Emerging from a prescription drug nightmare

Posted: March 17, 2018 in Addictions
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Three weeks ago, I started to emerge from the ooze of addiction to prescription drugs. I’ve had chronic insomnia for two decades, and for almost that entire time have been taking more and more prescription Ambien (zolpidem). I tried to quit it a few times, but invariably I’d go 48+ hours without sleep, would say “fuck it, I can’t stand it,” and was back on it.

The symptoms were ever worse. Toward the end, the last two or three years, I was having severe memory and cognition problems, was irritable as hell, and had ever-worsening depression and fatigue. I thought of all this as normal. Couldn’t remember damn near anything else. I even wrote embarrassing blog posts that I  deleted the next morning, without ever having remembered posting them — got up, read ’em, and went, “Did I post that? What the fuck was I thinking?” — before deleting them; you might have read a few.

I was like the frog in the pot. I just didn’t notice how awful things were getting until about three weeks ago, when I finally thought, “Well, I’ll probably die within the next couple of years; that’s fine. I feel so miserable it’d be a relief. Time to end it.”

That was the wake-up call. The thought that death might be welcome. The total self-involvement, self-indulgence. I was disgusted with myself.

I’ve always had severe judgments against those who commit suicide unless they were in chronic pain (the ultimate “fuck you” message to survivors, the ultimate “I don’t give a shit about how you feel, it’s all about me” message to those who love them — yes, I’ve experienced that) and realized I might do the same self-indulgent, self-destructive bullshit to hurt those who loved me.

No thanks. I might be an asshole, but I’m not that kind of asshole.

So, I went to the doc, got a prescription for another sleep med I’ve used only sparingly the last few weeks, and am doing everything I can to get away from sleep meds entirely.

It’s working. A lot of nights I don’t use anything except aspirin and medical pot for pain, even though I only sleep three or four hours.

It’s an improvement. A big improvement.

Goodbye Ambien, hello life. (Iggy Pop “Trainspotting” music — “Lust for Life” — here).

I feel like I’m emerging from a shroud, coming up from the bottom of a deep pool.

If you’re taking Ambien because of chronic insomnia, there are better alternatives to it, and it might kill you if you don’t get off it. It almost killed me.

Comments
  1. Shar Hues says:

    Hang tough. Try to walk everyday Yoga helps Pot helps Use the meds only as long as you need them, then look for ways to get off them. Try again;your body chemicals change w age and the years of addiction so give any new drug or tx time to work. It’s worth it to have your mind/ life back Good luck, I’m pulling for you (Ambien Oxy Fentanyl there are many many pitfalls out there)

    Like

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