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Protracted Withdrawal Is Like A Psychedelic Trip


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Hi Everyone, 

I am 17 months benzo-free and I am doing a lot better in many ways. Since my 3 month taper that began in February of 2022 (after 17 years of benzo prescriptions) and ended April 2022, then experiencing the intensity of the first 6 months and the oddity of the last year after that, I can only liken benzo recovery to a bad, low-dose, psychedelic trip (particularly LSD). I have a lot of experience with psychedelics in my life. From 1989 to 2005 I was an active psychonaut (psychedelic tripper who likes to explore other states consciousness). Not so ironically, I was put on benzos in 2005 and my psychedelic life took pause until 2018.  I began to take low to micro doses of psilocybin for a year to try and treat depression with no success. In 2022, at the same time I began to taper off benzos, I began doing high dose trips to treat my depression. In early April I had two trips within a week which took me out of my depression and gave me the mental tools I needed to get off benzos and all psych meds FOREVER. 

The first week of May, 2022, I had my first 5 days with no benzos. It was torturous and hellish. I landed in ER with a panic attack that felt like I was under some kind of alien attack! It was other-worldly. Of course they tried to give me benzos in the ER but with the help of my wife, we were able to refuse all benzos. After 7 hours of writhing in the ER, the doctor decided to try one last thing: I.V. Ketamine. 

This propelled me into whats called a K Hole for 5 mintes then I came back down and into the ER room again. In 10 minutes it was over. I can't say it was a good experience but 45 minutes later my wife and I walked out of the hospital and I got my first full night of sleep and began my benzo-free journey. 

Each day felt more and more like a 1/2 hit of LSD as time went on, but coupled with all the physical discomfort and pains it always felt like a "bad trip". Until I Got off benzos, I had never had a bad trip. Now, I was living a daily bad trip. My waves were the bsd trip and my windows the good trip. For the first 6-8 months, my windows were MAGICAL! I felt like I was almost functioning on a higher plain than those around me. I learned transcendence and appreciation for all things. I learned love. Self love and love for others, on a level I had never felt it before. I had been on benzos for the entire length of both my kids' lives. I could mourn this idea, or I could celebrate how much more I can love them now that I am me again. I went through a period of resentment for 17 years of my life "stolen" from me and those I love but I know God has promised to somehow make it up to me as He assured me through my prayer. 

Yes, I am what you might call a Psychedelic Christian. Pretty controversial to read that, I'm sure. All those opposed to this idea, I totally get it and please: no need to comment if you are just going to tell me I'm wrong. I am not wrong. I am just used to a way of life that you are not used to. 

In my benzo recovery I have had hallucinations, visual disturbances, visual enhancements, trails, tracers, glowing objects, enhanced colors, moving walls and floors, closed-eye visuals, growing or shrinking rooms, extreme light sensitivity, and more. Exactly like a small or single dose of LSD. I know because I have a lot of experience with LSD, mushrooms, and other psychedelics. But if you add all the physical maladies to the experience, the Waves add up to be extremely potent negative experiences and pushing through them feels impossible sometimes. Just like a bad trip. 

I had feelings, early on (first 6 months), of doom crashing tinto my world (best way I can put it). Like I was being attacked by the universe. Feelings like I was falling and that I was about to die. Intense gravity, etc. 

*As I write this, I know it can come off existential, and it is sometimes, but please know I am writing these things to be taken literally. I felt like I was falling through my bed - LITERALLY.  

With all my experience with psychedelic journeying, I realized I had the tools to get through the worst waves. I knew how to weather those storms and even use them as learning experiences. Anyone who has also had a few solid trips will know exactly what I mean. 

Benzos are literally the best known tools for killing a trip. The only truly effective meds to counter a trip.  With this in mind, isinlt it interesting that when we get off benzos, our experience becomes so psychedelic? Even without the psychedelics? 

There's something to this but I am not a doctor or researcher so I can only make personal observations.

Becuase of my famliarity and fondness for psychedelics, and my failrly recent success in beating my depression with 2 muishroom trips, I decided to see if psychedelic journeys could be a way to get relief in the throws of benzo recovery....

(I do not recommend this to ANYONE)

I decided to trip during an occasional window (which usually came in the evenings for me). I live in Colorado where psilocybin is decriminalized to my access to these medicines is easier than most. 

What I discovered when I tripped was 2 amazing things:

1. Relief. After the come-up, I could live in it in a way that gave me tremendous relief - HOWEVER, the anxiety just before I took the mushrooms and during their onset was intense. But after the first hour and for many weeks later, I got relief.

2. Coping mechanisms. I would have my own healing tools presented to me or reaffirmed so I could navigate difficult waves.


Now, after almost 18 months benzo-free, I still experience many symptoms, but I am better. I am healing. God is with me and I believe He gave me these medicines and experiences before and after benzos to strengthen my spiritual life and to learn extreme love. 

I am a filmmaker. I have been working in storytelling and film since 1997, and now I am making a series of films around some of these very topics I have just written about. I am now friends with some of the leaders in the psychedelic science movement that is happening here in the US and I am most excited to see how others might getg the same healing I've gotten.

I would love to read about your experiences in getting off benzos and how it compares to your experience with psychedlics. 


Thank you all so much for this group and your support! 

We are warriors!

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