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BENZO STORY: Max from Colorado

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

Summary


Max’s story is one of extreme use, including acquiring high dosages on the street. Thankfully, his story is one of success, and even a sense of enlightenment.

 

Details

  1. Key Topics: Anxiety, Benzos, Dependence, Withdrawal, Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Doctors, Symptoms, Street Use, Detox, Rapid Taper, Rehabilitation, High Dosage

 

Content Warning


Stories presented on Easing Anxiety may contain triggering content. If this is a concern for you, please refrain from reading any further. These stories are provided for informational purposes only and should never be considered medical advice. Opinions stated are those of the author only. See our disclaimer at the bottom of this post for more information.

 

Max’s Story


So, I started taking 1mg of Xanax prescribed to me when I was 21 for anxiety and panic attacks. Throughout the years, I slowly progressed to higher and higher doses as I would gain a tolerance and require higher amounts to relieve anxiety symptoms. I think around when I was 28, my doctor said he wouldn’t go any higher on the prescription. It was at 8 mg at that point.

When the 8 mg was not enough for me, I eventually started buying pills on the street.

When the 8 mg was not enough for me, I eventually started buying pills on the street. Eventually, I moved on to the dark web. This pretty much allowed me to take however much I wanted whenever I wanted. This is a very brief summary of the 9 years I spent on benzos, and to keep it brief, by the time I was 30, I was taking anywhere from 20-30 mg of Xanax/Klonopin mixture per day.

…by the time I was 30, I was taking anywhere from 20-30 mg of Xanax / Klonopin mixture per day.

I don’t know how I was able to make the best decision of my life — considering I wasn’t making any good decisions at that point — but I did. After getting fired from my last job and immediately going and spending every dime I had in Vegas, I came home and realized something had to be done to change my life.


I asked my doctor how I could get off the drug, and he told me that we could do a slow taper but it would be incredibly hard with the dosage that I was on as it would take a very long time to get me to zero, and most people aren’t able to go through tapering for that long. He didn’t even know that I was taking more than three times what he was prescribing me. So feeling very discouraged, but still needing to find a solution, I Googled detox centers near me.

I checked myself into a detox center.

I checked myself into a detox center. When I went in they told me they don’t get a whole lot of benzodiazepine addicts coming through, but they had occasionally dealt with some. From minute one, there was no slow taper. The dose that I had taken prior to coming in would be the last that I would ever take.


I went in on a Monday, and the first few days were easy. I felt fine. I was actually kind of having fun in there — making friends, going to meetings, not having to really worry about life outside. I later realized this was because I had so much of the drug built up in my system that I was still intoxicated by Wednesday. When Wednesday night came is when the hell began.

The best description I can think of is that it was like the benzos that I had been taking were like a flimsy wall that was blocking all of the anxiety, depression, and any other sort of mental anguish that I should have experienced in that nine-year period. I had to keep taking more and more of the drug to keep that flimsy wall in place.


When the drugs finally left my system, everything came flooding in. Everything. Life got really scary. I was scared of everything. People, doctors, food, darkness, being awake, being asleep. My vision was completely blurry. I was disassociated. I would have insane hallucinations. I lost all concept of time. Days felt like weeks, weeks felt like months.

I had insomnia, but the doctors were able to give me sleeping pills. When I was able to fall asleep I would have extremely dark and vivid nightmares that I couldn’t distinguish from reality. All I wanted to do was leave so that I could go get some Xanax to get some relief.

I have no memory of this, but my mother said that I would call her 5-10 times a day begging her to come get me and bring me some pills. She did not oblige, thank god. This went on and on, day after day.


Finally, all of this began to alleviate slightly. I was at least able to form semi-coherent sentences to try to convince the doctor to let me out. I was also able to think clearly enough to realize that even if I did get picked up, I wouldn’t have any way to get drugs. So there was a point where I decided I was in it for the long haul, there was no way out.


The average stay at the detox center I was at is three days. I was there for 16 days. To be completely honest, the symptoms continued well throughout the time I was released.

Afterwards, I went to stay at my dad’s house. I literally could not handle life. My parents were taking care of me like I was a small child. The problem with this drug is that when you take it, it changes the structure of your brain, but not permanently. When your brain no longer has it, it begins to rebuild, but this can take a very long time, and can be very painful, physically and mentally.


For me it probably took about five months. But during that five months, it was upward trending, meaning that I felt the worst at the beginning and felt better and better as time went on. I was in a hospital setting for the first, most intense part, and when I was medically cleared I was basically bed ridden at home for the longer part.

…I cannot begin to describe how I feel now being free from them. All I can say is that everything is clearer, better, easier.

I was sort of able to describe the pain that I went through with detoxing from benzos, but I cannot begin to describe how I feel now being free from them. All I can say is that everything is clearer, better, easier.


I took benzos for a third of my life, and about 2/3rds of my adult life. I have never known the person that I am now, but I am getting to know that person, and I really like him. I took a lot of time explaining how I got here, but now that I’m here, I don’t feel the need to dwell on it anymore. There is almost an enlightened feeling to the way I am going about life now.

Yes, there are still struggles and hardships, but nothing seems as bad as it once did. I have my health and mental clarity, which I thought would never be restored.

…it is important to realize that the body wants to be healthy. It has an amazing ability to adjust to whatever it has to work with.

The reason I went in to so much detail about where I was is to illustrate a point. Even if you feel like you have done too much damage to ever be normal again, it is important to realize that the body wants to be healthy. It has an amazing ability to adjust to whatever it has to work with. If that means adjusting to drug habits then it will do so, but if that means adjusting to sobriety, it will also do that.


Like I said before, I made so many bad decisions during my time on benzos, but I am so thankful that I was able to make the one good decision to get healthy.

Max

 

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Disclaimer


All stories shared on Easing Anxiety are done so with the author’s permission. These stories are provided for informational purposes only and should never be considered medical advice. The views and opinions expressed within are those of the author only, and do not necessarily reflect those of Easing Anxiety or its founder. Stories presented on Easing Anxiety may contain triggering content for certain segments of the population. While provided as an informational resource to our community, some stories may not be beneficial to those who are sensitive to their content. Regarding benzodiazepine withdrawal or BIND, most people can withdraw safely, successfully, and without serious complications if they are informed and have a solid support system. Many of the stories shared on Easing Anxiety are extreme and should not be used to create any expectations of one’s individual experience. Please read the Ashton Manual formore information and work with your doctor. Withdrawal, tapering, or any other change in dosage of benzodiazepines, nonbenzodiazepines (Z-drugs), or any other prescription medication should only be done under the direct supervision of a licensed physician. View our complete disclaimer for more info.

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