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I've been doing research on getting off of Xanax and found your board to be the most informative, so I joined up.  A little bit about myself:  I'm a anxiety-ridden workaholic drunk, but trying to stop that nonsense for the welfare of my family, so I've been off and on benzos for the last 10 years.  I was first introduced to this fun world of mayhem when I found out that Valium was supposed to lessen the withdrawal symptoms of alcohol, so I acquired some and kept attempting to use that in place of the booze, and for awhile, it worked wonders... but all good things come to an end... so I tapered off the stuff and surprisingly, suffered few withdrawal symptoms, except that I went back to drinking.

 

I tried this cycle several more times, with the same end result: benzo-free, but still a pure off-the-wagon alckie.  Finally, I went to a doctor (who was a moron) who put me on Lexapro and Librium, though I explained that I'm not depressed.  When the prescription ran out and I didn't have the money to renew the Lexapro, I basically forgot an entire summer... but did not drink.  The hallucinations were, to say the least, interesting, and the only memories that remain of what my friends and I now refer to as "The Dark Summer".  I started drinking again, and everything cleared up... as much as possible, all considered.

 

So, after the birth of 2 children, I went to another doctor (this time in Alabama, where I lived for 2 years) and 3 times the man put me on Librium.  All 3 times, I'd be dead sober and functional for the 30 days, but even with tapering at the end, the withdrawal symptoms were too much to bear, so I fell back into booze.

 

Flash forward to today:  6 months ago, my drinking had gotten out of hand, and I ran into this 15 year old kid who was a drug dealer, and after scolding him for selling pills and warning him of the dangers of this line of work (not one I'm a part of, by the way), he admitted that he had a problem (the fool was taking 2 bars of Xanax at a time while drinking whiskey and I told him of the people I'd known who literally DIED from this horrible comination), he gave me his collection of Xanax pills and stopped being a pusher... one good thing done, I suppose.

 

I'd been prescribed Xanax in the past for anxiety and remembered that when I took small doses of it, my urge to drink was gone, so for the past 6 months, I've taken .5mg of Xanax in the morning when I wake up... and sure enough, I'd function well, get my job done, take care of my children, and most importantly, NOT DRINK.  Some days I'd take a second .5mg chunk about 8 hours later, but only if I didn't feel like drinking that evening... and all was well.

 

Over the last 2 weeks, I've taken my customary morning .5mg dosage (this is what the doctor that had originally prescribed me the stuff suggested, albeit 3 times a day.  I know the dangers of Benzos, so I preferred to keep the dose small and consistent)... but now, it's having the opposite effect on me.  Instead of relieving anxiety, I become cloudy and confused, and it seems only beer will bring my mind back...  and I'm not very pleased about that.  I attempted to double the dose once, and the confusion that resulted was simply unacceptable, so I've gotta get this horrible stuff out of my system... if it isn't helping, it must go.

 

I've joined this board to ask you fine folks what the withdrawals would be from stopping taking .5mg of Xanax a day.  I've read your commentary on tapering, but since I'm literally taking such a small dose, I'm curious if the withdrawals would be all that horrible... but hey, one must ask the experts!  ;D

 

I appreciate any insight you can give me on this.  My plan was to start skipping a day in between each dose, and then metering that out and adding "off" days between until I finally just stop taking the stuff, so I can then just deal with my main problem: alcoholism.  But, one thing at at time.

 

Thanks for listening and cheers!

-Wharf Rat

 

 

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Hi wharfrat666:

 

Welcome to Benzo Buddies!  You made a good decision in reevaluating your current Xanax situation.  You will find lots of support and information here.

 

best,

 

Draftsman

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Hi and welcome to BenzoBuddies, Wharfrat.

 

There are a couple of ways you can get off the Xanax.  I tapered off a similar benzo (lorazepam) by cutting my .5mg tablets in 1/4s and dropping 1/4 of a tablet every 2 weeks or so.  Xanax is about twice as strong as lorazepam so if you can get the smallest tablets (.25mf), cutting them in 1/4s gives you .0625mg pieces which should make for an easier taper.  If you can get a doctor to support a crossover to Valium (a much longer acting benzo), you could go the substitution route.  Finally there's titation.  You can read about all three methods under "Withdrawal Methods" link at the top of the page. You can find a lot of good information on benzo withdrawal in The Ashton Manual:

http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/

 

I don't know about what you can expect in terms of withdrawal symptoms.  Just try not to compensate with alcohol; that way guarantees failure.  ;)

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Hi and welcome to BenzoBuddies, Wharfrat.

