Celebrating a Decade Off Xanax!

big pharma faith gratitude support withdrawal Jan 16, 2024
Prescription pill bottles. Prescriptions such as Xanax (Alprazolam) can lead to myriad health issues.

I can distinctly remember my first few days off medications.

This was almost exactly 10 years ago, in January of 2014!

I had stopped Paxil over a year earlier, and now after more than a year of tapering I was about to make “the jump” off Xanax.

Xanax, that medication that had become such a constant companion for me over the previous 13 plus years, was about to leave the picture.

Or rather, I was about to leave it behind. I would try to survive without it.

During those years on the medication, I felt that I “needed” it for everything.

It had its claws in me in so many ways.

I felt I needed it to drive. I felt I needed it to get together with family or friends.

I felt I needed it to get through a workday. To get through a weekend. To resume a workweek. To go shopping. To go to church. To handle stress. To relax.

For everything, and anything.

But I was ready to try living without the medication.

For the first time in so many years, I was going to try “living without a net,” so to speak.

Maybe I didn’t yet feel 100 percent ready, but I was determined to give it a try anyway.

I was determined to follow-through on my plans to get those medications out of my life and break free to something better!

My grandmother had recently passed away, and her funeral was coming up.

The famous line from The Shawshank Redemption replayed through my mind: “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

I was ready to get busy living.

I would first have to get through the stress of my grandmother’s funeral without medication, though.

I can remember ordering some holistic sort of botanical anti-anxiety drops for peace of mind, and maybe I slipped one or two drops on my tongue for the funeral. But if the effect was anything, it was likely placebo. Either way, it helped.

I was shaky and uncomfortable, but I survived the first day off Xanax and was still living and breathing to tell the tale!

For years I thought it would be utterly impossible to survive without medications, but then I did it—for 24 hours.

I got through the first day, and then another.

I got through the stress of the funeral, and through the return to work.

I was doing it!

As tough as it was, for the first time in my adult life I was living without these medications.

This was a new height for me, truly an accomplishment that I was living in real time, even as I dealt with various withdrawal symptoms.

I tried to celebrate every new accomplishment, each new height, that I reached.

Every time I was able to concentrate a little more intently or laugh a little easier, that was a new height reached.

As some clarity and joy began to replace fog and darkness, I saw improvements.

And every time I got through a stressful activity without popping a Xanax, that was a new height reached.

Each time that I saw a slight improvement in sleep, I felt that was another new height reached.

What new heights have you reached in your journey thus far?

Recognize them. Celebrate them.

They signify healing!

The other day in coaching I was talking to a young man tapering off an antidepressant, and although he’d been through a really rough patch recently he was then been blessed with a stretch of great days.

“I felt maybe the best I have in a very long time,” he said with relief.

That was a new height for him.

You will reach new heights in your process.

Perhaps there will still be days that are tough after that new height is reached, that is just reality, but the improvement is still there.

In my mind, once a new height is reached you are now on a new level of your journey.

Just as in a video game, as the levels progress you get closer to receiving greater and greater rewards.

Celebrate each new height that you reach in your healing, and see each one as signifier of a new chapter in your journey. Each one signifies another step being reached in your process.

Too often in healing people live in constant fear of regression rather than recognizing how they are progressing.

Feeling worse on a given day doesn’t mean regression, it just means that this is a reality in a nonlinear healing process.

Feeling worse doesn’t mean getting worse. It doesn’t erase progress.

Cope through the “feeling worse” times, and then keep moving forward to your next level.

Onward and upward! That is the battle cry.

Keep moving forward. You’ve made great progress just to get to where you are today. Just to survive what you’ve survived is an achievement that deserves credit.

Imagine the new heights you will reach going forward in 2024, and take the time to recognize each one.

Onward and upward!

Have a good week,


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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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