TRANQUILLISER – For those who care to hear, I’d like to report my experience with a popular tranquilliser.
Sober two years in Alcoholics Anonymous, this form of medication, acceptable to many people, was introduced to me by a physician who seemed to know his business, I was in his care for a kidney ailment and he had secured my trust. When he suggested the tranquilliser as a remedy for my symptoms of nervousness, which he perceived in treating me for the kidney ailment, I informed him I was in AA and that I feared addiction to it. “Tranquillisers,” I said, “are frowned on in AA,”
He laughed. “Don’t you know that tranquillisers are not narcotic?” he asked, “Besides, these can be obtained only on prescription. You have nothing to fear.
This man was serious. He genuinely believed the tranquillisers would help me, and God knows I needed help. He wished me to take them for my benefit, I needed release from tension. “Perhaps he’s right,” I rationalized.
It is now six months later and for the second and, I hope, last time, I’m experiencing withdrawal symptoms from the same popular tranquilliser. The first time didn’t work because I was withdrawing not for myself, but for the approval of people I knew in AA I was shortly back on them again. This time I have withdrawn because I had to, and I’ve done it for myself, nobody else. Further, I know that I will succeed only through the help of God as I understand Him.
You see’ I’m an addictive personality. This is something I didn’t fully understand, even after my hideous experience with alcohol I thought my problem was simply alcohol, I was wrong. My problem is a ceaseless searching for escape and an unwillingness to admit that my life is unmanageable. Any pharmacological product, of which alcohol is but one, which I use as a means of obtaining temporary surcease’ ultimately becomes for me a necessity. It is not the tranquillisers, the barbiturates, the alcohol or anything else which is per se evil – it’s the use that makes it so.
You may be saying, “He says he had to quit. Why? Was he eating them like peanuts? Was he standing tremblingly at the corner drug store every morning waiting for it to open? Was he hiding pills?”
The answer to all these is no,
But withdrawal from tranquillisers is much rougher on us than withdrawal from alcohol. There is no physically beaten, abused body pushing you toward surrender. There is only a muffled cry from within that you’re cheating, and since the effect (and purpose) of tranquillisers is to still such voices, it has a mighty hard time receiving an audience.
Secondly, tranquillisers do not resolve problems and conflicts. These are merely put in moth balls. The inevitable confrontation with whatever has been bugging you all your life still stands grinning at the end of every tranquilliser trail.
It’s now 4.00 a m and I’m sitting up bug eyed sweating out the second night of a second withdrawal from a popular and “harmless” tranquilliser, The crisis really hasn’t come yet and I may not make it without a nervous collapse.
Do you want to repeat my story? Think it over.
Incidentally, you may find it of interest to note that the more honest pharmaceutical houses are adding the following warning in their descriptive brochures upon tranquillisers: “Not recommended for known addictive types”
Anonymous Virginia, Courtesy of “The Grapevine,” U S.A.