I have been taking Klonopin since 1993 for anxiety. At first I ran 1 milligram a day: .5 in the morning, .5 before bed. But the stuff wore me out so much during the day, I cut the morning dose down to .25. And I have been at that dosage for maybe ten years. Now I am trying to reduce the .25 morning dose.

Unfortunately, Klonopin belongs, along with Valium, to the benzodiazepine family of drugs. These drugs are addictive and not mildly. If a person should make the mistake of going cold turkey, he or she could put him or herself a risk for any number of nasty things up to and including seizures.

I didn’t know any of this when I started taking the stuff and I don’t recollect anybody telling me. I could have paid more attention I suppose, but frankly I was grateful. After ten years or more of insomnia, I was happy to be able to get to sleep. And the Klonopin helped with that. It got me to sleep, though over the years I have experienced quite frequently extended episodes of waking up way to early, like at 3 in the morning. A ghastly time to be awake.

But Klonopin is like alcohol. The longer you take it the more more you need to achieve the same “high” or whatever it is you are aiming for. I am fairly convinced at this point that I suffer tolerance withdrawal. Daily! I mean the dose I take no longer achieves the effect it once did, and the Brain wants More. So I go into withdrawal. Daily. Usually at around 11:30. The energy continues to drop, and after lunch, I am useless and aching.

The usual “cure” for tolerance withdrawal is to up the dose. But I don’t want to up it. I want off it. But given the side-effects of withdrawal, one has to move very, very slowly. I am dissolving my morning tab of .25 in a cup of water. I am slowing removing one tablespoon at a time from that cup. There are 16 tablespoons in a cup, and at my current rate, it will take a month for me to get off the .25.

So that will be the core of my summer vacation, my basic project. The pains of withdrawal. I don’t know how people who work nine to five and take drugs of this kind could ever get off. I mean how could one work or do one’s job properly feeling utter exhausted and at the same time ready to jump out of one’s skin from withdrawal.

So I am lucky.

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