I’ve probably have been taking Xanax for about 10 years before I realized I had a problem. The first six or seven years I was only taking maybe one or two tabs in the eve. (5mg tabs) but that soon changed. I had this special friend in my life Howard who had advanced Dimentia and Alzheimer’s. But we communicated thru his beautiful blue eyes for a number of years. I was his caregiver appointed by him and his attorneys. When he was able to. But that’s another story for another day.
Then came the horrible day in which Howard passed. I was devastated, not that I didn’t know the day wouldn’t come but you never prepare yourself to lose a friend of almost thirty years. But it happened and he had a beautiful send off. During this time I also lost my mother and father. Very difficult times.
Fast forward about three months I started taking more 3-4 Xanax in the eve and same during the day. I was almost in a state of shock, what to do with my life. So I figured just sleep day and night. I had inherited some money and I figured I could get by. But those 3-4 went to 4-5 and same during the day. I would go to whole foods in the am maybe play tennis and home by noon. Eat and take the tabs and sleep. Very content and happy not knowing I was developing an addiction. By now I already was but didn’t know. As I woke around 4pm or so I would then head to Starbucks for a coffee and chat with some friends. By six head home eat, watch a little television and take my 4-5 tabs to sleep. You see it slowly built up to that amount over 2 years.
Some nights I would have dinner with friends and have a cocktail or two, not realizing what might happen. I talked about it to a friend and it sounded like he was doing the same. So I thought it was okay. I had such a stock pile of Xanax I knew I would never run out !
But the last four months of 2012 I was feeling sick on and off. I went thru all the test with doctors and nothing showed up. We thought for sure it was HIV related. But nothing. I wasn’t taking the Xanax every daytime, there were days I didn’t.
December of 2012 I went to New York for four days. I had a friend who worked for Sotheby’s and invited me to the Elizabeth Taylor auction and then to “The Anderson Cooper” show. Along with meeting up with old friends.
But something odd was happening, I had such a busy schedule I wasn’t sleeping in the afternoon like normal so I wasn’t taking any Xanax in the afternoon. And in the eve I was going out it dinner and having cocktails. During each day I felt agitated, somewhat confused, and just uncomfortable. Not knowing what going on.
I get home and get back to my routine and woke up one morning in January. As I was having my coffee I thought to myself, these health issues are more like withdrawal systems and not HIV related. It blew my mind, but I wasn’t surprised when I came to that conclusion. I was addicted to Xanax where do I go from here.
I did go to my psychiatrist and explain all this to him and he offered me options. Thirty day treatment in in-patient program or an outpatient program. I had to decide in a couple of days. I was shocked, who me an addict! 🙂
I found a great 12 week outpatient program and that was the structure I needed with some medication. The medication was to combat the withdrawals since I went cold turkey on January 26,2013. It worked and I’m now clean from Xanax for thirty months. Not to say that the impact of the Xanax is still causing issues which I knew would happen. But if there is anything I learned in treatment is my toolbox, when things are tough I reach in and pull out a coping mechanism and see how I could deal with this issue of the day.
It was a difficult time in my life, hiding, mourning, grieving and just not wanting to a part of society. And I did continue to journal during all this, so it’s all documented.