Benzodiazepine, Sleeping Pill and Antidepressant Recovery Experts
"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
Henry David Thoreau
Tonight I took my last dose of Clonazepam (generic of Klonopin), a benzodiazepine that was prescribed by a psychiatrist to treat the panic attacks, insomnia, and anxiety I experienced after my sister's catastrophic death. I trusted this psychiatrist and took this medication as prescribed. At no point did he warn me of dependency, the psychological and physical torture, or the disastrous effects on my employment and finances this medication would cause. At no point did he warn me that suddenly stopping the medication can cause seizures or death. At no point did he tell me that the one milligram of clonazepam he prescribed me is equal to 20 milligrams of valium. It is a concentrated, deadly poison that hijacks the brain and nervous system, affecting cognition, memory, sleep, motor function, respiration, heart rate, and digestion. In August 2015, after seven months of taking clonazepam, my insomnia came back with a vengeance and I started researching the medication. I was horrified to find out that benzodiazepines are more addictive than heroin or cocaine. A cursory search on the internet does not reveal this; one has to look deeper to find the real deal about benzodiazepines from the survivors of these drugs. I had reached tolerance on the medication but my psychiatrist no longer took my insurance, so I was left with one month's worth of the medication. I began the task of trying to find someone knowledgeable enough to help me safely taper off the medication. Finding a "benzo aware" doctor is a frightening, frustrating ordeal that befalls many in the withdrawal community. After making dozens of phone calls, I found another shrink who claimed I could taper off clonazepam in two weeks. I tried and was practically psychotic. I couldn't breathe, my cortisol levels were sky high, lights were too bright, sounds were too loud, ordinary things were terrifying, and I became agoraphobic and unable to function. The shrink, a perfunctory, condescending bastard of a man, blamed me for being overly anxious and wanted to prescribe more medications. I felt like I was being gaslighted, told that my symptoms weren't real, which only added to my distress. I found yet another psychiatrist who terminated me for being "hooked" and suggested a treatment center. I knew the treatment center route was not the way to go as they taper people off way too fast, something I had already tried to do and knew was extremely dangerous. I called one and they said I wouldn't be a good candidate anyway, since I had never abused clonazepam. So here I was, terrified and lost, and the same profession that had blithely prescribed this medication now wanted nothing to do with me. This is a scenario all too familiar to those trapped by taking these insidious medications as prescribed. With nowhere left to turn, I began working with the Point of Return program, who truly "get" both the medical aspects of these drugs and the nightmare of trying to find competent professionals to help people safely taper. They are experts in prescription medication withdrawal and have a protocol that includes supplements, diet, a private discussion forum, and unlimited support by telephone. I would not be here if it weren't for them. In November, 2015, my husband and I flew to San Antonio and met with Point of Return's consulting physician, Dr. Raymond Armstrong, who met with us for three hours, reassuring us that with a slow and steady taper I would get my life back. He himself had survived an addiction to the benzodiazepine valium, so we trusted him. I was in protracted withdrawal, barely surviving on next to no sleep, and scared out of my mind, but I flew back to Maryland knowing I finally had the right doctor. The months dragged as I tapered the medication ever so slowly, enduring frightening symptoms that made me feel like I was losing my mind. I was an animal in some sort of sick, barbaric experiment. How much can we torture this already stressed animal so that she finally gives up hope and lies resigned and lifeless on the concrete fIoor? I had never felt so alone, so depressed, so defeated, so lost. Benzo withdrawal syndrome is a nonlinear, random process, like a virus that continues to mutate, so one is always waiting for some new symptom to pop up. I felt as if I was on a thrill ride designed by Stephen King, but unlike a ride at Busch Gardens, you do not know when this ride will end. It was like being hooked up to an IV drip that pumped fear into my body 24-7. Dizziness, paranoia, depersonalization, derealization, ridiculous insomnia—you name the symptom, I had it. Muscle fatigue and weakness made me feel like a living corpse. During the winter and spring of 2015-2016, I sobbed constantly, uncontrollably, with my faithful husband beside me on the couch. It felt like I was vomiting tears. What was happening in my brain was so alien and frightening. I didn't even recognize myself in the mirror. My husband and daughter are true angels for sticking by me, for understanding what was happening, and for continuing to love me. Their continual reassurance and patience are truly remarkable. I am very lucky; many people go through this alone or their spouses leave them because they just can't handle it. I continued following Point of Return's program, taking the supplements (which I believe greatly accelerated my healing) and at the beginning of August 2016, as the dose of clonazepam got lower, almost a full year from the beginning of my taper, I began to have "windows", a term in the benzo community for feeling normal. These are the times one's brain is actually "online" and one feels whole and present. The times when one can go for a walk, visit with a friend, sit in an outdoor café and laugh, or watch a movie and actually follow the plot. The times when one can leave the hell of self-involvement and focus on others again. I began to have more hope. Each window was like a break from the Stephen King thrill ride, a chance to walk and rest in a garden and feel the breeze on my face. I might have felt like a rat in a cruel experiment, but this rat was not going to lie resignedly on the concrete floor. This rat wanted its freedom, wanted to live, and therefore, started to fight. Whereas last autumn I felt nothing but terror that I would never make it back, this autumn has been so beautiful that I want to get on my knees and thank God for nature's beauty. A simple trip to a pumpkin patch to buy a pumpkin and some mums reduced me to tears. To care once again about the simple, seasonal joys of living, to care about anything at all seemed like a miracle. I can only get down on my knees and thank God that I went through this process in the age of the internet. If I hadn't found Point of Return through an internet search, I never would have found the safest and most comprehensive program available for prescription drug withdrawal. They know what they are doing, they have personal experience with it, and they know how to nurture and push us through the laborious process. With the Point of Return program, you have a safe and private internet forum with which to vent, cry and laugh with others on the same journey. The forum is a place to share stories of small victories, resilience and strength. I'm taking my last dose of clonazepam tonight but I know the healing process isn't over. Most likely, I will have heart palpitations, anxiety, more sleep problems, derealization, tinnitus, and fatigue for awhile. I don't care. I want my life back and the only way out is through. Because of my slow taper my brain had a chance to heal with each reduction and I have hope I can handle whatever the post-taper period throws my way. With the toolbox Point of Return has given me, I have faith that I can remain medication-free. I am very grateful! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Alesandra, Andrea, Terry for patiently listening to me go on and on during phone conversations and for your constant reassurance. Thank you also to the divine mentors on the forum who selflessly volunteer their time coaching and encouraging: Karole, Athena, Elisa-Ruth, and Bobby. Don't hesistate to call Point of Return. If you are dedicated to getting well, and put in the time and effort, they will support you every step of the way.
Helen C. (Maryland) - Clonazepam (Klonopin)
"20 years of Paxil-Paroxetine" by Mike E.
My story began when I was 24 years old living in New York City,the year was 1995 I had a small business and van. I got odf jobs like deliveries, hauling furniture and I also worked with a guy who was a plumber, electrician,locksmith. We worked on older historical brownstone apartments in mostly Harlem. It's been a long time so I don't remember the guys name? We were in New Jersey and I was driving my work van with him back into New York via the tunnel which while being stuck in the tunnel for a hour I starting what I didn't know was a panic attack. I felt like I was having a heart attack and thought I was going to die right there!
A few weeks later eventually I checked myself in a hospital named Bronx Lebanon because the panic attacks became more terrifying; and I didn't know what was happening with me?
While hospitalized I felt ashamed and weak! I grew up in a harsh environment emotionally and to end up laying in a gurney in the hallway of the hospital due to no rooms left I became depressed. After being what I call being expiremented on with various drugs, I was ready to get out!
I remember while in group my whole body started having spasms and twitching. My arms,legs,mouth even my eye brows had these involuntary movements. They excused me from group and I was given a shot and it stopped instantly! While being hospitalized I was prescribed Xanex and the panic attacks were controlled but I remember feeling "hooked!" I would frequently go to the nurses station to ask for my Xanex and they would say politely "It's not time yet!
While on Xanex and the other drugs they had me taking I felt weird and out of place. The meds was new in my system and I remember laying in that room totally spaced out. Eventually I got out and was released after 14 days. My parents drove all the way from Kansas City to New York nonstop to release me out of the hospital. I remember walking into the office where patients are assessed and my mother started "weeping!" as my dad looked at me when I sat down in. I looked like a skeleton; I barely ate and I slept alot because the drugs made me drowsy and I was a broken man. I decided to go back home to Kansas City with my folks to rest and recover.
Once I was back in Missouri I tried to rest and continued to take my Xanex. One day I was in the bedroom and my folks were having a small get together in the living room with family; I left to join the party and instantly I had terrible thought in my mind that I never experienced before. The thoughts was "I don't want to live anymore!" This wasn't negative self talk but it was pushed by a desire to actually not want to exist! I cried uncontrollably and my mom walked with me outside to help calm me down. It was scary and powerful! Eventually the thought left but I was traumatized and confused. I was now depressed on top of anxiety and didn't understand what was happening? I went to a doctor over in Kansas and he told me I had despression. He then wrote me a prescription eventually for Paxil 40 mg. The strength was so strong and I felt like a zombie with these horrible side effects like stomach spasms,dry mouth,headaches and drugged!
It was 1996 in july,i remember because on the news was TWA flight 900 that crashed i layed in bed going through side effects of Paxil.
My dose settled at 20 mg, I returned to New York and although the panic attacks was controlled I didn't feel like myself. I seemed robotic and flat.
I after a few more years of being out east I returned to Kansas City,eventually getting settled by finding a job,hanging out with friends.Things were looking good and i felt good. I decided I felt okay and decided to stop taking Paxil cold turkey. Shortly afterwards which I believe was either a few days or a week; I began having burst of anxiety,heart palputations and racing thoughts that were worse than my original symptoms.
I got back on Paxil. I worked at my family's restaurant and would complain that I felt crappy. None of us knew what exactly was happening but I was encouraged to pray and I did. I would miss doses,stop cold turkey and have episodes; eventually coming to the understanding that I no longer wanted to be on Paxil. I had began seeing a psyche doctor who was covered in my insurance network. I told him I no longer wanted to be on Paxil and i felt better, so he wrote me a prescription that was like a 4 week taper and as prescribed I followed it. I had horrible side effects like brain zaps,depersonalization,crying spells,depression,anxiety, depersonalization and dizziness.
He put me back on a generic version called Paroxetine. I began to come to the conclusion that I would have to take Paroxetine forever, I didn't feel my doctor was truly concerned for my well being,I began to mistrust him. When I talked with him about my issues and concerns he was pretty emotionless and discounted my side effects. I use to just stare at his junky desk stacked with folders,papers and I felt uneasy with all the clutter. I was apathetic and missed a appointment but called to either pay fee or reschedule! One time I was running low on my prescription and it was like wed. and he basically refused to refill my rx. I went to the office and i spoke to his receptionist and she said she would give him the message. I called the next day and she said that he filled it out. On that friday I tried to get my meds and the pharmacist said I had no more refills left!;I contacted the office and they played phone tag until they closed; and I had no paroxetine. My symptoms because worse after being on Paroxetine so long so going without Paroxetine throughout the weekend was hell. I had brain zaps,crying spells and fits of rage. Monday came and I was ravaged from withdrawal syndrome.
I was so angry I went to the office Mon morning with a video camera and confronted the nurse and doctor for lying about writing my prescription,they must have thought I was crazy but I was desperate and didn't understand why someone who was suppose to take care of his patients let me suffer in agony? I went back a few times and started to tell him I believe I am having withdrawal syndrome. I began to educate myself and learned of all these symptoms and even people who committed suicide from Paxil-Paroxetine. I was other times of trying to get off of Paroxetine, but it had me in its clutches!
With the Internet evolving I searched out messege boards or threads on Paxil and began to realize I wasn't alone.Other people suffered and had the same problems with what I began to call "Paxhell!" Life moved on I got married,had children and I felt good! Things were happening in my life! But I knew despite early childhood trauma and the bouts of anxiety,depression I felt different now with the meds. I was at a low point in life and began to awaken my spiritually and decided i wanted to connect with Africa and i decided i wanted to go on a sabitical. I had enough meds for less than a month so I end up going to Egypt. I loved the history,scenery and felt a sense of connection. I missed a few doses and that's when depersonalization kicked into full drive.The group organizer tried to help when I couldn't get back on track with the remainder of pills I had. The depersonalization was bad, he suggested I try wellbutrin so I could ween off easier. My situation and depersonalization intensified.I cut the trip short and ended up back in town suffering. 6 months of depersonalization and a severe stuffy head that felt like my head was wrapped with gauze; feelings of being unreal,out of body. That severe stuffy headache that lasted everyday for years and it still it slightly. After some time I got another job and returned to life.
I ran across information about people who were getting off Paxil. I began to search out other sites and ran across a site describing a organization called "Point of Return." I reached out and talked with Alesandra which I would mess her name up calling her Alexandra lol. she also spoke with my mom and I listened to her story which inspired me to defeat the evil drug called Paxil. Truth is while being encouraged I was scared from all the butt whippins laid on me when I tried to quit. I ordered a kit and got a liquid version of Paroxetine. I now remember the liquid version was from my pharmacist and it wasn't from the original manufacturer which was TEVA.
I began to taper and the first dose I felt weird and not right. I continued despite feeling horrible a couple of weeks and I tapped out. I got back on Paroxetine and pretty much stuck. That was in I believe in 2008 or 2009? I knew and always believed in what I learned from POR,I had the workbook and studied it.I continued to educate myself on other people's experiences.
In 2016 ,I like I normally would go to CVS and pick up my prescription for Paroxetine. I at this point knew more about the drug than most doctors,pharmacist regarding side effects and learned the hard way. After trying different manufacturers like at Walmart; the minute you take a different version you know immediately with the symptoms of withdrawal. Anyways the pharmacist told me that they no longer supplied the TEVA brand which put me on alert. I told her that I couldn't take that brand because it's different than what I take. She had 7 pills of TEVA left. She checked in their system but they no longer supplied it due to a maker in China was cheaper. I took the those 7 pills of Paroxetine and began searching for other pharmacies who also no longer carried the TEVA brand.
I then contacted POR,while worried i had faith that something would work out. Alesandra told me to contact a compound pharmacist she had in her network. She told me to call him up to see if I could get prescription so I could finally taper off Paroxetine. I called up Roy and I explained my situation. He got on his computer. His last search of his suppliers he found the TEVA brand. He faxed a rx to my general practitioner so they could send back the rx and I could get my meds from Roy My doctors office lost the prescription order. I had a few days left of pills and it was down to the wire.
I had to eventually go up to the doctors office which they ended up locating the precription. Once it was faxed Roy had my order dropshipped the next day. I got back on the suppliments and this time I was serious because I had no choice especially with TEVA no longer available. I learned to have faith in God, Christ and the words of the scriptures to comfort me and give me hope despite of.
Alasandra confirmed with me that different makers of Paroxetine are different and now this was a real urgent reason to gather strength to taper off it.
I began to take the liquid suspension dropping gradually. I started doing good on the plan and then I started to what I know now as sabatage myself by eating junk foods,soda pop. The side effects were escalating although on the plan they were pretty non existent compared to withdrawal without help. Alasandra emailed and said that I was doing so well and not to sabatage myself. I realized I really doing it out of fear of not being Paroxetine despite all the trauma it caused me for 20 years. I cleaned up my diet,as the meds slowly left my system I began to deal with issues that was present before paroxetine. They never left which I began problem solving by talking with my wife who gave me another perspective! Also learning to have fun helped a bunch. We traveled as a family and spent time with wildlife visiting farms,animal sanctuaries and zoos. On vacation with also went swimming and enjoyed quality time together. It helped me to connect with my family since Paroxetine strips away your connection. Not only with yourself but the people,places and things around you. Your existence seems unreal and everything about it.
Withdrawing with Point of Return helping and guiding was a relief yet,coming back after 20 years was very emotional. It seemed so unfair to have something in your system that can rob 20 years out of your life. I continued talking with my wife about the trauma as a child which was the helpful and a relief to except that it was the past and I had a opportunity to press replay on my life! I was titrating down and for soon reason I thought I was on a higher dose in ml which in mg is different; it wasnt until I talked with Roy and he said no you are on 2.0 mg and soon 1.5mg. I was thinking I was at 6.5 ml. I was for the most part shocked and glad,yet i was close to being done, which scared me! A Paroxetine brought me hell in a pink pill I was still scared without it! A crutch you might say for 20 years, I got down to 0.05 ml and it hit me that I was at the finish line. Aug 23 , 20016 was my last dose of paroxetine and it's bittersweet with tears of joy! Today is the second day without the routine of cutting pills and worrying about running out of meds.
I am still mending because it's like waking up from a long coma,things seem a bit foreign but it feels right! I feel like my true self, back and with no side effects! I can say I beat you paroxetine.... Point of Return was a vessel sent by God to end my anguish and hell from SSRIs. I recently started talking about my experience and as of now I'm helping people who are suffering with withdrawal syndrome. I have a testimony to share with the masses of people who got caught in the web of SSRI medications. My success is a example of that God answers prayers. My wife never wavered in support and encouragement,POR assisted and provided the tools every step of the way.
