Recently these questions found their way into my inbox: “Is there a chance you can do a blog on what kinds of things you are able to do/think now that you are more healed? Like reading, watching TV, conversations with people, household chores, thinking about life, love, etc. What kinds of things you think/do now. And what brings joy, etc. What sorts of things do you look forward to, can plan for now, etc. It is hard for me to fathom anything other than suffering and pain and a life where I am not a burden or where I don’t ruin everyone’s life around me because I cannot think of or feel anything other than this.”
Dear Blog Reader, here you go!
1. Now that I am more healed I can do *almost* anything I used to do before this all started. The exceptions are that I am still very exercise intolerant. Any demands on my muscles sends me into a wave of pain. I’m not as active as I was in 201o, although I do garden a lot and I walk my dog often. I’m not as spontaneous as I used to be, which in my case is probably a good thing, as I was a fairly impulsive person. Now, I think things through thoroughly before I jump in. I’m less emotionally volatile too, which is a good thing. I don’t allow myself to go too high or too low. You’ll get your life back and be able to do many, many things that you are missing out on right now as you heal. I thought I would be couch bound the rest of my life. Nah, didn’t happen! Remember I drove 8,500 miles with just my dog. I really do have a life again that is worth living. You will too.
2.I can read, I can watch TV (but I don’t own one by choice) I can have conversations, do household chores, think about life and I can fall in love and feel love. In fact, I recently threw my hat into the online dating ring. I’m well enough to be able to give something to a partner and I am actively searching for the last love of my life! My thoughts about life in withdrawal were dark, painful and terrifying. Many of us go through that phase as our receptors heal from the damage from the drug. But now my thoughts are “normal” and clear. I am not tortured at all. I love waking up to face a new day, a new promise of something wonderful in God’s creation.
3. I think now about being the best servant to God that I can possibly be. I think about my children, my friends, my parents. I think about how to build my recovery coaching business, and build my non-profit Christian recovery outreach ministry. I think about the moment I am in. I enjoy my garden, my friends, my family, the two mammals that live with me, Sam the cat and Shakespeare the dog. I think about how my life has been so deeply and richly blessed. I think about God often, and I give thanks often. I rarely worry, I rarely am upset, which is a HUGE improvement from pre benzo, on benzo and in benzo withdrawal. I’m really a new person, thanks to God.
4. My garden, my friends, and family bring me intense joy. My cat and dog do as well. I can feel joy from small moments; smelling a sweet pea blossom, hearing a bird sing, listening to a baby laugh…. very small things that years ago I would have totally missed or overlooked as being important. What used to be important to me, being on TV, radio, being jetted to my clients… all the trapping of what looked like success don’t mean that much to me anymore. In fact, I grimace a bit when I think back on how I used to be in the world. Now my joy comes from God. From being in service. Being obedient. Its an amazing place to live your life from. Amazing. I feel joy most of the day. I mean, every moment is such a gift, such a delight. But of course it wasn’t in benzo withdrawal. It was a dark, dank, fetid, horrible hell. But that’s gone. Thank God.
5. I look forward to a few things: 1. my eldest son getting married to an amazing woman in June. Babies are planned as soon as they say “I do!” I’ve been told. Cant wait!! 2. Officially launching God Powered Recovery, inc. into the world. Really excited about the lives that it can help. 3. Falling in love again. I am excited to meet the man God will put in my path that will become my husband. I’ve been divorced for 20 years. It’s time to be a wife again, and to love someone with my whole heart. I want to give and to build a great relationship. 4. I look forward to continued healing. I believe my body will get better. I may be one of the ones who has permanent damage, but I do believe it will continue to get better. 5. I look forward to whatever God has planned for my life.
6. I can make plans for almost anything. Even on days when I am dizzy or a bit weak, I can push through it. I rarely talk about my symptoms with friends and no one really knows when I’m having an off day. I do what needs to be done. Some days I don’t do things if I feel I am too tired, but for the most part, I am back living my life. You will be too.
I know that it all seems to dark and hopeless right now. Your brain is damaged from the benzo. It is healing. It is the damage that is causing all the weird thoughts, and the body symptoms. It is not YOU. You are still in there, still intact, still whole. Your brain is not you. It’s just another organ. Of course its a vital organ that seems to run the show a lot, but you DO have control over how you react to what it tells you. You may not be able to stop the weird thoughts in withdrawal but you can ignore them and get on with life to the best of your ability.
Keep the faith. It gets so much better. I am living proof. I was very, very sick in all ways in benzo withdrawal. Now, I thank God I didn’t die and that I didn’t reinstate or get on any other medication. I’m free. I’m happy. I’m thriving. You will too!
Hope these answers to your questions help.