My benzo withdrawal story
By Robert Anderson
I write this having in mind all of the good people of the benzo support group. Wonderful people who, for many months, provided the precious help and support without which I may not have been able to successfully make it out of the benzo hell that I had gotten myself into.
I was taking codeine, morphine, Effexor and Rivrotril, all of which are more or less addictive. My reason for taking these prescription pills was pain. Acute, chronic pain caused by arthritis and fibromyalgia.
The turning point in my life happened in July of 2005. For some reason, I made the decision to extricate myself out of the medication prison that I had gotten into in the last 3-4 years prior to 2005. I made a conscious choice to stop taking each of the drugs one by one.
At that time, I did a quick check on the internet to see how I should go about stopping my intake of these drugs. I found enough information (at least I thought so at the time) to decide to stop taking them one by one.
Codeine was the first to go, with morphine close behind. Some withdrawal symptoms were felt but not enough to stop me. Hey, I was on a roll!
And then I decided to stop the Rivotril. I was on two mgís, one or two pills per day, and I had about 30 pills left on my prescription. I did what I thought to be the sensible thing to do. I started to cut the size of the remaining pills into halves, quarters, eighths and so on until about 60 days later when I finally ran out of them. I had gone way too fast without knowing it. Wow, was I in for a big, nasty surprise!
Two days after having taken the last little piece of Rivotril all hell broke loose. I immediately started experiencing about twenty withdrawal symptoms, a few of which landed me twice in the hospital emergency room. I thought I was dying; I was confused, scared, in pain and in shock. What was happening to me? No one at the hospital knew, I didnít know, none of my friends knew. I thought for sure was that I was going to die in the very near future. I was in a big mess!
It took me awhile to make the connection between my stopping the intake of Rivotril and the horrible symptoms I was experiencing. I was suffering so much from the withdrawal that I was having suicidal thoughts. Every minute was pure hell. I couldnít sleep, think or function in any rational way.
Fortunately I still had the presence of mind to go to the internet and check up on the withdrawal effects of clonazepam. Something was guiding me for sure as I stumbled upon Bill Hermanskiís personal benzo withdrawal site. I started questioning him on what he thought were the causes of my newfound problems. He patiently answered my questions and gently guided me to the benzo support group who in turn gave me all the help and the other answers that I was craving for. Thank you Bill.
After that, the roller- coaster ride started. Bad days, really bad days, a bit of relief, some good days and then a set-back and so-on and so-forth for about fourteen months.
At about the eighth month marker, I decided to take a chance and to gradually also stop taking the Effexor. This exacerbated my withdrawal symptoms for the next two months but not so bad that I would want to go back to the drugs.
I was finally off the drugs and I was not going to let some withdrawal symptoms keep me from reaching my goal which was to be free and clean from these drugs.
Fast forward to July 2007.
Hey, Iím very alive and doing very well .The only known residual symptom that I now have is a bit of anxiety that creeps in once in awhile, say about once every three weeks. This anxiety is mild and I can shrug it off very easily.
Since July of 2005 I have lost about 85 pounds which I had gained while on the medications. I have turned my life completely around. I donít take any kind of pills anymore except for the occasional Tylenol. Funny how the excruciating pain that I used to have is now much less severe without my taking any prescription pills.
Amongst many other physical activities that I now like to indulge in, I also practice karate four times a week. I would never have been able to do those two years ago.
I now know that each and everyone of us has the power of the Source inside of us and that we can do anything we want if we desire it enough and if we continuously focus on the intention of getting through the benzo withdrawal hell or whatever else we want to do. I have since realized that I was entirely responsible for putting myself in the clutches of the benzo monster and thus, I was also responsible for getting out of it with much appreciated help and guidance from the benzo support group. I stopped blaming everyone else for my problems and took charge of the battle and won it without having too many scars to show.
Friends, donít ever despair. You can get through this one day at a time. Focus hard on getting healthy. Be kind and gentle with yourself, forgive yourself and learn to love that beautiful person staring back at you in the mirror. That wonderful Spirit that is within all of you will guide you out of the benzo haze.
Heartfelt thanks to Ina Rios, Matt Samet and Bill Hermanski who kindly gave time and effort to selflessly help me through the darkest times. Thank you to all the benzo support group moderators past and present who patiently guided me through the traps and pitfalls of this complicated labyrinth.
A special thanks to Professor Heather Ashton for her Ashton manual on how to withdraw from benzodiazepines.
And last but not least, thank you to all of the members in the benzo support group. Your collective good energy which flows through the universe is strong and it helps all your brothers and sisters in a very real and profound way.
I am eternally grateful to all of you.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website was not compiled by a doctor or anyone with medical training. The advice contained herein should not be substituted for the advice of a physician who is well-informed in the subject matter discussed. Before making any decisions about your health or treatment you should always confer with your physician and it is always assumed that you will do so.
Last updated 22 July 2015