearly a decade, I cannot stress this enough. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO GO COLD TURKEY OFF OF BENZOS.
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  2. #2
    TerranceH is offline New Member
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    Well, I hate to be the first one to reply to my own thread, but I've been doing some research and read that on average, benzo withdrawal symptoms peak at the 2 week mark. Since I'm already half way there, I guess I'll just keep going. I've noticed some very minor uncomfortable sensations, and have experienced mild diarrhea, though I can't definitively attribute the latter to withdrawal. I've been driving a family member to and from work, a 50 minute round trip drive in fairly heavy traffic twice a day. Yesterday evening when I went to pick them up, I felt some abdominal pain that triggered my only wobbliness since my last dose. I got in my own head and began to generate anxiety, but after getting home and settling down, I reflected on what had happened, and I now know that I was the one who caused the brief spurt in anxiety, and I don't plan to let it happen again. I guess I'll just continue posting here for the duration of my detox. Perhaps it will help someone out there in some way, some how, some day.

  3. #3
    Ricky71 is offline Advanced Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by TerranceH View Post
    When I was 18 or 19, nearly a decade ago, I was placed on Xanax .5mg 1 tablet per day as needed for general anxiety and sleep problems. Since then, I've been prescribed every benzo around. The highest dosage regimen I was ever placed on was 4 1mg tablets of klonopin per day as needed. That was about 4 years ago. For the past 2 and a half years at least, I've been prescribed 3x 10mg tablets of valium per day as needed, and I usually wait as late in the day as I can stand, and then take all 3 for maximum effect. I'm also a moderate alcoholic, and back in my worse days, I would have to supplement my benzo regimen with alcohol because I'd need more. I'm very aware of how dangerous and ill-advised getting a dual dependency like this is.

    I've seen the worst benzo withdrawal has to offer. If I went even a full day without taking my meds, the next day would be worse than hell, with all sorts of paranoia, anxiety, and alien feelings that would make me nauseous; feels like you're going to die. I know exactly what benzo withdrawal feels like, and can feel it as soon as it begins coming on. I used to not be able to drink coffee because I'd essentially overdose on caffeine and it'd whip me into a paranoia and anxiety storm. For the past two years, I've also been wanting to get off of benzos. I've wanted to see what it felt like to live life without the influence of pharmaceuticals again, to see if I could handle it... to see if my sense of taste and smell would come back, to see if I'd have more energy and could actually function in society again.

    Five days ago as of typing this, I woke up and sat where I'm sitting right now, reached down, and grabbed my bottle of vodka. It had 2 swigs left in it, so I polished the bottle off and tossed it in the garbage. That day I forgot to take my valium. I didn't realize it until that night, and said to myself "Eh, I feel fine. I'll just take it tomorrow as soon as I get up." ... I'm now starting day six without any valium or alcohol. I've been drinking 2-3 cups of coffee a day, often back to back. I've been driving around and socializing, something I would have barely been capable of last week. I've never felt this peaceful and focused, that I can recall. This is... or was(?)... not an attempt to get off of my meds, which I've attempted and failed countless times in the past. I carry a bottle of water and my bottle of valium with me everywhere I go, ready to take a few tablets as soon as the withdrawals come on.

    I'm not bragging. I'm not typing all of this up to show off or anything. I wouldn't wish benzo withdrawals on anyone in the world; that's how seriously I take it. I'm typing this up because I'm genuinely confused and wouldn't mind answers. Why am I not writhing in agony, seizing up and spasming, or losing my sanity? How is this possible? What's going on? Why do I feel better than I have in years? Nothing significant has changed in the past few days. I'm pretty knowledgeable in regards to the topic of benzodiazepines. How they work, their chemical reactions, the structural changes they cause in the brain. Can anyone more knowledgeable than myself explain what's happening here? I know I shouldn't even be questioning something like this, really, but my curiosity is too much.

    PS - As someone that's lived with this class of medications for nearly a decade, I cannot stress this enough. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO GO COLD TURKEY OFF OF BENZOS.
    You are 100% correct in saying that no one should quit benzos cold turkey as it can be very dangerous!

    Your situation is unique, unusual and very rare to say the least, I know valium has one of the longest half-life's of all the benzos but surely by now you should be in a world of hurt with full blown benzo withdrawals? Hmmm?

    Are you familiar with Dr. Heather Ashton and the Ashton Manual? She is the authority on everything concerning benzodiazepines. If you haven't read through the Ashton Manual then I would highly recommend it, you can find it easily through a Google search. Keep us updated throughout your journey? Best of luck to you and congratulations on kicking the benzo and alcohol addiction. Take care... God bless us all!
    echo0914 likes this.

  4. #4
    TerranceH is offline New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky71 View Post
    You are 100% correct in saying that no one should quit benzos cold turkey as it can be very dangerous!

    Your situation is unique, unusual and very rare to say the least, I know valium has one of the longest half-life's of all the benzos but surely by now you should be in a world of hurt with full blown benzo withdrawals? Hmmm?