 

There are a couple of ways you can get off the Xanax.  I tapered off a similar benzo (lorazepam) by cutting my .5mg tablets in 1/4s and dropping 1/4 of a tablet every 2 weeks or so.  Xanax is about twice as strong as lorazepam so if you can get the smallest tablets (.25mf), cutting them in 1/4s gives you .0625mg pieces which should make for an easier taper.  If you can get a doctor to support a crossover to Valium (a much longer acting benzo), you could go the substitution route.  Finally there's titation.  You can read about all three methods under "Withdrawal Methods" link at the top of the page. You can find a lot of good information on benzo withdrawal in The Ashton Manual:

http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/

 

I don't know about what you can expect in terms of withdrawal symptoms.  Just try not to compensate with alcohol; that way guarantees failure.  ;)

 

Thanks for the reply!  I've debated on finding Valium out there, but the last time I was prescribed Xanax, the withdrawals at the end of that ride weren't all that bad (granted, I just tapered off by the method I mentioned of just taking less pills each day, having one horrible one, and returning to normal).  I'm not particularly scared of the withdrawals considering the experience I had withdrawing from both Lexapro & Librium at the same time, but I've got these 2 little girls to take care of.  And, as mentioned, I'm an alcoholic... I'm used to failure. :)  If I could get a "day off" or two, I'm used to the sweats, closed eyes hallucinations of demons and whatnot that come with stopping drinking, but days off are rather rare.  Come to think of it, they are probably worse than withdrawing from the small amount of Xanax I've been taking, but I have to function.  Diapers don't change themselves! :)

 

I've been watching the clock and I'm drinking the cheapest, lowest-alcohol-content beer out there as infrequently as possible, and the brain fog is finally leaving.  If things get hairy in the next couple of days, I may take the substitution route with Valium, for I've much experience with that particular stuff... but as established, going from one habit to another simply is unproductive.  I do appreciate your help and don't mean to come off as a smart a**... brain still ain't right, so if I'm sounding like a jerk, please understand that it's unintentional.  That, and a 3 year old is helping me write this.  :tickedoff:

 

Cheers!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Day 8 of no Xanax begins.  The last two days were full of hallucinations and fogginess.  I was almost tempted to take another dose yesterday morning, but thought better of it.  Agoraphobia has kicked in right on schedule... this is just like withdrawing from alcohol, except that lasts a lot less long from experience.  Still having to sip cheap beer just to focus long enough to get my work on the computer done, but I'll tackle that demon next.  Probably will have to go to a doctor for that, since the last time I "rehabbed" from booze, I was at my parents' house with my folks taking care of my every need, so the only stress was work.  Here that sort of environment isn't available, what with the wife sleeping all day and the kids needing my attention every moment while I'm working from wake up to sleep.

 

I'm not posting this just to hear myself talk, but rather as a warning to others who might follow in my path.  I've gone through alcohol withdrawal 5 times so far in my life, and withdrawing from using .5mg of Xanax daily for a year is WAAAYYY worse than that ride.  Shaking, sweating, sleeplessness, cold symptoms and fogginess from just detoxing off of beer lasts for a week at most, and then you feel better somewhat.  I pity those who have taken this horrible stuff longer and in higher doses than me, which is probably most of you.  I purposefully kept the dose low so that when I was going to get off of it, the symptoms wouldn't be so bad.  As you can see, I was wrong.

 

Cheers, folks... we're only in this for our brains, so let's win that battle!

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Hello wharfrat666,

 

I agree, for me;detoxing from alcohol was a piece of cake compared to benzo withdrawal.  I'm hoping you aren't substituting the beer for the benzo and not allowing your GABA receptors to heal properly?  I know you must take care of your family, but I hate to see you draw this out any longer than necessary by inhibiting your recovery.