Roy providing my liquid paroxetine and a comfortable taper plan, these important components help me win the war with Paroxetine. My story is one of many testimonies of people who are affected by GSK who are the makers of Paxil. My experience now give me the courage to give not only myself but others a voice.
Some people have paid the ultimate price suffering and labeled when all along it was what we know as withdrawal syndrome. I am one of the survivors. For this I am grateful beyond words can truly express ! I can now say that I'm "PAXIL FREE!"
Mike E. (Missouri) - Paxil
I owe everyone at Point of Return a huge THANK YOU for the support and guidance that led to my success in getting off the Ativan. I'm off but still have some side effects, but wow I know I'm done with the poison! The journey was extremely humbling for someone who believed that their will was so strong they could never be broken and they would never surrender. I certainly have a different perspective on life. I still vividly remember May of 2015 being completely lost as to where to go, which way to turn and thinking there is no way possible to ever get free from those damn drugs.
Thank you again for everything,
William T. (California) - Ativan
I love that I’m writing my testimonial on a day that had some setbacks. I did a presentation at work that went horribly. My team and I made lots of mistakes that we will need to fix, and we were criticized for it. Before Point of Return, this situation would have led to self-criticism and self-blame, and a sinking into worry, depression and anxiety:
How could I have made such a mistake? What will everybody think? I will get fired! I am a terrible person, I do nothing right.
Thankfully, I am now a new person. I can make mistakes, have disagreements, weather disappointment, and know that I am still whole, I am still valuable, I am still ok.
This is the real work of healing from anxiety and depression. For me, learning to love myself, and knowing that I am enough just as I am, was the missing ingredient that allowed me to get off the drugs for good and feel confident about living without them.
Point of Return is an exceptional program. From the outset, you know that you are working with experts that have helped so many get off antidepressant drugs. The nutrients are a huge help, and my body responded in spades. My hair and nails are thicker, I no longer have bags under my eyes, and I have much more energy than before.
The lifestyle changes recommended are essential as well. It is not possible to eat badly and feel well, it’s just not. With Point of Return, you learn what kind of fuel your body needs to feel healthy and vibrant, and soon enough you only crave the foods that will sustain you and strengthen you in your journey.
Sleep and exercise are also two key elements that I needed to pay attention to as I went off my medication, and I got assistance with this as well. Hydration was very important, and something that I never paid attention to before this program. Such a simple thing but without enough water, your body just doesn’t function well.
When I came to Point of Return, I had tried to get off antidepressants on my own a few times. Each time I was fine for a while, but then some life change would hit and I would be back on them again. I think there are two reasons for this:
1.) I had not done the true work of healing from depression, I had just gone off the drugs
2.) I did not have a community to support me
My success in the Point of Return program is largely attributed to these two elements:
1.) Healing Depression
The Point of Return program encourages you to journal each day, including what you ate, how you feel, and nutrients taken. I did this religiously and often posted my days on the Forum. This allowed me to see the deep, hidden patterns that were contributing to my depression: Overworking, valuing myself based on others’ opinions of me, not listening to inner guidance, and always trying to be better.
As I began to pay attention to each day and to share my experiences, I began to see this thread of self-hatred that was so ingrained in me. I finally recognized that healing from depression would require me to love myself, no matter what.
At Point of Return, I felt loved and accepted, no matter how I was feeling or what I did. So eventually, I began to feel this way for myself as well. That regardless of how much I have achieved and what happens in a day, I am worthy of being loved.
I don’t feel I could have come off the medications alone. Our minds are so tricky, and as soon as things get hard we want to bail. It is scary to feel your feelings again. It is scary to sit with anxiety, with thoughts of anger and self-hatred, and not want to turn back to drugs.
Without Point of Return, my default would always have been returning to the drugs when things got too scary. But now, I have Point of Return, for life. I have seen people on the Forum who were doing great for a few years, and then they have a set-back. Feeling terrible again, they ask for help. Point of Return is there, and provides the nutrients, the guidance, the love and support needed to get them back on track. Now I know that this is for life, because I have the support behind me for when the going gets tough. This is a greater miracle than I ever could have imagined.
I am so incredibly grateful to Point of Return and to the Universe who has guided me to find these incredible people that are so knowledgeable, honest and kind. I am now free from drugs thanks to this program, and look forward to paying it forward and helping others in their journey to loving themselves once again.
Lots of love,
Paula V. (CANADA) - Celexa
I just wanted to thank Point of Return and tell my story in hopes it will help others. I started taking Temazapam in 2010 I had severe health issues, Colon Cancer, and severe neck issues. I knew that with taking Benzos there was no free lunch but I had to sleep. It started out fine, I was sleeping 6-7 hours with the medicine. Fast forward to May of 2015, I was sleeping 2-3 hours if I was lucky. I was somewhat in panic mode realizing my sleep situation was a disaster.
So the only option I had was to do a detox/rehab 14 day program. The more research I did on that the only positive was insurance covered 14 days. The problem was the program made little sense and people who did that said if you had taken benzos for any length of time the 14 day program was torturous and ineffective so I ruled that out.
As I got more desperate I looked into some programs in Utah, they looked effective but probably 6-9 months stay in my situation and $200-400 thousand out of pocket with no help from insurance so I ruled that out. So my third and best option was Point of return. I started in May of 2015 and did a ten month taper (finished the end of February 2016). I am now sleeping 5-7 hours naturally as of April 2016.
I can't say enough about point of Return and the people that helped me (Andrea, Alesandra and Terry), extremely knowledgeable, friendly and professional. I followed there program and with magnificent results. I have continued to call them and get helpful advice even after the weaning. I did thorough research on my options and considered Point of Return the most knowledgeable and cost effective of all the choices.
Eric S. (California) Temazepam
MY STORY IN A NUTSHELL:
I’ve always been a light sleeper, but looking back now I can trace my sleep problems directly to when I stopped taking the contraceptive pill. I had never done well on the contraceptive pill (I think I tried about 8 different kinds because of the side-effects that I experienced on the PILL) and once my husband and I made the difficult decision not to have kids (I have Friedreich’s Ataxia), I had my tubes tied and quit the contraceptive pill.
After a few months of insomnia and other hormonal issues, I heard about the Integrative Medical Centre (which is affiliated with one of South Africa’s leading nutraceutical companies - SOLAL) and made an appointment with one of their doctors. My desire was to explore bio-identical hormonal treatment as an option to deal with my insomnia and hormonal issues. I really wanted to do things naturally. The doctor prescribed GABAtropin (amongst other vitamins etc.) and my insomnia vanished. The only write-up that came with the bottle said: “A superior form of GABA – cycle 2 weeks on, 1 week off, to maintain effectiveness.” That’s it. I’d researched GABA and thought it was safe because it is an amino-acid and I trusted SOLAL, so I religiously took it for four years without qualms. Roughly two years ago my prescription ran out and I phoned the pharmacy at SOLAL to order more – just to discover that they’d discontinued it. No worries, I thought ... I went to the health shop and bought another brand of GABA. This didn’t seem to help at all though, and after not sleeping for more than 2-3 hours a night for a week, I suddenly stopped sleeping entirely. I was absolutely beside myself at this point and I made an appointment with my GP. I am extremely sensitive to medication and, therefore, very reluctant to take anything, but my GP frightened me by telling me that I could die without sleep. She wanted to put me onto small doses of Lexamil (in the morning) and Alprazolam (at night) to help me sleep. “They’re perfectly harmless,” she assured me, “I give it to all my patients who are senior citizens (i.e. sensitive like me) and they do just fine!” I was petrified of taking those drugs, but even more petrified of dying so I agreed to take them. I started sleeping again, but over the next few days other strange symptoms started appearing - nausea, an upset stomach, blurred vision, extreme anxiety, oversensitivity to light and sound, and extreme day-time fatigue. Once again, I was not coping.
I started researching benzodiazepines, antidepressants and the elusive GABAtropin, only to discover, to my horror, that GABAtropin was NOT an amino-acid but actually a benzo-type drug called Phenibut originally manufactured in Russia! My abrupt onset of insomnia suddenly made sense and I contacted SOLAL's pharmacy immediately – informing them about what had happened to me and asking them to explain themselves. They eventually replied via email saying:
“We do NOT advise GABAtropin (Phenibut) for long term use as a tolerance can build up making the risk of rebound very high when stopping. This may make symptoms worse over the long term. For this reason it is VERY important to cycle GABAtropin. The recommended way of cycling is 2 weeks on, 1 week off. Do NOT exceed the recommended label dosages unless on the advice of your healthcare provider. Please note the difference between GABAtropin (Phenibut) and GABA. GABAtropin readily crosses the blood brain barrier and enters the brain where it has anti-anxiety and calming effects. GABA however, very poorly crosses the blood brain barrier, and very little enters the brain. GABA is mostly destroyed by enzymes in the blood stream long before it is able to enter the brain.”
... yet they happily gave it to me for FOUR YEARS years and no-one had ever breathed a word about the dangers to me. And now, thanks to their highly unethical behaviour and lack of transparency, I was completely unable to sleep without chemical assistance and was taking yet another benzo and an antidepressant WITH A WHOLE NEW SET OF SIDE-EFFECTS! I remember feeling so angry and so utterly helpless. Where to now?
About two weekends later my husband brought me home early from church because I couldn’t handle being surrounded by people and was having panic attacks. With tears running down my cheeks and a prayer of desperation in my heart, I turned to the Internet for help and God led me to Point Of Return (POR). Alesandra answered my email within an hour and for the first time in weeks, I felt hopeful again ... I could get my life back without having to resort to taking drugs indefinitely!
I tapered successfully off of Lexamil and Zolpidem (switching from Alprazolam to Zolpidem at night for my taper) and today I am entirely drug-free and I fall asleep every night! Not only that, but I have discovered that my body absolutely loves SUPPORT and it has helped with my FA-symptoms too! I am incredibly grateful to God for leading me to POR two years ago, for Alesandra and Andrea and Terry who tirelessly give of themselves to people like me – people who feel hopeless and helpless and stuck – and for the incredible support and encouragement from all of my fellow “PORRIERS” on the Forum. I couldn’t have done it without any of you!
Bianca, South Africa (Lexamil, Zolpidem)
There is always a story behind taking prescription drugs. I have a story.
As I look back on my life I have been fortunate in many ways, at least as to living my dreams. I had good parents who provided me with many opportunities in life. I was the outstanding girl athlete in my graduating class... and that's all I wanted to be. I went to college and majored in physical education along with playing basketball. I met a wonderful guy to marry and we've been together for 50+ years. I had a secret dream of wanting 12 children and was blessed with 11. Added 7 others who came to live with us through the years.
I returned to college when my youngest was in kindergarten. I majored in History, Psychology and Sociology. I did my 5th year to attain my teaching credential and found a job immediately. I continued on to receive a Masters Degree in Counseling.
Up to this time I was on no medications and had had just a couple of surgeries in my entire life. One of those surgeries was when I was 17 years old and had torn the cartilage in my knee, from flying off a toboggan. This left my knee in a locked position making this surgery a necessity. That would become a problem later in life.
In my third year of teaching and coaching I began to experience knee pain. This led to arthroscopic surgeries on both knees with poor results. I was unable to regain motion. My physical therapist spent many hours trying to figure out why I wasn't progressing. After several surgeries I was sent to a Doctor in Los Angeles who co-invented the artificial knee. I had exploratory surgery to check for cancer. I was sent to Scripps Green Hospital for more surgery and put in an intensive rehab program there. Met my first psychiatrist there and was told "it's all in your head". The physical therapist who worked with me told me to ignore him! During this time I was in a new job that required 12 to 14 hours a day. I did lots of exercises to try and get my knees working. What happened then was I lost lots of weight. That was a good thing that turned into a huge problem. Without realizing what I was doing this turned into anorexia. For two years I lost weight. When I got down to 100 pounds my world fell apart completely. I had kidney failure that put me in the hospital one night. I went straight from there into a program for eating disorders which required me to take a year's leave of absence.
I spent time in many eating disorder programs while enduring more knee surgeries. When the doctors couldn't solve the knee issues it was decided to try knee replacements. Now that I have learned new things about my health I know that inflammation was the reason I couldn't regain motion in my knees and those knee replacements, that never worked, were totally unnecessary.
It was during this time period that I had sleep issues for the first time in my life. My family doctor fixed that for me by prescribing 30 Mg of Dalmane.
Knee replacements did not solve my problems. I did recover from anorexia but was put on a multitude of antidepressants while being given many strong painkillers. 6 years after my knee replacements I developed a staph infection in my right knee. It had to be removed and due to other complications I went without a knee for 9 months.
After surviving 30 knee surgeries, 4 shoulder surgeries, 2 wrist surgeries, c-spine surgery, a double fractured pelvis and several other surgeries, not listed here, along with being put on many strong pain meds for long periods of time, I just wanted to live again!
I saw no need for a sleeping pill as the reason I couldn't sleep had been resolved many years before. When I told the doctor I wanted off the sleeping pill he was no help and just suggested going to a different sleeping pill. I stopped taking it all on my own, not realizing I had put myself into a cold-turkey situation. I was very sick and my doctor spent over 6 months sending me to every specialist there was! I was certain I was dying and did end up in the hospital where they found I had an infected gall bladder which was then removed. Later my knee doctor told me I should have died as the infection should have traveled down to my artificial knee. Following the surgery I experimented and realized my "dying" problem was a result of not taking the sleeping pill and I reinstated at 15 MG.
I was always searching for a way off this medicine! Then, in April, while recovering from a shoulder surgery in February of 2015, I found POR, Point of Return. I didn't call I just sent an email to buy the program and was very excited! Andrea helped me get started and, although I have had some tough times during the process and continue to heal to this day, I've never looked back!
My life has been changed for the better by leaps and bounds. God brought me to this program and these amazing and knowledgeable people. I am ever indebted to Alesandra, Andrea and Terry for their unending guidance as I journeyed to freedom from both Dalmane and Tramadol. The supplements designed for the POR program are the absolute best! I am more than med-free, I live my life differently by eating clean and very healthy. I am the healthiest I have been in 25 years. This is a process and requires dedication from the individual and trust in the team. If you want it, it's there! I have it and I love it!
THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!!! Freedom is sweet and POR has blessed my life beyond measure!
Karole (California) – Dalmane, Tramadol
Christmas is my favourite time of the year. My dreadful nightmare started two days before Christmas Day in year 2011…. It took me an entire year of hard work to awake from the nightmare, so… every Christmas season nowadays becomes my time to reflect on the sweet VICTORY and PEACE of mind I now enjoy. I have every reason to be thankful to my Saviour Jesus Christ and my Angels at Point of Return (POR). A big THANK YOU to Alesandra, Andrea, and Terry for the tireless efforts you put in to guide many of us safely to freedom.
Today I also want to take this opportunity to share with you my before and after pictures as well as my dos-and-don’ts. Hopefully it will help you avoid the painful mistakes I made along the way to freedom.
My psychiatric drug addiction was totally accidental as a result of an innocent but hapless visit to the doctor’s office for the purpose of treating a cold, cough, and lack of sleep (due to each night’s coughing). My M.D. started me on Ativan on Dec. 23 of 2011. It was supposed to be a “harmless” and “temporary” measure. As per my family physician at the time, that is what they supposedly give to children to calm them down and get them to sleep. Unfortunately, my body didn’t agree with this statement. Such an innocent little blue-green magic pill triggered a chain of terrifying reactions… I had my first full-blown panic attack. I was constantly on edge. I was sensitive to light and sound. I developed agoraphobia. I was crying non-stop. Almost overnight I turned into a monster whom I couldn’t even recognize. My doctor didn’t waste any time in diagnosing me as a mental case and subsequently plied me with varieties of anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications to help control my mental instability. When asked why my illness came on so suddenly, she was unable to offer any answer or explanation. According to her and “the medical experts”, I was a ticking time-bomb at the mercy of some trait which inevitably must run in my family. Well, I guess that was that; no need to question the experts, right? Needless to say, with this sewn-up, blanket conclusion towards so called mentally-ill patients and the lack of understanding of the chemical effects of the meds prescribed, I spiralled downwards during the following five months. I became a test tube for different trail-and-error psychotropic prescriptions as doctors groped and floundered with their Rx pads. Naturally, I sometimes ended up as a regular visitor to the emergency rooms as a result of such “remedies”.
Here is my before picture:
After being cold-turkeyed by my doctor from four benzos and four anti-depressants, I was entirely worn out. I suffered from constant severe headaches as well as severe insomnia. I was an agoraphobiac (besides going to work, I only travelled between my bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and living room). Constant pain from old injures tortured me day and night. The medications combined with the effects of being withdrawn cold-turkey robbed me my short term memory, ability to concentrate, and ability to even sit still. My life was filled with intrusive fearful thoughts, doom and gloom, self-pity, and guilt.
