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The Four Phases of Healing


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Hey Buddies,


My angel and mentor through this withdrawal mess is someone who survived benzo withdrawal herself, supported and cared for her husband during his withdrawal, and has observed and supported hundreds of people on BB through this process, all of whom have healed and are out living lives of complete rebirth and utter bliss.  They have all healed.  She has read thousands of posts and followed hundreds of journeys and, as a third party observer, she has concluded there are four distinct phases to this withdrawal process.  I thought it might be interesting to some people (me) to try and figure out where we are in our journey and maybe how much longer we have to do "time" before we're released from our temporary prison.  I also think it may give some people (me) hope that we are progressing and this will, one day, come to an end.  Maybe these phases don't ring true for your withdrawal experience.  Tapering versus cold turkey would likely make our journeys different for that reason alone.  I hope lots of people chime in with their experiences through withdrawal, as the collection of more anecdotal evidence helps all of us.



This is what we commonly refer to as the Acute Phase, which commences once you jump off the medication.  It is marked by a severe onslaught of unrelenting symptoms that make us suffer non-stop 24/7.  If you tapered and went through tolerance withdrawal, perhaps the shock and horror of this phase is a smoother transition.  For others, it may be the same hell we all go through in Acute, whether we tapered or not.  Over time, we all even out and catch up with each other.



This phase is, unfortunately, not much easier than Phase One, but is marked by symptoms "morphing" in nature, becoming intermittent, decreasing in intensity and frequency, and even disappearing altogether.  New symptoms may even pop in and out periodically.  Some people start detecting the Windows and Waves pattern beginning.  Others may start seeing relief in the late afternoon and evening.  In this phase, you can pretty easily identify your "core" bugger symptoms versus the auxiliary ones, kind of like a circle within a circle of your close "friends" versus your "acquaintances."  Even if you experience windows, the waves crash down on you for no apparent reason too.  It's still a very hellish phase, to say the least, but it IS progress.



This phase is better than One and Two because it is more situational and predictable.  It is the Sensitivity Phase.  You might never have noticed you reacted to things earlier in withdrawal, mostly because you were dealing with horrific symptoms all the time and didn't make the sensitivity connection.  How could you?  You were suffering ALL THE TIME.  Now that you are further along in your healing and notice a definite dampening down of symptoms, you'll recognize a big difference when you get upticks and flare ups.  For some people, their sensitivity reaction will come the following day in the form of a wave and they will pull out of it in a matter of hours. This delayed wave reaction and short duration is evidence that your system has healed a LOT.  Others might get hit with a wave that lasts a few days or weeks.  It probably depends on what caused the sensitivity reaction.  Here are just a few things that may or may not cause a sensitivity wave: 


1.  You eat something that doesn't agree with you, or contains preservatives or too much sugar.

2.  Caffeine, alcohol, weed.

3.  Missing meals which makes your blood sugar drop.

4.  Too much strenuous exercise, activity or over-stimulation.

5.  Stressful life circumstances.

6.  Antibiotics.

7.  Drugs and supplements.

8.  Chemicals in cleaning and personal products.


These are just a few of the sensitivity triggers that may or may not cause a wave.  I'm sure the buddies on this forum could name many others and I HOPE THEY DO, so the rest of us can keep our antennas up.  Bottom line:  These are situational upticks and waves that are not random and come out of nowhere.  You are further along in the healing process.  You'll bounce back and keep moving forward, avoiding the things that trigger your waves.



This is the Recovery Phase.  Almost all of the debilitating symptoms that kept you dysfunctional are gone.  The remaining one or two symptoms are more annoyances than anything.  Your systems are still healing, so you need to walk gently into re-entry.  You also need to keep living the healthy lifestyle you've acquired throughout your withdrawal journey.  You will feel better and better each day because your systems are continually healing.  You will KNOW your suffering is over, but you need to keep your antennas up and abstain from your previous vices for another year.


So that's it in a very big nutshell.  I'd love to hear feedback from other buddies on whether or not these phases strike a familiar chord, or really don't seem to apply.


My own journey has mirrored these phases so far.  I seem to be in Phase Three.


Where are all of you in your journey so far?




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Maybe this is a topic that would fare better in the protracted withdrawal syndrome section.  But thanks for posting, nicely written.
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