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reluctent to reinstate


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As some of you may know from reading my previous post that I cold turkeyed from xanax unknowingly while trying to get off oxycontin. I attributed all of my withdraw symptoms from the narcotics and not the benzos. I have not had any problems after 3 weeks from the narcotics withdraw but still have some symptoms from the xanax. I used the x on and off for a period of 2-3 years. I took these as needed or wanted in my case as I enjoyed the relaxed feeling they gave me with a god awful amount of beer or whiskey. My routine was .5mg x with 6-12 beers or Jim Beam and coke and also the pain meds. I never followed a schedule like I did with the pain meds so it is hard for me to know what I took and how often. There were times that I did this several days and weeks in a row but not always wth the X.This all started with cervical spine degeneration and a pain management doctor who likes to over medicate. Although I take most of the responsabilty for the alcohol and pain meds I can tell you that I never was,like most of you here informed of the benzo dangers. I thought that at some time I would just give up all this shit and 2-3 weeks of suffering I would be done. What a bummer to realize that this is so prolonged.I have stopped using all pain medicaton,and for the most part stopped drinking. I never gave the benzos much thought during this and pretty much discontinued them during the during the narcotics withdraw.I used them a couple of times in low doses to curb the side affects of the narcotics without giving it a second thought. As I was sure that the narcotics was giving me all the problems. Well when I still felt like crap after a 2-3 week period of being narcotic and mostly alcohol free I started investigating the benzos to find to my dismay the truth the doctor never told me.I have had people here suggest that I reinstate Valium and start a taper from that. I know this is good advise from the things I have read on this site but I cant seem to make myself do it. I used xanax maybe twice during a 2 week period while coming off the narcotics and then for three days after reading about them on this site with the intent to taper. I have since gone 8 days without any. I had one really good day during this time this week where it seemed like I felt normal, actually good and I thiught it was all over. Today I feel anxious and have some stomach upset and feel shaky. But that is the extent of things right now.To sumerize I have used maybe 2-3 mgs of xanax in a 4 week period. I have been totally off for 8 days now. I have had one really good day this past week. I'm having a bad day today, not horrible but bad.During the past 2 months I have joined a gym, have been working out almost every day, lost 20 lbs, started a healthy eating program, almost elimated alcohol , did eliminate pain meds. I still feel the effects of the benzos after only using a very small amount in the past month and none for 8 days. I'm scared of the protraced withdraw and feeling like this for a very long time. I don't have it as bad as some but not nice either. I keep going back and forth with the idea of trying a small amount of valium and tapering of that but mostly out of fear That I will feel like this protracted. i think I could stick it out at this level for a few months if I had two but Im not sure that is the right thing to do. I have a really hard time with the idea of putting more poison in my system after all that I have read. Im stuck between a rock and a hard place!  HELP
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Hi dkelley,


Your post was a bit confusing to me, so please excuse all the questions I have.


I'm not a medical doctor, but, from what you've just told the group, it appears to me that you may be suffering from withdrawal from a number of substances -- alcohol, Xanax and oxycontin -- and that, considering that you had taken Xanax for such a short time, it is hard to say if you need to reinstate onto Valium. Coming off more than one substance at the same time could cause a whole host of unwanted symptoms.


Although people who go cold turkey off benzos after having taken them for a long time can have horrific symptoms (been there and done that), a lot depends on what you meant by having taken Xanax "on and off" for 2-3 years. If "on and off" means very rarely, it's hard to say if the Xanax is causing all of your symptoms, but it could be responsible for some of them.


Here are my questions:


1. You said you took 2-3 mg of Xanax in a four week period, which, when translated into Valium terms, would mean that you took anywhere between 40 and 60 mg of Valium in that period.


