A few people have told me recently that they crashed a burned a few months out from their cold turkey, or last dose. I appreciate hearing their story and I know they are concerned that I may get worse and crash like they did. And I might, who knows? But I don’t let other people’s story ruin my day. Their story is their story. It doesn’t have to be my story.

I am always curious why we attach more easily to the negative. Or at least get more emotional charge from it. I have had other people tell me they healed in a few short months, or at the least, they continued to get better. Why is it that those stories are not as “sticky” as the stories of doom and gloom?

It is because our brain works so very hard to keep us alive! It listens to every possible threat. And it does its best to help us avoid anything that will possible be painful. That is how humans have survived. It only took one person eating a poisonous plant to teach the entire tribe that it was a bad idea to eat it. We learn from others mistakes, is my point. But, in benzo withdrawal, we need to keep open to the idea that other people’s “misadventures” will not necessarily be our own.

What to do then, when people tell you their horror story, or you read it on a forum post? Do some strong self-talking as soon as possible! Tell yourself ( I do this out loud!) that your fear region of the brain has been activated but you want your rational region of the brain to kick in. So talk through all the rational reasons why your story can and will be different. Talk to yourself for as long as you need to, If you feel the icy hand of fear creeping back into your thoughts or feelings, stop and do some more self-talking. I have to do this a lot while I navigate the emotions withdrawal creates. Who cares? Just do it! You will feel better. Eventually, you won’t have to do this as often.

Our thoughts create our reality. Think about it.  Things just ARE. They have no good or bad to them. WE project that onto them. Things only have the meaning you give them. For example I am fearful of flying. I hate it. But my friend has an aerobatic plane and does rolls and stalls FOR FUN! A plane is just a plane. I project my fear onto it, he projects his feel good adrenaline rush onto it.

As for your thoughts, they are what they are too. Just like the plane. They just are. You get to decide if they are “scary” or “bad” or “crazy.” I’ve been revisiting some of my old trauma while in withdrawals and I don’t give much credence to my thoughts. Meaning, I don’t get my panties in a bunch worrying about what they “mean.” They just are. I think them, feel them and move on.

So, which story are you going to believe about your withdrawal and recovery? Are you going to believe that it’s all doom and gloom? Or will you take what comes in stride and cope? And not worry about what is headed at you tomorrow.  That’s important. You can and will cope with tomorrow when it arrives.

Here is to believing the story you want to believe.

Dr. Jenn