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Comments: 199 • Responses: 48  • Date: 

BuffaloCC52 karma

I heard getting off of benzo's can be deadly?

blueshandler46 karma

I heard the same for if you couldn't get any. I think watching The Walking Dead helped me realize I better get off them just in case. Lol

peanuts_for_sale18 karma

Congrats OP. This is a MAJOR milestone! FYI alcohol withdrawal can be lethal too in some cases:

https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/featured/dangerous-detox-at-home/

blueshandler24 karma

I actually used these pills to get off alcohol. I had been self medicating for my anxiety. I actually had done nerve damage from drinking. I was able to work that off in this as well. This is the whole reason I stayed with the marijuana. It like instantly killed my nerve pain. I smoked again for the first time on Thanksgiving 2015. I was sitting there just high thinking, "Wholly shit! My legs feel normal again. The nerve pain is gone!" It literally was like a light switch.

FrigoCoder1 karma

Look into ketogenic diets. They are excellent against anxiety, nerve damage, and whatever cognitive and liver damage alcohol and drugs may have done. If you managed to give up two addictions, what's giving up another two, sugar and carbs?

Also, get an abdominal ultrasound, liver and gallbladder issues can do funny things to brain function. Speaking from experience.

blueshandler1 karma

I cut out almost all sugar. Take in considerably less carbs. Thanks for the advice on the ultrasound.

Cartoonzinho24 karma

Did you need to be hospitalized for detox? Did you have any seizures?

blueshandler41 karma

No I did not. I went at my own pace, with my doctor's knowledge. Generally about .5mg at a time. No seizures.

litterbox_hero7 karma

Just want to say congratulations! I can relate to your experience based on my own. I tried stopping cold turkey a couple of times and they were terrible experiences.

It took me over 3 months to taper off using Zopiclone. I felt like I could finally feel things, good and bad, like I had been living life through a filter or screen.

You said you reduced by .5mg each step. How long did it take you and how did you space the intervals? For example for me if I reduced too quickly I was getting withdrawal symptoms so I went back up a step in dosage until my body adjusted.

blueshandler4 karma

I did it based on what I felt was okay to ME. I had realistic expectations. I knew going slow as I could would work. It did, and it made it easier and easier to taper off. I went quicker towards the end.

KennyTheDownsTigr24 karma

Hows the weather round here, is it more clear than it was when you were using? (Pleasing the automoderator..)

Sorry I don't really have any meaningfull question to ask but I just want to say that this post made my day! I'm so glad that there are still good things happening in this world! Keep it up, we are all proud of you!

blueshandler18 karma

Thank you so much! I really do appreciate it!

WhoDaNeighbours1119 karma

Congrats! I was addicted to Xanax for a couple years. I was ordering thousands at a time on the dark net, it was ridiculous. Used to eat 5-10 bars a day at 3.5mg each of alp... Wild times. Entire months I don't remember.... friends I lost, cars I crashed... I agree, coming off Xans, weed was the only thing that made the withdrawals somewhat bearable. I felt multiple seizures coming on, I don't know how I never seized up.

Any crazy blackout stories to share? Did you experience any seizures quitting or did you taper properly? I never had the chance to taper very well since I was buying them illegally, so I used some klonopin/lorazepam to help ease the withdrawals.

blueshandler2 karma

No crazies stories to tell really. Except having to literally fight my brain during the process. No seizures. I can definitely see where the illegal obtaining would effect your coming off. No stress there is needed. That wanting to get more so you have to look less actually makes you take more because you feel like it's a party when you get a lot.

PmMeWifeNudesUCuck16 karma

Do you feel like your time using benzos has had any long term effect on you that’s irreversible outside the addiction itself? I. E. Slow thinking, anxiety, inability to be happy, etc.

blueshandler22 karma

I sleep less and exercise more. I want to enjoy the world more.

zyrquix2 karma

Congrats on getting clean. What is your exercise routine like?

blueshandler2 karma

I like to take 1 or 2 hour bike rides a day for cardio. Lift 10lb weights for strength training. 4x50 curls 4x50 bench press.

blueshandler14 karma

I'm still in the process of healing it feels like. Less and less even thinking the way I did with the anxiety. Just feels like a bad memory.

