Wanted: Readers For Feedback On My New Book (Thank You!)

TA DA!

My newest book is finished. Well, actually, two books.

Stop. Open. Turn. Three Simple Listening Skills To Nurture And Grow Love In Recovery.

Anyone have time on their hands, and would like to help me out by being part of a focus group?  I want to know if it’s well written. Does it do the job I set out to do, which is to teach the three simple skills? Do I come across as likeable or too confessional? Bottom line, if you read it, would you want to pass it on to someone else to read? (Is it marketable?) It’s 102 pages, but not many words per page. Quizzes, and quotes take up pages as well.

WATCH OUT! I  share some of my benzo withdrawal in Stop. Open. Turn., so if reading about that will trigger you, please don’t volunteer. I want to be helpful, not hurtful to all of you in my benzo family.

Angel’s Cleaning Company is a short story. (24 pages) It’s not quite done as I still need to add a workbook after it, but I’d love for a few people to read and give feedback. (Disclaimer, It’s got a Christian bent to it. If that doesn’t appeal to you, you may want to take a pass on reading it.)

If you want to be a reader for me, (THANK YOU! THANK YOU!) please let me know which one (or both?) you want to read.

I want serious feedback, which means being truthful, even if you think it will hurt my feelings. It won’t. Trust me. I survived benzo withdrawal. I can survive a book that needs tweaking. (Even Hemingway needed a great editor. I’m far from his talent, so I need A LOT of them!)

I’m off to help out in a garden down the way. I’m decked out in my overalls, happy as a clam. Life is good. Very, very, good.

If you comment here, I will reply with an attachment of the book(s) this evening. (THANK YOU!)

 

17 Tubes Of Blood Later…

A few weeks ago I decided to venture into the water again. The medical world water, that is. My twins have lyme disease, and some of our symptoms are very similar. At 33 months off of Klonopin and still having body symptoms, I thought it was time to delve a bit deeper to rule out any other conditions that could be causing my problems.

I saw Dr. Kaufman, in Mountain View. He looks like Alan Arkin’s twin. Sounds like him too. He’s adorable, and he’s a good person. I’ve got super sensitive doctor radar now, and he passed the test. He works with people who have immune issues.

He tested me for a gazillion things. I wasn’t kidding about the 17 tubes!! My blood work came back and my poor body is action packed with issues.

Viruses that should be kept under check with my immune system are active again. Cytomegalovirus, all the childhood forms of herpes, chicken pox, and epstein barr are all showing up abnormally in my blood work. My vitamin B12 level was low as was vitamin D. (Which is hard to believe since I practically live out in my garden, sans sunscreen.)

The doctor and I wonder if the stress of withdrawal caused my immune system to weaken. People who have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have joint pain. Check. Me too. They have fatigue. Check. Me too. They have exercise intolerance. Check. Me too. They have muscle aches. Check. Me too. So have I now acquired CFS, or is this still wd?

My killer cells may be out of whack as well. The lab mangled the test, and it had to be redone. But chances are good that it will come back abnormal.

What does that mean for us in withdrawal? I don’t know. But I am curios of if immune dysfunction plays ANY role in protracted withdrawal. It would be awesome if other people got tested to see if we have any common denominators.

What can be done about the condition? Well, there is a new antiviral medication that is supposed to work wonders. But…… I’m not jumping on board just yet. No sirree. Not after one pill made my life FUBAR… fucked up beyond recognition.

Here’s what I am doing: I am juicing every day. Without fail. I am remaining gluten free. I am taking Vitamin D. I am taking Oil of Oregano. I am also looking into taking Turkey Tail mushrooms. Possibly growing my own. If you haven’t watched the TEDMED talk with Paul Stamet, you may want to consider checking it out.

Another possibility is I have chronic lyme disease. I’ve been tested before. Its a long story about those results. I gave 11 more tubes of my red stuff to be tested for Lyme plus co-infections, and a few other groovy things on Tuesday. No matter what they cause, lyme or withdrawal, I know things will get better. I have come SO far in healing from the mental crap. I know my body will get better too.

I can’t help but wonder if immune issues are at play in those of us that take so long to heal. I did get good news from my test. My cholesterol is fabulous. My blood sugar is pristine. Yeah!

I will keep you posted. Curious what your thoughts are about immune issues and withdrawal.

Jenn

 

 

Update On The Summit

MercyCenterTerms

Click on the link above to review the TOA with the Mercy Center.

To date, I have had one person confirm that they wish to attend and are willing to send a deposit. We need nine more within two weeks.