 

 

 

 

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Howdy, Pamster.  I AM substituting the beer for the Xanax at the moment because the hallucinations and lack of focus were interfering with my work.  Certainly not sound advice that I'd give anyone else, but once I get a break from work, I'll probably take a trip to the doctor (once the Xanax withdrawals are done) and let the withdrawals from the alcohol be reduced with Valium or something of the like that is easier to quit and has a longer half-life.  I've taken 3 work phone calls and responded to 12 emails just while writing this short note as well as changing 2 diapers and fed the kids; it sucks, but I have to function, so if I must destroy myself temporarily for the greater good, that's the unfortunate path I have to take.

 

A day or two off would be better, but it's just not in the cards.  :o

 

Cheers!

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Thanks for the reply!  I've debated on finding Valium out there, but the last time I was prescribed Xanax, the withdrawals at the end of that ride weren't all that bad (granted, I just tapered off by the method I mentioned of just taking less pills each day, having one horrible one, and returning to normal).  I'm not particularly scared of the withdrawals considering the experience I had withdrawing from both Lexapro & Librium at the same time, but I've got these 2 little girls to take care of.  And, as mentioned, I'm an alcoholic... I'm used to failure. :)  If I could get a "day off" or two, I'm used to the sweats, closed eyes hallucinations of demons and whatnot that come with stopping drinking, but days off are rather rare.  Come to think of it, they are probably worse than withdrawing from the small amount of Xanax I've been taking, but I have to function.  Diapers don't change themselves! :)

 

I've been watching the clock and I'm drinking the cheapest, lowest-alcohol-content beer out there as infrequently as possible, and the brain fog is finally leaving.  If things get hairy in the next couple of days, I may take the substitution route with Valium, for I've much experience with that particular stuff... but as established, going from one habit to another simply is unproductive.  I do appreciate your help and don't mean to come off as a smart a**... brain still ain't right, so if I'm sounding like a jerk, please understand that it's unintentional.  That, and a 3 year old is helping me write this.  :tickedoff:

 

Cheers!

 

Didn't sound "jerky" to me in the least, wharfrat666.

 

You seem to have awareness of the effects of Xanax and alcohol and what you need to do to continue your job and take care of your family.  I hope your plan works out for you.  ;)

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I am so sorry for what you are going through.  Sometimes, alcoholics can get caught in a storm and there's no why out except hospitalization or a very painful and possibly dangerous detox at home.

 

I come from a family of alcoholics, and I truly understand the pain and anguish one goes through when trying to stop drinking.  My sister was what is called a "functioning alcoholic", and it eventuallly killed her at the age of 44.

 

If I were in your shoes, I would stop the alcohol first, then tackle the benzos.  You are correct in that sometimes benzos are warranted for someone going through severe alcohol withdrawal.  I think it would help you to tackle only one monster at a time.

 

I truly hope you can succeed in your plan to wean off the alcohol.  You say you are used to failure.  Many recovering alcoholics feel that way at some point. 

 

We will be happy to support you and encourage you in your journey off of benzos, but it would be most helpful if you could get sober first.  That in itself will be a huge step in the right direction.

 

Please keep us posted as to how you are doing. :)

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Thanks for the support, guys.  Had to log on here to remember which day this was... so Day 9 it is.  :D

 

After sweating, shaking and convulsing for a couple of hours this morning, I got up and was just as confused as ever.  Still amazed that such a small amount of Benzo can cause this much havoc.  Drank a couple of beers to stabilize the shakes, and my brain is foggy, but here.  At least my wife is actually awake and keeping the kids reigned in... don't want them to see me like this.

 

Missy:  I've stopped drinking 5 or 6 times in my life, but because of the stress that comes with my job and life (my ex-wife is a Batman Villain  :laugh: ), I always fall back to it.  If things keep going like this for the next couple of days, I'll bite the bullet and go to the doctor.  That way, it'll be the weekend, and my clients won't need as much work from me, so I can probably get away with taking a day off.  Fingers crossed.

 

The only positive here is that I'm an alcoholic... I have no craving whatsoever for the pills.  They were only a tool that I thought would help me curb the drinking, and for a little less than a year, they did that job.  I was free of anxiety, worked as hard as 5 people just like always and didn't drink more than a couple of beers late at night (if that), but all good things come to an end.  All these withdrawals which make alcohol detox look like a cakewalk, only once has the thought hit me "Hey, may as well take one of those stupid pills.  Can't be worse than this!"  That would only make things worse.

