Monday, July 22, 2013

Sleeping Pills

I’ve been an insomniac my whole life. I remember reading thru the night as a child (with, of course, frequent trips to the kitchen – using food to keep me company.)

It was a lifetime of sleepless nights, night after night, starting from early childhood. As an adult, I was alone in my apartment, up all night, binging and puking. Chronic insomnia played a huge role in my drinking (made me sleepy), binging (food “kept me company”), and drugging (with cocaine, I didn’t even need sleep.)

In my 30s, I discovered sleep aids – ambien, codeine, vicodin, xanax, whatever a doctor (any doctor) would give me.  And naturally, I abused them by taking too many or combining them with each other and alcohol.
While in rehab (which is clearly where I belonged!), doctors prescribed Trazodone, which they explained was an anti-depressant that didn’t really work, but it did have the side effect of making people sleepy. Doctors assured me it was fine and not addictive and not problematic.

I’ve been taking Trazodone for four years, every night, and I do sleep well. BUT I do feel pretty drowsy and woozy in the morning. In general, I don’t feel like my mind and memory are as sharp as they used to be, although I don’t know if that’s the Trazodone.

Now, my sponsor wants me to get off the meds. He thinks I use them as a crutch and it’s still “druggy”.
At first, I freaked out. “oh my God, don’t take sleep away from me. I couldn’t bear it.” I flashed back to every sleepless moment throughout my life.

My sponsor was insistent, and I began to see his point. Wouldn’t it be great to be free of a medication that makes me drowsy and woozy and perhaps forgetful and dumb? AND, what if I stepped up and, like a grown-up, took some other measures, like cutting down on my very high caffeine consumption? Exercise? Herbal remedies?

For the last two nights, I’ve cut my dosage in half and slept fewer hours, but I slept! I’m so encouraged.

I’m interested in other people’s experience with sleep and lack thereof. Anyone have an experience to share?

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