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There have been a few times on this trip that I’ve muttered under my breath, “What the hell was I thinking?” The driving was too hard. My neck and back hurt. I got lost. I was devastatingly lonely. Whatever the reason, I had to battle feeling sorry for myself, or trapped. On more than one occasion, I saw how this trip was like navigating through benzo withdrawal. The only way out is through. No matter how rough some of the hours have been on the road, I’ve kept moving forward. That’s what I did in benzo withdrawal, and that’s what I am doing now.

I’ve had to decide to push through the hard times and to keep my eye on the prize: our family farm in Georgia. I’ve also had to decide to not fall into feeling like a victim or to feel sorry for myself. It’s taken some strong self-talk, but I’ve accomplished it! I have become a master at positive self-talk from having to negotiate my way through benzo withdrawal. (You’ll find that once you are out of withdrawal, the skills you’ve learned to keep your head above water will serve you well!)

Here are a few lessons I’ve learned this past week (and during the last 59 years):

Breathe. Breathe in to the count of seven. Breathe out to the count of eleven. You’ll feel better after a few calming/cleansing breaths.

Move. If you are feeling “stinky energy” of any type, get up and move! Take a walk. Dance. Whatever. Just move. I’ve used a few rest stops along the way to get out and move some unwanted energy through my body. I’ve also turned up the radio and rocked out. It all helps.

Wait. If you don’t like the weather, your feelings, your thoughts, etc., wait. It will change. Nothing lasts forever, so be patient. Know that something else will take the place of what you don’t like at the moment.

It’s okay to go slow. I’ve never been a fan of fast. I’m the car in the slow lane that everyone goes around. So be it. I”ve learned to drive at the pace I am most comfortable with. I don’t worry what other drivers think. I’m not being unsafe, so who cares if I’m a few miles per hour under the limit? This is a good lesson for life as well. Go at your own pace. Don’t worry what others think. Let them go around you if they need to.

You can do a lot more than you give yourself credit for. I’m amazed at how much I can do when I put my mind to it. Believe in yourself and take baby steps towards what you want. Remember that a great life is built upon answering these two questions: What is true for me? What do I really want? The more you heal from benzo withdrawal, the more you’ll be able to live your way into the answers.

Life is really amazing! Every sunrise and every sunset is a gift. Make sure you open the gift every day. I mean really open it up! Live as deeply and as fully as you can. Love with your whole heart. Let go of the past. Forgive. Move on. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. As I watched the landscape change across this beautiful nation of ours, I felt so much gratitude to be here on the planet.

Patience is a virtue. Every time I want to hurry up or to force things to happen, life gets dicey. But when I relax and allow things to unfold, and I “don’t push the river,” things turn out nicely. I’ve had to be patient mile after mile this past week. When I stop trying to force the trip to go a certain way and I let it unfold, good things happen. Same in life. Let go. Be patient. See what happens. Don’t force things.

Remember that someone grew and harvested your food and someone drove it the market. Someone helped make the products you use and someone hauled them to the store. Give thanks to the people who make your life easier for you. It’s easy to forget them. (I’ve gained a great deal of respect for the men and women who earn a living driving big rigs. I’ve seen some of the most courteous driving habits from truckers).

There’s more to share, but I am exhausted. I’ve got a half a day’s drive tomorrow and thunderstorms are predicted. I’ll get a good night’s sleep and see what’s what in the morning. Thank you all for your prayers and for the good wishes that fill my inbox every day! I carry you all with me in my pocket. Know that one day, you’ll be able to make your dreams come true, too. Benzo withdrawal is just one pinpoint on your journey. It isn’t the end of the road. Not a chance!! There is so much more ahead. You’ll see! Keep healing.

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