AfflatusDreams10 karma

How do you manage the anxiety now?

blueshandler40 karma

I try to take in less that causes anxiety. I feel like my depression was my anxiety. That there were some things I had to realize and deal with mentally. I was able to. I only get normal everyday anxiety. Realistic anxieties. A car comes to close, oh shit! anxieties. I have no need whatsoever for a pill again. I'm managing it mentally now. Realizing irrational and rational fears.

iamcherry7 karma

Is there an anxiety disorder diagnosis? Supposedly they never go away, just go into remission, but with the right mentality you can keep it there. Good luck. I'm jealous :')

blueshandler8 karma

I think we are capable of differentiating what types of anxiety we have. GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) was one of mine. As well as panic attacks. The marijuana actually took the GAD away almost instantly. Like it took over the medicine's place. Which is something I used mentally to get my mind on board.

Gristley12 karma

Just watch out for weed. You've come off benzos so I'm sure you'll be fine, but weed is a slow burn. Ive been smoking for 7 years. In year 3 I started self medicating for anxiety and depression which meant I was smoking daily. It made my depression worse to the point where I was having around 30 cones a day to cope with... Everything. Possibly more. Im now almost 2 weeks clean for the first time in years. It was to the point where I feel nothing when smoking but not smoking meant I was always in panic mode.

I think I'm an extreme case tbh. I think you'll be fine regardless of how long and how much you smoke. Just don't keep replacing drugs with more drugs. (Even tho weed is 10/10 over anything else). Just be aware what it will do to anxiety and depression in the long run. Defs doesn't help.

blueshandler3 karma

I think it all depends on you, and how you look at it. People will want to make you feel bad. That's just depression. A lot, or almost all of the stigma attached to pot by other people is what makes it bad. It's what YOU believe. Because it effects YOU.

Gristley2 karma

Yeah nah my friends are either smokers, or they don't know I smoke. No stigma here.

blueshandler1 karma

I will still get it from time to time. I do believe in moderation. I've seen it do the opposite to people. It's just like any other medicine.

blueshandler1 karma

Marijuana does have side effects just like any other drug. Use it with that in mind. Moderation.

omegatheory8 karma

How tall are you? I only ask because I'm over 230 myself, but I'm 6'3 and don't look 'round' at all.

Also, my mom has been on benzos for 20+ years now, unfortunately I don't think she'll ever come off of them, but it is the only thing that helps with her 'stress and anxiety'. Any tips on stuff I could tell her to help convince her it might be time to put down the xanax?

blueshandler3 karma

5'2". Yeah, I was a ball.

Tell her the truth. The pills are what is causing here stress and anxiety now. That they likely helped in the beginning, but now actually do the reverse.

omegatheory3 karma

Thanks for replying buddy. She's come off them short term from time to time but as soon as the WD start kicking in she's right back to them (instead of talking to her doctor). She stopped getting them prescribed and now buys them illegally, it's sad to see.

I'll talk to her and see. She has a bad habit of denying the addiction a lot, but maybe I'll get lucky someday.

blueshandler2 karma

It's her addiction to deal with. I know that sounds harsh, but it's a reality that will save you. Your peace of mind. You are the only one you can change. Wish for the best and never give up on her.

BORKBORKPUPPER5 karma

How are you celebrating your 1 year?

Congrats! I'll have 2 years on January 25th... clean from benzos, opioids, and alcohol. Life is good!

blueshandler4 karma

This! LOL

thissiteisawful5 karma

I feel like I'm approaching the addicted to xanax part. I've been prescribed klonopin, lorazepam and currently on xanax. I'm a big recreational drug user but mostly just weed and xanax because its what i can access. Some days I take 0mg (once or twice a week), most days around 1-2mg and then once or twice a week (but becoming more common) 3 mg and higher.

So my question is, when did you realise you were addicted? Was there a time where you were in a similar situation where you "felt you were becoming dependent?"

blueshandler2 karma

I've always lived with drugs in one way or another. I was prescribed these pills. I took them on good intentions, as well as bad I guess. We are who decides what is good and bad in our lives. Do YOU feel like it does? If your answer is yes, stop doing that. YOU know you are doing the wrong thing. Start doing the right thing.

