Bedbound from my benzo withdrawal symptoms, I grew tired of watching the hands of the clock move at a snail’s pace, marking the passage of time. One particularly rough morning, a little voice inside of me whispered, “Go plant a garden!” I laughed out loud; the idea was so far-fetched. But the next day, the voice returned. And the next, and the next. Curious as to why the urge to plant flowers was so strong when I was so weak, I crawled out of bed, put on a pair of overalls, and limped my way out into my front yard. That moment was a defining moment in my recovery. Unbeknownst to me at the time, that was the moment I allowed the earth to heal me.

I tore out my front yard and planted a flower garden. I spent most of my days outside, in the dirt. My hands and face were often covered with it! I didn’t mind. I loved the smell of the soft earth. I loved the way it crumbled in my hands. I was fascinated by the fat earthworms wiggling about when I exposed their secret lives to the sun. There are microbes in the earth that we need for optimum health. (If you want to learn more, you may want to consider watching this documentary on Netflix or Amazon: In Search Of Balance.) Every day, for years, I was covered in one of the best medicines on the planet: dirt.

I ate healthy foods from healthy soil. I bathed in the sunshine. I breathed the sweet breeze. I talked to people walking by and felt love. My garden was where I healed. It gave me all I needed to distract from my benzo withdrawal symptoms. It gave me the opportunity to witness the miracle of life. It pried open my frightened heart and filled it with love and gratitude. My garden changed me in profound ways I am still discovering!

If you have a bit of land that you can garden, I urge you to get out there and plant! Spend time every day in your garden. Tend to it, and it will tend to you, I promise. If you are convinced that you don’t have a green thumb, google gardening tips and read or watch videos for advice.  I learned from watching videos on website. (I’m fortunate that Annie’s is in the Bay Area, and I can shop there, She also ships plants, so you can enjoy some of her rare exotics, too!) You can also explore your local nursery. Just avoid the “big box” stores that sell plants. (The plants are often sprayed with growth retardant, and they are blooming when you buy them, neither are good things.) I’d be happy to hear your gardening stories or to see pictures of your flowers or vegetables. Do the “dirty” work of healing from benzo withdrawal. Dig in the dirt. Plant some flowers (or vegetables). Feel nature’s healing magic. Feel the love. You may be amazed at the transformation that cultivating a relationship with the earth can bring.