I fell down the rabbit hole and can’t get out.
This is the story of my 42 year dependency on benzodiazepines – Xanax in particular.
In 1976, I was living in London recording my second album NEO (available on Soundcloud as a free download).
My live-in girlfriend Debri said to me one morning, “I can’t take it anymore. All night long I can feel your body tensing up.”
It was true. At times I would leap out of bed with muscle cramps. Why was I so tense even while sleeping? I’m not sure. I have never been a relaxed person.
So I went to the doctor and he gave me a prescription for diazepam. “Take one a night,” he said. “ And your body will relax.”
He didn’t tell me anything else. It wasn’t till much later that I found out that “diazepam” is the generic for Valium. At first I took 5mg a night, then later 10mg. When that stopped working in the year 2000, a doctor prescribed the then new drug Xanax. It was supposed to be non-addictive.
It wasn’t. I have never strayed beyond that 2mg dosage a night prescription but I can’t quit it either.
Now I know there are people out there who take a great deal many more the that a day – all day and think that quitting a single bar is nothing.
Sadly it is not nothing. I have tried over the years to quit. I’ve gone 30 days without it and the pain and the depression that pain causes never go away.
As the years go by it is harder and harder to quit because the pain of withdrawal has gotten worse.
The withdrawal symptoms of Xanax are nowhere as dramatic as heroin, however, unlike heroin, they can go on for YEARS! Google it. Hard to believe, but true.
I get my generic version, alprazolam, legally from my physician, and I do not abuse it. So why am I writing this? Because too many people are abusing it, unaware of the long term consequences. AND because the recording artist known as Lil Peep, barely 21 years old, has died of a Xanax overdose. Yes, I know that there is a possibility that his pills were fakes laced with fentanyl, still, please trust me, you don’t want to be addicted to this drug. The last time I tried going off it my symptoms were so numerous, I thought I had come down with a bizarre disease. I didn’t even recognize it as withdrawal until I broke down and took some and all my symptoms disappeared.
If you’re taking more than 2 mg a day for any length of time, I can’t begin to imagine how awful the pain of withdrawal will be for you. Stop now before it becomes worse.
At the end of the day; a life on drugs is not sustainable.
I started creating art at age 14. For me it was a creative endeavor that cared not at all whether it was accepted or sold. Since the selling of my music was how I earned my living for so many years, making art gave me an additional creative outlet that felt much more “pure” – unsullied by any thoughts of an audience, nor filthy lucre.
Times have changed. There is little to no money in the selling of my music; others collect royalties in my name without sharing a penny with me.
So I find myself in the position of wanting to sell some of my art pieces.
They can be best viewed in video format – photos do not do them justice, making them appear flat, which they are not. Even the pieces that hang on walls are more akin to sculpture than a flat painting or collage.
See for yourself at: https://www.instagram.com/artbyiannorth/