I guess I'm trying to say, "quit listening to all the medical nonsense that is just words to you. Let the doctors worry about that language." Just be truthful to yourself. Tell your doctor everything you believe is relevant. After coming off, I definitely know those pills actually caused my anxiety after a while. That I had become dependent on these. So I wouldn't recommend pills to fight it. They generally just mask the symptoms.

You kind of have to get it in your mind that they are bad. That YOU need to get away from them. I literally had to learn to trick my mind. I learned what it meant to not be in control of your brain. It would do things, like ticks I would say, on its own during the tapering off. That's why I believe it is all in what YOU believe. Take the positives from it all though. Don't focus on the negatives. When worrying about medicine, there is way too much information out there for us to be concerned about. Quit over analyzing everything and realize it just is. Deal with that.

HGClix5 karma

This may be a dumb question... I've been on benzos for 10-15 years, what would be the positives of stopping if it's prescribed by a doctor?

blueshandler6 karma

Mine was prescribed by a doctor. Imagine the inevitable happening, and you can't get any pills. None. You most likely WILL die. Coming off slowly now seemed the right thing to do. In case, you know, zombies......LOL

304rising5 karma

I got prescribed benzos a year and a half ago for my anxiety! Had to quit about 2-3 months into taking them because I was starting to slightly abuse them. People don’t realize how easy it is to abuse these. Was there a certain point before you were addicted that you noticed you started abusing them?

blueshandler3 karma

I don't think I really ever abused them. I did feel that way morally? There would be days where my anxiety was higher and I would take like 2mgs instead of .5 alprazolams/Xanax. I think that is a part of depression. At least mine.

febm5 karma

Still getting any side effects? When my doc stopped mine I had wicked RLS for a year or so (they had me on a lot)

blueshandler1 karma

Nothing that is noticeable to me. I feel great.

kitikitish4 karma

What's for dinner?

blueshandler24 karma

Mainly chicken. I found that foods actually can depress you. That a good diet is essential for more than just a healthy body, but a healthy mind as well.

lurking_digger3 karma

Which foods were the quickest to affect you?

blueshandler2 karma

Greasy ones. Pretty much all fast food lol.

comicgrl2113 karma

First off, congratu-fucking-lations! I'm genuinely so happy for you that you've found light in the darkness.

I used marijuana to get off Zoloft and still to this day smoke it lol. Without marijuana, I don't know if I'd still be taking the pills or dead because of how depressed I was becoming.

Would you ever consider telling your story for pro-marijuana purposes? Stories like ours help raise awareness for many different causes.

blueshandler1 karma

Definitely.

IAmThe0neWhoKn0cks3 karma

How long did it take to wean down completely from the klonopin? Did your Dr offer anything to aid (besides weed) while you were weaning down?

I weaned down from 4mg/daily (klonopin) years ago (can’t for the life of me remember it though - my memory is shot) but ended back on 1.5mg/daily now. I’m ready to get off but anxious at the thought of it. At this point though I’m only on it because my body is addicted to it. Been on it since I was a minor and wish I’d never started.

ETA: should add that I admire what you’ve done and congrats! As someone who struggles with this also it’s very encouraging to see someone who has done it and can share a positive experience.

blueshandler1 karma

I didn't need anything else. It probably took me about a year at my own pace to ween off. Thanksgiving 2015-January 7th, 2017.

Edit: The clonazepam alone probably 3/4 a year.

smacattack33 karma

My dad died earlier this week from prolonged alcohol abuse. It’s nice to hear stories of addicts who are making it out the other end alive.

What was was the driving force behind deciding to stop using? What was it, to you, that felt like the breaking point?

blueshandler7 karma

I think it was my little brother telling me I could die from not having my anxiety medicines. I didn't realize that before. Funnily enough, The Walking Dead also played a role because I had gotten into that series and thought of the possibilities lol. Think about it though, that could realistically happen with some weird virus or something? LOL <--- That amazement and wonder at the world are a good thing if you focus on good things and not bad. I realized everything I was taking in was negative. ALL of that contributed to my depression/anxiety.

seizuresrock3 karma

[deleted]

GSKashmir8 karma

I'm currently getting off Xanax. Try tapering very very slowly. Like legit, just grind off a sliver of a pill every night. It's worked for me so far.

blueshandler1 karma

Congrats!