Should we not reach the goal of ten paying guests for the Mercy Center, I will look for other venues, perhaps at a local hotel close to the airport.

It’s important that we talk about benzos as a group, to move forward legislation around them, as well as education for doctors and patients.

I just received results from a plethora of blood tests, and it SEEMS that withdrawal has caused a condition in me that MAY be the cause of my protracted symptoms. More on that to come in a future blog, My point is, we need to discuss things and see if we can find some common denominator that we all have in protracted withdrawal. What if protracted is simply the condition I now seem to have? We need research and data collected to connect the dots.

I am hoping we can get together. I will do my best to keep championing the cause.

If anyone has any ideas, or wants to help me, please let me know.( Adam in New York?)

Warm regards to all

Jennifer

Weekend Wows!

I had a good weekend in spite of the tingles and bone pain that doesn’t seem to want to leave me alone, at least not yet. Saturday I visited Stanford to check out the room I will be teaching in. I’m leading a workshop in May on how to boost your creative brain power. I’ve come a long way from the mental horror show I used to wake up to day after day after day… (We DO heal!) I admired Rodin’s Burghers of Calais. (Their pain and suffering felt familiar.)photo-2

Driving home on highway 280 was this snazzy sports car I had never seen before. It was a Bugatti Veyron. Traffic slowed to watch it. I didn’t pay attention to the driver, but wondered if it was billionaire Larry Ellison. He lives not too far from me. There is SO much wealth here in Silicon Valley. It reminds me that there is abundance, and I can rebuild my life after benzo withdrawal depleted my material wealth. I’m not saying I will ever drive a Veyron, but Hey! Good News!  I won’t be on food stamps forever! If you have lost much to withdrawal, please know that once healed, you too, will rebuild.

Sunday morning found me at a 12 Step Study Workshop in Palo Alto (it nourishes my soul). Once home I shimmied into my overalls and, yup, you guessed it, played in my garden the rest of the day. I planted a dozen new annuals to replace the winter bloomers who were spent. It was a wonderful day. Neighbors stopped by and shared a lot of love. photo-5 photo-4 photo-3Lots of new poppies blooming!

Today is in the lower 80s. Bright sunshine and the promise of good things ahead. It’s wonderful to be back out into normal life.

If you are still healing, please know that one day, you will have your very own weekend wows to experience. You may not drive by a Veyron (how many people can afford a 2 million dollar car?) but there are surprises waiting for you that are going make you smile. There are good things just out on the horizon. Be patient.

One of the ways I work at being patient is to pray for willingness. “God, please help me to be willing to take one day at a time. To be willing to trust that everything is just the way it is supposed to be. To be willing to be patient. That’s not to say that it always worked while I was recovering, but it helps. I pray for willingness now more than ever, as God and I slowly put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

What was your weekend like? Feel free to share. What are you looking forward to this spring or summer? Let us know.

Warmly,

Jennifer

 

 

Deposits For Summit Need To Be In By End OF Month

I spoke to Constance at the Mercy Center. We need the deposits for the 10 people staying overnight due in two weeks. She is sending me a contract that I will have two weeks to get back to her.

Rooms plus meals are 130 a night. They want one person to handle the finances, so you can send me your checks and I will make the payment. I can scan the reservation agreement and post it here so you know what everyone is paying for. You will see that I am not making any money from this summit. I am simply putting it together so we can come together and have some serious conversations about our healing and what we can do to help others avoid or get free of benzos.

If sending the money to me to secure the rooms is not feasible, we can look elsewhere in the bay area where you can make your own reservations at a hotel, however, the 130 a night (single rooms) plus food is a deal here in the bay area.

I will need the payments soon so we can secure the dates, August 15, 16, 17th.

I have not set a fee for people coming for the day. Perhaps you can help us pay for the service fee. I am not sure if food will be available for day visitors. I will find out. We do not yet have an agenda as to when we start for the day or end. Suggestion? I am thinking 9 or 10 till four or five.

I can pick people up and take them to the Mercy Center from the airport. You will not need a rental car if you want to stay on the property. There is public transportation within walking distance from the center.

If this venue doesn’t work out, I will secure a spot at a local small hotel that is accessible from the airport. But this is a good deal and the property is so serene and quiet.

Please email me and let me know if you can mail me a check for your stay next week after I post the contract. I am not in financial shape to cover the costs of a deposit or to cover any costs incurred by no-shows. etc. So when I sign this contract, I need to know in good faith, that people are coming. Thank you for letting me be of service to put this event together.  I am looking forward to it.