I had so many check marks on the POR symptom list. The worst part was that I had no idea why all of a sudden I was suffering so much. I googled and searched. All the information which came up pointed towards the one and the only cause: addiction of the very medication I was given to “help” me.
My initial phone call to Alesandra at POR only further confirmed my research: I was turned into a drug addict without my consent by the people I was supposed to have trusted. I could feel the anger and hatred towards my doctor like a volcano ready to burst inside of me. That wasn’t a pretty picture, but it was me before starting the POR program.
At the beginning I couldn’t follow the program whole-heartedly. Agoraphobia, insomnia and severe headaches were the three most pronounced symptoms for me. They had such a tight grip on me, I was constantly feeling overwhelmed. I was also now stigmatized by my family doctor with the labels of several mental illnesses. Although I followed the withdraw schedule and procedure carefully, I had no strength left to deal with the mental or emotional aspects of the withdrawal. Every time I would gather courage to go out to the grocery store, I would end up returning in defeat. I was so afraid that everyone in the store who saw me knew I was a terrible mental case.
I started to read a lot of success stories on the forum. I wanted so much to write one myself one day, but I was so convinced that I didn’t have what it took to get there. My “why me?” attitude didn’t help with the situation either. I distanced myself from God for His apparent refusal to help (on my terms, of course). I also started to distance myself from my family and children because I was so afraid that I might hurt them.
My early journey to freedom was full of bitterness and feelings of defeat, fear and guilt were consuming me alive…. Until …one day, while aimlessly browsing the stored video clips and pictures on my laptop, suddenly one video clip of my baby girl eating her first Cheetos while dancing to The Wiggles caught my eye. At that moment, something inside of me clicked. I started to sob uncontrollably. It felt like a much needed cleanse. For the first time in months, my determined fighter spirit got rekindled. It marked the starting point of my rising out of the hell.
Besides following the withdrawal schedule faithfully, I went to a private doctor and had all the necessary blood work done (as recommended by Alesandra); I incorporated a moderate daily exercise routine which forced me to leave my comfort zone and venture out; I followed a clean and nutritious diet; I found the self-help method most helpful to me; I learned after many painful failed attempts to fall asleep and remain asleep at will. Also during this journey I re-learned to walk with God as best as I knew. I learned to meditate; I taught myself mindfulness and positive thinking. This also provided me with the precious opportunity to discover who I am and what I am called to do.
Frankly speaking, it was definitely not my journey of choice, but it was indeed a necessary journey for me to undergo in order to become who I am today. All the anger, resentment and bitterness had all melted along the way. I learned to forgive myself and others (especially my family doctor who put me through this ordeal). I did not find any miracle cure during this journey. And I didn’t recover immediately after the withdrawal. The healing comes on its own terms and in progressive stages or layers. It takes a lot of hard work and discipline. To think that one will bounce back right after the last drop is unrealistic. The turtle who wins the race typifies the truth on this journey. —- Slowly-but-surely is the way. Today, nearly three years after the last drop, I still discover little healing signs here and there with total joy.
This is my after picture:
Right after finishing the withdrawal, I slowly eased back into my full-time work schedule. I resumed to my busy shopping life . I threw myself into living life full-bore. Moreover, I even overcame my previous fear of flying and took the whole family to Orlando Disney World in 2013. We went to Great Wolf Lodge in 2014. This year I had Lasik surgery done for both my eyes. We also completed our dream trip of a 10-day vacation to Shanghai, China in October. I no longer over-protect my children. They are both enrolled in swimming lessons, karate lessons, and private violin lessons. I also take my 12 year-old to Second City in Toronto to take weekly improv lessons. I am no longer afraid of having a sleepless night. I have learned to sleep at will; always well-rested. And best of all, I have found my joy in God… and my purpose in Him and His Love.
As we welcome the year 2016, let’s also welcome your freedom and your total recovery together. I have total faith that with a bit of willingness, lots of handwork and discipline, and the loving guidance from POR, you too will succeed!
Happy New Year to you all!
Carolyn A. (Canada) Klonopin, Zopiclone
I want to thank everyone at point of return for helping me to find freedom and realize the peak of my personal health. I have not only become free of prescription medication but I have also been alleviated of the fear, anxiety, stress and incapacitation that used to run my life. I have been off medication now for 8 months thanks to the wonderful support and guidance of POR. Today and everyday is better than the one before it. My mind is clear and sharp. My anxiety is nearly non-existent and my optimism has returned. Point of Return is more than just a way to become free of prescription drugs. It is a reinvention of life as you know it. Our society is poorly nourished and entirely over stressed and disturbingly medicated. Most people feel as if the are healthy when they are merely surviving on a daily basis. To add insult to injury, our medical system believes that covering over this stress with mentally crippling medications is the best long-term solution. The darkest form of survival is living on prescription medication. It robs you of your soul, your energy and your mind. I can't say enough about the potential for freedom and transformation inherent to this process. You don't just go back to surviving. You truly thrive in life once you are off these medications and following program as outlined by Point of Return (POR).
I was always a very tightly wound and driven person. In my younger years I was often aware of my inability to sleep at night, mild tremors, social anxiety and extreme anticipatory anxiety. I had all the clear symptoms of anxiety and stress. It was at times extremely incapacitating but I was able to push through. However, I hadn't built in any great coping mechanisms. Like many people who are placed on these medications, I felt completely overwhelmed in my inability to cope with the feelings inside of me. I had no real guidance in terms of health and wellness. I thrived on stress and treated accomplishment like a drug. I tried natural paths to healing but felt very dismayed by the medical community which never offered to help me find healing via nutrition and exercise. The answer was always a quick fix or ignoring the root of the problem. I shied away from these quick fixes for most of my young adult life. After college, a series of very difficult challenges from my mother’s heart attack to an abusive relationship that resulted in the loss of my job and community pushed my already chronic anxiety to a breaking point. I went from a very capable young investment banker to a girl being abused and alienated from most of her community. I could no longer ignore what I was feeling or push through the overwhelming anxiety. The doctors diagnosed me with anxiety disorder and said that I would have to be on medication for the remainder of my life. At this point I was barely 25 years old and to me that sounded like a life long prison sentence. I had no idea that it would be as bad as it was to attempt life on prescription drugs. Within a year of taking the medication I no longer slept at night. I was horribly sick and my anxiety reached levels that I can't describe. I had to leave graduate school and move home with my parents. I simply couldn't handle the pressure of 3am business calls, tight deadlines and travel overseas. I knew something had to change. My sleep had become non-existent. I no longer felt in touch with who I truly was. I wanted my freedom back and I couldn't stand my mind/ body being held captive. One fateful night I found Point of Return (POR) online. At the time I was living in Australia for school. I opted to pack my bags and return home for my first call with Dr. Armstrong. I was on a mission to regain my wellness and take back control of my life. That was the single best decision I have ever made. Dr. Armstrong is the reasons I am alive and thriving today. I can't say enough about what an inspiring, kind, intelligent and resilient person he is. I'm so grateful for him, Alesandra and Terry. They have changed the course of my life in such an amazing way.
My path to reinvention was fraught with stops and starts. I am not a risk taker in the conventional sense of the word. I like to know how things will turn out and my inner desire for control was ever present. Dr. Armstrong provided an inspiring safe place for me to let go of my fear and take a leap of faith. He knew that I needed to move slowly, methodically and work through my fear issues prior to starting my journey. He created a failure proof path for my return to freedom and the best possible version of myself. All I had to enlist was my internal drive to never give up. Both of these things were accessible due to my understanding of all that Dr. Armstrong himself had overcome. For me, he was much more than a doctor, he was my mentor in recovery and healing. It took me two and a half years but I have made it. I'm so proud of the person I am today thanks to Dr. Armstrong and the support of POR. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me back life and the capacity to do everything I always dreamed I could do.
Lauren W. (New York) Klonopin
My story began like so many: several years ago I had to have much needed sinus surgery. I was in very poor health at the time and counted myself fortunate that the doctor whom I consulted after many attempts to find someone who could help me, found the covert, but nonetheless significant sinus issues. Being quite worn out by my ailing body, I wanted nothing more urgently than to find my way out of these debilitating health problems. I therefore followed the doctor’s (surgeon’s) instructions lamblike. He told me that I must take Valium for at least 2 weeks after surgery in order for the muscles to relax and to heal faster.
When shortly after surgery I was unable to sleep, constantly broke out in sweats and when I became increasingly sensitive to noise, no one knew why….. Sound familiar? “Just menopausal women’s problems” - sounds familiar too? Needless to say, I never got off of Valium and was told by various doctors that “since I was not the addictive type of individual”, it was okay for me to continue taking Valium. I hated the pills but couldn’t get rid of them if I wanted to function at all.
Several years and several diagnoses later, I decided to throw the pills away, trusting that my body would eventually learn to sleep again without. Needless to say - I ended up in the ER not long after and got prescribed - guess what - Ativan for anxiety.
I searched the internet high and low and finally found the Ashton Manual and then a psychiatrist who was willing to help me with my taper and told me he was an expert. Since there are very few doctors who know anything about this matter, I trusted him implicitly. He added Klonopin to the regimen and told me that this was a good deal - I could get rid of the Valium very easily being supported by Klonopin and since I was not yet dependent on Klonopin, tapering off of that one would go really fast….
I got off the Valium reasonably well, but about half way into the Klonopin taper I started to “break down neurologically”. I continued the taper anyway, though at a much slower pace than was suggested to me. I finally reached the point where I felt as if I was withdrawing cold turkey: more frequent spasms, increasing generalized pain, poor concentration, sometimes high anxiety levels, etc. etc.
It was at this point that I searched the internet again for the umpteenth time, feeling that there had to be someone out there who knew how to get off of these drugs without the patient becoming completely debilitated and dysfunctional in the process.
Thank God I didn’t give up and found Point of Return. I didn’t trust any of these rehab clinics either as I knew from my own experience and from reading dozens of reports, that “the fast track” doesn’t work.
I cannot say enough with regard to the kind, consistent and expert type of support I received from POR. Here was a group of people who had been through the nightmare and took their experience as a basis to search for and find better solutions and to help others! I couldn’t believe it!
I was advised to talk to my doctor and decided to reinstate some of the Klonopin so that I would feel somewhat stable. I did so promptly and ordered the program - doing any and everything I could do, to get out of this nightmare of a “neurological meltdown”.
No words can describe what it meant to me to be able to get such prompt advise and support even during the holidays (it was around Christmas time!). When I found I could not increase “Support” - the special whey protein, without increased sleep problems and anxiety, I was advised to do the saliva test for MTHFR. Assuming the results of the test would be positive, which they were, I started to take the supplements recommended to treat MTHFR, and lo and behold, I was able to increase “Support” to the recommended level and start my taper soon after.
I began to realize that MTHFR had been trailing me all along, causing my inability to detoxify mercury from the amalgam fillings properly, sleeping problems etc. In POR I found a group of people who not only helped me with my taper from Klonopin, but also were instrumental in helping me uncover another health issue that can be remedied so easily, but can - if left untreated - cause multi-faceted health issues.
It is fair to say that without the supplements and the kind support from POR, it would have been very difficult for me to complete my taper, which thankfully I did, on July 21st 2015. I am still awed that there are people out there who have no ulterior motives and simply dedicate their time and resources to help others who are caught in the nasty snares of extremely toxic prescription drugs and professional ignorance.
POR has built a bridge for me by which I was able to confidently cross the torrential waters of a complex neurological quagmire. Yes, I have to deal with post withdrawal symptoms - who doesn’t? But to this day, when impatience and doubt occasionally catch up with me, I can pick up the phone and call POR and receive the staff’s unfailing reassurance! Words cannot describe how much this means to me. And the supplements - I may take some of them till the end of my days! Just recently I had to go out of town for a couple of weeks and forgot MOOD at home; however, MOOD did not forget me! I started to have significant intestinal problems as well as increased anxiety levels and even some low mood. As soon as I got “reunited” with MOOD, all this resolved! It just does not cease to amaze me.
Thank you POR, thank each and everyone of you for your unceasing dedication and encouragement given so freely to people all over the world!
Iris S. (California) - Clonazepam
Hello all my beloved POR friends and angels,
It is finally here after 81/2 long months WOOHOO!!!
I am finishing tomorrow.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Alesandra-she is truly a hero to me and I don't say that lightly, she help save my life and I will forever be thankful, I also am honored to count Alesandra as friend. I Thank God who healed me and the scriptures I held on to during the dark times. Thank you my savior!
Thank you Terry you are always up on the phone and get me my supplements when I need them I always call last minute before I run out and you managed to get them to me Thank you my friend.
Thank you Andrea for your encouragement. Thank you Elisa Ruth my friend I read and reread your journey multiple times for encouragement you are so brave and are such a wordsmith, thank you my friend for your support I felt it. I Love You!
Bobby Jean, I also read your journey over and over again for inspiration. You were also very heroic and knowledgeable. thank you for the encouragement I Love you too.
Athena you are hard core brave girl thanks for the push when I needed it I count you as one of my angels.
Wendy, Thank you for walking the path and also turning back to give those following in your footsteps a hand, God Bless you my friend and Thank you.
This started out as something given to me by my doctor to help with the stress after mom broke her neck and had a traumatic brain injury. I cut it in quarters and took it for a short month or two sporadically. But when I stopped I thought I was dying but did not know why.. One day in the shower God told me it was that med I had stopped. Then I called someone who had been successful at Point of Return and I made the call and also worked with Dr Armstrong who made me go slow and steady against my wishes he was right.
I was the prodigal child I left and went to a rehab only to leave after a couple days knowing there was no quick fix.
Then I came home talked to Alesandra and committed to the program by Point of Return (POR) and only POR.
Well I am so blessed and humbled to be finishing Thank you and God bless you all as I enter Alumni land WOOHOO!!
Thank you God and my angels at POR , Love you Alesandra
Kathy A. (New York) - Klonopin
As of today, I have been free of drugs for nearly 7 months. I spent 5 1/2 months tapering off oxycodone and zolpidem at home and will never touch those or any other prescription drugs again (even over-the-counter). Point of Return connected me with a physician who prescribed a liquid form of oxy so that I could reduce it by small amounts every week, as pill-cutting is a very poor way to taper. They also provided amazing nutritional products that helped the body to detoxify slowly. The one entitled, "Support", the horrible feelings of withdrawal literally melt away, almost like magic, after every dose.
Their team assisted me through the whole process so that I never felt alone, plus they have a wonderful forum whose members daily offer kind and caring support to each other and the benefit of their own actual experiences. My doctor was not willing to be informed and was of no help whatsoever. These people supported and encouraged me by phone, email and on their forum. They are always there, without fail, for everyone using their program and thousands of people have been successful because of them and their knowledge.
I will always be grateful to everyone at Point of Return and to my Mother for guiding me to them!! L.N. (California) - Zolpidem, Oxycodone
Dear Alesandra, Dr. Code, Dr. Armstrong, Roy, Dr. Sadeghi, Andrea, Terry, and all participants in the POR Forum, Thank you SO much for providing me with the ultimate healing path out of a very deep obscure iatrogenic reality that almost cost my life! I still have to pinch myself every now and then to believe that it actually happened! I'm alive! Totally in a state of humble awe! It's already been 6 months since I successfully completed my taper, and time continues to fly by now, because I am actually living life! Sure there are post taper withdrawal symptoms! How can it not? But look! I'm here! I'm active, I'm productive, I'm sleeping non-zombie hours again, and so so very happy! It is such a wonderful feeling to be able to live life again, to look in my husband's and children's eyes and realize that they know that I'm back, and doing well! Simple things all of a sudden became awesome, like hearing nature sounds, feeling the texture of various surfaces, the simple act of breathing... Wow! If I could only share all details here... It would amaze anyone! Yes, I have happy tears of joy! How can I not? Freedom at last! Whoohoo! I would like to share that besides POR's nutraceuticals, POR's guidance, and POR's outstanding reassuring support, POR has introduced me to the most amazing network of people, and specially, to an outstanding group of diligent medical professionals that unlike several out there, treat me as a whole being! Customizing my taper and post taper program to address my special needs, including addressing the terrifying side effects of iatrogenic electric convulsive therapy to cover up for the irresponsible benzo overprescription, has ultimately saved my life, and set me towards a path of achieving total health! Every step that I've taken after encountering POR has not only benefited me, but my immediate family, tremendously! My husband and children now truly understand the harsh reality of going through iatrogenic withdrawal! All the yoyo symptoms mimicking non-existing diseases! It was so so hard on all of us! From being okay to all of a sudden having vertigo, dizziness, oscillating blood pressure, memory/speech impairment, irritability, depersonalization, derealization, etc. 24/7! We were all beyond exhausted! And to think that this all started with a simple treatment for my hypothyroid! Unbelievable how it escalated into an alarming psychiatric iatrogenic madness! What has been the key to my success? POR's outstanding professional knowledge, diligence, on going research, patience, trust, phenomenal caring guidance through personal visits, working as a team with my local doctors, checking on my progress, phone calls, emails, texts, and POR's Forum support - my new extended family! Simple words cannot express my profound gratitude! I look forward to continuing my post taper healing along side POR, sharing my experience out there to bring very much needed awareness, so others are not victims of irrational bad medicine, and most definitely, in helping those who are going through similar life reality! Thank you, thank you,thank you, POR! You gave me my life back! Wow! Cheers to total health! With profound gratitude, Marcia B. (California) - Valium
It is a blessing to sit and write the ending to the single most horrific time of my life. After waking up one night with an anxiety attack (I had no idea at the time what that even was), I started down a road of fear, anxiety, and stress that led to a time I will joyfully forget. Unfortunately, stuck in the middle was a well-intentioned, but ignorant, doctor who prescribed Klonopin and Celexa. My entire family was so unfamiliar with drugs of this sort, we trustingly followed right along. They seemed to help for a few months; I was even discussing the beginning of tapering off of them with my doctor when I found out I was (at the ripe old age of 44) expecting my 6th child. My call to the doctor ended with him telling me "quit the meds and just try to enjoy the good days you have."