2. What did you mean by a four week period? Have you done this for years rarely?


3. Or, did you take this amount of Xanax on a regular basis, as needed, every four weeks?


Even if you took this amount of Xanax on a regular basis, although not every day, you could be going through Xanax withdrawal, and reinstatement might be in order. However, please understand that reinstatement does not work for everyone. I reinstated for the second time, and this time I am in tolerance withdrawal and, although I am not feeling miserably 24/7, I hardly ever have a good day. I just have good hours every day. I thought reinstating would solve all my problems and they only compounded them because I'm looking at a two-year taper off Valium, since I have other medical conditions.


Bottom line is: if you can stand the symptoms without reinstating, I would go that route. You seem to be exercising and doing many more things that I can do right now, so, although you are suffering, you seem to be surviving. My advice to you is to wait a little longer before making any decisions about remaining benzo free or reinstating. Taking small amounts here and there, though, is not advisable. It will only prolong your recovery. You either have to decide to tough it out or reinstate and taper according to a schedule on a regular basis.


I am sorry you are feeling so poorly, and I can relate, although I didn't take any other drugs besides benzos. I hope you will feel better soon, and listen to your body and then figure out what to do next.




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Hi Genie

Sorry it took so long to reply! What I ment was I took a .5 mg xanax during my opiate withdraw on 3-4 ocassions in the first two weeks of it to help with that withdraw .I thought I would be feeling good once I got those drugs out of my system. I had in the past taken breaks to give my body a chance to heal from narcotics I use in pain management. I have degenerative disk disease and they really help but create their own problems. I know however that I can make it a week or so and get off them from time to time and deal with the pain to give my system a break. This time was differen't. I stopped using the narcotics and still felt bad after two weeks off them. What I didn't know was that somewhere along the line I must have developed a xanax addiction that I was unaware of. I was prescribed these drugs to help with anixety during spinal injections and was told they were a good musle relaxer for neck spasams and would help me sleep. My pills were .5 mg and to be taken as needed. So it is very hard for me to say how much I used and how often, as it was not a set schedule. I have been getting the prescriptions for two years or more. In the beginning I didn't take them very often. Than I started to enjoy the relaxation and the loose musles and started using them more frequent. I always used them in spurts. I can say though that I have abused them with alcohol and pain medication combined. Pop a oxy and a xanax and drink alcohol and there is no more pain. There is also no more human being! I have been 30 days with no pain meds, very little alcohol and now that I know that it upsets recovery from the benzos zero alcohol.Right now I'm just past denial that the addiction to benzos was my problem and moving into ANGER and FEAR. Angry at the doctor for not warning me about these drugs and the long withdraw period. In fact I was told that these were not addictive.Now I'm fearfull that this is going to take years to correct and that the depression is going to get worse. I have suffered through a month of this so far(and for those who have been suffering for much longer please forgive my belly aching ,my heart goes out to all of you!!!) and have  had no benzos in 15 days now and a very small amount two weeks prior to these 15 days. My biggest fear is that I will have long term symptoms due to the rapid stopping of the xanax. If I was aware that I was going through withdraw from the xanax I would have tappered as suggested here. I all along thought it was a longer opiate withdraw than I was used to in the past. I still think about trying valium to ease up some of the symptoms im having. But it has been suggested to me that my window of oppurtunity may have ran out to do that and will not work now. Well I don't post every day but when I do I seem to be long winded. SORRY  Right now I'm scared and confussed about what to do. Like the rest of you I just want my life back before this evil drug took hold. I was in pain because of my spine but it was a walk in the park compared to this!!

                                                                                        Thanks all for listening



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Hey Dennis,


Hmm, if I were in your shoes, I'd probably see if I could hold out a bit longer. You said your symptoms were bad but not intolerable.  You might have some dependency on the xanax now but because your dosing was erratic, it's hard to tell. I doubt you would have protracted withdrawal symptoms from this, though. No need to worry about that for now.


I'm sure one of our taper specialists will be by to give you more specific encouragement but for now, hang in there. You're doing a lot of good things for your body, and you  may well be able to hang in there and have things go better for you in a short time.



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