BlahBlahBlah_smart3 karma

Did you end up substituting other vices?

blueshandler12 karma

Funnily enough, I actually used the momentum of quitting the pills and quit vaping/nicotine. As well as even caffeine. I realized the things we put in our bodies actually contributes to depression. To continued unhealthy living. That it truly is a lifestyle thing. That happy and healthy are like peanut butter and jelly. It's not a coincidence. That's just the way it works. The Universe just works that way.

warstallion16 karma

Is marijuana not a vice? I know it's supposed to basically be a health food nowadays, but...

blueshandler1 karma

Considering I've substituted alcohol, alprazolam, clonazepam, nicotine, junk food, and caffeine for the marijuana, I feel it is safer for me.

Eric_SS2 karma

I just wanted to pop in and say congratulations. I just hit 2 years benzo free and am still struggling with a host of post-withdrawal symptoms but it is getting better. The windows and waves make it a very frustrating experience. How are you doing mentally and physically since you quit?

EDIT: Resubmitted with a question

blueshandler1 karma

Amazing! I feel like I am living a completely new life. I exercise, eat right, etc. Life is good.

zeny-zen-zen2 karma

Why did the mods remove the videos? The video you made really inspired me. I was going to skip my workout today, but not anymore. Thank you!

blueshandler2 karma

No clue. It is what it is. I don't worry about things like that anymore. I'm sure their intentions are good.

zeny-zen-zen2 karma

See exactly, you have a great perspective. Also felt like I had to word it as a question to make sure it didn't get removed ;) Lol! Thanks for sharing your story and what you said in your video.

blueshandler2 karma

Thank you for listening!

napajigneb2 karma

What was your experience like using marijuana to help you come off of the benzodiazepines? Did it help with the anxieties? I’m currently taking klonopin on a per need basis, but I try to stay away from it as much as possible.

blueshandler1 karma

It took away the GAD for me. Then helped lift my depression. Which caused the anxiety.

przprz2 karma

I hope you read this man. I was clean 3 months but I recently relapsed again.. I'm on 4mgs of Xanax right now and I'm starting to feel the withdrawals. Should I wean off? I don't believe In Rehab they have never worked for me, but I've done it myself. I have a great job I love, im a daily jogger when I'm not a drug addict, and im a prettyvspciable dude. But this drug destroys all that, yet I can't seem To stay away from the synthetic love and pleasure I get from it.

Pls send help. Lol ok but honestly what are some simple steps i can take so next time I can keep going longer being sober.

blueshandler1 karma

You need to deal with what is making you sad. Realize that everything in your life is the way it is supposed to be. That YOU can be absolutely drug free. That as a child you were. That life was amazing back then. That you CAN get THAT feeling again. Internalize your life. Look at it through a microscope and look at how what you do effects everything else. It's all related. Everything we do adds to our condition. Mentally and physically. That we set up our lives to live one way or the other. That we need to change something even if it hurts us. Knowing that the pain will only be there now instead of later. That it will come regardless, and it's best to deal with it now so we CAN live. When were you the happiest you remember? For me it was when I was a kid. So I do things like a kid again. Ride my bike. Go swimming, etc. LIVE your life. LOVE your life.

przprz2 karma

I do love my life, I do have other things to keep me busy, but you are right maybe I haven't gotten to the core problem of why I keep doing this. Maybe I am sad or depressed and i keep running to this to get away. Thanks alot, wish me luck and I won't stop cold turkey. I'll wean off again.

blueshandler1 karma

Awesome!

hildebrand222 karma

I am going to graduate school as a pharmacist this year and was wondering (besides the weed) what you personally found helpful, mentally and physically, to transition off these medications? There's a huge problem nationwide with these being prescribed so congrats on being able to work off and feel great too!

blueshandler2 karma

Realizing that none of this crap matters. That in the end, we all end up the same way. That it doesn't really matter what we do here to anyone but ourselves. That I need not worry about that. That I should only focus on making my life better, because that is the only life I can truly change. I went to church until I was 12 as a kid. I do believe the moral good taught there is actually important to healthy living. That if we actually think it is bad, it is to us. If we think it is good, it probably is. Only you know the real answers here. Listen to your conscience. Do the right thing!

