When I was seeking help for my long-term addiction to Xanax, I found dozens of detailed stories and testimonials online written by people who’d “been there” before me.
Their stories inspired me, educated me and gave me the courage to recover and to stay sober… for more than two years, now.
Listed below are quotes taken from the best benzo addiction stories posted on various forums and discussion groups on the web. I’ve organized this list by the issues that most benzo abusers and addicts encounter in their struggle to get clean.
Just touch the author’s name to view their entire story on the site where it was originally published.
I hope these testimonials help you understand and work through your own challenges, as well.
Mental Health Side Effects
- Memory Problems
…when I sought help for my addiction I was at a point where I couldn’t string a proper sentence of words together. I had NO memory and also false memories and to this day I still have short term memory problems.…
I have no idea how long I stayed sane: one night and a day? Two? Three? What I remember is waking in the early hours from a deep sleep to complete alertness in an instant and flinging myself out of bed in utter terror.
I hung over the banister waiting for the cataclysm, which would end all existence. One day when I can read The Second Coming, ‘Things fall apart the centre cannot hold’ with manageable desperation, I will know I am completely well. But not yet, the memories are still too vivid.
Physical Side Effects
- Muscle weakness
- Change in libido
- Urinary incontinence
- Low blood pressure
… I barely ate and honestly I was beginning to look like a Meth abuser. My relationship with my husband was suffering. Then, 4 months ago, I was at the doctor and they needed to use a child’s blood pressure cuff because my arm was so skinny. WTF? That moment it hit me. Things had to change. Now.
Impact on Relationships
During the 1 1/2 years I took Xanax, I remember that I saw Nicole as the problem. I remember that my priorities changed to such a degree that staying with Nicole and fixing the problem was no longer important to me.
Everything that had mattered to me before I started taking the Xanax mattered either not at all, a great deal less, or mattered in some sort of weird way that I can’t begin to relate with now. I started working part-time instead of full, I became depressed, I took my problems to work, and I caused Nicole no end of stress… Nicole wound up getting depressed, and she left me during the first week of January of this year.
I lost respect from my wife, her friends and family, my job–and even, to a degree, my parents, brother and sister, and the rest of my extended family. Basically, my whole life fell apart as a result of my Xanax use, a life that I’d worked really, really hard to make a happy one. I’m having to piece my life back together and move on from there…
– Steve on RXStories.com
…the medicated me has made amazing strides in providing the unmedicated me a perfect life and the perfect family. But now the medicated me has started to push the family away with my extremely short fuse and uncontrollable anger, while the unmedicated sits around all day afraid to face the world anxiously awaiting for my little orange savior to return. The people closest to my have to walk on eggshells because one wrong move and I have lost all patience.
Mixing With Alcohol
…the evening of the birthday, I took half a Xanax tab & had lots of champagne. Don’t recall anything from 1pm until approximately midnight, when I was arrested & accused of assaulting a police officer!
Luckily, I was released on bail.
…the next day, total confusion & desperation. Even at this point, I’m thinking: what the hell is happening to me, why these black outs, am I going going crazy? Surely it’s not the booze & my depressive, anxious state?
– XanaxEIT on RXStories.com
Admitting You Need Help
Since I didn’t take it as prescribed, I didn’t have enough to last until my appt. I had to cut my dosage down ALOT.
It was then that the harsh reality that I was addicted to Xanax hit me.
After a few days of 1 mg vs 2mg or 4 mg, I was having withdrawal symptoms. I was crying, shaking, nervous, anxious, angry, having blurred vision & a bad headache.
Then the bottom really fell out.
The Dr they brought in decided I needed to go to the emergency room to be checked before she gave me a new prescription… my panic & anxiety attacks were beginning to become severe…
– LuvYou31301 on RXStories.com
- mood swings
- poor concentration
- social isolation
- sleep disturbances
- physical weakness
- blurred vision
- panic attacks
- seizures (can be dangerous)
My worst symptom was dizziness – from head spinning to the feeling of getting off an amusement ride. I continue to have a bit of this and expect it to hang around for a while longer.
