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I took xanax for 18 years, and this is how I quit
Hi folks, I just wanted to come and offer some positive words about life after xanax addiction. I have successfully managed to pull myself out of 18 years of xanax use. I have taken myself down from 3-4 mgs a day to nothing. I am sharing because when I started my journey into ridding myself of xanax, I could not find any stories of people taking xanax for any serious length of time, let alone 18 years and successfully quitting. Also when I asked for advice, all anyone ever told me was that I would never be able to quit. I had just taken it for too long.
I was diagnosed with panic disorder when I was 13 years old, and the fix from the psychologist I saw was xanax, 1mg 3-4 times a day. My panic disorder was pretty bad, I didn't sleep for 4 days when I started my episode....so the xanax was a huge help and made learning to cope with it much easier.
But over over the next 16 years or so, I had up and down battles with xanax addiction, and other drugs that had a complete grip on my life. Some periods of my life I was taking up to 6 mgs of xanax a day. A few periods of my life I took it for anxiety, but mostly I took it cause I liked the way it made me feel, went great with other drugs I was using, and my Dr wrote me continuous scrips for it.
I had some experiences a couple years ago that made me rethink xanax. I wanted to stop taking it. I felt like I wasn't a man, l felt like I had been hiding behind this pill because I was to scared of real life. Its funny it took me almost 16 years before I realized I was actually addicted. It had just become such a huge part of my life.
I finally made the strong commitment to quit taking the xanax September of last year. I talked to my Dr, told him that I really wanted to stop taking the xanax, and basically told him to stop coddling me start pushing me. He had faithfully written me prescriptions for xanax for 16 years, and I told him I needed him to tell me no.
I took one large leap at first, going from 3 1MG pills a day to three .5mg tabs a day, and after a month on that. I started really weening myself down, a step at a time. a little time on .5mg, then I would take one .5 and split that (so 2 full .5mg tabs and one 1/2 tab), then split 2 a day, and then eventually split all three tabs. After 6 months I was down to 3 .25 mgs a day. So I went back to my Dr, and told him I wanted a prescription for .25MG tabs, so that I could start splitting those. Same pattern, a few weeks splitting one dose, then 2, then three.
Of course, a few times during this I fell and scraped my knee. I had a few relapses. I am human. But I just kept at it. I had some realy bad days, some realy bad nights.
Once I got to splitting my my .25 tabs in half three times a day, I had to start cutting one dose a day out. I did a couple months on 2 tabs, then I finally got myself down to one single .25 MG tab at night. It felt great! Honestly, I was happy taking the 1 half of a .25mg a night, I was proud that I got myself down so far. I wasn't sure if I was going to push myself anymore.....I mean, damn, could I really go a full day without any xanax at all?
Last appt I had with my new Dr, he told me I should just go ahead and stop taking them now, that I was ready. I was seriously skeptical, but he told me that that last small little dose i was taking was nothing, barely any in my bloodstream, barely any cells were getting affected by them, so basically, it was like I had already stopped taking them.
So.....that night, I decided OK, I'll skip taking my dose tonight. and see how well I do. I thought for sure i was going to be awake all night. I was presently surprised, to wake up the following morning, refreshed, and feeling absolutely no craving, no anxiety, no nothing. I felt the same as I did the day before. I thought.....WOW! This is really cool! So, I did the same thing the next night, and the night after that, and the night after that.....feeling no side effects whatsoever.
So now, this is me on day five. Day five with no xanax! I cant believe I did it!
Your tapering sounds very logical, so glad it turned out so well
Thanks for posting this, many who read here or are members will definitely benefit from the information.
Keep it up, and the best of luck to you.. Goodbye addiction, hello life!
Wow, what an inspiring story! Thank you so much for sharing it, so many will benefit from your experience. Congratulations, you really deserve it!
Strength & courage is moving forward in spite of the fear
When I joined this forum, I had a trifecta of chemicals to get off of.
I have been successful getting and staying off of opiates.
Alcohol proved to be a little troublesome - but I have managed to get some clean time (and keep it).
I find myself now facing the last hurdle - benzo taper.
While I am taking a different route then you, your post encourages people like me to get and stick w/ a plan to get off of this cr@p once and for all.
Like you, my doc has prescribed xanax for anxiety for many years. We are now working through the long road of getting to no benzos what-so-ever.
Thanks again for posting - you have helped in a very positive way - for me anyway.
Best of luck.
Persistency is consistency
wow, johnny - you are one determined MAN!!
Good for you....you forged ahead even though you didn't have a lot of external encouragement coming in.
May God richly bless you in your new life.
Tom, Right on man!!! You and I go back to the begining and we have shared many things. I am so proud of you and know this, You are going to make it man. Although Benzo's were never my DOC, I sure took them and know the WD is very bad.... So work the process brother, the taper will work, you ARE strong and you will get through. I am so glad you posted. The inspiration you have given many will come back in spades at we ALL guide you through this challenging time. Your will power got you through opiates and now IT WILL get you through Benzos. Take it as it comes Tom and lean on us. Whatever I can do, I will to support you through this. Remember bro, we are ALL going to meet one day as family. Because that is what we have become.......All my Best Reid (CA)
JOhnny, Sorry to hijack the thread of your proud moment. It is always nice to hear another come through this terrible thing called Addicition. People one this site are battling every second of ever day with this, so it is nice to hear the good news from people like you. Thanks
you know we will be there every step of the way...So proud of you my friend !!!