Midnight20122 karma

When I've done Benzo's, even low doses, it completly inhibits memory formation. Just black. This is, IMO, a completly unnaceptable side effect.

Did this happen to you? Does this happen to people when they are prescribed to them daily? I dont see how would you function? It would be like the movie "memento". I've always been curious about this.

blueshandler1 karma

Did you see how I acted in that first video? That was what my mind looked like on them. Confused. My whole thought process changed.

Cactuscuts2 karma

Congratulations on your success! I take a small amount of (1mg klono) every day to sleep at night but since I have been for years I know getting off will be horrible. I am mostly scared of the rebound anxiety I have been warned about. How did you handle that? Did you use a temporary substitution ?

blueshandler1 karma

I haven't had any rebound anxiety. I dealt with things in my life. Realized things. That life is just how it's supposed to be, and that we can change ours. I feel it is literally like a fuel. We take in negative, negative comes out. We take in positive, positive comes out. You have to set your life up to constantly take in the positive so you worry less about the negative.

gibs2 karma

The best thing about this is how happy you look! Congrats on getting off benzos, they really are an easy trap to get sucked into and incredibly difficult to pull yourself out of.

Did you follow a specific schedule to taper off benzos and then marijuana? And did you feel you needed a replacement for the weed, or is the exercise regimen doing it for you? How's the anxiety these days?

blueshandler1 karma

The weed like took over the other medicines. I could feel it. It was just a matter of working on the actual addiction part. Weening off safely. The exercise does take over for the weed, but I like it. It has way too many benefits for me. At least right now. I also smoke a lot less than I had been. I felt like I needed to build up my tolerance to the weed to help with the anxiety it brought.

Azor882 karma

Did you get panic attacks or insomnia during your withdrawal? How would you describe the weening process, easy or hard? Did you crossover and use valium in the taper? How would you describe your recovery one year out, back to 100%? How's current mood and anxiety on a daily basis? Are you on any other medications, like ssri's?

blueshandler2 karma

Close. I felt like I was walking on a high wire a lot of times. Coming close, but never there. That really helped. I just kept telling myself that part was over. That the anxiety was lowering, and that the symptoms were getting less severe.

The weening process was relatively easy because my doctor let me go at my own pace. I think this helped enormously because that was one less stress to worry about. It was ME taking me off the pills. Not my doctor. My doctor was just helpful in the process. A really nice old guy. I don't think I could have done it without his understanding. Or at least me thinking he knew what he was doing and I was fine in coming off that way. I really do believe it is a mental thing, and we need all the ammunition we can get. Take with you the positive things in life to combat the negative.

blueshandler2 karma

I'm not really sure what 100% is because I was never there it feels like. I would say at least 125%?

stillcole2 karma

[deleted]

blueshandler2 karma

I realize normal is relative. We all think we are normal. I have no clue what normal is anymore. You have to realize my world feels like it literally turned itself upside down. I came out of a life long depression in this process. The world still feels really new to me now. It treats me differently. I'm trying to differentiate what happened from coming off the pills, as well as coming out of that depression. Which could all be related, and a domino effect type thing.

toreradegarcia1 karma

You got into these pills because you had mental health problems. My question always is, when you get off the meds you overcome addiction, but how have you coped with the mental illness that made you an addict in the first place?

blueshandler3 karma

Depression addicted me. I had to realize a lot about myself and life in general. That a lot of what I was doing contributed to my condition. I feel like depression can be a learned thing. My parents were depressed. My dad was never there. My mom was single raising two young boys. We lived in a poor neighborhood, a depressed one. Taught me to live depressed. To think depressed. I'm still in the process of finding where I am mentally. So I can see where I have issues. I have them. Just don't know if another prescription is the right thing. ;-)

dick-dick-goose1 karma

Congratulations! But I'm also confused. Do different benzos have different rates of causing addiction? I know that dosing conversion charts always emphasize that the conversions are not exact, that there's a range, and I know the half-life varies a lot between specific benzos too. I take 1 or 2mg of clonazepam on days when I don't work. Been doing this for about five years. A 90-day supply lasts me 6 months at least (I work 3 12-hour shifts/week). I can't take it even before going to bed when I'll be going to work when I wake up because the half-life is around 24 hours, and levels that high are against the rules where I work. I function quite well this way, and it's greatly reduced the binge drinking I used to do. I drink about once a month now, and never in conjunction with benzos.