My most frustrating symptom was the horrid insomnia. I became friends with lots of different types of sleep music.
My scariest symptom was the immense anxiety of being alone. Showering was terrifying. It was simply the worst feeling to be that out of control of my feelings.
My weirdest symptom was the sensation that my face was misshapen. It would feel like half of my face was missing or that it morphed into some Picasso-like form. I would have to go to the mirror to assure myself that it wasn’t real.
My most painful symptoms were the GI issues. Sometimes it felt as if I was going through labor, the pains were so intense.
– Anon on BenzoBuddies.org (clean 3 years)
…I went ‘cold turkey’ in November 2006. In 23 days, I had gone from taking up to 20 mg a day to none for 4 days. For four days and nights, I was bedridden. I didn’t sleep or eat. I vomited. I had hallucinations. On about the third day without Xanax, I started to become uncoordinated and unbalanced and bumped into things just walking to the bathroom. On about the fourth day I became really worried when I started having twitching sensations…
– Jacinta on Non-Benzodiazepines.org.uk
…I took what I thought was my average dosage as the starting point for weaning. By early February, I was down more than half. I didn’t realize that this was too fast, and I thought I was doing pretty well until I had one thought… literally just one thought… and I went over the cliff and into a nightmare. I wasn’t sleeping or eating and was in total non-function mode. I was full of rage and experienced weeping, paranoia, excruciating physical and, even worse, emotional, mental and psychological pain.
I’ve been on Xanax .25 mg, three times a day for about 11 years. I started cutting it back by taking .25 in morning then a little less than half of a pill on my second dose and .25 mg. for my third dose.
After day 5 of doing this, I feel like crap. Headache, confusion, numbness of hands and face, shortness of breath, more anxiety and just feeling awful. How can reducing such a small amount make me feel so bad?
– Gypsy on RXStories.com
Prior to ever taking Xanax, I was very outgoing, extremely social, talkative and not a care in the world. I had no clue it was addictive until I started feeling weird on Xanax and did some research and found out what a mess I had gotten myself into with this crap.
It’s been 8 months since I got off, and I just don’t feel like the old me before Xanax. I feel antisocial, lack of drive and worthless some days. Is it possible I am still going through withdrawals?
– SpringBloom10 on RXStories.com
How To Quit (For Good)
… I had to go in patient for 8 days to detox, because there is a risk of seizures during withdrawal.
The part they do not tell you is that you are still crazy, which is why you were on Xanax to begin with. Therefore, you must go to an AA meeting and talk to people about what you are going through because you are a drug addict, make no mistake about it. You can not put down that little pill and you know it.
I tried everything to get away from Xanax, and it just did not work until I went the full distance. If you find out you do not belong in a 12 step meeting, you can always stop attending…
I started water titration in May of 2007 and was done on December 23rd 2008. During my taper, I had every symptom imaginable…..I had insomnia, increase anxiety, horrible DP/DR, perception issues – I fell down stairs, fell into elevators and walked like I had a disability…
Long story short. If your going to withdrawal from Xanax, and you start feeling any of those things I had, get a friend, tell them whats happening, tell your doctor your doing it and get off of it. Get a plan together to taper off. Take whatever time you need off from work, and go to the ER if you have to so you’ll have an excuse. Its no joke, its not something you want to do unprepared.
– NTEX on RXStories.com
I’m here to tell you that I was 25(+) years on benzos. Half of that time I was on a very high dose. I had every symptom on every list I ever found. And I recovered. I feel pretty good right now. I’m still healing but I feel good. Recently, I was kicked off of my permanent disability that I was placed on almost 20 years ago while on a high dose of xanax. When I found out that I lost my disability, all I could do was laugh.
I’m not disabled anymore.