If you've been following my work, had one-on-one coaching with me, or were a student in my Benzo Recovery School, you're likely familiar with the terms "Lulling" and "Pushing." If not, then I recommend reading my previous blog on the topic.
What I've been working to share with you all is a recovery program based on peer-reviewed, tried, tested, and proven effective therapeutic techniques. These are techniques I learned during my journey of Benzo recovery. These things quite literally saved my life and, therefore, formed the base of my recovery program.
I break things down into two groups: Lulling & Pushing.
We learn to lull down our hyperactive, hypervigilant, and often traumatized limbic system while gently pushing back against the debilitating symptoms of withdrawal and manifesting symptoms.
Hence, we lull, and we push. That said, there is both a science and an art to this process.
One thing that's become evident to me is that I've been doing myself and my clients a little bit of a disservice in that the way I've laid out this approach has been through sharing a generalized checklist, one that I split up into four weeks, with each week consisting of several new techniques, exercises, or goals. This program is designed to be development, something we gradually build upon. The challenge has been finding the best way to share this process. Everyone is in different places in their withdrawal and recovery. Some may be seriously struggling and finding it too difficult to implement one technique or exercise, let alone over a dozen! The sheer sight of a laundry list of daily recovery tasks seems daunting and intimidating. Some may ask, "Coach Powers. It's too much. Can you give me perhaps just a few things to get started?"
Others, however, may already be doing several of the exercises on the recovery list, and they may already be ready for me. Again, my approach to his problem was to provide a general checklist and encourage people to chip away at their own pace. However, now, I think I could better meet this challenge by providing a simplistic but growing list of techniques, skill sets, and exercises. Which is what I've now refined.
I find it much more helpful to view the learning and implementation of these recovery items as "levels."
For example. Take a look at the template below. This is Level One, "Operation Lull the Limbic System."
I call it this because that is precisely our mission. It's the safest and most necessary first step in our recovery. Here, we are focused on restoring hope (remember, hope has a path forward, or else it's wishful thinking), and this is in part accomplished through a process of beefing up our level of psychoeducation on the topic of benzo injury and recovery. You might be reading this and thinking, "But I already know everything about benzos, withdrawal, and recovery!"
To that, I would say, if that knowledge didn't come from me, then I'd beg to differ!
My friends, there is so much the Benzo community gets wrong about what is happening to us in withdrawal and, thereby, extension, what we need to do to heal. Despite their best intentions, the communities have become a breeding ground for further sending our limbic systems into a more profound escalating crisis. I won't go into that here and now, as there are other blogs where I take deep dives on this topic. As far as my light is concerned, is that I offer you a new model to digest. And indeed, I implore you, please digest it!
Okay. Let's fast forward. We've digested this new information. We've seen a path forward and are fostering renewed hope. Terrific. Now we proceed with Operation Lull the Limbic.
As I've shared in other blog posts, countless videos, lectures, and meetings in my school, as well as my video courses on recovery, a massive part of our suffering extends beyond benzos and into our limbic systems. Our fight or flight center has major trust issues, to put it mildly. Before we even begin with Pushing exercises (i.e., exposure therapy, heavy exercising, challenging therapies, etc.), it is essential that we first create a stable, safe space.
We need a platform to build from. That's where Level One of the Recovery Program comes into play.
For the first 30-60 days, unless you feel absolutely confident you can do more, I encourage everyone to work on lulling down their limbic system. This is daily work! It's not a lot of work, and it isn't difficult, but it must be done daily. Yes. Everyday!
Remember. We are working to, in a sense, create new pathways in the brain. We are building a new safe space that is pure and true, not on the quicksand we call rumination or obsessive support. We need a natural space to work from. Yes. It is possible, but it will take time. We must work at it and remain committed. See my Four Stages of Recovery or my Five Steps on the Path of Recovery for further models. For now, I offer you a very simple but immensely effective template for recovery. Level One.