seven+ months clean

From time to time I’ve posted MPSIMS threads about my struggles with drug addiction. This is something of an epilogue to that.

I kicked benzodiazepines in Feb 2010, and opiates in March of this year.

In the 7 or so months since that last victory, not a day has gone by—literally, not a single day—that I haven’t quietly rejoiced to be done with that garbage. Even if the conscious thought lasts only a couple of seconds, the daily gratitude for sobriety is always there. When I think of the tempestuous roller coaster that I was on for years—the constant cycle of euphoria and then hellish withdrawal crashes—I can finally see just how insane that addictive behavior was.

And I am never, EVER going back.

It is so indescribably wonderful and liberating to wake up each morning and know that today, I won’t go into withdrawal; today, I won’t be wondering when I can score again; today, I am free to be the one IN CONTROL of my own life.

I’ve also been getting a lot of exercise over the past 7 months as well as making other positive lifestyle changes that I was just too strung out to have made when I was using. Sobriety kicks ass.

I know that addiction is never fully “cured”, but I’m done with drug abuse. For real. Forever. I even had the chance to score and use on two separate occasions over the past few months—without getting caught and without anyone ever finding out—and I didn’t. I just walked away. Easily. I just wasn’t interested in sacrificing this wonderful new life for a few hours’ worth of a high.
Just wanted to share how good I’m feeling a few months into this new, clean, rational, healthy existence.

That is all. :slight_smile:

That is awesome! I’ve been smoke-free for 2 1/2+ years now and that was a hell of a monkey to throw off my back. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for you. What was the impetus to finally make the change?

Again, congratulations on your new sober life!

Happy dance for you and your daily won freedom from those chains, Cyningblod! Yay!


Two words: Wife. Daughter. The most precious impetuses (impetae? impetes? impetii?) that there could’ve been.

I decided quite a few years back to get clean. It just took a long time of hard work to get there.

Upon seeing this thread, I went back and looked at your 2010 thread about kicking the benzos. I got into a serious dependency problem with clonazepam a few years ago (2003). Doctor didn’t tell me anything about it, but I knew from reading the literature that it could be addictive, so I watched carefully for any symptoms. Eventually it happened.

I was using only a very minimal dose. The Rx was 1.0 mg four times a day, PRN. In fact, I was only using 0.5 mg qd only occasionally. Then it gradually became every day, and occasionally twice a day. Then it became 0.5 mg twice a day. I began to get the shakes in between doses, and began watching my wristwatch, counting down the minutes and seconds until the next dose. And I began to have a harder and harder time falling asleep if I didn’t get my fix. At about that time, I understood it was time to knock it off.

At such a low dose, I thought it would be natural to just quit cold turkey. (Much much later, a doctor told me, in effect, that he would have said so too.) Wrong. I quit and had a massive withdrawal that lasted 16 months. (No seizures, though.) For 8 months I lived with relatives because I was too sick to be on my own. Then when they got sick of having me around, I lived in a board and care home for another 8 months. Then I lived on my own again, but I still didn’t feel right for another year or two.

They say this shit is tougher to kick than heroin. And I went through about 6 doctors in several different cities, and none of them really knew anything about it. Overall, I was given at least 5 different meds to help (mostly to help me sleep, since serious insomnia is a withdrawal problem) – Clonidine, ambien, mirtazipine, hydroxyzine, trazodone. They each worked well for a few days, if at all.

BTW, I’ve dabbled with diazepam (Valium) too. I get paradoxical reactions from that – instead of calming me down, it makes me violently agitated.

Benzos may be useful – maybe – for SHORT TERM USE ONLY. For long-term use, they are worse than useless. Their effectiveness quickly wears off and you have to keep upping the dose just to get the desired effect. And then next thing you know, you’re SNARED!

If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s a web site about this:
In particular, look for the “Ashton Manual” – There are many links to it scattered all over the home page there.

Stay away from benzos! They are baaaddddd shit!

If it makes any difference, it helps me with my various struggles to hear success stories like yours.

Good Job!

Good on you Cyningablod!

I’ve gone a whole 2 weeks without a drink and I’m nearly breaking my arm patting myself on the back :smiley:

What you’re pulling off is orders of magnitude above my little effort.

That is great news. Congrats.

Good job OP.

