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Nearly died on July 4 from Xanax & Alcohol - Need help
first time posting here. I'm mostly looking for some advice following a bad incident on July 4th. For years I have struggled with addictions - I am a college student and always liked to get messed up. No particular drug of choice however, just dabbled in everything a bit (except painkillers and not much cocaine). Regardless, my brain is hardwired to addiction at this point. Alcohol is consumed in various amounts roughly 6 nights of 7 over the past year or so. My usage stems from lifelong anxiety and being too scared/embarassed to see a therapist and actually get help. I would self medicate.
From around Jan - May I would, on average, do a 2mg xanax and occasionally have a few beers 1-2 times per week (I am not prescribed). In april I had some serious PTSD and started to take them a little more frequently. I always told myself the "golden rule" - never eat them on consecutive days. Well, summer rolls around and it became more frequent and almost always with alcohol. On july 3 I ate about 4mg and had 6-10 drinks, then july 4 I ate 4mg and consumed approx. 20 drinks in about 10 hours. Once I blacked out around 10 beers and 3mg, I went crazy and drank as much as I could and ate another 1mg that I swore I wouldn't touch when I walked into the bar, which ultimately led to me passed out in someone's driveway. Thankfully a friend found me and got an ambulance. Had a .26 @ 4:30 AM. Hospital didn't even check to see if I had xanax in my system, they thought I was only there for alcohol.
I realized my problem was much more serious when the next night (july 5) i do it again! 5mg and about 10 drinks and felt relatively sober. Woke up the next morning and told myself I had a serious addiction problem and needed to stop while I am ahead. I have a 3.9 GPA at a top 50 school, am 20 yrs old and have had 6 internships already, currently working at largest accounting firm in the world.....basically I've worked too hard to ruin my life and stay addicted. Thankfully I have good foresight and called my mom and admitted everything to her. I have plans to see a psychiatrist ASAP to actually help me with my anxiety. Fortunately starting on Aug 1 I will be drug tested randomly until december, which will keep me off anything but alcohol (I have gone through this before with no issues, I have good willpower when I tell myself its necessary).
Hence why I am here now. A few questions for you all:
-Who/where do I go to to get my brain and organs checked out? I need to do this ASAP. Today it was taking me 3-4x the amount of time to count up single digit numbers (i.e. 9 + 4 + 8 + 6). I'm have some serious memory scrambling as well. I am also stuttering a ton, talking very fast and a lot, losing train of thought after a few seconds in conversations. If only the hospital had realized I had xanax in me....
-Do you all think that I could have done permanent brain damage? Short-term? or will I be pretty much back to normal mentally after I go through the xanax/alcohol withdrawal process?
I am suffering through the withdrawal but it is really not bad compared to most of what I read online. I am managing and no one at work today could tell I was thinking slowly, probably cause I was talking like a maniac and if anything they'd have thought I was hopped up on something speedy.
Lastly, sorry I know this is a novel, but I am very serious about not returning to xanax or any other drugs. I firmly believe that I have the willpower to do it because I have gone cold turkey from things before for a period of several months at a time without issue. Waking up and almost dying was my revelation.
I think it's great that you spoke to your mother and told her everything, you need to see your primary care physician to get a complete physical to ensure there is no permanent damage, M. I would say this to you...I think you are overestimating your "willpower" to not use again...you yourself said you have done the CT routine from "stuff" before...that right there should tell you that you have a problem, not to mention, you swore you wouldn't touch anything the night you walked into the bar, which led to you being rushed to the ER! Please know I'm not trying to be mean, I just want to be honest with you...you say your brain is hardwired for addiction at this point...it's great you recognize that, now you need to take the steps necessary to "fix" that. I would address the physical ASAP, and look into AA or NA...you're young and it sounds like you have a promising future...take the steps now to get clean...keep posting and please, stay away from alcohol and Xanax...you are playing with fire! Give yourself time to recover (hopefully one of the old-timers here can speak more about any potential damage that could have been done)...all the best to you!
you have been given light, to see the danger of your ways..
use it wisely ..
act on it before it is taken away.. and the light turns into shadows
and then eventually darkness..
alllll my best! and prayers!, too!
Originally Posted by matzo
It sounds like you've been given quite a wake-up call, and if you don't heed it, things are going to get a lot worse. You are clearly addicted; this is not simply a "problem" that can easily go away. And there's a far cry from stopping -- and staying stopped for good. Addicts stop all the time successfully; the real difficulty when dealing with addiction is "staying stopped." Once we're addicted, that disease stays with us for life. There is no returning to "normal" use later on.
You have a disease; overcoming it will take more than tremendous willpower. This disease affects every part of your being - physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual. Stopping through willpower alone only addresses the physical addiction. If we are to stay stopped, we need to address the underlying issues that led us into addiction - and learn the life skills we need to avoid relapse. So, in addition to stopping, you need to get to NA or AA; the 12-step program is a roadmap back into sanity and peace of mind, drug-free. That's where you'll learn the essential coping skills to keep from returning to drugs/booze.
