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After 2 years on Clonazepam, I am benzo free. Here's what helped me through WD


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My story:

 

I was on benzos for 2 years plus and finally I am off them right now. It's day 14 or 15 and I have felt literally little to no pain or discomfort or anything. I can eat, I'm not depressed or anxious, I'm not sick and I can sleep and i am not seeking out benzos. I was so scared of going through WD and this is what helped me. What I did is not easy, but it's FAR from impossible and the benefits of having little to no WD saved my life in the end.

 

Background:

 

I'm a 35 year old male who was prescribed clonazepam and ativan for a little over two years. I started off taking 2mg of clonazepam and 2mg of ativan. Daily. I've always had a stutter which caused me a lot of anxiety ever since i could remember so that was the initial impetus for me getting on benzos. I just wanted to stop feeling nervous and anxious while at work, public speaking, meetings and all that. But I got sick of the idea of being addicted to them and just did not want to be chemically dependent and started to freak out because I realized how long I had been taking benzos. I had dabbled with xanax in my early twenties before but never was on them that long as I was with clonazepam and ativan. I remember how horrifying the xanax WD was, so I was expecting the worse with clonazepam and ativan. I did a bunch of research and prepared to get out of this hole I'd dug myself. Christmas break was when I was going to jump off. I bought a bunch of water, food, vitamins and had two weeks to myself to get off.

 

To my shock and amazement, after a week stopping, I had very little to no WD symptoms. I'm now on day 14 or 15 and I feel the best I've ever felt in years. This is what worked for me.

 

1.) Do the longest taper possible.

 

I did the world's longest taper. About seven months ago, at the behest of my doctor, I began cutting my dose down, from 2mg of ativan to 1mg to .5 to finally zero. After ativan was eliminated, my doctor and I began to work on lowering my clonazepam dose. Again, I did the world's longest taper to a point where in the beginning of this month (december), perhaps even mid-november i was taking .125mg of clonazapem every other day. I was literally taking orange crumbs. One .5mg clonazepam would last me more than a week. Sometimes, I'd try to make a sliver of a dose last 2 days but then I'd get blinding headaches from hell and I can't go to work like that.

 

2.) Stay disciplined.

 

If you're going to do a super long taper like I did, do not get weak and take more than you are supposed to. Just stay on the straight and narrow and be determined. Imagine a life without being chemically dependent and imagine your feelings coming back. You won't know how good you feel until you get off. Another reason why I wanted to slam the door on benzos is becuase I was always walking in a mental fog and my memory had become very, very poor among other subtle but disturbing personality changes.

 

Stay vigilant and just take as little as possible. No matter how stressed you get or tempted, do not say to yourself "Oh, i'll just take another half and start again tomorrow." The discipline will pay off like crazy in the end.

 

At this point in the taper, I was not getting a buzz from benzos whatsoever. It was merely to keep the WD at bay. I believe that doing a super long taper is KEY to feeling significantly less withdrawal in the end. Yes, there were times where I would get headaches and discomfort at work, but they are just little episodes here and there. I'd just pop an advil and power through it. I believe that when you taper off as comically slow as I did, you will definitely feel some WD symptons but there's so manageable because you're weaning off over such a long period of time, so the pain will be spread out instead of tapering fast. This is your brain getting off the expectation of benzos, so you must give it as much time as humanly possible.

 

3.) Exercise

 

Before I realized that I wanted to quit benzos, I picked up working out around last April of 2016 and worked out religiously about three or four times a week. Weight-lifting. Fitness was always something I was into as a young man, so it was easy for me to get back into it. I quickly rediscovered how much I enjoyed working out because of the dopamine high. There is nothing quite like blasting weights and feeling really damn good after.

 

So I inadvertently discovered a way to feel really good naturally and i kept working out no matter what. I believe that working out created new dopamine pathways along with just being in better shape mentally and physically. During my first week of getting off benzos, I did have slight WD headaches, so I'd force myself to go to the gym at 6am in the morning and what do you know, after a rigorous 30-40 minute workout, my headache was completely gone.

 

4.) Japanese Water Therapy

 

I discovered this easy routine and did this for about a month before I quit benzos. As soon as you wake up, chug 3 big glasses of water and don't eat anything for at least an hour. Then take a shower and you'll notice your head will feel better when the shower is done. I don't know how it works, but it works.

 

5.) Kava Kava

 

I don't know if Kava Kava was the magical variable since I used it in conjunction with a bunch of other stuff, but it's definitely worth a shot. My amateur online research indicated that Kava curbed some of the WD pain so I bought a bunch of kava pills from the vitamin store and started taking them about 3-4 days before I quit. I hear the tea form is much more effective.

 

6.) "Tranquil Sleep"

 

This all-natural sleeping remedy is amazing. I quit taking my doctor's trazadone and started taking this. It has 5-htp, melatonin and L-Theanine which all do wonderful things for your serotonin levels. I'm not a doctor so I can't tell you how or why, but "Tranquil Sleep" (use for bedtime) used with Kava kava (use in the morning with japanese water therapy) pretty much knocked out any WD symptoms.

