My tapering process was, how shall I say it… hell. When I made the decision to cold turkey after the addiction “specialist” said it would be a “piece of cake,” I was so ready for something easier than being bedridden and in a state of fear around the clock. Well, we all know how that went, don’t we? If I thought my suffering while tapering was unbearable…

I remember telling friends once I was home from the hospital, that I would be well in 6 months. That was what my doctor told me and I wanted to believe him. At four months off, I decided to jump back into my old career. I opened an office, gave a free talk, hung out a coaching shingle and ….quickly deteriorated into the full depths of Dante’s inferno; cold turkey benzo withdrawal.

Looking back, I wish I had been able to practice patience in those early months off.  I could have saved myself thousands of dollars and saved myself a lot of emotional turmoil and anxiety too. Truth be told, I’ve never been good at practicing patience in my own life. I’m as patient as they come with other people. But apply patience to myself? Hard to do. Or rather, it used to be. Now I’ve learned more skills and I can take things slow and easy. I encourage you to learn a few patience skills too, especially as you begin to rebuild your life.

Many of you know that I am in recovery from alcohol as well. I’ve learned in the rooms of recovery to “Take It Easy.” I’ve learned what it means to live “One Day At A Time.” I also know what it means to “Keep It Simple.” All of those slogans help me slow down, calm down, and do what needs to be done next, (The Next Right Step) and not get ahead of myself.

Patience is a virtue. I believe that! As you begin to rebuild your life, I hope that you can practice being patient with yourself. Set realistic expectations and goals. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your life won’t suddenly all come together at once. It takes small and steady moving forward to build a new life. Take it easy. Just as you had to trust the process of healing from benzo damage, trust that your life will rebuild, as you want it, in time.

One way to know if you are going too fast as you rebuild is to check your symptoms. Are you starting to have waves again? Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed? Is your sleep starting to decay? Check in with yourself and do an honest assessment. Scale back your activities if they are exacerbating any lingering benzo symptoms you have.

I’m not advocating that you simply sit and wait until every symptom is gone. It’s good to challenge ourselves a bit and to push. That’s what life does. It pushes itself out into the world. Watch any weed growing through asphalt! Please just take it easy as you push forward. You’ll get there. There is no need to hurry. All of the things that were in place to support you while you were in withdrawal are still there. You are okay and everything will be okay.

Keep it simple. Take it easy. Do the next right thing. One day at a time. Trust that you will regain your life and it will be wonderful. After withdrawal, life is sweet indeed.

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