The biggest, most prominent drug dealers in the UK are NHS doctors. My Zopiclone addiction started with being prescribed the sleeping medication due to my step-mother being crazy and my anxiety levels being sky-high. I was aged 19-20, and whilst Zopiclone is only supposed to be taken for 2-3 weeks, I was on it for 20 years. The number of repeat prescriptions I had during those years led to me having a pretty severe, if controlled, addiction. 15mg a day – sometimes more if I needed to travel down the road, was anxious, had a gig to perform or go to, or dined out before 6pm. I was a Zopiclone addict.
Are you a Zopiclone addict? If you are, you may be able to relate to some of this.
A friend once asked a psychiatrist to prescribe them Zopiclone, and he told them no, as it was harder to kick than heroin. Yes, Zopiclone is readily available on the NHS.
Having been off it now for 22 months (my second anniversary is 25th May), I can honestly say that I miss it every day. Sometimes I miss it every hour. I miss it right now.
Would I go back on Zopiclone? After the agony I went through coming off it – going to a drug clinic, nearly wrecking so many relationships – yes, I think I would.
What Are The Benefits of Zopiclone?
Calm. Sleep. A relaxed state, with less anxiety, stress, over-working mindset, and it makes everything taste great, as your appetite hits overdrive levels.
For a great many years I couldn’t travel. I couldn’t even sit in a car. But, when I worked out that taking Zopiclone before travelling quelled my “worst case scenario” panic mindset and I actually was able to enjoy travelling, I went from not being able to travel by car five minutes down the road, to travelling from York down to Winchester, and even as far as the Isle of White. Quite simply, Zopiclone is the best travel sickness tablet there is!
It gave me confidence. I lost my inhibitions and had thriving ambition. I could eat and not get anxious. I would go out and have a good time! But then the meds would wear off, and by morning I was a gibbering wreck again, freaked out by plans I’d made the night before, deeply regretting things I’d said or done, and guilty that I’d given off the impression I was successfully coping with my anxiety disorder.
Zopiclone is better than Valium for anxiety, fear and panic. If ever I was having a panic attack (mainly due to my Emetophobia), I’d take 7.5mg and BOOM. Cured. Relaxed. Party guy.
I ended up not taking Zopiclone for a sleep disorder, or insomnia, but to cure and deal with my anxiety. I’d go to group therapy sessions, and if I was anxious, I’d pop a pill. If I was stressed at work, I’d pop a pill. If I was low, depressed, angry, frustrated.. I’d pop a pill.
One thing (amazingly) didn’t lead to another, and I don’t think I ever took more than 22.5mg of Zopiclone a day (when taking extra). And, if I did, 30mg max. I’ve read a lot about people starting at 3.75mg and within a couple of years they were taking 50mg+ daily.
Aged 41 and married with a 4-year-old daughter, I again don’t travel. I struggle to eat in public sometimes, and don’t like socialising much – which isn’t ideal when you’re a musician and you want people to come see you perform. I’ve never taken Robin to the beach. I’ve only left York with her once or twice as a baby, and freaked out and had to get my wife to drive us home. I may never take her to the beach. I may never go out-of-town shopping with her. If she went to visit the in-laws and was involved in an accident, I probably wouldn’t be able to rush to her side. I could only ever do those things under the influence of Zopiclone. My Zopiclone addiction offered me some kind of flawed, fake life – but at least it gave me a life. Without it, I struggle to see a future filled with travel, adventures, dreams coming true.
The benefits of Zopiclone for me were that they allowed me ‘not to be me‘. They allowed this Clark Kent to be Superman. Like Red Bull, they gave me wings.
How To Come Off Zopiclone?
Stupidly, I Googled “how to beat a Zopiclone addiction”, and the horror stories I read made me scream “WHY ARE THE DOCTORS READILY GIVING ME THESE TABLETS EVERY FORTNIGHT!?”
I did some foolish things. I was lost in the inhibitions of the drug. I was an idiot. I had to quit it.
The ONLY way to get off Zopiclone is to taper off it. Please do not go cold-turkey. I tried. It was hell.
From 15mg, I went down 3.75mg at a time, slowly, over the course of a year. Surprisingly, getting down to 3.75mg a night wasn’t that hard. Getting off that last drip feed was a tough battle though.
