Benzodiazepines Sleeping Pills and Antidepressant Recovery Experts
I am often asked how POINT OF RETURN came into existence and how our remarkable withdrawal program was developed. It came as a result of my personal experience, both on the medications and subsequently searching to regain my life.
I began my journey on prescription medications with utter ignorance. It never occurred to me that the pills were addictive - or that they had side effects. As time went on I felt as though portions of my personality were dying. I felt as if the fiber of what constructed my personality – my soul, and subsequently, my connection to life was lessening.
I can't sleep. That simple phrase sent me down a ten-year debacle into horrifying depths. It began with a prescription for a tranquilizer that initially worked wonders. However, within a short period of time my body grew accustomed to the drug and it took larger doses to have the desired effect. Then a massive amount of one drug became two prescriptions and this ruse continued until at the end, I was taking over 1,000 pills a month with anxiety and depression filling every waking moment. Sleep no longer provided relief as my insomnia deepened and I roamed the house completely agitated. I was on Klonopin, Restoril (Temazepam), Ambien, Effexor, Sinequan as well as Oxycontin, Hydrocodone (Norco) and Zanaflex for severe pain.
I was unable in to engage society and spent ten long and excruciating years on disability. My world shrank to the confinement of my home, as agoraphobia became my constant companion. The thought of going to the grocery store would leave me paralyzed with fear. Short-term memory loss increased and left me embarrassed to converse even with those I loved.
I’m not sure when my awareness surfaced that the magic pills I had been taking were actually killing me. I was told that the medications were non-addictive and could be stopped by first cutting them in half and then continuing to reduce the amounts from there. I did as instructed and never could have been prepared for the withdrawals that gripped me. My depression deepened and anxiety ripped through my core. The electrical zaps left my brain feeling as if it was cracking. A tiny movement would send a jolt through my head and had me convinced I had a massive tumor. Every medical test I took only proved that I was overreacting.
I began to hallucinate and suffered blackouts while the voice in my head tried to convince me that suicide was the only solution. Eventually I sought help at Cirque Lodge in Utah, whose alumni celebrities include Lindsay Lohan, David Hasselhoff, Mary-Kate Olsen, Richie Sambora, Eva Mendes and Kirsten Dunst. I popped my last two pills on the plane just prior to landing. They confiscated my medications the minute I arrived, and that's when the real horror began. I couldn't sleep or lay down for longer than 5 minutes for 17 days straight. The withdrawals took months to subside. I was only 45 years old.
Yet it was in treatment, amidst addicts from all walks of life and with most of the acute withdrawals behind me, that I felt the travesty facing our society. I watched those quitting illegal drugs struggle, but they were through the worst within in a few days. It was those of us on prescription pills that spent many weeks in relentless blood-curdling withdrawal.
The Cirque Lodge staff was kind, patient and provided the nurturing environment I needed to survive my "cold turkey" withdrawal, and their horse program allowed me to reconnect to the world of nature. Although I suffered excruciating withdrawals, I am eternally grateful for their support in my time of greatest need. It was a terrifying experience that brought me to my knees and had me convinced that I would never be normal again.
It was in Utah that the seedlings of our organization were born, as it became clear that by sharing my experience I could not only transform my extended pain into passion, but also help others who had not yet found their way back to life.
I left Cirque Lodge and returned to Los Angeles with a renewed conviction, as I knew that I had found my calling. Building my dream was a monstrous undertaking and it was through my rare connection with Andrea Crocker that our wonderful organization was founded.
I had much healing to do before I could inspire another with my story. After many failed attempts to resolve my Protracted Withdrawal Symptoms, we discovered the role of Glutathione, the body's master antioxidant, and once I started taking specific supplements, my body and brain began to repair itself in earnest. It also became apparent that the very items that helped me could also assist others. It then became our primary goal to develop a viable tapering method so that another would have the ability to step-down off their medications, rather than suffer in cold-turkey as I had.
Andrea and I worked with Bill Code, M.D. - a licensed anesthesiologist and expert in Integrative Medicine, glutathione, brain function, addiction and pain management - to create the tapering guidelines and nutritional support that have already helped people in 71 countries regain control of their lives.
I am extremely proud of the organization we have created. To watch other living souls free themselves; to listen to their joy return, laughter erupt and passion for life come back - well, that’s what we live for.
Alesandra has a Bachelor’s in Psychology and completed her graduate work in a Master’s of Fine Art. She is an author and prescription drug expert for Fox News Channel and ABC who frequently does radio, television interviews and lectures worldwide. Alesandra Rain has been prescription drug and pain free for over 10 years. She is a keynote speaker and currently resides with her rescue dog Sky.
To Hell and Back
Alesandra Rain, 1991 (34 yrs. old) - Prior to Meds
Alesandra Rain, 1993 (36 yrs. old) - 1st Yr on Meds
Alesandra Rain, 1995 (38 yrs. old) - 3 Yrs on Meds
Alesandra Rain, 2003 (43 yrs. old) - Upon Admission to Treatment
Alesandra Rain, 2011 (54 yrs. old) - 8 1/2 Yrs Medication Free