I don't have to describe to most of you the cold-turkey hell. Another doctor put me back on to taper me off "slowly". 6 months later, my sister, by the grace of God, found Point of Return's website. I called them, and we quickly decided that these were people who could lead me back to the life I loved and longed for. Alesandra, Andrea, and Terry are household words around here now. The unfailing confidence in my recovery, the listening to my worries, reassuring me at every little setback that I was not crazy was often the only thing I had to hold on to. My loving, but terrified, family relied as heavily as I have on these beautiful, selfless people.
When I was 8 months pregnant, I seriously began to doubt my ability to survive this journey. I was then introduced to Dr. Armstrong. His comforting, fatherly voice and wonderful, personal story as well as the wisdom he used in reinstating the meds to help me go off so very slowly was priceless. Another person to add to this group who I may never meet but with whom I have shared my deepest hopes and fears.
I am currently 7 months past the end of my taper. I have seen such healing and relearned how to trust myself. I can rest in my faith in God who surrounded me with those who carried me day in and day out. I will never say it was easy-it was not ever easy. I will say it is possible and it will end in victory if you follow the advice of these very wise people. One of the smartest things I have ever done is to follow their advice to the letter and turn to them when I could find no answer anywhere else. The return of joy in my home and happiness on the faces of my children make me confident that you, too, will find hope at Point of Return.
Susanne M. (Kentucky) - Celexa, Klonopin
I just want to say thank you to all of you for helping me at the very worst time of my life. I had so many bad things happen to me in late 2013 and most of 2014. First it was my lower back pain. Then it was adrenal fatigue from stress from the job primarily, and then it was major panic attacks and anxiety issue, and the it was trying to get off Ativan and Lexapro to deal with my anxiety and panic attacks, and then I quit drinking wine every day in March 2014. So many issues. I am completely free of the meds and going on 1 year of no alcohol, even though my Doctor told me I was not an alcoholic I still used wine to help me sleep and de-stress from work. I do both without wine now. Talking to all your staff, and Dr Armstrong helping me get off the meds was so great.
I have used all your supplements, and your supplement Sleep is all I use besides chamomile tea to get myself to sleep now. I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate Point of Return. I would refer to anyone I know who had similar problems as I had. Thanks.
Bob G. (California) - Lexapro, Ativan
I was given a prescription of Klonopin during a horrific time in my life, I was caring for 2 sick parents. In January of 2007 I was told this medication would ease my stress and help me relax, and it wasn’t addicting. Little did I know I’d be on it for 7 1/2 years.
Klonopin stopped working for me in about November of 2007, the doctor then doubled my dose, and I became a zombie, with little care in the world. I quickly returned to the lower dose. It was then that I was given Ativan to use on days when Klonopin wasn’t helping. What I was never told is the symptoms I was having were from the Klonopin. I was unable to take Ativan, and I did not continue taking it. I just continued the original Klonopin dose, while suffering from the side effects.
The me that I knew was gone, I no longer had a drive for life, I gained 45 lbs., I developed hyperthyroidism, adrenal fatigue, burning mouth, tremors, blurred vision, inability to concentrate, moodiness, hostility, continual heart palpitations, muscle fatigue, digestion issues, and migraine! I’m sure there are more symptoms, but you get the gist. I knew I needed to get off Klonopin, so, knowing that and remembering what my doctor had said, “it’s not addicting” I quit taking it! Oh, was that a crazy ride, It wasn’t long before I was crawling the walls with panic, sweating, heart beating so fast I couldn’t breathe, I knew I needed to take a Klonopin, and that’s when I learned it was addicting and I was going to need help getting off this medication! So, I went to my GP and he told me I’d have to go to a Psychiatrist. I made an appointment and went only to be told, this is a lifetime medication, meaning I’d be on it for life! So, I thought I’d try a different rout, and I made an appointment with a Psych-Nurse to get her take. She said I could go on Valium, then onto Xanax, then wean down from there! Ok, I’d try it, if it meant being med free. Well, it didn’t work, and when I went back for a follow up appointment, her words were, “I’m not surprised, but you had to learn for yourself, there isn’t an exit plan for Klonopin”! I felt set up and lied to, I lost hope of ever getting off this drug! I began to pray and ask God for a way off this medication. After 2 years of prayer and hopelessness, I was listening to a TV show where Alesandra was sharing her testimony, and I faintly heard her say she went off Klonopin, my ears piped up and I had to rewind and listen again! I immediately e-mailed her, and ordered her book to find out more about her story, and after talking this over with my husband he was all in for me getting help from Point of Return! I called and spoke to Andrea and ordered the protocol. I started the protocol and 41 weeks later I was finished, off the Klonopin (killer K, as I call it). The road to freedom wasn’t easy, but with the help of the staff, and the forum, it was possible. As I write this I’ve been Klonopin free for 3 weeks, and I’m returning to normal more each day. I will forever be thankful for Point of Return, the Staff and the forum for making this journey possible!
Janice W., (Indiana) - Klonopin
During my benzodiazepine tapering I would occasionally read success stories, but I always kept in mind that for all we shared in common, there were things that were unique to me, just like they are for you.
Point of Return (POR) shares success stories like mine. I was already more than halfway through when I called POR and spoke with Terry and Alesandra. They didn’t mind I was coming in kind of late in the game. Their concern was there for my health and me. It would have been nice if I had found POR from day one, but I regress, so here’s to cutting to the chase, and the rest of the story.
The first benzo prescription came in 1993, which was the result of a severe panic attack. I had an employee who had just gone through a heartbreaking divorce and resorted to shooting up the office along with threats of killing everyone. The situation got resolved and within a week I experienced a full blown panic attack. After calling 911, carted to the ER, given a clean bill of health, I was told to see my doctor for a follow-up. I found a doctor in my area and he proceeded to tell me he had just the thing for me. I’d be “right as rain” in no time. Here’s your Ativan with six refills, and don’t worry, it’s very safe and reliable. Please pay on your way out, and have a nice life.
After nineteen years of benzo’s, I finished the taper, and am now into the healing phase. My taper took much longer than most, but finishing is finishing, so I’m cool with that. If you’re reading this, you have an advantage I didn’t have when I started tapering. You know about Point of Return. Advantage yourself. What POR gave to me in my later stages of tapering was enormous. I can easily imagine the benefits from day one had that been available to me.
There are a few things I could etch in stone. I’d rather go through the turmoil’s of tapering successfully than resort to eating a pill to maintain some sense of balance. After spending lots of time and money with failed results, there’s only one place I’d recommend to a best friend or a complete stranger….Point of Return….period.
Being able to dip into “the full toolbox of resources” at Point of Return, will take you to a place of complete recovery and health. After all my years of bogus plans of treatment with broken promises and heartache, trust me on this one…these people are the real deal. I know what doesn’t work. I’ve been there more than a few times.
What I realized right from the get-go is that Alesandra and Terry are not throwing a sales pitch. What you’re getting are people with the scars of experience, the dedication that only comes from tested knowledge and the patience and wisdom of having walked the walk themselves. Do you really want to trust someone who hasn’t been there, done that?
When you get through with your taper you’ll feel like me. I thought when I finished tapering I’d feel special. I didn’t. I feel accomplished. Everyone’s special, not everyone is accomplished. Be accomplished. It’s something you carry the rest of your life. That’s special!
Mark E., (Texas) - Ativan, Clonazepam
My journey into hell started when I had a rather bad case of a cold in 2011… … I was given big dose of Cipro, an asthma puffer, an antibiotic eye cream, and an antibiotic nasal spray by my family doctor to help me get through the tough cold. I had never taken any prescription medications before this, and I was always very cautious with over-the-counter medicationsl. I didn’t know what possessed me, maybe I was just so sick. At any rate, I followed my doctor’s instructions religiously. Just after one dose of Cipro my stomach started to hurt terribly. Then, shortly after, I started to have strange sweats as if I was menopausal (though I wasn’t even yet 40). Shortly afterwords, the panicky feelings followed. (I was never a panicky individual in my whole life and never prone to anxiety attacks.) Lastly, I started to have severe insomnia, which was something I’d never experienced before this. I could sleep through a collapsing mineshaft. Both my husband and I were concerned, so we went back to my doctor’s office to seek help (this was two days before Christmas). By this point, I hadn’t slept well for quite a few weeks. I have two young children and a full time job, so I could not afford to go on like this. I needed some answers and real help quick. Within two minutes of seeing me, she gave me Ativan and reassured me that even my then 3 year-old daughter could take it, - that’s how “safe" and non-addictive it was. Put this way, I was extremely grateful for her RX and, of course, began to take it without giving it a second thought. Within the next 4 months, I was feeling worse and worse the more she tried to "help" me by putting me on new pills. I never liked any of the wonder drugs she gave me, but I tried them all (owing to my own ignorance), giving my MD the benefit of the doubt. My attitude was: Of course she must know what she’s doing - after all, she’s an MD! Needless to say, I was in and out of the ER almost once a week. I gave every possible "remedy" a try, as I was only too willing / eager to get better. But the more I tried, the worse I felt. I was weak, confused, and terrified. I became very anti-social, paranoid and house-bound. Consequently, I could not even step outside for more than five minutes without the help of my 9 year-old daughter.
At the end of my rope, I got desperate. I started searching the internet for answers.
I found Point of Return (POR) in April of 2012. I called Alesandra at least three times before committing myself to the program. By then, (and understandably) I had grown quite cynical and even bitter after having been taken by either the medical industry or so-called natural miracle cures so many times. Thankfully, Alesandra never displayed the least hint of impatience in her voice during all of our three long conversations. She listened, comforted and encouraged me so lovingly. She also demonstrated a very welcome and deep understanding of the mess I'd got myself into. For the first time in my long and dark four months of struggle, I saw HOPE. By the time I joined POR, I had cold-turkeyed from Ativan, Cipralex, and cut my dose of Klonopin by 25%, as well as still being on 75% of the Klonopin and Zopiclone doses. I was in a terrible place. Shattered describes it. Eventually, with help from POR, I tapered off all the poisons I put into my body. As we all know, It was not a walk in the park: I had LOTS of symptoms, but I resisted the temptation to reinstate with subsequent tapering. Armed with the ultimate goal of freedom in my mind, I kept on with the program of dropping the doses. Naturally, there were many days in which I was totally out of commission. I was convinced so firmly - or bought into the lie - that I was the only one who was not going to heal…that somehow I was the exception. I was deluded into thinking I didn’t have what it took to succeed in recovery. During this period of the abyss, I have to credit my dear friends at POR who never gave up on me and provided mainstay, unswerving support. I could ALWAYS count on Alesandra to lend me a loving and encouraging hand. I could ALWAYS count on Andrea to give me the much needed firm-but-straight talk. I could ALWAYS count on Terry to get my package delivered with lightning speed. I could ALWAYS count on Carol (Delaware), Bobby-Jean, Maggie, Athena, E-R, Chris 2, Cara, Rachel, Wendy, Kristie and others to send me the encouragement so badly needed at the most uncanny moments. For this, I can only count them as Heaven-sent. I am also grateful to my most wonderful husband and amazing kids. They stood by me thick and thin, to put it mildly. WE, all of us, got through this gruelling and frightful ordeal TOGETHER. We are stronger together as a family, as a result; there can be no doubt or gainsaying that.
By the end of 2012, I was finally drug free. Hallelujah. I could not have made it without the help from all of my POR friends and family. I was not the most deligient one in the program, but l made it, nonetheless.
Today, I am 16 months off all meds. The fear and panicky feeling went within three months after the completion of the taper, but the physical symptoms took a lot longer to go. I still have a few minor annoyances left even as of today, but I truly don’t mind those because I know, given enough time, they too will leave. Difficulty with sleep? With the root cause gone, this has all, thank God, evaporated! I no longer have any trouble sleeping. (Last night, we apparently had a vigourous thunder shower; as far as I was concerned, however, it might as well have happened in Outer Mongolia.) These days I keep a very busy schedule: not just full-time, but a lot of over-time on the job. I take my children to different activities - as a matter of fact we just came back from a nearly two week trip to Disney World. I pushed my youngest one in a stroller throughout the parks under the hot sun. We spent at least 5 hours each day exploring the parks, with lots of standing and walking. I handled it easily. Just a year ago I would not even dared to plan even a partial day-trip within my own home province of Ontario. I walk 3 miles a day. I do a lot of reading. I console people who have stressful situations. I can positively attest that life after drugs is truly amazing.
So, by all accounts, my accidental drug addiction brought me to the lowest low of my life. It humbled me, but brought me into a glorious new understanding of love, peace, and joy. I no longer carry any prejudice against drug addicts. Only sympathy. I now have more gratitude and appreciation towards life, my family, my friends, my job … … I am no longer bitter, and I can’t even get angry at my doctor any more. (I am actually grateful for this detour in my life.) I enjoy this NEW ME far better than the me before prescription agents. Life is FULL for me now.
With all my earnestness, I would say: if you are suffering terribly and can’t see the way out, I am here now to tell you please DO NOT lose heart - there IS hope. You WILL make it. Life after pills is like heaven. Please TRUST POR. TRUST their personnel. They DO understand, they possess the knowledge, and their programme and products WORK. Until this day, I still take the recommended therapeutic levels of Support and Mood. My head is clear and I have not had any colds or flu for more than a year.
Miracles will happen if you don’t give up and you are your own Miracle Maker.
Carolyn A, (Canada) - Klonopin, Zopiclone
When I found Point of Return, I was in a very dark place. I was extremely ill and wasn’t sure how to make it through the next day or hour, much less continue on with my life. I was praying and crying out to God for an answer, for relief, for a way out of the nightmare I had found myself in. I remember coming across the Point of Return website after a desperate Internet search and thinking maybe, just maybe, I had found a resource that could help. I talked on the phone with Alesandra and was instantly reassured that what I was going through was real, and that there was hope of recovery. Those two things meant everything to me at the moment.
My story began in childhood, really. After struggling for many years with severe anxiety and intensifying symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), my parents and I went to see a psychiatrist in my teens. I was prescribed and tried many different drugs from the age of 14 onward, hoping for something to help ease the mental agony that I was battling. Often the effects of the drugs made things worse, or I began to have side effects that made it necessary to stop. I ended up on Zoloft when I was 17, and remained on a high dose through my teens and into my twenties. During that time I did much hard work with a gifted Cognitive Behavioral therapist and was finally able to function and approach life as a happy and balanced young adult. However, the psychiatrist told me that because of the severity of the issues I had dealt with, I would need to be on medication for life to correct my “chemical imbalance.” After all I had been through, I saw the drug as a lifesaver and never questioned that advice.
Flash forward to my mid-twenties, when I began to suffer from various physical illnesses and mysterious symptoms that grew worse as time went on. My life came to a grinding, bitter halt as I dealt with daily, debilitating sickness and physical distress. The absolute worst symptom that I dealt with was a constant, extreme nausea that left me unable to function and wore down at my endurance and will. I suffered from severe gastrointestinal issues, fatigue, migraine headaches, chills, insomnia, weakness, muscle pain, dizziness, and many other difficult issues on a daily basis. I dropped out of school, postponed my wedding, and was focused on merely surviving. I found no answers after many visits to the doctor, specialists, and a desperate trip to the ER where I was told I had the flu and given anti-nausea meds. Months, and then years went by in confusion and desperation. During this time I was given a prescription from my family doctor for Klonopin. He described it as a mild drug that would help me cope with the anxiety the mysterious illness was causing and allow me get some sleep.
