Withdrawal: The Cold Turkey Kind

Withdrawal: The Cold Turkey Kind


For ten years or so, I’ve taken 600 mg of antidepressants every day—a lot of medication. But with wise advice from my doctor, I’m now down to a 75 mg daily dose, having come off 300 mg of the total cold turkey just two weeks ago.

I’m starting to feel better, but weaning myself off these meds was tough, even physically sickening at times. My body took longer than my brain to realize it didn’t need all these meds anymore.

A couple of times I’ve gone out of town and forgotten my meds, and after three or four days, I crashed hard. I got weepy, panicky, just this side of despair. But things are different this time. Despite the physical symptoms of withdrawal—nausea and headaches—I knew I was getting stronger and better. My pain didn’t end in despair either, because this time I had a realistic hope of actually getting somewhere.

Isn’t this also how God heals us? Over time we’re called not only to let go of sin, but also to let go of what has served us well for a time to make room for an even greater, deeper grace. Despite our uncertainty and disorientation, we have reason to believe we will be sustained in our hope that taking a chance on God’s offer of a more glorious life will not cause us to crash.

Wouldn’t you agree that this is how we grow more deeply in God’s grace?


Photo: freedigitalphotos.net/antpkr


About the Author

Joe McHugh is a spiritual director, retreat leader, teacher, and writer based in the Twin Cities. He contributes regularly to the National Catholic Reporter. His book, "Startled by God: Wisdom from Unexpected Places" is available at catalog.franciscanmedia.org. He can be contacted at jjmch1300@gmail.com.