When I hear about benzo addiction, it's almost always Xanax or Ativan. Is this due, in any significant way, to the fact that their half-lives are shorter than, say, clonazepam (which I've not heard of anyone being specifically addicted to)?

I'm sorry to have made your accomplishments all about me, but, as someone who's been where you've been, can you tell from the info I've given if I'm flirting with disaster? I want relief from my diagnosed PTSD, but I don't want to set myself up for getting addicted. Or maybe I already am?

In my job, I Narcan heroin ODs all the time. I often come to find out that their addiction stems from a legit prescription prescribed for a legit purpose - major surgery, broken bones, etc. that they were just never able to give up, and ended up with them shooting up every penny they could earn or steal.

Am I playing with fire by taking 1 or 2mg of clonazepam 3 or 4 times a week?

blueshandler1 karma

Having been someone who overcame anxiety, I can tell you that this only adds to it. We over think everything. The mind is like a muscle. The more you do something, the more you can do it. Quit working your mind out on the negatives. Worry only about the essentials. If you can, go at your own pace. For YOU. Being smart about it though. Telling your doctor what you are doing. Don't try to quit too much too soon. Just ease out of it.

squattmunki1 karma

How did you get a doctor to prescribe such high doses to you?

This is my experience: (Had to ask a question cause I got deleted) But I feel this is an important story for here.

RN here. Benzos and Alcohol are the worst withdrawals I've ever seen. I work on cardiac floor. We got a 20-something patient who maybe had a seizure (friends didn't come to the hospital with him) and he stopped seizure activity when EMS had arrived. He's admitted for observation. We go over home medications, as you do with all patients. He starts talking about xanax in "how many bars" he takes daily. Shit Shit Shit are my thoughts, while he's talking. Then he said he quit cold turkey a day ago. Fuck Fuck Fuck are my next thoughts.

Then ensues some of the craziest behavior I've seen out of a non dementia/Alzheimer's person. He was in bilateral wrist restraints. Haldol. Geodon. Nothing worked for him. He wouldn't take anything oral...said we were trying to poison him. The doctor wouldn't give an Ativan IV dose high enough to touch him. He would curse us out, spit, try to bite the restraints off. Ask for knives to cut himself loose. lol. It was a fun 2 days at work. Before the restraints he tried to punch a nurse aid. He tried to escape, he dad was holding him down in the hallway screaming "Helllllppppp I can't hold him much longer"

Came back to work the next day and he was in ICU, I don't know WTF they gave to sedate him but he was sleeping like a baby.

Never abuse Benzos.

blueshandler1 karma

Over time I guess. I started at .5mg Xanax 3 times a day. Then was moved to 1mg clonazepam 3 times a day, with a Xanax backup.

CanHamRadio1 karma

Did you ever try SSRIs? Psychotherapy? I would think it's a delicate balance in using marijuana due to the potential common side effects on anxiety and paranoia.

blueshandler1 karma

The side effects from depression will do the same thing. Did they test the anxiety levels on people in those tests? Did they know your high can be a symptom as well? When my depression was deeper/there, the anxiety from the weed was higher. It came down as my depression lifted. Now it is very rare. I check my life whenever I do get anxiety from smoking now. That usually is a sign of stress I need to reduce in my life.

aenox1 karma

I take them occasionally as prescribed for anxiety. Did you ever have stomach problems as a result? Even taking 1mg Clonazepam makes my stomach feel so strange and nauseous.

I've also always had an addictive personality, however benzos never really registered on my radar. Did you feel like your anxiety would just get out of control without them? The first few times I took them I remember being very different from the present, where they make me feel tired and depressed now.

Stay strong and I'm glad you're starting a good new page in your life.

blueshandler1 karma

Nothing that I can recall. I do feel like the pills helped me lower my anxiety levels enough to get away from full blown panic attacks. They did contribute/cause it after too long though. They can be just as bad as they can be useful.