I took the Klonopin on an “as needed basis” and noticed certain new, troubling symptoms cropping up. I began to get horrific panic attacks and a constant feeling of restlessness and derealization. After about 6 weeks of taking the medication sporadically, I decided to quit. No one had warned me of cold turkey withdrawals or the dangers of benzodiazepine drugs. There are no words to describe the horrific experience I went through those few days in cold turkey withdrawal. I can’t imagine an experience more horrifying or hellish. I eventually reinstated the drug after talking with my doctor. After that, I tried tapering down on my own at a slower pace, but with no success. I felt trapped. I felt awful while on the drug, and trying to tapering off on my own had always brought me to a place that was unbearable - adding twitching, uncontrollable shaking, panic, intense depression, suicidal thoughts, dizziness, vision changes, dry heaving and bizarre neurological symptoms on top of the health issues I was already dealing with. I began to fully realize the intensity and danger of psychotropic medications, and it was terrifying. I honestly feared I would be caught in this trap for the rest of my life.
Enter Point of Return, and the program I consider a true turning point for my health. I started the naturaceuticals and began to feel relief within a few weeks. With the help of the supplements and the constant wise and compassionate input from Alesandra, Andrea and Terry, I was able to stabilize and begin to see a small light at the end of the tunnel. I clung to that and doggedly pursued my way toward healing, choosing to believe in the program. That belief and hope has been fulfilled beyond what I could have imagined!
After stabilizing, I was able to enjoy an absolutely miraculous and beautiful wedding, beginning a new life with my husband. I began the tapering process to become free from Klonopin just after my honeymoon. There were many ups and downs, challenges and difficult moments. Many complex and confusing interactions and new twists to the situation had to be worked out. Throughout the journey, everyone at Point of Return and the fellow fighters on the forum were always there for me, helping me to keep believing, keep my determination, and continue the struggle towards healing and hope. After the dust settled at the end of each consecutive taper, I would notice a lessening of symptoms. Each small step brought me more clarity, more relief, and a sense that I was moving closer to my old self. I became free of Klonopin in April of 2012. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would not have been able to achieve this freedom without the help of POR and their supplementation. POR made the impossible, possible.
I began to find answers to some of my issues working with holistic and integrative doctors, including a diagnosis of Celiac disease, food intolerances, parasites, some genetic anomalies causing issues with methylation, mitochondrial insufficiency, adrenal stress, and more. These issues likely contributed greatly to my original diagnosis of OCD and anxiety disorder. I began to learn so much about true health, and about the diet and lifestyle changes that are essential to healing. However, I continued to have severe nausea and many debilitating symptoms. After much prayer and searching for answers, my family and my doctors realized it was time to eliminate Zoloft, as it was likely contributing to my nausea and ongoing struggle.
In the fall of 2012 I began the process of tapering off of Zoloft, continuing to utilize the Point of Return program. It was the most difficult journey of my life, one that tested my faith in God and every ounce of my strength, endurance, and trust. I was so ill during this time, and tapering was difficult. During the year of 2012 and 2013 I learned more about true suffering and true courage than I likely will ever experience again. Throughout the entire process, POR was a continual resource for hope, insight, advice, and encouragement. I can confidently say that their supplements and the discontinuation of the drugs have been the single most helpful intervention in helping me regain my health. The advice and direction I have received from Alesandra and Andrea have never steered me wrong. They have gently and firmly pointed me in the right direction time after time. God has truly used POR in mighty ways to help me regain my health and my hope.
Today, I mark the one year anniversary of my freedom from Zoloft. After over 10 years of putting psychiatric medications in my body, I am at last free of all pharmaceuticals at the age of 27. My healing has skyrocketed, and I continue to notice positive changes nearly every day. The further I get from the drugs, the closer my body and mind grow toward true health and wholeness. I am continuing to pursue natural, integrative-based healthcare and I am learning more and more all the time. I still have a journey ahead of me and some complex health issues to work out, but I know now that thorough my long ordeal, Jesus never left my side, nor will He in the future. I know now that full healing is possible, and I am pursuing it with all of the new energy and experience that I’ve gained.
I have come from a place of horrific darkness and unbearable suffering to a place of light, healing, hope, and joy. My symptoms are fading day by day, and many times I stop and stand amazed at the fullness that is flooding back into my life. I am no longer housebound. I am no longer bedbound. I am no longer crippled by the terrible bondage of the drugs and fear. In those dark days, I could not have imagined standing where I am today, speaking with the joy and confidence that I now have. And yet I am here, by the grace of my Savior. Each day that comes is filled with renewal, increased strength, and a determination to not let my story go unspoken. Life has become beautiful and meaningful again.
Thank you, POR, for the great part you have played in my story of healing. I will remain forever grateful.
Miranda E., (Colorado) - Zoloft
I just wanted to say that I hope you had a Merry Christmas yesterday, and I want to wish you the brightest of all New Years. But most of all, I want to thank you again for saving my life 6 years ago when I seemed to be without hope of ever living another day. At year's end, I will go for 300 lbs. on the bench press (285 was lifted 4 months ago), and I will surpass 107,000 of running over 49 years. I believe that feat is not too bad for a 68 year old who was on his deathbed with a .38 caliber pistol, loaded and already cocked, held to my temple area until the Holy Spirit quickened my spirit and told me to put the gun down and that help would surely come. It came the next day on a Sunday afternoon when you answered my email in short order.
I will forever be grateful for your help, and I continue to tell others about your marvelous program of drug recovery when the opportunity presents itself. I will never forget you and your compassion toward me and so many others. You are the "Mother Teresa" of your day. I will continue to save the 1.5 inch stack of our email correspondence during the darkest days of my life as an ever present reminder of you and your amazing program of recovery from the toxic prescription psychotropics. God bless you is my ever present prayer.
Tom G., (Alabama) - Temazepam, Lexapro
About 8 years ago, when I was busy raising my children, I went to my Doctor complaining of not being able to sleep. She told me that she had an answer for me and handed me a prescription for this "magic" little pill called Tamazepam. I was very nervous about taking it because I very rarely took any medication, including over-the-counter, but I felt so desperate for sleep that I took the pill. It was amazing, I fell asleep immediately and slept through the night. I was sure that this pill was a miracle.
Fast forward about seven years. In October of 2011, I was having ear problems and went to see an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. He proceeded to prescribe a very high dose of Prednisone to take away inflammation and told me to take it for 10 days and then just stop taking it. From that day on, my life became a nightmare. Sleep was not to be had even after my doctor doubled my dose of Tamazepam, I was having brain zaps, I was tingling all over, trembling, and many other horrible symptoms.
It was at that time that I became desperate for an answer as to what was going on. After searching for hours on the internet, I came across the Point of Return website. I dialed the number three or four times and hung up before I had the nerve to speak with someone on the other end. When I finally completed the call, I left a message and within about ten minutes an angel named Alesandra called me back. I was a blubbering mess and she was able to calm me down and told me everything I was so desperate to hear, and that was that I was not crazy and what I was probably going through was tolerance withdrawal from the Tamazepam. Everything Alesandra said made sense and gave me great hope. My life as I had known it was gone and here was this beautiful voice telling me that everything would be okay and that I could get my life back.
After switching to Clonazepam to taper, I began a 10 month journey back to life. The process was difficult but with the support of the POR staff and the loving support that I received on their private forum, I made that journey back. It has been 13 months since I took my last Benzodiazepine and I feel so free. My beautiful life that I treasured so much is returning to me and because of Point of Return, I will soon be starting nursing school, at the ripe old age of 48, and I can hardly wait. If you are reading this and feel that there is no hope left, pick up the phone and make that life changing phone call. I promise you that you will not regret it.
Cara H., (New Mexico) - Temazepam / Clonazepam
I pretty much went into or on to my meds with my eyes open. I knew that any relative of Valium was addictive. At the time I didn’t care. I wanted to sleep. That is why the doctor prescribed Dalmane for me. I had no idea it had so many other uses but I should have figured: it pretty much calmed me down, probably got me through menopause without too much fuss, and of course it got me through the middle of the night, a time that still plagues me.
Fast forward 12 or 13 years--it was time to try and stop. I was coming back to the US after living abroad for over a decade. I thought that it might be difficult to continue getting the drug and decided to come off of it. I cut the pill in half—BIG MISTAKE! Next thing I know I have rampant mouth sores and I can’t figure out why. Sound familiar? When I surfed the internet to find out what could be causing it, lo and behold, I found POR. Now I treasure any little mouth sore because it reminds me of where I’d be if not for POR, if not for Alesandra, Andrea, Terry and my fabulous POR family, all of whom are wise in so many ways. I’m proud to be a part of this family. When I received my certificate of completion I was prouder than when I received my college degree. That was so much easier!
I have been drug free for a little over 6 months now and most of the symptoms I dealt with during my taper are gone. I am still eating clean and still using the nutraceuticals, which are integral to the process. I have learned patience, I have learned how to not panic if I can’t fall back asleep, and I’m constantly learning new things about myself all the time. I’m not 100% yet, but I’m so much closer to that new woman.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.
I LOVE YOU ALL,
Athena S. (California) Dalmane
Prescription psychiatric medications destroyed my dreams and the staff, program, but the products at Point of Return have helped to get my life back on track. My name is Glenn and at the age of 13, I was started on Ritalin for the treatment of ADHD. Over the course of 13 years, my dependence on the medication increased and I was prescribed Adderall and Vyvanse. To combat the anxiety and nervousness caused by the stimulant I tried a range of SSRI medications including Celexa, Paxil, and Lexapro. About two years before I began the Point of Return program I was prescribed Cymbalta.
When I first began taking the stimulants, I hated the way they made me feel and tried to voice my concerns to my family and doctor, but was dismissed because I was 13 and my objections were perceived as defiance. My heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest, I was unable to sleep at night, and I was constantly nervous for the first time in my life. As I mentioned above, in an attempt to combat the anxiety the doctor put me on antidepressants, which seemed to dampen all my emotions.
Over the years I became convinced that I needed the medication to function, as I’d been told. As the years went on the doctor had to prescribe higher doses of Adderall (or Vyvanse depending on what I was taking at the time) to get the same results, which also required higher doses of the antidepressant. It became evident to me when I was about 22 that this was not sustainable. The higher the doses, the less I felt like a human being and the emotions associated with being human. I don’t think I shed a single tear in the 13 years I was on psychiatric medications. Over the next three years I thought about tapering off the medication, but didn’t have the will.
Then when I was in school for Vascular Ultrasound in the spring of 2011 two things happened that gave me the impetus to begin searching for something to get off the medication. First, in one of my classes we performed EKG’s (or ECG), which measure the electrical activity of the heart. My heart rhythm came back abnormal which concerned my instructor. This was extremely atypical for an otherwise healthy physically-fit man in the mid-twenties. The most obvious explanation for this was the medication. The second event that occurred in the spring of 2011 was I failed one of my labs, because I was unable to keep my hands from shaking, due to the effects of the Vyvanse. I’d never been so devastated in my life and at that moment I knew I had to get off the medication. I’d originally been put on the medication to help me with school and to launch a successful career, but the medication destroyed this aspect of my life.
In November of 2011 I contacted Point of Return and spoke with Andrea, who assured me that I could do this. I took the products immediately and noticed a huge difference on my brain function. A few weeks later I went off the Vyvanse and began a 5 month taper off the anti-depressant. Concerned that the stimulants left permanent heart damage, I had another EKG and it came back normal after being off Vyvanse for a couple weeks. This could not have been done without the help of Andrea, Terry, and Alesandra. Connecting with Andrea and Terry every couple of weeks made this possible. Andrea gave me tips that increased the effectiveness of the products and Terry offered support and encouraged me not to rush the process.
I’ve been off the medication for a little over a year and I will be forever grateful for the support and knowledge the Point of Return staff gave me. This past year plus has been the first time in my adult life I’ve been off medication and I appreciate being able to experience the whole range of human emotions. I’ve been able to connect with my wife and children like never before, I’m able to sleep at night, and my verbal communication has improved immensely. If I can heal after 13 years of poisoning my brain and body, you can too. Contacting Point of Return was the best decision I made in my adult life.
Glenn B. (Minnesota) Vyvanse, Cymbalta
I could write you a timeline depicting the grueling details of my 4 year experience with Benzodiazepines, but truth is my story is probably a lot like yours. Just like you my anxiety crippled me. Just like you I played fool to a physician I put my trust into. And like you, I too was given a daily "therapeutic dosage" of Benzo's, SSRI's, and a cocktail of other behavioral meds to help with the side affects that came with the first pill. I too hit a tolerance wall every couple of months. My 23yr old body ached…I felt sick physically and mentally. I was a shell of the girl I once was. Like one of those hollow, half eaten, chocolate rabbits. My debilitated state led me to believe suicide was the only escape from my daily agony. And after 2 cold turkey quits, followed by many failed attempts to wean off Xanax with my physician, something had to change. With nothing left to lose, I did my research...
I'll never forget my first call to Point of Return. Withdrawing, I dialed guardedly and to my ears answered the most soothing, understanding voice…Alesandra Rain. Like many phone calls to come, she spent quite sometime with me on the phone that day, listening to my story and offering sound advice. Relieved wasn't the word, it brought tears to my eyes to finally speak to someone so knowledgeable who actually knew what I was going through and why. I remember her saying she could hear the "grit" in my voice, and coming from a place of experience she so knowingly said "it gets better". It wasn't until I read Deeds Of Trust that I fully understood how she knew. She had recognized the strength in my voice when I thought I had none.
Coming into POR I thought I was the exception. My panic attacks so frequent and debilitating, could I really taper successfully off the high mg doses of Xanax? Right away Alesandra and Andrea helped my doctor and I find a compounding pharmacy, and within 2 weeks of taking my nutrients, my body went from weak and needy to calmed and pacified. When I feel anxious, I know I can depend on Relax to calm my nerves. You really get what you put in. I cleaned up my old dirty habits for new and received great nutritional advice from Terry on how to implement whole foods into my diet. Andrea always encouraged me to keep at my dreams and her quirky spirit always had me laughing. To this day we remain great friends. The three of them plus the amazing nutrients I take, have created a life change in me that I couldn't imagine being without. The amazing lengths they have went to for me is something I could never repay them for. They were with me every step of the way shedding light on such a dark period of my life. Point of Return isn't just a program, it's a lifestyle. So you see, if you are going through a dark period just like I have you're one step closer to your success story.
J. Boone (Virginia) Xanax
At the age of 13, I went to the doctor due to some stressful situations in my life. I was there for no longer then ten minutes when the doctor gave me free samples of Celexa, after taking those free samples I felt I could not live without them. I was told at this young age of 13 that I would need antidepressants for the rest of my life. I bought into the lie that I would need them because my doctor said so, and who was I to question my doctor, after all I was taught to respect people in authority so I thought the doctor knows best.
After several visits to the doctor I was diagnosed as bipolar, which I never liked or understood. The doctors tried several different antidepressants to treat depression but it seemed to get worse such as Paxil, Zoloft, Amitriptyline, Seroquel, Cipralex, Doxepin, and several others, to many to mention. With these different medications I had so many different side effects that seemed to make the depression worse. I had so many symptoms like insomnia, loss of appetite, and mood swings I felt like I was crawling out of my skin, being over sensitive, and suicidal thoughts.
I had a lack of self-esteem, I felt hopeless, and that I was a pain to everybody and had no purpose. I was taken to the hospital emergency ward and after evaluating me I was put into the psychiatric ward at the hospital. It was then I saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed me to have bipolar depression so they kept me in for two weeks trying to find a medication to treat the depression. At the time I was on Paxil and was taken off of it cold turkey with no tapering and put me on Seroquel right away, I then had a seizure as a result. In 2009 I was prescribed sleeping pills because I had difficulty sleeping when I first started sleeping pills they helped for a short time then a few months later my sleep got worse.
In January 2012 I went off of sleeping pills cold turkey, which I don’t recommend anyone doing. It was very difficult, the withdrawal symptoms were very strong but I was desperate and I wanted to make positive changes in my life. In May 2012 the craving for sleeping pills were so strong that I did search on my computer and typed in craving for sleeping pills and the Point of Return website showed up. I could not believe it, I read all the testimonies and I showed my father and got very excited.
The next day I called Point of Return (POR) and left a message and within ten minutes Alessandra called me back, I talked for about an hour and I made the decision that I wanted to join the program. I knew that it was God who guided me to Point of Return and I am so grateful for them. I ordered my product and read all the information about the program. In August 2012 I started to taper off of Prozac and finished on October 8, 2012, then on October 23, 2012 I started to taper off of Lamictal and I finished January 1, 2013. I am thankful to God for His daily strength and help.
I am 24 years old and so thankful that I found POR at this young age. I have my whole life ahead of me and now I can share with others my journey and give them the same hope that I have found. It is wonderful l to wake up every day and not depend on medications to control my day. It is nice to wake up every day without the horrible side effects that I had while on medication. Since I finished tapering I now find that food tastes better. I am able to enjoy God’s creation and the beauty around me. My friends and family have noticed such a change in me. They say that I have such life in me now and I am able to deal with stress and life without being numbed by medication. I love to dog sit for others and take their dogs for walks and enjoy nature. I am finding my sleep is improving each day and I know every day will get better. I have found that if you work the POR program that it will work for you. The results are there if you do your part and work the program.