 

I'm also a "functioning" alcoholic, and I know the fate that awaits me if I don't slow down or stop.  My friend's father died of sclerosis of the liver 5 years ago after a lifetime of drinking whiskey every day, and we got to clean up the mess that he left behind.  In a way, beer is a "tool" for me, but like Xanax, I know that it isn't a permanent solution.  I just have so many people (some lazy, some not) that depend on me that I do what I have to in order to make sure they're taken care of.  I destroy myself so others can live on.

 

Sorry, brain's still scrambled, so if any of that sounded like lines from a bad "B" movie, it's probably intentional (at least, at this moment).  My inner writer comes out when I'm out of my gourd. :)

 

Cheers, and thanks again, folks.  Onward to Day 10!

 

 

 

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Day 10.  Woke up early and felt okay, so I got to work... then my friend dropped off her 6 year old son for us to watch as a surprise "rehab" gift.  Then the ex-wife's mother called asking about child support.  Panic attack ensued and then the convulsions returned.  Tried to take a nap, but the phone wouldn't stop ringing.  Feeling fuzzy in the head, but soldiering on. 

 

I just keep telling myself that one of these mornings will be better than the other 9.  Doesn't look like my hectic life is going to work with me on this, though. :)  Won't be taking benzos again unless I'm forced to go to the doctor for withdrawal (which, after this long, would be a bit of a cop-out), so that's one victory.

 

Back to work I go.  Cheers!

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I just keep telling myself that one of these mornings will be better than the other 9.  Doesn't look like my hectic life is going to work with me on this, though. smiley  Won't be taking benzos again unless I'm forced to go to the doctor for withdrawal (which, after this long, would be a bit of a cop-out), so that's one victory.

 

wharfrat, just stopping to say hello. :)

 

Don't hesitate to go to the doctor or an urgent care for withdrawal and don't think that after this long it would be a cop-out. Everyone is different and every time is different....so if you need to do a proper taper, do it. I'm glad you decided to come off Xanax. Remember benzos and alcohol are cross-tolerant and the alcohol will undoubtly accentuate, aggravate and prolong your withdrawal.  I don't mean to sound preachy. If it were me, I would stabilize on the benzos and not drink alcohol right now.

 

I hope you are doing alright.

 

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wharfrat, just stopping to say hello. :)

 

Don't hesitate to go to the doctor or an urgent care for withdrawal and don't think that after this long it would be a cop-out. Everyone is different and every time is different....so if you need to do a proper taper, do it. I'm glad you decided to come off Xanax. Remember benzos and alcohol are cross-tolerant and the alcohol will undoubtly accentuate, aggravate and prolong your withdrawal.  I don't mean to sound preachy. If it were me, I would stabilize on the benzos and not drink alcohol right now.

 

I hope you are doing alright.

 

 

Hi, Nicolette.  The Xanax was messing with my brain function without any alcohol added, hence my quitting it.  If I could manage to take just a little of the stuff and still keep moving and doing my job while kids climb me (kind of like now  :laugh: ), I would.  Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the drug stopped calming my anxiety, so I've no choice but to not take it.  Thanks to child support, I cannot afford to go to a doctor, so I've just got to tough it out, but I appreciate your concern.  I'm doing whatever it takes to take care of my family, and from past experience, I'm pretty sure the worst of it is over.  At least, I can hope.  Tomorrow will be 11 days at last recollection.  The hallucinations are gone, so there's that.  The brain function will eventually return, and once I finish the jobs I'm working on, I can then afford to go to the doctor.

 

I'm an addict, and not particularly proud of it, but for the time being, I'm functioning.  Not at the best level, but that will come in time, and possibly with medical treatment.  Been through this before, though strangely, on a much smaller scale though I was taking so much more.  I refuse to be scared.  Too many folks depend on me to allow myself to go down (I know, I know, I wrote something to that effect in a previous post, but it helps my brain to retype it.  I have to remember my purpose, or else, there's no reason to be cleaned up.  It's much easier to destroy yourself without dependent people.)  :idiot:

 

All this because I just wanted to continue working all the time.  Kind of a cause for reflection, really... sometimes, anxiety might just be a good thing! The body warning you that you're overdoing stuff.  I dunno... I made my bed, so now I'll lie next to it. And probably not sleep much:)

 

Cheers!

