A lot of my recovery was just coming to terms with how I felt about myself, and seeking pain relief, and seeking that kind of detachment from what was going on in life.There's little to no official advice on how to get off Xanax. It's what you see on the internet. I feel like the real help is only there if you go looking for it. It's never when you're in these dark places where you're surrounded by people who are also using drugs – they're not offering for you to get off of it, they're not helping you at all. It's forums or Facebook [harm reduction] groups, like Sesh Safety – that's only when things start to get different. Straight up, I'd advise you to not take Xanax. It's a long path, worth avoiding.
"I feel like the real help is only there if you go looking for it. It's never when you're in these dark places where you're surrounded by people who are also using drugs."
Saul, 17, Northern IrelandI started off smoking weed and taking Tramadol [the opioid painkiller], and then onto Xanax. I was just using Xans in the same way I would use weed: to relax. Everyone – especially my friends – did it. After only two weeks, I tried to come off and had problems breathing, and panic attacks. I went to my girlfriend’s house. She looked at me and said, "Are you OK?" I literally couldn’t breathe, I felt like my heart was going funny. I rang friends, like, "Mate, I think I'm going to die. What the fuck is going on?" They said that's just what happens when you come off them.I had to go on holiday to see my dad in Wales, and obviously I couldn't take any Xanax overseas to Wales with me. I was hoping the time away would help me come off them. I couldn’t enjoy my time with my dad – I was just sitting there thinking, 'I need Xanax.' I didn't sleep for three days. The whole time I was there it was regular breathing problems, felt like I was going to pass out, headaches if I stood up too quick. I was having panic attacks. I'm still not completely off them. I literally just went down the road to meet a dealer to get more. I have mates who have successfully tapered, though.