I am also grateful to the Point of Return family on the forum who I was able to share my heart and what I was going through. They never condemned me but always had words of encouragement and ensured me that I would be able to do this and that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I thank God for Andrea, Terry, and Alessandra who always listened to me encouraged me and gave me great advice, without them it would have been much harder. I love and appreciate each one of them, thank you for being there. I strongly recommend Point of Return to others.
- Rachel M. (Canada), Prozac, Lamictal
My name is Brenda, and back in 2006 I started taking what I thought was an all-natural sleep aide only to find out later it contained drug considered illegal in Canada called Estazolam; this is where my night mare and version of hell started! This company, was very negligent and asked their customers to stop taking their product called Sleepees immediately. Stopping the product so soon is the worst thing you could do. Once I had stopped taking the drug I went into complete withdrawal!
I had never been so sick in my life and wanted to die! No one could help me from out of this private hell. I went from doctor to doctor, prescribing me with their remedy, more prescription drugs. Finally, I did my own digging on the Internet and tried programs to help me come off the Benzodiazepines; however, they did not work. It seemed like there was no end to this until one day I the found Alesandra Rain with Point of Return. This was my only saving grace as Alesandra patiently walked me through one of the toughest times of my life. I took the products suggested, faithfully, and started to see the light at the end of the darkest tunnel I have ever known. It took two years of my life, and I know I never would have made it through without this program- as suicide seemed like a strong option at the time to escape the pain of coming off this horrible drug!
My family and I will always be grateful to you and your wonderful staff Alesandra (Special Lady) as long as I live. I will never forget all your true, heart-felt kindness, patience, and caring spirit. You, Alesandra, and Point of Return are a Godsend!
Thank you so much,
Brenda C. (Canada), Estazolam, Zopliclone
When You don’t have to do LIFE alone. Point of Return (POR) and all those souls involved in experiencing life without drugs to dull the pain are available, ready and able to be of incredible support.
I took my last dose of Klonopin on January 29, 2012. It took me 6 months of tapering. I began the taper, September 11, 2011, with the incredible support of Andrea, Dr. Armstrong and the rest of the crew at POR. Without all of you and the products available through this program I have no doubt that I would have failed in my effort to be drug free. I had been on Klonopin for 6 - 1/2 years and according to my psychiatrist could stay on it “the rest of my life”. The problem for me was it was not much of a life. I was pretty numb and unable to think very clearly. I still had anxiety and thank God had never upped my dose beyond 1 - 1/2 mg daily. Just the small amount I was taking rendered me incapable of stopping on my own.
It was with the information I got from a new friend in my life that I called Dr. Armstrong and Point of Return. A new world of possibilities opened up for me. I was no longer alone in my quest to live without the benzo nightmare. What gifts you have all been in my life. Andrea, Terry, Alesandra, Dr. Armstrong and all those who supported me in changing my life. I am so very grateful when I wake every morning and don’t have to lay out pills to get through the day.
Thank you all for being a part of my life and my journey. I know that as I continue to grow and change, without the drug, I will always have your love and support and you are only an email or phone call away. I love you all and know that you are there for me. I stopped waiting to write the “perfect” testimonial. No wonder it took me a year and two months to write and send this huge thanks to you all.
Susan L. (Texas) Klonopin
When I had a bilateral total knee replacement at age 67 in April 2012, I didn’t want to take oral painkillers, so I got a 25mg Fentanyl patch and supplemented that with some Tylenol and Hydrocodone. After about 7 weeks a PT said to me that Fentanyl becomes physiologically addicting at about 6 weeks. I certainly hadn’t been told that by anyone prescribing it for me. And I’d never before distinguished between psychological and physiological addiction. ( I wasn’t concerned about addiction because I knew that I wasn’t psychologically addicted.) At around the same time, I told the surgeon that I was still having a lot of pain, so he increased my Fentanyl dose to 50mg. This made me sick. So I went back to 25mg but by then I was starting to have other symptoms—feeling as if my muscles were closing in on me, making me want to jump out of my skin. Also tachycardia, chills, sweats, itchiness and feeling just kind of crazy.
I’d already learned about POR from a friend and started thinking it might help me deal with this. So after helpful conversations with Andrea and Alessandra, I started the program. My doctor didn’t want to write the script for tapering, so I got off Fentanyl her way—by going from 25 to 12 mg patch and then leaving it on for progressively longer periods, all the while taking Tramadol to help step down. She said I should feel awful for a week or two and then I’d be OK.
But I wasn’t OK in 2 weeks or 3 weeks or 4 weeks. I was afraid of the Support because of something someone said to me and because at first I thought I got worse after taking it. Finally I started the regular dosage. I got to the therapeutic level sometime in September and that is when I started getting relief from the awful symptoms. So then I realized that the Support was really the thing that had gotten me out of my withdrawal misery. ( In my desperation, one of the things I did was to talk to someone who manages the drug withdrawals at the local prison. He told me that when prisoners come in who are withdrawing from Fentanyl they don’t treat them because they aren’t at risk of dying from the withdrawal. This was actually somewhat comforting.)
In the meantime, it was so difficult to sleep with the jumpy aches that I started (or re-started) taking Ambien. It did help me through the worst of it, but once I was through that I thought that the best way to get off the Ambien would be to taper off, so I stayed on the program for the Ambien taper. By then it was clear to me how much I’d benefitted already and that there was no one else that I was getting care from had any idea how to help me with what I was suffering from. Also I had developed confidence in the wisdom of making very gradual changes. That’s one of the things that I’ve learned and will continue to apply when making other changes—nutritional or otherwise. The body adapts incrementally.
I finished my Ambien taper on Feb. 28.
I knew going in that knee replacement would be hard, but no doctor and no one who’d been through it gave me any idea how hard. I think people forget. I know I’ve forgotten to some extent what it was like when I was suffering so much. But I know that Andrea was always there for support and she steered me toward understanding or doing the right thing on many occasions. It’s stunning to realize how misguided, misunderstood and harmful the use of meds is in our culture. It is fantastic that this organization exists to help people affordably get meds out of their lives.
I appreciate the research that POR has put into the issue of drug withdrawal. The understanding of how glutathione works with our receptors, and all the other understandings they have gained are filling a hugely needed gap in the area of medicine and health.
I am really really happy to be free of meds and very grateful to everyone at Point of Return for what they have done for me and so many others.
Cynthia, N. (New York) - Ambien
How ironic, as a New York State firefighter/first responder, the first response my doctor offered to my question of anxiety, was "take this pill". A pill that I now know made me feel more anxious and less ready to respond to emergencies! Wow, so I did. So I willingly added myself to the ranks of the uninformed, i.e., majority of the "medical establishment" and All of us who desperately seek relief from despair without the true knowledge of the effects of these drugs! That was 2011. One year and 6 months later, a friend shared Point of Return (POR) with me, a Great friend indeed. Now 8 months later, I AM FREE to Soar again, climb to New heights unknown, And All made possible by Alesandra, Andrea, Terry, Dr. Code, and the entire staff and family of Point of Return, to whom I am forever grateful.
I am honored to be a part of my "new extended family" at POR, and encourage anyone who comes across this path, to "tuck & roll" away from a drug dependent life, to an existence of "freedom", health and optimism. Like those before me, I found the journey wasn't easy; highs and lows, starts and stops, with some unexpected surprises. It seemed like a long dark tunnel with no light, yet Alesandra & Co. were Always"shinning" there for me. This Journey was what it needed to be for me to be
Thank You All, with All my Heart and Soul,
In His Abundance...Love, Light and Harmony!
Eagle (New York) - Lorazepam
I remember the day, in a year of days spent in the depth of despair, in what had become a tail-spin spiral fueled by misprescribed psychotropic drugs, that I reached for the phone. I had finally reached a place in my search to survive this conundrum no one seemed able to help me with but only further - where I knew how to ask the universe (and Google) for help. I knew what to type in that leap of faith moment but I didn't know yet quite how generously and remarkably the answer would come. I typed "How do you get off Benzodiazepines" and in an acronym the answer came. POR (Point of Return). Like so many other dear souls, I had innocently stumbled into these diabolical drugs - Ambien, Seroquel, Clonazepam and their dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
The conspiring ignorance of the doctors that prescribe them, the drug companies that profit from pushing them and the Mental Health System that props it all up, leaves us not only without answers but with the wrong answers, with dangerous misinformation about these supposed cures that only deepen our plight.
Even before I heard the wise and powerfully reassuring voice of PORs (Point of Return) founder, Alesandra Rain, the web site was like an oasis in the dessert. I had information. I had confirmation that I wasn't crazy. And I had a path. A path not without it's hardships but a path. A path is hope and from that day on I knew there was hope.
You who are reading this know what that is worth. And indeed it proved to be THE path. Because of POR my wandering in the wilderness became a journey back to health. It was a slow and steady taper with wise and loving expert coaching, with brilliantly devised supplements that restore what the drugs rob and with assurance throughout that I too would be fine.
And indeed, I have been drug free, sleeping beautifully, happy and grateful for two months and at peace in the realization that I have my life back. I attribute this to Point Of Return and the truly devoted people there.
- Catherine K. (Minnesota) - Klonopin
I would like to send you a big "Thank You!" note for all you've done for me. I received my certificate in the mail (a week ago). What a pleasant surprise! I would not have received the same level of care, love, consistent support, valuable knowledge and reassurance from any medical professional here in Canada.
I am 5 weeks off all the medications today. I am making progress week by week. Last night for the first time I slept through the night - a good 8 hours sleep. Yesterday I went to my doctor's office for a follow-up appointment, even she had to admit (finally) that I was given medications that I never should have needed which caused all the so-called psychiatric disorders. Some of my friends who used to doubt me came to conclusion on their own as well that I was misdiagnosed and in effect poisoned by my previous doctor. Although I still have quite a bit of healing (both physically psychologically) to accomplish, I am very hopeful that total restoration will materialise!
No amount of words can express my appreciation and gratitude towards all you've done for me and my family.
Thank you so much!
Love and hugs,
I just finished the Point of Return program and want to let you know how I'm doing. I went on vacation and thought I would get off Temazepam. The VA had me on it for over 4 years. I did 11 days cold turkey and it was the vacation from hell. We found Point of Return (POR) on the web and I called and talked to Alesandra. I ordered the materials and began the program. There's no way I could have gotten off this drug on my own. It was destroying my life and my health. 2 weeks ago I finished the program. Just as advertised comfortably in my own home I did it. All I can say is "Thank You!" I just wish the VA Health Care System would use your program. I went in there in the middle of full blown withdrawl and they didn't know what to do with me. I'm so glad we found you on the internet. I've presented it to them but they aren't known for doing what works. You can use any or all of this statement any way you want. I just want to say "Thank You" again, you've been a Godsend. Danny R. (Pennsylvania) - Temazepam
You are my angel.
I started taking Effexor a couple of years after my second child was born. I had terrible panic attacks which were really debilitating. I think it was because of a combination of my father dying suddenly, stress and poor nutrition. Only later after quite a bit of research I realized that it must have been it. I went to a general doctor who gave me the quick fix. Take Xanax till your Effexor starts kicking in a couple of weeks. Having always been scared of any types of drugs I only took one or two Xanax. I rode the panic attacks till the Effexor kicked in. At first I felt good. I even stopped smoking cigarettes. Then the weight started piling in pretty fast. I never had a weight issue in my life. No matter how much exercise I would do I still put on weight and craved sugar all the time. Slowly I started having all sorts of problems. Constipation, brain zaps, tiredness, and a ton of other problems I chose to remove from my mind.
Over the 6 years I often tried to quit, once it even took me a year to taper off of it but always went back to it as I had terrible withdrawal symptoms. Searched the Internet constantly to see if anybody got off of this drug successfully. One day I stumbled upon PointofReturn.org, (POR). I read up on it thoroughly but was very skeptical so I didn't do anything for a year. This year, June 2012 I had had enough. I wrote them and within a few hours I got a reply from Alesandra. I had a thousand questions. She replied within a few hours. After a few days or weeks of correspondence I decided to order the program.
Her patience with me won me over. Within a few days I started feeling like I was suddenly waking up, had energy, I was alert. Amazing. But I was still skeptical. I learned that the best tapering process was definitely through a compounding pharmacy who made the drug in liquid form. Easy!!
I have been now off the drug for almost a month. I feel great. Tons of energy, overall good mood, alert. I do get weepy and impatient at times but I feel alive after having spent 6 years masking all sorts of feelings.
I thank you Alesandra and the group of people at POR who made it possible for me to go though this program so successfully!!
Chiara R. (California) - Effexor, Xanax
The program works!!! Sign up today. Don't waste another moment trying to deal with it by yourself!
What can one say about being pulled from the depths of despair and finding someone who truly cared about you and your problems, and was willing to make a commitment of time and effort to assist you with your journey back to a more normal life? I can't say thank you enough to all the staff at Point of Return (POR), and Alesandra in particular.
My story is very similar to many of the people I have read about in the testimonials. I have a problem with insomnia, and sought medication to alleviate my sleeping issues. I used Estazolam (Prosom) long enough to develop a physiological dependence on it. I had many irritating side effects from using the medication. I finally decided that I wanted to try getting free from the drug. I tried cold turkey, and got to my 4th night of no sleep and decided that the withdrawal side effects were too hard to deal with, so I started taking the drug once more. I tried a couple more times, with the same results.
The drug was now less effective at bringing sleep, but I could not stop taking it as the withdrawal symptoms became unbearable. I sought out my doctor for advice, and he did not understand why I could not simply stop taking the Estazolam. He prescribed Trazadone for me to calm my nerves. I tried it for a couple nights, and while I was less anxious, I was actually sleeping less than before. Just what I needed, yet another drug in my system. I stopped taking the Trazadone. This downward spiral had to come to an end. I was at my wits end trying to figure a way out of this mess.
I had searched for information on the Internet, for anything that would assist me in this process. I found plenty of information, but nothing that would actually help me on my journey. I was considering ending this ordeal, by taking my own life, but I did not want to burden my wife, children, and family with that terrible end. I prayed many times, long and hard, for some end to this affliction. When I was at my lowest point, I prayed for guidance, and turned back to the Internet one last time.
I Googled "benzodiazapine addiction assistance", and BAM!! I was led to the Point of Return website. I started reading, and was intrigued by the treatment approach. I showed it to my wife, and she was skeptical at first glance, but was willing to let me investigate it further. I called the number, and I was put in touch with Alesandra. I had a good conversation with her about my problem and she was certain that the program would be able to help me. I did not commit right away, and later that evening I filled out the online questionnaire requesting more info. The next day when I got home from work, my wife was having a great conversation with someone, and it turned out to be Alesandra, calling to touch base with me. Alesandra and I talked for almost 30 minutes, and I was convinced that this was going to be my salvation, my wife agreed that I should pursue this, as it offered the best chance of my success in getting free from the Estazolam.
I joined the program, and would love to tell you it was easy, but that would not be the truth. My sleep was the biggest issue, it took a lot of trial and error to come up with the winning combination that allowed me to get enough rest to keep going. The taper process went very smoothly, I had no withdrawal symptoms throughout my taper. Alesandra was there all through my program, to offer advice over the phone or by email. She kept me encouraged while I was making my progress, and kept me motivated during the many tough spells I was running into. I made it through to the end of the program, and I am happy to say that it has been over 6 months since I finished my taper.
The program works!!!
I thank GOD for leading me to the Point of Return website. My heart felt thank you goes out to Alesandra, Andrea, Terry, and the rest of the folks at Point of Return, for giving my life back to me! I am still dealing with some sleep issues, but I am in a far better place now than I was a year ago when I started the program...
May GOD's peace be with you all!
David E., (Iowa) - Estazolam (Prosom)
Just wanted to let you all know that I returned to work yesterday after not working for 10 weeks. I have been almost completely symptom free for the past two weeks. I doubt I will ever know to what extent my illness was the result of Cipro or the benzos prescribed to treat my Cipro reaction. What I am confident of though is that my healing began the day I called POR and was given much needed validation that my symptoms were definitely the result of the medications I took. You all gave me more information and direction in the communication we had over those first two days than I had received from 6 different doctors, 2 therapists, a naturopath, and a nurse practitioner of integrative medicine over the previous 6 weeks. During that time I made no significant improvements, but since starting with Point of Return (POR) I have only gotten better and better. I tell everyone I discuss my illness with two things: Cipro is extremely dangerous and POR is an extraordinary program for healing. I've had 3 office visits since starting your program and I've told each doctor about your program. My regular doctor happily took your physician's guide for future reference, the psychiatrist barely glanced at it, and the nurse practitioner of integrative medicine was very excited to learn more about the supplements.
Anyway, all this is to say thank you so very, very much! I know I am not your typical client, but I feel like I am just as fortunate to have found POR as any of the others you've helped.
