Halcyon vs Halcion

Or I could have titled this the “Years of Pills”. Not many, but only a few people know about the year or two I delved into the “pill habit”. I don’t know if I was really ever hooked though. First, what the hell am I talking about when I say Halcyon vs Halcion?

A HALCYON is denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful.

A HALCION is drug, a class of benzodiazepines used to treat insomnia. It’s quick acting (very quick acting) and has several side effects (to be discussed later in this article).

So there you have it. To be honest, I can see the relationship between the naming of the drug to signify the results of a “peaceful” sleep. And that’s what I needed the drug for…I was experiencing terrible nights of insomnia after going through a pretty stressful and long term relationship that resulted in a breakup (or two, or three).

There was this girl (always lady problems) back in 1984-85 that I was having all kinds of issues with and it was effecting my work, my sleep and my mental health…but mostly my SLEEP. I saw a physician friend of mine and he suggested the Halcion. The first time I think I only got a few of the tablets. And the first time I took one, I was asleep in 30 minutes OR LESS. It was amazing to me that it acted so quickly. One of my friends did let me know that I had called her in the middle of the night, so I made it a habit to unplug my phone before I went to bed.

At some point, maybe a few nights later…I thought if one was good, then two has to be better right? So I took a double dose. The next morning I woke up feeling good after a complete night of rest. Then for some strange reason I remembered a dream I had that night. I dreamed that I drove around for awhile and then over to a girls house that I thought was cute. It was strange, almost as if it were real. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed real. I found out later that day from a friend, that indeed…after I had fallen asleep I had got up…drove around a while and then over this young ladies house. This behavior kinda spooked me and I researched the drug a little more and found that one of the side effects was amnesia…not remembering what you did while sleeping, or in my case…walking in my sleep (for lack of a better way to explain it).

But instead of these side effects scaring me into not using the drug anymore, it made me try to “manage” the side effects (unsuccessfully you’ll see). In fact, I thought I could handle the effects pretty well, and began mixing the Halcion with my favorite drinks. I loved both Canadian Mist/Coke and also Asti Spumante. So I would crush the pill up into my drink…down that drink, hop into bed and wait only a few minutes to be OUT LIKE A LIGHT. But as time went and my tolerance went up…strange things would happen. I was fighting the drug more and more, and also becoming more and more adventurous and DANGEROUS.

One night I took my pills in my Asti and went bed. When I woke up the next morning the house smelled like I had burned something. I had burned my Ding Dong up!! No, not that Ding Dong! Sometime in the middle of the night I had apparently gotten up and stuck one of the Hostess Ding Dongs into my microwave. Back then, the Ding Dongs were wrapped in a thin aluminum foil. Evidently I “nuked” the damn thing in the microwave and forgot about it…it was NASTY!!

On another occasion, I was in one of my really down moods and called a friend to come by and check on me on her way to work (she worked night shift)…I told her I was going to take something to help me sleep. This is her description of what happened when she arrived to my house. By the time she came over I had already had a couple of my favorite HIGH BALL drinks and a couple of Halcion tablets sprinkled in… By the time my friend got to my house, I was out of bed and sitting on the couch with my drink. She said we talked for a little while and then she said I got up, made another drink and sprinkled another Halcion tablet into it. Then she said I went to my bedroom and began dressing into my “Holiday Inn” clothes. When I came out, she asked what I was doing and I told her that I was going OUT to the Holiday Inn. She was mad! She said, “Wally, you are NOT driving out there!” She said I then asked her to drive me out there…so she did.

The next morning when I woke up I walked into my living room and there in the center of the room were all my clothes I had worn the night before. Uh OH!! I knew something strange had happened again, but I had no idea what it was. I called my friend and asked her what happened. To say she was pissed is an understatement. She told me all that she knew, and how I was out of it when she got to my house and I was still taking more pills and drinking more booze. She told me that she dropped me off at the Holiday Inn and that was the end of it. I asked her how I got home and she told me that she had NO IDEA how I made it back home. As the day wore on, some of the memories came back to me. I remember sitting at a table with two girls from high school. One of the girls was local that I knew pretty well, but the other was a girl from high school that I always had a crush on…and there I was all messed up. So I missed a great opportunity because of being zonked!

I looked at my checkbook and could barely make out the amount of my bar bill (which was typically $50-100), but I still didn’t know how I got home. Later that day, another friend called me and told me that a girl I had dated before and her boyfriend took me back to my house. Apparently when they pulled up into the driveway…I leaned over and kissed my former date (the other guys girlfriend) goodnight. LOL   They were a good sport and no one was hurt in the incident.

At this point during my “pill popping” I made a decision that A) I no longer wanted to wonder what happened after taking the drug B) I was mixing (extreme danger) alcohol and benzodiazepines in LARGE DOSES C) I despised the lack of control imposed upon me by the drugs (and the alcohol to the extent of not being aware). Luckily, I quit without any adverse effects (maybe some shaking). All in all, I think I went through about a 300-400 Halcion pills during this time.

Since that time, NO PILL POPPING of any kind. The strongest thing I take is BC powders for back pain (and this damned old age crap). Yes, I still enjoy my beers, but in moderation.

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