Getting Off Medications: The Power of Hope & Goals

goals healing self-discovery self-esteem Sep 25, 2023
n December of 2012, I would indeed stop taking the SSRI Paxil that I’d been on since 1999, and at that same time I would begin in earnest a taper off the four-plus daily milligrams of Xanax I’d been dependent on for almost a decade and a half (a taper that finished in early 2014).

I’ve known the pain of looking at my life and thinking: “This thing has gotten to be a jumbled mess. How will I ever begin to sort out the situation and move forward?”

Back in 2012 I was dealing with a lot of issues in my life. My finances weren’t very pretty to think about, my job was stressful and creatively unfulfilling for me, my physical health wasn’t where I wanted it to be (to put it mildly), and worst of all I just didn’t feel very good about myself.

I was on five different prescription medications (Paxil, Xanax, and three different blood pressures medications), I was overweight, I was smoking cigarettes, and I was anxious too much of the time (both in an organic sense and about my future).

I wanted to move forward and find a new path in life so that I didn’t feel so trapped, but where could I begin?

That was the million dollar question.

Where can any of us begin when everything seems so complicated and messy in our lives?

Well, the answer is with hope, and then small steps toward goals. It all starts with these two things.

If we can hope for a better future--if we can imagine it--then a necessary "spark" is created within us.

And when that spark is present, then small goals can be formulated.

Hope and goals truly are the magic elixir that begin to transform our mental and emotional states.

Hope and goals truly build the bridge that can bring us from current difficulties to a brighter future.

A while back I found a journal of mine from early 2012. It was a Word document actually, and it began with just a short goal list and a few thoughts about where I was at in life and where I wanted to be.

In that journal entry I talked about how I wanted to start a website, how I wanted to begin writing more, how I wanted to lose weight and get in better physical condition, and how I wanted to get off of prescription medications.

Actually, I saw that last part—getting off of prescription medications—as the lynchpin in the whole “moving in a different direction” deal. The Paxil had made me bloated, depressed, and fatigued, and the Xanax had made me anxious, flaky, tentative, and unable to live up to my potential.


My journal entry, in part, from January 2012 reads as follows:

“Since I have absolutely nothing better to do with my time at work at present (it must have been a slow week), I have decided to keep a journal. At the very best it will spring to life new ideas that can be implemented in my personal life; at the very least, it may be an interesting read a few years down the road. Things on my mind …”

Then I went on to list some goals and thoughts. In additional to talking about how I wanted to lose weight so that I’d enjoy clothes shopping again and feel better about myself, I talked about how something deep inside of me needed to get off medications.



“[I see] Getting off of medications as a way to increase chance to take risk for website(s) [i.e. it will give me the strength and courage to try new things]. I could get off of my blood pressure meds by eating better and exercising. I could get off of Paxil by doing the same and employing other confidence techniques. I have enough Xanax to get me through any really rough patches for months.”

Later that year, in December of 2012, I would indeed stop taking the SSRI Paxil that I’d been on since 1999, and at that same time I would begin in earnest a taper off the four-plus daily milligrams of Xanax I’d been dependent on for almost a decade and a half (a taper that finished in early 2014).

Little did I know about the difficult prescription drug withdrawal I’d have to suffer through on my way to feeling healthier, but maybe that was for the best. I was simply determined.

I was in pain, but I was determined.

I had hope, and I had goals.

I got off the Paxil and Xanax, quit smoking cigarettes, became a regular runner, weaned myself off of the blood pressure medications, and began a few websites, one of them being The Lovely Grind. I wrote devotions and blog posts and started a YouTube channel that gave people inspiration and spiritual connection, and eventually I began coaching others about wellness, too—people from all over the world.

But before any of these things, there were the small steps toward my goals.

And before the goals, there was simply hope. Hope that a different, better direction was possible.


In the midst of pain and confusion, the simple act of outlining a few goals began moving me in a new direction. And eventually those goals proved to be the bridge that led me to a healthier, happier, and more fulfilled place in my life.

What goals can you draw up for yourself this year? Just go ahead and write a few down, no matter how simple they might be, or on the other end of the spectrum how far-fetched they might seem.

Just the act of writing down your goals will give you a sense of hope and empowerment, and eventually who knows where the goal list you make (or revise/revisit) right now, will lead you. A few years down the road, maybe you’ll find your goal list in a file drawer or in a computer folder, and maybe you’ll take a moment to reflect on how far you’ve come.

That’s kind of what I’m doing as I’m writing this—reflecting and feeling proud. My journey has been perilous at times, it has also been so very rewarding.

I’m here to encourage you as you contemplate your own goals and begin moving in their direction.

In which directions do you want to move your life? You can do it, I know you can!

Every journey begins with just one step, and oftentimes our goals are the things that tell us in which direction to point our feet!

Until next time,


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About the Author

Michael Priebe is a writer and wellness coach who has helped people from all over the world understand antidepressant withdrawal, benzodiazepine withdrawal, anxiety, stress, and healing. In coaching he has worked one-on-one with individuals from nearly twenty countries, and his Lovely Grind YouTube videos inspire thousands of viewers each month. He invites you to inquire about his coaching today to find the knowledge and inspiration needed to fuel your own wellness journey. 

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