My doctor referred me to Life Line – a York based drug counsellor clinic – where, over a few months, and a few missed targets, I managed to quit.
The small steps sometimes need giant leaps of faith. I had a week’s holiday from work, and for one reason or another I decided that would be when I would stop.
The number of times I’d sat downstairs and could not get off the settee without taking a pill – as the fear inside that if I went to bed I would actually be trying to quit.. well, I just couldn’t physically or mentally do it.
This time was different.
With some Valium to hand, I stopped. The first day was tough, as it was my mum’s birthday (26th May) and we went out for a meal. I really needed the tablet. Badly!
The second, third, fourth days.. I barely moved off the settee. I watched TV. I trembled. I shook. I got extremely edgy, anxious, stressed, upset and depressed. I stuck to my guns.
29th May, my birthday. I was getting clean. My 40th birthday. Happy birthday, Marck.
I didn’t celebrate – cancelled a party and felt down on myself. What a 40th. What a party-pooper to be around.
The week took forever, but I went back to work, clean.
How Long Does It Take To Come Off Zopiclone?
Once an addict, always an addict. It took me over a year to ween (or taper) off Zopiclone, but I still crave it. I still want it and would smash through a Boots Chemists’ window during the night to get my hands on a freshly baked batch. I still carry a small medicine bottle with a handful in. I can’t get rid of them.
The mental health services in the UK are failing us, badly. Zopiclone saved me, daily. Without it, the services are back again, failing me.
I’ve tried CBT for my Emetophobia, but the quack told me I couldn’t continue, as trying to come off Zopiclone at the same time would hamper my chances – and negatively affect her stats. It took me another year to get referred again to see another counsellor. This time things went more smoothly, but I am still ravaged, like a debilitating disease, by my Emetophobia. Oh, how Zopiclone would kick that fear into touch.
Like alcohol, heroin, cocaine, or other Class A addictive drugs, Zopiclone is for life and not just for a few weeks of decent sleep. The NHS will happily leave you on it. Please, seek help and get off it. I sat in a drug clinic with neighbours to a relation of mine, who were the scum of the earth. I was around people crying out for a hit of heroin, with faeces under their fingernails, snot running down their faces, clothes that hadn’t seen a washer since the last good downpour. I sat there amongst people who didn’t want to quit, but were there due to legal systems, benefit claims, etc. Was I above them? My cleanliness certainly was, but my addiction wasn’t – we were one and the same. Sure, I had a decent job, but so do many alcoholics. Ignore the surroundings of a drug clinic. Forget any stigma, you are a drug addict, that’s the cold hard truth. The difference is that you want to quit.
Zopiclone Addiction Stories
There’s so many stories to tell, but sadly I was too stoned on Zopiclone to remember most of them.
Playing gigs, when high on Zopiclone, always led to a massive post-gig comedown. I mentally attacked myself after every gig. I really was too hard on myself and should’ve been having the time of my life – but the wild mood swings associated with my Zopiclone addiction ruined it every time.
I was horrid to be around. I’d make plans with people, and the next day do my utmost to rid myself of any responsibility. I’d say nasty things. I became two-faced. I was this person, this Jekyll and Hyde character. I was a drug-fuelled Gemini! I loved myself when high, and despised myself when low.
One time, I went on a break to Manchester. One of those very rare times I got out of York for the night. I went there for the week to watch Ryan Adams and Fleet Foxes. Stopping at Tesco in York to get a fresh prescription of pills, I grabbed some shopping and it wasn’t until I got to Manchester that I realised I’d forgotten the pills at the chemist section! I rang my GP surgery in a panic and got through to the ogre doc. He accused me of being a drug-dealer and asking for a second script as I’d sold the first. I screamed at him and hung-up. 10 minutes later he rang me back and apologised, saying he’d read my notes and that I was not a “drug-dealer”. I honestly couldn’t care less for the street value of Zopiclone – I just wanted to not be stuck in Manchester with no pills.
So, doctors think you’re a drug-dealer if you lose your Zopiclone prescription? Nice! In reality, they are the rampant drug-dealers. It’s sad, but true.
After 20 years of being addicted to Zopiclone, I am about to reach my second anniversary being clean of it.
I still miss it every hour of every day.
Life, as a recovering Zopiclone addict.