I have been there and I know it will not be easy..but you will beat it down in the dirt
and smash it till there is nothing left...
you have come so far I know your not going to let this stop you !!!
let us know how your doing !!!
so proud of what you have done and thanks for sharing your story as you can see your helping others
Talk to you all soon, Melinda
If I can help one person with my story, then the battle was that much more worth the fight.
It really took a strong level of commitment, and I think it also helped that I already had a few successful battles under my belt. A year and a half ago I quit smoking, swung that cold turkey after smoking for 16 years, and last year I quit all other drugs.
So next month I will celebrate a full 1 year clean off of all the street drugs I used to take, 1.5 years off cigarettes, and 1 full month off of xanax. I don't mean to sound too full of myself but I think I kick ass
Considering how addictive my personality is, I am just so damn proud of myself for what I accomplished. It took a lot of blood, sweat, and a whole lot of tears, but it was all part of the ultimatum I set for myself. Get Clean so you can start living life. Pretty damn good goal to have
Originally Posted by johnnynodough
You should be proud of yourself. That was an awesome accomplishment. Glad to have you here sharing your incredible story. God bless.
I am not a dr. My statements are based on years of experience and related education. Consult with the professional of your choice regarding matters of concern.
That is an awesome story, so glad to hear you have made it. Benzos are indeed hard to kick, eespecially the mental aspect of them. I had battled with xanax myself and its no walk in the park for sure! Just remain vigilant in your recovery and always remember what you had to go thru in oreder to accomplish this goal! What you did is quite an accomplishment and you should indeed be proud of yourself!
Asking Johnnynodough a huge question
Originally Posted by johnnynodough
Johnny you are AMAZING !!!!!!!! I need help badly - lost my husband and was prescribed xanax and now am up to 2 mgs a day and must quit ! It's ruined my life and I don't know how to stop. Is it possible for you to contact me so you can teach me how to step down? I have no insurance and laid off 3 months ago and am in a panic looking for work but cannot be on this drug - I was so depressed last night for the first time I took a whole bar which I never do ! Slept wonderful but I'm in huge trouble after 3 years on these pills, I want to taper off 2 mgs a day divided into 4 doses - even suicidal sometimes because I'm so angry at my self for being what I consider an addict.
I live alone - no where to turn and very very depressed. Your post was so inspiring ! I know this is asking alot but I must taper off and get myself back to the happy person I always have been....I'm a shell of what I used to be and it's all due to dependancy of this drug.
Thank you and bless you !
Last edited by TXGal; 11-09-2010 at 08:59 AM.
I apologize and didn't mean to take over your thread - I bookmarked it so I can read it over and over and did start my own in the Need to talk forum when I realized what I had done - (I'm new)
Originally Posted by TXGal
I am truly inspired by your huge accomplishment ! You are a strong person and I wish you all the best - you deserve it !
18 years on xanax and now everything is honky dory..dont believe one world of it. i took it for 20 years and now i'm in hell with all the sxs.
Last edited by ddcmod; 04-04-2012 at 10:25 PM.
Well aren't you just a ray of sunshine....
Originally Posted by pepacat
Pepa Cat...... Geeez, Chill out won't cha...... Oh wait, nevermind..
AWESOME ACCOMPLISHMENT! Xanax is probably one of the worst drugs to w/d from. I admire and am in awe of your persistence. Thank you for sharing your story. Your success is an inspiration.
I can imagine you are hurt that you are going through hell. However you came off of these, you didn't get proper help or a proper taper plan in place. I'm sorry you are still dealing with these side effects. However, people need to see the good and the bad of this drug. Johnny took it slow and steady. That wins the race. I hope you get better from this.
Originally Posted by pepacat
Wow!what a great story! I'm just now beginning this scary journey! I have been on them 25 yrs! I'm going to need a miracle! But I gotta do it!
Linda. I noticed that you recently started your "scary journey". I just started mine as well. Would love to share info and progress with each other. I am on a medical detox program for xanax prescription dependence. I am determined to do it, as this dependence is damaging my health. I am 74 years old and my doctor says it is literally killing me, so like you, "I gotta do it!" The story gave me hope, as most people just talk about failure and how awful withdrawal is.
Originally Posted by LindaBrynaert
I'm 50 years old took pain meds for 10 years, I am now 1 1/2 years clean :-). Next step Xanax, I've been taking for half of my life, yes 25 years. I am starting to cut back on my .5 mg 3 times a day. To twice a day and try stepping down. I stopped hydrocodone cold turkey it was 10 days of mortal he**. The stories are very uplifting. Will stay in touch.
I'm in a very similar situation as you! Off pain pills for 25 days and now facing my klonopin dependence. I'm prescribed 3mg a day it's been rising since quitting the pain meds. How are you handling the anxiety while lowering your dose?
staystrong - first off I would recommend that you start your own thread so you can get personalized help and support. There is a benzodiazepine forum that you can start your thread in, here's the link - https://www.drugs.com/forum/benzodiazepine-withdrawal/
Originally Posted by staystrongforme
I would not drop .5mg (33%) like you mentioned, I believe that will be way too big of a drop and could prove to be very uncomfortable but maybe I'm wrong?
You have been on Xanax for a very long time and for that reason alone I would only taper 5-10% every 5-7 days! You can adjust your taper depending on how you feel? Benzo tapering must be done very slow as to minimize or even eliminate withdrawal symptoms! Good luck... God bless us all!
To my surprise I'm not doing bad. I cut back from 3 to 2 pills a day. I have a strong support system at home.
Go slow I still have side effects from my hydrocodone such as RLS, I only now feel comfortable stopping the xanax after 18 months.