In gratitude and health,
I could write a long story about my journey and how POR saved my life, but you can read them all here. I’ll just say that I became dependent in 8 days. It can happen just like that and no one warns you of the danger. Western medicine failed me and I was left to fend for myself, or so I thought. Then I found Point of Return (POR) and I had reason to hope I could get my life back again. There are no miracles here, but what is here is a solid program that will lead you on the path to freedom from drugs and renewed health! I am in the early stages of healing at just under 3 months off of Ativan/Klonopin but I can tell you that my body is healing in ways I don’t even understand. There is more healing left for me to do, but I know in time my life will be not only restored but even better than before. I was skeptical in the beginning, but I can tell you every person at POR is a kind, compassionate guardian angel that will guide you and keep you safe and reassured during the process of withdrawal. The program works and you can take that to the bank! If you need to free yourself from the chains of drug dependence please do not hesitate as every day is precious. Take your life back. I did and I am forever grateful. May you healing start today. Be Blessed!
Bobby S., (Florida) – Ativan/Klonopin
I cannot say enough about this program.
I was prescribed Paxil 14 years ago for postpartum depression. Like most people, I figured I could get off it when I was ready. I also bought into the lie that I may need it for life because depression runs in my family. After starting anti-depressants, I developed sleep issues for the first time in my life. I tried several different sleeping pills and finally settled on Trazodone. Through the years, I learned to rely on pills to fix every emotional problem I encountered. I cannot even remember what all I have taken over the years.
About five years ago, I realized I was sleeping my life away. I know this might sound strange to some, but I felt like God was telling me to “STOP”, it’s time to let go and get your life back. By this point, I was on a minimal dose: 5 mg Prozac and 50 mg Trazodone so I thought it would be easy if I followed the doctor’s directions. It was a disaster…I had my first ever full-fledged panic attack and could not sleep for a week straight. I ended up in urgent care and back on Prozac, Trazodone and Zanax.
After about a year I decided to get professional counseling and my counselor recommended a Naturopath physician. So my second time around I had some nutritional support with amino acids that were supposed to help. I was able to get off everything; however, I was so hyped-up all the time and had trouble sleeping. My behavior started to get erratic and I questioned if I was bipolar. I was afraid of what I might do so I got back on the meds. It was a sad day after being off for 7 months…
I spent the last 1 ½ years taking meds I did not want to take…feeling as if I lost my testimony. I really felt God would in some capacity use me to help others get free of antidepressants and here I was back on them. I wanted to give up but there was just a little spark left in me to want to fight for my life.
It was Mother’s day this year, I was at Church with my husband (both of my boys at home sleeping) I was so sad. I had so much guilt…If I were there for my boys they might see what I see in the Lord. My faith must really suck if I have to take these stupid pills! I asked my husband to pray for me. He prayed for wisdom and healing. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking I can’t do this on my own. I need to find a new naturopath with new ideas or I can look online. I was very skeptical of anything online…but desperate. I found POR read about them and realized this is just like going to a naturopath doctor only it is geared toward helping people get free of psychiatric meds. From my past experiences, this seemed legit. After speaking with Alesandra, I had an understanding as to why my past attempts were not successful.
I thought wow, so you mean I am not crazy!
For me this program was an obsession…I followed it closely. It worked a miracle in my life! This program is the best out there it covers everything.
I am FREE and I got my TESTIMONY back!
Thank you POR…from the bottom of my heart you helped me achieve my dream!
Kelly M., (Montana) – Prozac (Fluoxetine), Trazodone (Desyrel)
The 28th of April will forever be one of the most significant days of my life, and I write this testimonial on the anniversary of the day God led me to Point of Return (POR). What was meant for evil, God has turned to good because one amazing woman decided to dedicate her life to save the lives of those (mine included) who’d all but lost theirs to the destructive grip of prescription drugs.
My torment of despair weakened in the presence of the hope that came from pouring over the testimonials on the POR website. And now, with a joy I thought would be denied me for the rest of my life, I willingly share mine.
I will never forget the day that light shone on the darkness that had descended over me like a permanent shroud. I wasted no time in contacting Alesandra; who quickly became my angel-my mentor-and my friend. My first email, simply entitled, “HELP!” was answered within hours and thus began my journey back to , normality, health, joy, laughter, and fulfilment.
23 years ago I was doing night shift in a nursing home. I couldn’t sleep. My blood pressure hit the roof and despite my abhorrence of drugs, I resorted to sleeping pills after all the natural remedies proved ineffective. I needed to work, and therefore I needed to sleep but the pills only gave me an average of 4 hours sleep per day. My stress levels doubled, tripled and quadrupled as financial, health, and relationship challenges got on top of me. Antidepressants were prescribed and it was a downhill slide from there.
I lost count of the many times I tried to come off the drugs. I suffered a few cold turkey withdrawals; the most traumatic one was a period of 21 days without sleep. I didn’t understand about rebound insomnia and depression then. I didn’t know that our bodies reach tolerance levels soon after ingesting the poison of prescription drugs and I had no idea that it would be virtually impossible to be drug free until I found the answer in the form of a safe, slow rehabilitation program that I could do from home. Following the guidance of the wonderful staff at Por I can now look back on this past year in awe and give eternal thanks to God for this miracle.
I am now writing my story in the hope of helping others who, like me had nowhere else to turn. It may only be one small ripple in a gigantic pond, but I vowed that if I regained my freedom (which I now have) I would tell anyone who would listen. This is my prayer. That one more pebble, reinforced by the weighty words of truth and thrown into a drugged sea of despair will cause a tsunami of ripples.
Avanza (Remeron) and Lunesta (Imovane) systematically stripped me of my personality, energy, passion, clarity, health and drive and exchanged them for agoraphobia, chronic fatigue, anxiety, memory loss, brain fog, hypertension and hopelessness. This does not equate to a fair exchange in my book. Our bodies are wonderfully and fearfully made but we cause every system to shut down by resorting to the myriad of quick fixes glamorously advertised and successfully marketed around the world today.
By utilising the experienced, capable, and highly informed assistance available through Point of Return I have enabled my body, mind and spirit to recuperate. POR’s effective nutritional products alongside their unsurpassed support have given me a second chance.
Alesandra, Andrea, Terry, Wendy and Rachel, you not only changed my life you gave it back to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Trudee H. (Australia) - Avanza (Mirtazepine), Stilnox (Zolpidem), Imovane (Zopliclone)
Come back from despair (A message from Japan)
Then I thought that I cannot help committing suicide… I had regretted that I took sleeping pill. The reason was simply insomnia by toothache. But why could I imagine that the thing brought me great suffering? I had suffered from terrible side effects of medicines and withdrawal symptoms of ones. I quickly had tolerance. Therefore, the insomnia worsened. It needed many kinds of medicines and a large quantity of ones to sleep gradually. The medicines were not only benzodiazepines but also barbiturates. Of course, I could not work any longer. Everyday I had lain down on the bed and had been tormented. I live in Japan. Neither doctors nor administrations of health helped me. I was searching for the treatment that could heal me, from Hokkaido to Okinawa. After all, it was all over Japan. But I could not find out any solution. No one helped me
One day I unexpectedly found out a website to help getting off the sleeping pills in U.S.A. That was Point of Return (POR). I did not have any choices more. I decided to bet their treatment. I had good first impression for the staffs. I felt them to be hearty. Their help was marvelous. They do what is not thinkable in Japan. My condition turned better after 1month and a half since I had started POR program. It was really miracle. I also made a lot of efforts at concentrating the healing. Eventually, I got off all the medicines. I recovered. I cannot believe it even now. Now I can’t believe I had thought that I commit suicide. But I was saved at close to the edge.
POR treatment stands to reason. We all have natural healing power. Our body and brain need to raise natural power of immune system to recover. POR treatment raises the natural power without nuisance.
I could start 2nd life. I do not know how to express my thanks… Doumo Arigatou, Konokoto ha syougai wasremasen. (I am deeply grateful. And I never forget it for the rest of my life.)
Love, Donko (Japan) - Bromazepam, Lorazepam
As I sit and reflect on the last year and a half, what a journey it has been! It is one I definitely do not ever want to repeat!! In August, 2010, I had a 5 hr plane trip to visit my daughter. Many years ago, I had a major panic attack flying from the East coast to the West coast. I have avoided flying since then, but I can't avoid it now because my daughter is a 28 hr car trip away! I asked my doctor for Ativan and I was given a prescription for 30 tabs, first mistake. After the trip, I naively began taking Ativan when I felt stressed or I didn't fall asleep fast enough. After I finished the bottle, I decided I did not want to take them anymore and quit cold turkey. I descended into a very horrible dark time of extreme anxiety, panic and night after night of laying awake all night in a panic. My blood pressure was very high and my heart beat wildly all the time. Neither my doctor nor I recognized the symptoms I was having were from withdrawing from Ativan cold turkey!
Over the next month, I tried one sleeping pill after another, Klonipin and Celexa. Thank the Lord, I did not like the way Klonipin or Celexa made me feel and stopped after a few days. Finally, still not having a clue that I was in withdrawal, I went back to my doctor and asked him to let me have Ativan again, since it was the one thing that helped me sleep! That was November and from then until February 2011, I think I was continuously in tolerance withdrawal and had to keep upping the dose and adding doses during the day to help with the insomnia and anxiety. I still was clueless as to what was happening and was sure I had some kind of horrible disorder.
In February 2011, I started to realize I wanted to come off Ativan and started trying to drop a daytime dose. The anxiety I experienced was so horrible that I could not begin to do without. My husband and I started looking up Ativan addiction and we were afraid I was going to have to go to a treatment center to get off of it. I found POR and I was afraid to believe it was really true. I kept going back to the site wondering if it was a scam or not. I read the testimonials where people said that Alesandra, Andrea and Terry were always there for them and would pick up the phone whenever they called and I thought, Yea, right, I don't believe that.
Finally, in desperation I gave Point of Return (POR) a call and talked with Alesandra. After about 4 phone conversations, I decided it was for me. I started the program and never looked back! Now I am the one saying every time I called they were there for me and it is so true! They understood like no one else and the support and encouragement that I could make it through to the end of the taper and healing was phenomenal. I would not even want to think about where I would be if I had not been led to POR!! I am 6 months Ativan free and it is awesome!! Thank you Alesandra, Andrea and Terry for being the lighthouse in a horribly dark and stormy season and guiding me into freedom!!!! I am forever grateful!!
I am 6 months Ativan free and it is awesome!! Thank you Alesandra, Andrea and Terry for being the lighthouse in a horribly dark and stormy season and guiding me into freedom!!!! I am forever grateful!!
Robyn S. (North Carolina) - Ativan
After giving birth to my beautiful daughter at the age of 41, I experienced extreme anxiety which led to many sleepless nights. Having been trained in nutritional therapy I tried every natural remedy possible before asking my M.D. for help. By this time I'd been having post partum depression issues for a few months and taking sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medications seemed like the last resort. I reluctantly went down that path thinking that I needed them for a short time to pull myself out of a crisis. I was assured it would only be short term. I was prescribed Zopiclone then temazepam and ativan when it did not help. I had no idea what would happen next.
Within the few months of trying to unsuccessfully withdraw from the meds myself, I'd worked my way up to a stronger prescription to get a decent night's sleep. Days were plagued with an anxiety I'd never experienced before and nights were terrifying as I'd wake up with my heart beating uncontrollably. Some days I was shaking so badly I could barely walk. Still I persisted in trying to withdraw myself. When I'd visit my doctor describing my symptoms, he prescribed additional drugs like Lyrica, Gabapentin and Seroquel--which did not help. As much as I hated to take any more drugs, I relented when he said I should be on the anti-depressant Prisiq.
Every ounce of my being wanted to be off these drugs as soon as possible so I could get back the health I'd so proudly built over the years but it seemed I was losing the battle. I was scared, no, terrified of where my life was heading. I have to remind myself that during this battle I was also expected to give 110% of myself to my growing daughter.--thank God I have a loving and supportive husband and family. My days were long and nights were longer. I know I needed to get help.
Enter Point of Return. From the moment I discovered your life-saving program, I felt understood and really cared for. Andrea's compassion was unparalleled as she listened and made adjustments to my program. When I hit a bump, she was there to walk me through it. I remember thinking as I went through my day, "what would Andrea say" then I'd be comforted and empowered. After 10 months of faithfully following the program, I am now free of all the medication. When I began the progam I thought that I could never go that slowly in withdrawing but I was wrong. I used that time to rebuild my health--body and mind. Most days I would meditate at least once--I became reaquainted with peace. Hope returned, I felt empowered to go the distance. And here I am, at the other side. I've returned to my life but it's better than it was before because I have such gratitude and appreciation for all that I have. Many thanks to Andrea, specifically, and the team, in general.
You walked with me through the darkest cave of my life.
Suzy L. (Nanaimo, BC) - Temazepam, Pristiq
Never thought prescription drugs could do more harm than good. Never thought doctors knew and understood so little. Never thought it could come to this. Never thought it could happen to me. We are all human. We all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. Not even doctors. Not even the pharmaceutical companies that advise them.
If you are reading this, chances are you or a loved one is either in a terrible amount of mental anguish or a very poor state of physical health, maybe both.
I don’t know what to say to convince you that you have found an organization and a group of people that truly care for your wellbeing, and for you.
Point of Return (POR) sells supplements, true. If you are starting to see the evil behind pharmaceuticals and the harm they have caused you, I don’t blame you for being skeptical. However, in order for you to feel the best you ever have in your whole life (at least since the miracle of childhood) then you are going to have to get over your fear and skepticism. You are going to have to take control of your state of being and start investing in your future, repairing the harm that poor nutrition, lifestyle, and pharmaceuticals have done to your body and mind.
The testimonials on this site are from real people. I am a real person. Yes, I fell into the pharmaceutical trap. It can happen to anyone and it is extremely difficult to get out of. The fall entails more pain than I care to describe, of which, anyone who hasn’t felt it doesn’t understand. I encourage you to read the harrowing stories in the testimonials of the others. They are successes. I am a success. You can be too.
I am not going to tell my story. I am going to tell you about POR and why you need them and can trust that they are the best resource to help you out of your trap.
POR is a partnership of survivors, not some hollow corporate entity. They have been through what you might be suffering. The program they recommend is what worked for them and the people they serve. They live to help others, they live to help us, and they helped me tremendously. My life and great state of health is purely due to them and my following their gentle guidance.
Why the supplements? If your body is lacking something that the pharmaceuticals covered up, you will not heal when the pharmaceuticals are taken away. You will stop damaging yourself, but you will not heal from your original affliction.
POR does not sell every vitamin under the sun. POR is not a vitamin shop trying to make a living off of health fads. POR is focused on two things: healing and balance.
If you are not suffering from prescription drug withdrawals, you would still benefit from the supplements. I think you would see a difference within a month, if not sooner; however, the amazing transformation I went through took a few months to fully realize. At nine months, I am 15 pounds lighter, it keeps getting better, and I will be adding exercise now that my system is clean. I know it will have to stop and stabilize eventually, and I am just so thankful to feel this good.
If you are suffering from prescription drug withdrawals, nasty side effects, or would like to try living pharma free, POR is your salvation. You need the supplements (otherwise POR would not sell them). You need the POR program. I strongly recommend the starter kit. It has an autobiography by one of the founders, an essential manual to help you assess your symptoms and diet, a journal to log your progress, and your first month’s supplements. You also get access to the genius and experience of the POR family and access to the POR private discussion board with fighters like you kicking off the ball and chains of prescription drugs. The forum is not like a public discussion board full of horror stories. True, the pain can be horrific. It is a sharing of experience, support, and hope by people who want to heal, are healing, and have healed. The wealth of knowledge I gained on how to live healthy is unparalleled. Getting a supportive ear I needed and the hope I lacked was a lifesaver. The forum is a vital component to a successful withdrawal and a lifelong transformation.
Lastly, a brief discussion about costs. I am a
cheap thrifty accountant. It only cost me as little as $5 a month to destroy my state of health, then more and more co-pays, all with the health industry’s blessing, and I do say “industry”. I lost over $15,000 in failed detox attempts and several days of work. The supplements will cost $200 to $300 a month, and the process takes 10 weeks minimum, and up to a year or more depending on what you are taking or recovering from. Some of you are already paying more in co-pays, and have lost even more than me. Your life is worth $300 a month in supplements. You will be forever changed. You might even want to spend more on healthier foods, and healthier habits, once you notice how good you look and feel.
Please don’t let the cost of the supplements be a hurdle to your success and your future. Please don’t let fear prevent you from trying POR and at least getting the starter kit. You deserve it.
To our health,
Donald K., (California) - Klonopin
I want to tell people my story because I am so ordinary. I am not a recording artist or Hollywood star. I am a 60 year old grandmother and due to circumstances that seemed large at the time I ended up on Ativan almost one year ago (.5mg. 2-3 times a day as needed). I was experiencing hyperthyroidism and since I am usually hypothyroid this was quite different than I was used to feeling. I had lost my father the previous spring and had to put my mom in an Alzheimer's facility at that time. I had lost my sweet wonderful mini schnauzer in October and 2 weeks later I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and on my way back to bed I had what they said was an attack of Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). It was the most frightened I have ever been and as I fell on the bed I said a few prayers and waited to die. After 10 minutes of waiting to die I figured if I was still alive, I needed help and since I was alone, I called an ambulance and long story short the ER doc said I was very hyperthyroid. I had been over-medicated for hypothyroidism. That was the beginning of my nightmare. No matter what the docs did I was still symptomatic even when the blood results said I should be fine.