 

Conclusion: Again, I was shocked and amazed that my WD was NOTHING what I was expecting. I've been through xanax withdrawal before after being on it for a couple weeks to a month and that was pure hell, so I know what you guys are going through. That is why I am sharing my story. Because after being on clonazepam and ativan for 2 years, I was in AWE that I was not feeling anywhere near as bad as I thought I'd be feeling. But benzo WD is different for everyone but I truly believe that my regiment of constant exercise, "Tranquil Sleep" and Kava kava coupled with my super duper long taper really paid off in the end. Please don't get lost in the horror stories of people saying they're in pain for weeks or months of WD. The mind is a very powerful thing. If you want to get through this and make things easier on yourself, you must be willing to do difficult things like working out regularly to restore dopamine pathways and taper slowly and honestly. The Kava kava is not a lifesaver, it will merely curb it. I'm very thankful that I did not have to go through hell to get off these goddamn benzos. My problem was being scared of going through WD, not quitting benzos. I would've quit them a long time ago if somebody guaranteed me that I wasn't going to feel pain. That is what scared me the most - the WD, not quitting. Adopt that mindframe and the rest will fall into place.

 

I've picked up meditation and yoga again in the absence of benzos. I'm also going to explore more kava options, like making the tea and seeing how that makes me feel as well as continuing to take "Tranquil Sleep."

 

If you have any questions, I'm more than happy to answer any of them or just to talk. I know what it's like. It sucks but there are options you can take to lessen the pain and make it through the tunnel until you see daylight. =)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Congratulations Rex! Speaking about myself, I experienced all symptoms while I was tapering off benzos. It wasn't until I was off the poison that I noticed a huge difference in my well being, both mentally and physically. Now, I have mostly fish bowl head, vision is blurry and other minor things. Your post is encouraging for many people coming off benzos and it can be done. I think it's 3 weeks since 5 day detox. That was hard, but better than being stuck and hopeless.
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Thanks for your post & those suggestions! I was able to do a fairly fast taper with minimal discomfort. (read: not horrific disaster as in the past) & thought I was out of the woods 14 days after jump. Alas, I was not, and at 3.5 weeks, have had a terrible couple days. But I do continue to power through. Your post gives me hope that healing is just around the corner!
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Oh yes, I'm grateful big time because i thought WDs were going to destroy me. Thank you for reading and hang in there. Check out Kava too as it may help!
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  • 1 month later...

Oh yes, I'm grateful big time because i thought WDs were going to destroy me. Thank you for reading and hang in there. Check out Kava too as it may help!

 

Thank you so so much for this inspiring post! Congratulations on your amazing success! I have 1 mg left of klonopin to taper off of and I was wondering how long it took you to go from the last mg of klonopin to zero? I'm 24 and healthy, in good shape but would love to avoid as many withdrawal symptoms as possible and I think I am so scared of what life looks like without klonopin it is holding me back mentally from healing. Thanks again and so happy you are doing well!

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Honestly, I would taper off as slowly as humanly possible. A ridiculously slow taper is the way to go. If you have a good doctor, he or she will understand and help you taper accordingly. As for me, I was probably taking 1mg for 1 or 2 months. Then, .5 for 2 or 3 months, then .25 for a month and a half, and then finally .125 for about 2 months until I realized how silly it was just taking crumbs every day.

 

Then, finally, when I was taking .125 every OTHER day, I knew it was time to jump soon but I wasn't mentally ready. At that point, I told my doctor to stop prescribing me any more benzos as I had stockpiled so many. I would skip a day to see what the WD felt like, and it wasn't nearly as bad as when I tried getting off 1mg xanax cold turkey back in my wild youthful days.

 

But all throughout my taper, I did notice an increase in headaches and it dawned on me that while I wasn't feeling fullblown WD effects, I was still suffering from very subtle WD the entire time I was tapering, which may explain why I didn't really have any WD symptons when I finally jumped off. Another thing that was essential to me not feeling any pain after quitting was incorporating exercise during my taper. It started off really slow and took an enormous deal of will power to start working out with headaches, but I did it because I remembered how much working out would boost my endorphins and make me feel great anyway.

 

In closing, I would recommend to anyone looking to jump and stay off, to try working out during your taper to rebuild pleasure centers in your brain. And take some melatonin sleep combo with L-theanine and 5-htp to get that life-affirming good sleep. and don't think about anyone else while you're tapering. Do it as long as you possibly can. The only catch is, you cannot screw up and get weak and take more than you should. Just stay on the straight and narrow and just keep breaking that shit into smaller pieces and taking as little as humanly possible. At this point, you are not going to get any anti-anxiety benefits - you are just doing it so you don't get sick.

 

Once your sleeping patterns are good and your health is good due to exercise, then jump off your .125 mg and get through the next couple days. You will feel amazing. It takes a lot of work, but that just shows you how much I cannot deal with WD so I'll do anything in the pre-jump to make sure I feel WD as little as possible.

 

Good luck!!! You will get through this!

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