A Day Like Any Other
On looking back
I got off drugs a year ago today.
The process of getting clear of psychoactive pharmaceutical chemicals, some form of which I ingested daily from age thirteen to age forty-three, began for me in 2017 and ended five years later, in 2022.
Deprescribing was the most difficult thing I have ever done, and the most intricate method I have ever had to learn. It is a process so brutal that I do not blame those for whom it is too painful to successfully complete, and my heart aches for them. Medications must be painstakingly titrated downward over weeks and months, an incremental process that is slightly different for each drug; if you take too big a step down, the resulting withdrawal symptoms are so crippling that the dose must be raised back upward and reacclimated to before you can try again.
In the case of medications known to cause irreversible neurological symptoms such as tardive dyskinesia (Heath Ledger affected tardive dyskinesia in his portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight; lip-licking and wormlike tongue movements are characteristic TD presentations) after a certain period of time, a ticking clock adds to the stress of calculating those titrations. You find yourself asking questions like “If I don’t endure the terrifying hallucinations that result from too great a step-down in dose or too rapid a titration, will I be disfigured for life?”
In the case of others, like benzodiazepines, the risk comes from titrating too quickly, and the question that faces you is different: “Can I endure nine months or a year of sleeping no more than two or three hours a night, or will I break and go cold turkey too early, risking deadly seizures?”
Five years, and a year of withdrawal.
The way in which the human body regenerates its cells is such that no part of you exists which existed seven years ago. This time next year I will be a completely different person than the “me” that was dependent on drugs.
There’s a high-end butcher shop that opened recently a short drive from my house. I went there last night and bought a small portion of the most expensive Wagyu Kobe rib-eye they had available. They had Sprecher sodas in the cooler, too; Sprecher makes the best craft soda in the world, and I bought a bottle of their cream soda, which is made with Wisconsin honey. I cooked the steak (which was so beautifully marbled that I could have spread it on bread), drank the soda, and gave Pancho the leftover fat as a treat. Then I went to bed and had a good night’s sleep.
This morning Pancho and I went for a walk in the park. We dressed in our best, because why not?
This is the year of wrapping up who I was. Let’s see what it brings.
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It's a good day to be sober. Excellent work, man.
You have a lot of people who want to support you in this. Thanks for sharing.