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

 

 

Workshops/God Dog

I am hosting workshops via GoToWebinar

The first class will be held  Saturday April 5, 2014 at 4 PM PDT  It will be for families and loved ones who are supporting a person in withdrawal.

I will cover:

  • the basics about benzos
  • what to expect with symptoms
  • what to avoid
  • why to ignore most uneducated medical advice
  • how to avoid compassion burn-out
  • how to create a healing contract with your loved one
  • financial impacts and solutions for benzo withdrawal

It is a two-hour class. Cost of tuition is $75

 There is a new page where you can contact me to sign up.

I will be adding more workshops for coping skills for people in recovery who are able to be present on a webinar without being triggered.

Also, there is a new page entitled God Dog. Have a look. :)

Happy healing to everyone. And blessings. I pray for us all every day.

Jenn

Mercy Center Dates For Benzo Summit

The Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA, has agreed to host our Benzo Summit.

The dates available in August are the 15th, 16th and 17th and also the 29th, 30th, and 31st.

We need a minimum of 10 people to attend. The cost is $130. per person, per night. That includes your room and meals. Meals start with dinner the night you arrive and conclude with breakfast the day you leave. It also includes the use of a conference room. There is an additional labor cost of $150 for set up, cleaning etc to be split by all attending.

If we want to make this a reality, I need firm commitments along with a deposit after we decide on the date(s).

I live very close to the center,  so we can spend time in my healing garden. We can also explore the San Fran Bay Area as a group, or individually.

The focus of the summit will be to share our experience, strength and hope with each other. We will brainstorm ways to educate doctors and to help others get off of their benzo, survive and thrive.  We will discuss ways to get the FDA to ban long-term prescriptions. Any other worthy topic is of course welcomed.

Let’s start with a head count, then we can organize how our time is best used.

Do you want to stay for one night?  Two? Three? Please let me know.

I can’t pass this around on Benzo Buddies as I am now working with people in recovery for a fee. It would appear to Colin that I am seeking clients. If any of you  want to share the information with people in BB, please let them know this is a FREE event, other than the cost of travel and the stay at Mercy.

I am not on any Facebook groups, so if anyone wants to spread the word there, please do.

If you want to attend, please fill in the contact form below. Hopefully we will get enough people to make this a reality.  Thank you.

An added thought: if we don’t have 10 people for the Mercy Center, people can still stay there cheaply and we can do the summit at my house. Or people can stay at local hotels. I’d offer my place for overnight stays but my apartment is tiny.

The Sweetness Of Life Near The Finish Line Of Recovery

I know I keep writing about how sweet life is at this point in recovering from benzo withdrawal. I hope I don’t sound like a broken record. It’s just that life really is incredibly wonderful. Even with the remaining symptoms, life is really, really nice.

I am now able to hold ideas and thoughts together and make sense of paper work that until even recently, was total Greek to me. I have enough energy now to sustain projects to birth the non-profit I am creating. I am creative again. In fact, I feel even more creative than ever as I was in tolerance withdrawal from Klonopin for so many years that the clarity I have now is pretty amazing. It will keep getting better too, I know. Yippee!

I remember the last year before I began my taper I spent a large portion of it in bed in the mornings and afternoons. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I always blamed my fatigue and foggy thinking on stress. Or the red wine I drank every night to stave off, what I now know, was tolerance symptoms. I still fight fatigue, but it is a different fatigue than what I had years ago.

I read success stories on Recovery-road.org. One woman wrote that post recovery, life was great and “nothing sucked.” I feel that way too. Even with the stress of having to rebuild my career and finances, life doesn’t suck. It feels wide open with hope and possibility.

Being benzo free is worth the pain and suffering I experienced. And boy, did I suffer. The endless hours of sheer, awful, indescribable terror. The paranoia. The anxiety. Panic attacks that made my old panic’s seem like child’s play. The body symptoms were like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. The full body tingling like I had fallen into a beehive. The crushing sensations, burning, the pain that literally dropped me to the floor. The head pressure, dizziness…. you know that stuff I am talking about. It was agony to hold on most days. I often prayed for death. But I am so glad I didn’t die. Now that most of the symptoms are gone and my mind is clear, I look forward to the start of the day. I used to dread going to bed as I knew it meant I had to wake up and live another day.

I am writing this out in my garden. The breeze lifts my hair. The birds sing. A butterfly, the first one I have seen this season, just danced by. Bees are busy visiting flower after flower. All is right with the world. I used to think this moment would never come. Now it is here.

If you are in that place where you feel that withdrawal will never get better, I am here to tell you, it will. GIve it time. I will be 33 months off on the 23rd. I tapered for 8 months before my cold turkey jump. I have lost a lot of years to benzo sickness. Now I can embrace life again and start over with a clear mind.

Someone asked me recently if I am angry I lost so much because a doctor put me on and kept me on a very dangerous drug without informing me about the dangers. Now that I am so much better, the answer is no. I am not angry. I don’t want to waste anymore of my precious life on negative emotions. Anger won’t give me back the years I spent recovering, unable to work, unable to think properly and suffering emotionally and spiritually, so why bother?  What I like to do most is to practice gratitude. I am grateful for the things I have. I don’t focus too much on what I don’t have. I don’t worry about what I might lose, or what I might not get. I stay in the present moment, open, grateful, and happy to still be on the planet.

Keep fighting. One day, you will sit down and write an email to me and tell me that you are experiencing a day you thought would never come, a day where you feel vital, alive, happy, and whole. It’s coming. Hold on. It’s coming.

All the best on this magnificent day, March 15th. My very best friend ever was born on this day, 56 years ago. He died on March 30, 1991. I know his spirit is with me here in the garden. I can still feel the love we used to share. Be well in heaven Kenny. I am thinking of you today. I love you. Still. Very, very much.