Running my own business came with a lot of ups and a lot of downs. Xanax being one of them.
It was a few years ago, don’t remember which. It was a snow emergency. It was piling up like mad in front of our sprawling home on Wintergreen Lane, in Partridgeberry.
You couldn’t make out the 300 foot driveway. It was getting dark when I suited up and grabbed my shovel. Fifteen minutes in and I’m working up a glorious sweat. Cold hands, warm heart.
As I’m really getting into it and starting to hope it never stops snowing, I get this feeling that something’s missing. Hungry? Nope. Thirsty? Nope. Have to take a dump? Nope. Holy Shit! My Jones is coming down. That cold, empty, uncomfortable wind freezing up inside my bowels. Xanax. I knew it. I need one under the tongue. Now!
Forgot about that. I had to learn the hard way that I have to get back in my cell when my warden blows that whistle. Exercise intensifies the withdrawal. Unease sets in quickly. Years ago, I didn’t recognize it. Thought I had the flu.
So I rush inside to get my fix as the snow continues its maddening pile-up. I get into my office and rifle through my center desk drawer and grab what I think is the stuff. As I picked it up I felt another sensation that something may not be quite right. Hmmm, seems very light. I pop the cap and….nothing.
I shake it furiously and quickly throw the empty in to the trash. This has to be a mistake. Surely I should have a refill…somewhere. Nada. Nothing so empty as the sound of an unrequited orange bottle. Panic.
Then I remember a miscommunication with my doc a few days earlier. Can’t rouse him. Everyone’s incommunicado today. I sit at my kitchen table contemplating the worst case scenario. The emergency room or a stroke. One is as bad as the other right now. I’m working the phone.
The darkness looks even more ominous. Resignation sets in and I make my way to the door. Here comes four hours of studied indifference at the Nashoba Valley ER.
In my mind I hear my dip shit primary care doc telling me, “I told you to be careful with that stuff.” After I gave her my full history of substance abuse from my band days. 15 years prior. Hey, I took it, even though I knew better, so shame on me.
Now there’s nothing on the streets. In the car, my motion detectors are one solid beep, thinking we’re crashing into something every second. It looks like the chase scene in “The Shining.”
I can barely make out buildings so I overshoot the Emergency Room by three football fields. WTF? I had already left my quickly disappearing car and was running towards a building when I realized my gaffe.
Shit, can’t run all the way back to the car now. Gotta keep running. My heart rate is through the ceiling. I’m thinking I’m gonna cough my heart up into the snow. All I can hear is heart beats. Pounding. This is someplace I have never been before, physically.
I finally make it to the door and all I can smell is cigarette smoke and body odor. Seems every out of shape old codger decided to shovel today and surprise…chest pain. There are six in front of me. By some miracle, they all look at me, take a vote and push me to the head of the line.
Now I’m really shook. How bad do I look? Is this it? I was a frequent flyer there, so I had a bed in a few minutes. Blood Pressure: 210 over 180. That ain’t good. I tell them I’m “Jonesing” on Xanax but they don’t have any on hand. After they run the bill up, they write me a scrip and send me to a pharmacy about 15 miles away. Coulda been 300 miles at that point.
The ride was terrifying. I kept getting these shocks to go along with the steady bleating of my vehicle motion sensors. I could barely stay on the road that I could hardly see. Why didn’t they give me something? Anything?
I finally got my fix but the damage was done. I had to reconcile a serious drug habit that was just supposed to calm me down in tense situations. My whole life was a tense situation.
I would finally break the alprazolam curse but not until I surrendered my belt and shoe laces to a husky hall monitor at the VA hospital a few months later. I kicked Xanax, alcohol and marriage in that order.
The only thing left to kick is myself. It’s all good, though.