Boy, Senegoid, do I ever feel your pain. By far the worst (and most protracted) withdrawals I’ve ever felt have come from benzos. The physical suffering is not as bad as with opiate withdrawals, but they last MUCH longer and are intensely psychologically painful. As you know but others may not, in the same way that benzos relieve anxiety, create a sense of well-being, and help induce sleep, benzo withdrawals do the exact opposite of that. Suddenly, violently, and for months on end. The closest I ever came to suicide was during a long benzo w/d, which was concurrent with an opiate w/d episode! Man, I never knew a human being could even suffer like that. :frowning:

The shrink who originally prescribed benzos to me had me on two benzos at a time (which is a REALLY bad idea): Xanax (alprazolam) and Restoril (temazepam). And he had me on them for 4-plus years! Fortunately for me, I found a different, more knowledgeable shrink who very, very slowly tapered me down using clonazepam, until I was able to stop with virtually no w/d’s at all. Had I gone cold turkey, I probably would have suffered for a year or more, like you did. I might even be dead.

I don’t agree that benzos are necessarily bad shit, because when administered properly, they can be a great help to people suffering from anxiety and depressive disorders. But as you also point out, a lot of US doctors just aren’t aware of the dangers. The Ashton Manual and the associated website are based in the UK, where they seem to take this particular addiction much more seriously.

Glad you finally came through it. :slight_smile:

Thanks, but I’m sure you’re selling short your own efforts. Breaking any chemical dependency is enormously difficult. Keep fighting the good fight. Best wishes to you!


One other little thing I wanted to share:

For me, a crucial part of the process of sobering up has been (re-)learning to think rationally. Drugs besot the brain and cloud judgement. But sobriety allows it to return. It comes back slowly, but it does come back.

For example, when I was exposed to the chance to use again a couple of different times a few months ago, when those fleeting little temptations arose, I was able to pause and think to myself,

“And what then? What comes next? I take the drug, I feel orgasmically good for a couple of hours, and then what? There will never be enough drugs in all the world to satisfy the urge, so I’m better off not even going down that road at all. Ultimately, I have three choices: prison, death, or sobriety. I choose sobriety.”

A year ago, I couldn’t possibly have seized that reasoning and applied it.

So for those of you struggling with the seemingly daunting task of learning to live again sober, take heart: the more clean time you have, the easier it is to look at things rationally and to make decisions based on what your mind knows to be the best course of action, rather than what your reptilian brain is urging you to do.

Let me write that one line again, just for myself, because it’s become a key piece of my own recovery, a sort of mantra to keep my head in the game:

There will never be enough drugs in all the world to satisfy the urge. So I choose sobriety.

impetūs - it’s the uncommonly-seen fourth declension.

Oh, and :highfive: - that is great news. :cool:

Congratulations! Sending out wishes of continued success!

Congrats, congrats, a thousand congrats!!

As someone who has grazed the surface of substance abuse, I can definitely understand where you’re coming from with this statement. The strangest revelation for me was, once I got over the constant habitual craving of the substance, how glorious it felt to reclaim that sense of “normalcy” that I’d been trying so hard to escape. Once I realized that a “normal” path is actually a helluva lot happier than the path I was headed down, it was easier (not a total cinch, but easier!) to turn it down in the future. Now I’m all grown up, responsible, productive, and a ga-zillion times happier and more fulfilled.

Do you mind my asking if you’re following a program such as AA / NA? I was able to get through my “problem” on my own, but my SO (5 years sober) is in AA. It’s a huge support for him, and I can definitely see how it works for some people, although it’s not for everyone.

I don’t mind answering that, at all. I address this issue specifically in the thread I started here.

Short answer? No, I didn’t do AA/NA. I tried a couple NA meetings, but it definitely wasn’t for me. It quickly became clear to me that the reason it works (when it does work) is that it creates the sort of “in-group” dynamic that fills the same psychological needs that churches do. I don’t mean that pejoratively; it’s just my humble observation on the psychosocial dynamics of recovery groups. But hey, if it works to keep people sober, what’s the harm? It just wasn’t for me.

Best wishes for continued sobriety to both you and your SO. :slight_smile:

Good show, Cyningablod! You’ve accomplished something difficult, and special.
I look forward to reading through the old threads you linked, and seeing how you thrive now.


Just out of curiosity, since you were legally prescribed your DOC (Drugs of Choice) and you didn’t have to “score” them like people who are into so-called “street drugs” do, when you say that you recently declined the opportunity to use again, how did that work?

Did a new MD offer to give you a prescription or did someone offer you a few of their pills.

The reason I ask is because I wouldn’t imagine that there is really a network of RX abusers like there is a network of Cokeheads, for example, but I actually have no idea if this is actually the case.

Did you usually take your pills in the company of other abusers, the way that people who use cocaine or heroin might get high together?

Anyway, I think it’s excellent how you have overcome this addiction; Congratulations on your willpower and strength!!!