Bloom in Wellness 4












As we go through life there will be good experiences as well as challenges and hurdles to overcome. Sometimes, when we are in the throes of it, we may not be able to grasp the reason for a challenge or to see the bigger picture.

But there is often strengthening of spirit or some purpose to what we are going through which later comes to light, as well as valuable life lessons which turn out to be useful gifts. This is why it is good to be proactive but to do so without resistance and with acceptance of what is.

It brings a sense of peace within that is more powerful than any obstacle… a kind of knowing that no matter how grim the situation, no matter how difficult… something good will come out of it.

The above quote brought to mind the importance of being proactive as your healing progresses. Of course, you will need to wait until acute withdrawal is over and you won’t do things that are known to cause setbacks such as starting to down cups of coffee or sauntering to the pub for a pint or two!

But you could consider going for a leisurely walk in a nearby park, or buying an introduction to Yoga or Tai Chi DVD to gradually start practising, or try a new hobby… maybe enrol on an online course – something you’ve always wanted to do but postponed because this challenge got in the way.

Coping with an intense withdrawal often uses up all one’s resources. It can be all-consuming and may impact every area of life. In the early, acute stage, every fibre of your being will be in survival mode leaving very little energy to tend to other issues, and this is understandable.

However, it is important to begin to re-balance as soon as your receptors permit. This will prevent stagnation and will keep you from falling into a rut. So as soon as you can, start doing whatever is possible to re-create a balanced life. At the same time, it is important to be gentle and to pace yourself in order to avoid over-stimulation or setbacks.

Getting the balance right when setting realistic goals and challenges is a work in progress: you set small goals while still being gentle and self-nurturing. Pursuing a hobby is a good place to start. It can be as simple as water-colour painting, journaling (but not about withdrawal!), playing an instrument, knitting or anything that appeals which isn’t too stimulating. Then, in time, you begin to gradually add other increasingly challenging goals… which may or may not involve some of the areas shown in the image above.

So it doesn’t have to be a major new feat… just something to make the days seem shorter, to give you structure and purpose, and to get you prepared for the time when you will get back to having a fully functional life.

Success stories can be encouraging. Horror stories can be scary. Some stories are both encouraging and scary.

Over the years I have seen remarkable differences in how people navigate their individual withdrawal journeys. I have seen friends with very similar symptoms and intensity have very different experiences.

In some cases family support, finances and other circumstances played a part… But more than anything, it is the decision and maintained resolve to manage withdrawal on your own terms and not make another person’s story your own.

It doesn’t matter if you were on the same drug, same tapering, same duration, etc. How you deal with what happens is what will make your story different.

Our friends who cope best seem to be the ones who react to the process with acceptance and without being influenced by the drama of others’ withdrawal… They allow it to unfold without accepting the other person’s reality as their own.

Your story is your own. Your friends’ stories are theirs. You don’t need to ride anyone else’s waves. Watch out for that vicarious pain.

It’s okay to empathise and support each other, but remember that the compromised withdrawal brain is not always able to maintain boundaries. So what is happening to another can feel like it’s happening to you.

If you ever become aware of this taking place, try to regain perspective and gently go back into your own boat and keep paddling.

Go with the flow…. Don’t fight your own waves and don’t fight another’s waves. Let your gusts of wind be your gusts of winds. You will be more than able to cope. Let your friends’ gusts of wind be theirs. They, too, will cope.

Please know that you have been given the innate ability and power to keep your boat afloat and to survive your own waves. And if you listen to those gusts of wind you will hear them whispering that the calm is coming and that you are going to get better.

When you allow your own story to unfold, you create the best possible journey there can be… for you. ~Bliss