Warm regards

jenn

 

 

 

 

Easy Does It.

One of the things I like about 12 step recovery fellowships is the slogan, Easy Does It. Now that I am able to sustain more energy rebuilding my life, I need to remember those three simple words.

My nature is to plow ahead. I’ve always been an overachiever and somewhat impulsive. But my CNS is still not totally healed. I run the risk of amping up the tingles, burning skin, tinnitus, bone pain, etc. etc. etc. if I don’t take things a bit slow.

That’s hard for me, to be honest. I want to jump back into life and make up for the years “lost” in withdrawal. Every day I  have to remind myself to take baby steps. (This will make C is Sweden happy to hear.) I try to accomplish just ONE thing, every day. Not two, or twelve. Just one. That’s enough. If I keep slowly building the things I need to do to be back in the world, big things will happen.

Baby steps are good because one of the symptoms that still remains is that joy and/or happiness can quickly turn into anxiety. Not mental worry, but body anxiety. Like I shoved my finger into an electrical outlet. It’s the damndest thing. And very uncomfortable. I got a haircut today, and I loved it sooooo much that the joy flipped photo-1over into too much energy. The drive home from Palo Alto felt like I was tied to a rocket ship about 2 seconds after lift off. I’m sure the drivers on 101 next to me wondered what the old lady with Jennifer Lawrence hair (a shorter version) was doing singing and writhing her arms around to the music. Just getting the creepy energy out guys.

I’m happy to let you all know that I am putting the finishing touches on my new book,    Stop. Open. Turn. Three Simple Listening Skills To Nurture And Grow Love In Recovery. 

My new company, Ways To Thrive, Inc. is also being formed. The new website will be up soon.. one day. (Baby steps, Jennifer. Baby steps.)

If you are able to get out and do more, remember to take things easy. GIve yourself lots of time to rebuild your life. It will happen. One small accomplishment at a time.

For the record, the years I spent in withdrawal were not lost. I learned so much about myself. But most of all, I learned how to deflate my ego, to let go, and to let God. I no longer have to run the show, trying to organize people, places and things, to make me happy. I am happy with life on life’s terms.

The coolest thing about my withdrawal? I didn’t have to drink over it. Not one sip. I used to have a drink over chipped nail polish. :) God is truly doing for me, what I could not do for myself. I look back on that one set of footprints in the sand and think, “Yeah, the Big Guy was carrying me after all.”

Keep holding on. That’s all you have to do. Just hold on. Your brain is healing as you read these words right here.

I love you all more than you know. You are my family now.

Warmly,

Jennifer

 

 

 

33 Months Update.

Today I celebrated 33 months free.

I am pleased to say ALL the mental symptoms associated with withdrawal are gone. Vanished. It took a long time, and I was hit very hard with them. But they are a thing of the past. Whew!

I still battle body symptoms. I got hit with a very bad wave last week. I was in bed quite a bit. I was in too much bone pain to be up and about. Too dizzy, weak, head pressure, and tingling too. I have struggled with intense tingling ever since my taper, which started October 2010. My hunch is it will be one of the last symptoms to go.

Even though the wave rolled in, I am happy. I am writing a new book and working on my career. I pray every day for guidance. I trust that God will put me where I can best use the talents he gave me.

I no longer look back over my shoulder. I don’t look too far ahead. I’ve learned how to stay in this moment. Everything is perfect in this present moment. I wasn’t able to feel that peace and serenity in the midst of withdrawal, however. I was so terribly frightened. Anxious.Terror. Blackness. You know what I am talking about. It was unbearable. But all that is gone. I have my mind back. I feel peace. I feel love. I feel joy. I feel deep compassion for others. I also feel a sense of duty to myself I didn’t have before withdrawal. I love and care for myself now in ways I never could have before. It’s quite lovely.

Yes, life is looking up these days. I am grateful for the many, many, blessings God has bestowed upon me. First and foremost, God gave me life. What an amazing gift. I got an invitation to this amazing world! I want the rest of my life to be lived as a prayer of thanks.

I’m free. I’m healing. I’m grateful. My garden is bursting with life. My heart is full of love.

Blessings to you all as you continue to put another 24 hours together benzo free and healing. Every day your brain is working hard to right itself from the damage from benzos.

Thank you to each and every one of you who has gone on this journey with me. Thank you for taking the time to read my words I put out to the universe through this blog. Your kind energy is felt and appreciated. I hope my words help you on your journey. I hold you all in my heart. I pray for you every night.

Warmly,

Jennifer