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Hey Warfrat,

 

I made the big mistake of drinking last week. Let me tell you, when I woke up the next day, my w/d symptoms were terrible. I felt like I had made a cut in my sleep. If you're in no danger of having a seizure and/or getting sick from quitting alcohol, then please do. It'll save you a world of trouble and make the tapering process a lot easier.

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Hi Wharfrat,

 

I'm sorry you are going through this,I hope you are doing better and have gone through the worst of your cold turkey from Xanax. If you put a signature line at the bottom of your posts, the experts (I'm not one) may be able to help with this. I don't know how much Xanax you have been on, if you were taking it daily, and for how long. Mixing in the alcohol (and how much) makes it harder to figure out what kind of withdrawal you are experiencing.  

 

I'm just concerned because I have been there myself. I had the exact same idea you have now-- drink to help you get through the Xanax withdrawal. I thought it sounded rational, but it didn't work for me.

 

Since alcohol and benzos are cross-tolerant, when I'd try to quit Xanax I'd drink a lot, then I'd get real sick from that, so I'd take a Xanax to get over that. I thought I could figure out how to "tweak it". It was like a fast moving train and I couldn't stop it. I too, had some pretty heavy responsibilities, so I was trying to pull myself together. All I can say is you have to take care of yourself first before you can take care of anyone else. I never really liked that saying, but it's true. I urge you to do that.

 

As I said, I hope you've been through the worst of your cold turkey and if you haven't, get yourself to a medical facility. I hope you don't think I'm being rude, it's just hard to think through the fog, and at some point I realized I needed to be medically detoxed....and I was medically detoxed. Besides getting through the worst of it, it takes your brain a while to heal from benzos and drinking only prolongs the healing process.

 

If you find you are in a vicious cycle with benzos and alcohol, I still suggest you stop the alcohol and taper at a slow rate from the Xanax.

 

I'm just giving you something to think about. Take care and keep BB posted.   :)

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Day 11.  Shaking, sweating and chasing children who keep climbing my lap and stomping on my belly, making me nauseous.  Yeah, Nicolette & Shaneb, I'm going through exactly what you describe... just not taking any xanax to relieve the pain.  The memory is still swiss cheese, but I think the withdrawals are more alcohol related now than earlier in the cycle.  They seem familiar.

 

I never mixed xanax and booze (I'd wait 6 hours after the .5mg dose before drinking... when the anxiety kicked in again, and a second dose of xanax would inevitably put me to sleep).  I'm possibly in danger of a seizure, so once I get this job done on Tuesday, if things haven't improved, I'll get paid and go to a clinic.  Can't go to the emergency room because I already owe the hospital lots of money from the past visit and don't want to pay $15,000 for something that only costs $100 or so. :)

 

Trying to slow the beer down as best I can.  When changing a diaper becomes a stressful event, something is certainly up.

 

I appreciate the advice and know that you guys have been through it already, so nothing is considered rude on my end. :)  That's why I'm here.

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

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I'm happy to hear that you've decided to get into a detox facility, but if you're in danger of a seizure then maybe you should stabilize on the Xanax until you can get to detox. Is there a specific reason why you don't want to taper? I know it may seem like a long stretch to taper down, but it usually helps out in the healing process. We're here no matter what you decide.
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I'm happy to hear that you've decided to get into a detox facility, but if you're in danger of a seizure then maybe you should stabilize on the Xanax until you can get to detox. Is there a specific reason why you don't want to taper? I know it may seem like a long stretch to taper down, but it usually helps out in the healing process. We're here no matter what you decide.

 

The reason I don't want to taper down is because I tried lowering the dosage, but the result left me in a confused funk (no beer involved).  I'm a workaholic (lots of "holics" in my personal description. :) ), and I have to keep my brain somewhat sane or I'll lose my clients and the kids won't be taken care of.  I wish there was a couple of days I could just take to relax, but that never happens.  The phone constantly rings, and the child support must be paid.  Since my wife seems to refuse to get a job and has a penchant for sleeping all day while the children attempt to kill me or hijack my system, the burden is on me.  I just keep on trying to get everything done.

 

Thank you for being there.

Cheers!

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