If you are routinely taking benzos (like xanax), you need to taper down slowly to stop. It is imperative to see your doctor and be prescribed an anti-seizure drug, such as depakote. Sudden stopping of benzos or alcohol can lead to seizures or death. It's not something to do on your own.
As for testing, it make NO sense to be tested now. You need to wait until you've been off the xanax, alcohol and any other drugs for several months, at least. It will take time for your normal brain chemistry to return. At that point, you may want to ask for a referral to obtain "neuro-psychological testing" to see what damage has been done. YES, these drugs can produce lasting damage. I overcame benzo addiction over a decade ago, and still, today, have short-term memory loss as a result. I did have the neuro-psych testing, and was fortunate that the damage was limited to my short-term memory.
If you choose to see a psychiatrist, be cautious. Psychiatrists are generally proponents of medication use for issues that can be resolved in a variety of other ways. Do NOT take any drug he prescribes without researching it completely, using this site. If it is a drug that affects your central nervous system - or in the benzodiazepene family - you would be wise to NOT take it. These drugs will re-trigger your addiction. Sadly, not many doctors are well-versed on all the ramifications of addiction, and are likely to prescribe drugs that are not "safe" for us. You must be your own best advocate.
The only way to recover from addiction is through complete abstinance from ANY mood-altering, mind-altering, addictive substances. That includes opiates, marijuana, booze and benzos. ANY of these drugs will re-fuel your addiction, and set you up for a nightmare. There are a myriad of techniques to deal with anxiety without any addictive substance; please look into them.
Take action immediately, while the memory of July 4th is still fresh. Our determination tends to diminish as time passes; our disease likes to tell us that 'it wasn't so bad after all' - which leaves us stuck using. Get to some 12-step meetings. Make an appointment with your primary care doctor for an anti-seizure drug, like depakote. Develop a plan (with his help) to taper down off the benzos safely. Please don't put it off... you're too young to continue on such a self-destructive path.
You will know the truth - and only the truth can set you free.
How's things going? We're hoping to see an update from you.
You will know the truth - and only the truth can set you free.
you are me ten years ago. Do yourself a favor and do whatever you have to to address this and get past it now because I wasted another 10 years thinking just as you are. That I can control it, that I can stop and have the will power to stay stopped. You're kidding yourself and I'm talking from experience. Ten years ago I was in my second semester at a top 14 law school but I had a growing addiction problem. I went to a drug councilor and got the best advice I have ever got. He told me to stop whatever I have going on, go where ever I have to go, do what ever I had to do but get clean now or ten years from now things would be 100x worse. And they are. I used every excuse not to get help. I couldn't stop law school....well that went great because I ended up dropping out because my addiction got so bad. So I have 2 years of law school done and it means absolutly nothing, its too long to finish now the credits are useless. You say you have all these opportunities, well don't do the right thing right now and you won't have them in ten years I garuntee that. Your life will continue to spiral out of control and addiction gets worse your only 20 you haven't even felt wd yet. Keep it up and you will, I was taking 15 xanax 2mgs a day at one point. I didn't start there I started like you a couple of pills when I went out, that turned into pills every couple of days, to every day, and before you know it your waking up reaching for a bottle of pills every day, not to get high any more just to get well. Your past taking care of this yourself and I did the same thing I called my parents and confessed everything figured that would be it. Well it wasn't and it won't be for you either. Do yourself a favor and take that councilors advice and stop everything in your life right now and fix this problem. Then you can go on w/ your promising life otherwise you WILL throw it away.
I have had many xanax+alcohol nights and my share of blackouts as a result.
Most deaths from xanax are because they are alcohol related. You are lucky you didn't stop breathing in your sleep..I had a close call with that once..
But no you didn't do any permanent damage. The haziness and feeling of being intoxicated will pass it could take up to a couple weeks I know exactly what your feeling bro. You are young like me so as long as you stop now you will be fine. BUT IF you are addicted to xanax..meaning you get WITHDRAWALS from not taking it then DON'T just stop taking it cold turkey..you have to taper down or else you can get seizures from the withdrawal.
Trust me when I say xanax is the LAST thing you want to mix with alcohol its very deadly.
GREAT POST RUTH!!!!
Originally Posted by ARTIST658
If you haven't already, do this. Go to the hospital NOW and tell them you are addicted and want help. You'll have a few options, but they'll go over them with you. DON'T leave until the doctors tell you it's ok. Sobering up from this will be the hardest thing you'll ever do, and you can't do it alone.
It's as simple as that...if you are truly ready, you'll go. If you aren't, no amount of kind words, coercion, or self-help will get you there.
Everyone has a bottom; some bottoms are lower than others. These are AA's first three steps:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we
Luck has nothing to do with this, so I will wish you Peace, may you find it now.