    Are you familiar with Dr. Heather Ashton and the Ashton Manual? She is the authority on everything concerning benzodiazepines. If you haven't read through the Ashton Manual then I would highly recommend it, you can find it easily through a Google search. Keep us updated throughout your journey? Best of luck to you and congratulations on kicking the benzo and alcohol addiction. Take care... God bless us all!
    Thank you for the tip. I've read the words Ashton Manual before, but have never been inclined enough to actually look it up and read it. It does appear to be pretty comprehensive, and appears to contain pretty much everything the medical community knows about benzodiazepines so far. I'm definitely reading the bits that I don't already know. I guess one key thing I did leave out is that I'm a long time practitioner of meditation, about 12-13 years now. I may have reached a new level of mastery without realizing it. And while psychology plays a huge part in withdrawal, especially when it comes to anxiety, paranoia, and terror, physiology also plays a huge part. I suppose my confusion is partially solved. Too bad you can't just give someone thousands of hours of meditation practice in pill-form.

  5. #5
    TerranceH is offline New Member
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    Day 10 of my cold turkey benzo/alcohol detox. Last night I got hit by a pretty significant wave of anxiety. I got tripped up and let my mind whip it's self into an irrational frenzy, even as I sat there and told myself it was all in my head. But it would've taken a lot more than that to get me to give in and take my meds at this point. I made it a point to see myself through the anxiety attack to prove that it was nothing but my mind overreacting and getting stirred up, and I'm glad I made that resolution, because I woke up today feeling just fine, and that only gives me more confidence to see this the rest of the way out. Other than that, nothing new or interesting to post. It feels good.
    LaurieLaSalle and Kayroll03 like this.

  6. #6
    TerranceH is offline New Member
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    Two weeks down. While things haven't been completely painless, I still think I got off easy. I've had a few extremely uncomfortable spurts over the past few days, but they all pass with time or sleep. Everyone in my life knows what I'm doing by now, so there's nobody enabling me or tempting me with alcohol. I still have my meds and some water on me at all times, but unless a situation comes up that absolutely forces me to break my detox, this is definitely happening. I've now come way too far to give up. I'm excited to see what it feels like to be myself again.

  7. #7
    TerranceH is offline New Member
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    Five weeks down! I didn't want to clog up the board with constant posting since things have been going pretty good, relatively speaking. Things have become fairly uncomfortable, and weeks 3 and 4 were pretty rough. Lots of strange and powerful sensations... feelings of falling/sinking, extreme tightness of the jaw, neck, and shoulders... lots of headaches and a few brief but extremely intense anxiety trips (oh, and some mild visual disturbances accompanying feelings of intense head pressure)... plenty of other symptoms that I don't remember as clearly. I found out that the keys to cold turkeying off of benzos is to be confident in yourself, stay calm, and always remember that the weird symptoms aren't harmful, and will pass. Much easier said than done, but kicking benzos is a true test of mental fortitude.

    I know I'm now over the hump because new symptoms have stopped emerging completely and things are getting better, albeit extremely slowly. I can easily see it being a year or so before I'm completely free of the after-effects. Friends and family are saying that the old me is starting to show again, and that I seem to be having fun with life again. And I can confirm that I am enjoying things more and more. Cheers!
    Last edited by Anonymous; 03-08-2017 at 09:29 AM.
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  8. #8
    TerranceH is offline New Member
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    Getting close to the two month mark. I told my doctor what I'd done last week. At first she was skeptical that I had completely stopped taking my benzos, thinking that I had just lowered my dose and considered that "quitting" them or something, but after I clarified and convinced her that I had in fact gotten off of them cold turkey, she was absolutely shocked. She did give me a very mild scolding for doing something so potentially dangerous without consulting her, but in the end she supported what I'd done. She's going to let me try to live my life completely medication free after noting dramatic cognitive improvements since our last appointment.

    I can feel that I'm in the clear and I can start to actually live again. I'm going to stop updating this thread now, but I plan to hang around and try to help other people who are struggling with benzodiazepines. Life is good!

  9. #9
    echo0914 is offline New Member
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    TerrenceH: Please don't stop posting! I'm going to try to do what you did and I'm no where close to the amount of dependence you describe - don't drink, take any other drugs, etc. but I have been on benzo for over 30 years. I never took any higher dosage than 1mg per day and that was during chemotherapy in 2013. I'm now back down to .25 2x per day 12 to 15 hours apart. Most people make fun of me indicating that this dosage is not enough to address the panic/anxiety, but it works for me. Anything higher and I become a zombie and get really depressed. HOW ARE YOU DOING NOW AT THE BEGINNING OF APRIL 2017? Are you still benzo-free? And, how does a doctor assist one in detoxing if they aren't with you when the detox begins? I don't understand how the doctor is going to help me detox....?
    Last edited by Anonymous; 03-29-2017 at 07:16 AM.

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