I was having a racing heart all night and high blood pressure and I was told not to due anything that would raise my heart rate so I sat around and got more and more fearful. My Doc sent me to a cardiologist and I wore a monitor for weeks. The doc put me on a beta-blocker and that helped the heart but I was still shaky and nervous from the T3 levels which also irritate the heart.
My doc saw that I was loosing weight and having all sorts of issues and said that I needed to go on Ativan and Zoloft or I would "make myself sick". I took 1-2 Zoloft and felt like a zombie and took them back to her but I did take the occasional Ativan. When I returned to see my doctor she told me to take the Ativan 2-3 times a day whether I needed it or not. I did and within a few weeks felt like I didn't want to get hooked, so I cut one of the pills in half and went to bed and when I got up the next day I did the same thing and during the day I told my husband I felt like I was going to die but I didn't know what was wrong.
I thought about it and the next day I went on the computer to see if it could have been from cutting the pill in half and I felt like I had fallen down the rabbit hole. The stuff that I saw on the internet scared me to death and I didn't know what to do. I saw the website for POINT OF RETURN (POR), but I thought I would see what my doc said since she prescribed it, I figured she knew how to get me off. Well, that was another learning experience. She wanted me to take more and said she didn't know how to get me off and I would have to take it forever. I said, you don't understand, my body already wants more because it isn't helping any more. I want off this stuff. She told me to go to a psychiatrist. We have a friend who is a shrink and he laughed and said I was not even on a therapeutic dose and I should just cut it and come off.
Well, that didn't work and eventually I found POINT OF RETURN’s website again and I called and spoke to Alesandra. I could not believe that since I had been on the drug such a short time that I would have to take so long to come off and it meant staying the drug longer and I just wanted off so I looked into rehabs and came very close to going to one 1000 miles away but once again after research and help from Dr. Armstrong (a POR medical advisor) who actually helped me I found out that a rapid detox from this drug could have terrible consequences for someone as sensitive as I was. I had never taken anything but my thyroid med and I was so angry and frightened. I spoke to POR several times and when I finally realized that I was addicted and there was no safe escape other than a slow taper and since I tried myself and had crippling side effects and knew that self sufficient me wasn't going to be able to do this alone I checked back in with Alesandra and I finally started to come off the drug.
I have to say that without the supplements I don't know how people are able to do it because I tried several times and it was horrible, terrible thoughts, body pain like I never had, constant diarrhea and too many things to recall but as soon as I stared the SUPPORT and their other supplements, it all stopped except some mild anxiety but after all I had been through and still having some thyroid issues I felt great and did a slow taper. I have been off Ativan now for 5 weeks and even though every day isn't perfect I know that my body is healing every moment and I am on my way back and I am very confident that I will get to be even better than before. I will take the SUPPORT forever. I also have to add that Alesandra and DR. Armstrong were there Every time that I needed help whether it was a medical question or my unceasing whining or self-pity trips. (I am not the bravest soldier in the platoon but they were unbelievable with their loving support and encouragement).
Thank you Thank you Thank you. I am in the process of designing a t-shirt so I can tell the world that I am drug free thanks to POR and Google won't stop my effort to tell everyone about this wonderful group of selfless people.
Thank you Alesandra and all the wonderful people who work with you. There will definitely be an honored place in heaven for all of you.
Carol C. (Delaware) - Ativan
It started with a visit to the doctor with the complaint, “I can’t sleep”. He gave me the “little blue pill” and told me to take it for 3-4 days. I did as he said and slept well and then on the 4th night did not take it and had the worst night ever. In a panic, I took the pill again. I could not believe it; in just 3 nights I was hooked! After that I tried everything to stop taking the pill. I tried yoga, exercise, natural herbal remedies, listening to sleep CDs and half-hour sleep routines every night! I went for acupuncture and saw a naturopath, who also prescribed this thing and that (all natural, of course). But no matter what I tried, the “little blue pill” was the one constant. I could never stop taking it. If I did try, my sleeping was worse than ever. I even went back to my doctor several times and he just told me to cut the pill into pieces to take less and then prescribed me more! My whole body was filled with anxiety. I walked around with a constant knot in my throat. I was obsessed with the pill and even more obsessed with getting off of it. The worst part was that I wasn’t even sleeping well on the pill and I began spending my days in what can only be described as a fog. I spent countless hours researching on-line and trying everything I could, but still nothing worked. I was desperate! Then I came across a miracle; the Point of Return website. I called them right away and after speaking with Andrea, I knew this was for me. I thought to myself; how brilliant; someone who finally came up with a plan! I finally had hope!! I ordered a start up package and was finally on my way to getting off of the pill. The best part of it was it was easy!! The program just makes sense and very easy to do. If I had any problems or issues or just wanted to talk about it, Andrea was there for me. I would email or call her and get an immediate response. It was so nice to know somebody was there who cared, who could understand and who could offer the advice or encouragement I needed. Now I am pill free and sleeping great! I know, with out a doubt, that had I not found Point of Return, I would still be struggling and desperate.
Thank you Point of Return. Thank you Andrea. You gave me my life back and I will be forever grateful to you.
Rita M, (Canada) - Zopliclone (Lunesta)
I remember calling Alesandra for the first time and telling her my story. I remember wondering if I should be calling, it seemed like I was overreacting. A good Christian doctor had prescribed me my pills, he was someone I trusted. Yes, I had had some red flags go up, but unknown to me at the time, the drugs made me unconcerned. Surely I didn't need a rehab program. I told Alesandra why I went on the pills. My baby almost died right after she was born, and had to go on very strong medication to save her life. I was supposed to go back to work, but due to her health condition I wasn't able to leave her. My benefits company simply needed a note from my doctor to hold my job. I was worried about my little girl, and I made the horrible mistake of allowing the doctor to tell me that I was sick. That my brain chemistry was screwed up, because I was scared for her. I will fight to forgive myself for this for a very long time.
My antidepressant doses went up so quickly that I started to lie about them to my husband. I was so ashamed of being broken in this way. Then the doctor added another. He told me it would help me sleep - and that's all. He didn't mention serotonin syndrome, and that it's potentially fatal. He never monitored me in any way. I'd go in, he'd ask how I was feeling, I would tell him and he'd write a prescription, usually in a higher dose than I'd been taking. It took only moments for him and nearly destroyed my marriage, my relationships with nearly everyone I knew, our finances, and my daughters health. She was still nursing at the time, and the moment I went on anti-depressants, she stopped growing or gaining weight. Completely. Her host of doctors became very concerned and I couldn't figure it out and spent endless amounts of time pushing food down her throat, sobbing when she wouldn't eat huge amounts, and still couldn't put on weight.
When Alesandra heard how much medicine I was taking I remember her saying an expletive, apologizing, and her words of concern echoed in my head. I remember looking at those pill bottles and feeling as claustrophobic as I had ever felt. They were poison, and I had to take them that evening. I cried for days and then made the decision to quit one medication cold turkey based on how it interacted with the other. It was hell. I was hostile, sick and angry all the time. My sleep was riddled with nightmares and my waking hours were agitated. Within ten days or so, my moods leveled just enough that I felt strong enough to being my taper and search for a new doctor. I ordered the Point of Return supplements and took them religiously. I will tell you, I hated the taste of Support, but not as much as I hated my Effexor. So I kept on. I pushed myself harder than the program outlined, and allowed myself some withdrawal symptoms. I told my family to stay away from me for the day following my drop in medication, I had already hurt them so much. I've spent two months hiding out and dropping my doses every week. I am lucky enough to have a hard-working husband and the ability to be at home most of the time.
Two days ago, I took my last dose of Effexor. I was so scared. I'd missed doses in the past and I knew what not taking my medication felt like. I also knew what I'd gone through when I quit taking Zoloft cold turkey. I prepared for the worst. I won't lie to you, because of the fact that I tapered pretty quickly (37.5mg drop every seven days and not what POR recommends) I am experiencing some withdrawal symptoms. I am having pretty continuous brain zaps. I'm sore, and I am continually dizzy and nauseated unless I take a tiny piece of an anti-nauseant. But it's not debilitating. It's not NEARLY as bad as it was when I'd miss a dose before. Better than that, my mood is UP! I'm happy. I'm more relieved than I can tell you. I can't stop smiling, despite the withdrawal symptoms because I just realized I can do this. That the worst is over and I can put this behind me.
I did not think this program would work. Can I be honest? I thought it might be a scam to sell vitamins. Sorry guys!! I didn't know what to do, or where to turn and I'd just realized that I'd been on medications for almost a year that had turned me into a really mean shadow of myself and I didn't trust anybody anymore - even myself. I found POR after reading hundreds of horror stories about quitting Effexor. I was terrified and angry and ashamed. And although I know that I have a lot of healing to do from here, I can do that healing as MYSELF, without the horrible side effects of the drugs messing with my thoughts, emotions and memories.
It just occurred to me, that it's going to be okay - and I don't know how I would have gotten here without you all. Thank you so much. You didn't just give me my life back. You gave my baby girl her Mommy. My amazing husband got his wife. My mother got her daughter, my siblings got their sister back. I've been "gone" a long time, and I can't tell you how good it feels to know that I came back from that place.
Love you guys.
Mellie M. , (Canada) - Zoloft, Effexor
I wanted you to know that I am still doing well and getting better and stronger all the time. I also wanted to let you know my dog's "testimonial". About a month ago my dog Holley who is a 2 year old Aussie started coughing and gagging and just not feeling well. I took her to the vet and they put her on an antibiotic because they thought she had kennel cough, even though she had been immunized. She got worse and worse and we really thought we were going to lose her. We took her to a specialist who ran tests and found she actually had an allergic bronchitis, basically doggie athsma. He put her on steroids and she got to feeling a bit better, but the steroids were hard on her. I started giving her a tsp of Support, a spoonful of fish oil, probiotics and vitamin c. Within 24 hrs she was eating and sleeping again. Within a week she was playing and almost her old rambunctious self. From the moment we got her she has had that herding dog way of being crazy rowdy and day by day I see her getting her old spunk back! So there's another letter for your testimonial files, my dog is back because of your products! - Holley
Three months ago, I sat on my couch with my two kids as I drank a glass of wine at 9:00 in the morning. I had just added a cocktail of Xanax, Trazadone and Restoril to my Lexapro and was upset because I had reinstated my Lexapro for the 3rd time. I thought I was broken or mentally ill and would need medication for the rest of my life. I was so discouraged that the only thing that made me feel better was alcohol. I looked at my kids and I realized that I was going down a VERY dangerous path. After all, I had tried to come off the meds with no success in the past and the sad part is that the meds never made me feel any better. They only made me overweight, tired & apathetic. I was in a constant fog and couldn't make any life decisions. I was stuck: I couldn't stay on them due to the side effects but couldn't stay off of them either and this was a scary place to be.
Just 3 years earlier, I was a Personal Trainer, had a zest for life, was energetic , an optimist and I was a VERY strong Born again Christian BUT I was going through a stressful time that could have been handled with some Therapy, and diet changes. How did I get here?
One day I went to my local Urgent Care and requested something for my mild Stress and Anxiety. Looking back, the anxiety was actually pretty minor but I simply did not know what it was and began to panic and thought something was REALLY wrong with me. The Dr. told me that Lexapro was a very good drug for anxiety and I should have very little side effects. The first night I took the medication I had a complete panic attack, couldn't sleep, woke up in a cold sweat and had extreme stomach issues. The Dr. told me this was normal and it would take 6 weeks to take affect and these side effects would subside. 6 weeks had passed and now I was having more symptoms such as hair loss, severe stomach problems, apathy, didn't care about anything and actually felt worse than my original symptoms. My dad then passed away and I thought I couldn't live without the meds especially since every time I tried to wean off, I felt worse than my original symptoms.
I would then over the next 3 years try to wean myself off slowly and would come off just fine and 4 weeks later I would crash into a tailspin like I had never felt before, I would have very dark thoughts. I was then self-diagnosing myself with Bi-polar Disorder, Clinical Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Little did I now that these similar symptoms of all the above disorders were only side-effects from the withdrawal that I was constantly in for 3 years. I would search the internet for answers and the answers I did find were very grim. Most people out there were struggling to come off these meds and not very many were successful and I began to lose hope. I had started to drain myself financially as I hopped from Psychiatrist to Holistic Dr., to Liver Cleanses to Therapists, etc. I had kept switching my meds from Lexapro to Zoloft to Wellbutrin and kept adjusting my meds up and down, and always felt worse than before.
I knew SOMETHING had to change. If I wasn't going to do it for myself, I had to do it for my kids. After a half a bottle of wine in the middle of the day, I surfed the internet and found POR. Alesandra called me shortly after and finally SOMEONE who knew exactly what I was going through and she assured me that it was the meds and withdrawal making me feel crazy and it was NOT me and I was NOT mentally ill! I had told her how many times I tried to come off the Lexapro beast but would reinstate the medication and I had told her that I lived on Diet Coke and frozen Weight Watchers meals and we pinpointed that as part of my problem! I began the nutrients the next day and held out hope.
After all, I had failed 3 times in the past to stay off the meds so every time I went on the Message Boards, an Alumni would assure me that this time it would be different because I was feeding my body what it needed and tapering properly this time! It is now 3 months later and I am drug free and will stay drug free forever!
Thank you Alesandra, Terry, Andrea, Rachel and Wendy! What you do is NOT in vain!! Thank you for helping me get my life back and thank you to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
NM., (California) - Lexapro, Trazodone, Xanax, Alcohol
I just wanted to let you know that I'm doing well - thanks to your program. I don't think I could have ever done it alone. I'm more than 2 weeks tapered off of all meds. The supplements from the Point of Return program were so helpful that I needed less and less of the meds faster than I thought possible. I'm still doing a little withdrawal, but it's a whole new world. I'm so surprised at how much easier it is to sleep and how much more control I have over myself. All the things I took the meds for - I didn't get until I was off of them - how ironic. I'm working with a great nutritionalist and your program really gave me a starting point in a healthy recovery. Please thank everyone in the office for me. I am deeply grateful to you all.
Diane C. , (Indiana) - Xanax
Thank you so much for your program. I had been on Amitriptyline for almost 24yrs when I discovered your program. I had tried a few times over the years to get off of it just because I hated being dependent on any medication, but to no avail. I had started having a lot of side affects from it and knew I needed to do something. I have been on your program since the 10th of Dec,2010. I have now been free of the meds for over 5weeks now and am feeling fine... I am still using the supplement as you suggested and have not had any flare ups of the fibromyalgia that I have suffered from for over 26years.
I think you are one of Gods Angels and thank you so very much.
Yours trully, Linda L. (Indiana) - Amitriptyline
I just wanted to send you a genuine thank you. You really (pardon my french) kicked my butt in the right direction when i needed it, and I couldnt have done it without that shove in the right direction. I never thought I would get here, being so young and not knowing myself at all without this pill. And quite frankly, I'm still a little scared to be off it, but I feel FANTASTIC! I would normally say, I feel like i have my life back, but I dont even know what life is like without Amitriptyline. but I am SO excited to find out! You guys are fantastic!!! I tell EVERYONE I know about your program. There is no way that I would have EVER gotten off this stuff without you. I am so happy to move on with my life, and to put healthy things in my body... no more pills EVER! My life has been changed, and I owe it all to you, and everyone else at POR. Thank you for all your hard work, and your perseverance, and your blood, sweat, and tears. I can promise you, that it is all worth it! I am forever grateful, and I will never stop telling people about Point of Return.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Helyn F. (North Carolina) - Amitriptyline
If you feel trapped by pharmaceuticals like SSRI’s and Benzodiazepines please know that there is hope. I am now free of the grip of Ativan and Klonopin. The Point of Return products and staff are the key to reclaiming your life! You can do this. I know because I’ve been there. Here’s what happened…
Back in 2009 I was feeling more and more depressed and anxious. As a musician I was getting down in the dumps about how the economy was affecting CD sales. I was having muscle spasms, tension, indigestion, I went to a number of chiropractors and massage therapists and nothing was fixing the muscle pain problem. It never occured to me that this was anxiety related!
I had a particular mid-back muscle that was in a knot so I tried pushing against the wall with a tennis ball against the knot. Wham! I felt an electrical spike shoot up into my head! Minutes later I was having a full blown anxiety attack! I was freaked out. These kept coming so I borrowed some Ativan from my mother. This worked perfectly!
I got my own prescription and was never told that it was incredibly addictive! In fact both my doctor and a psychiatrist never gave me a proper warning. I wish I had done a little research. I quickly went from taking .5mg every few days to 1mg every day. After about 2 months my wife said “you can’t stay on this stuff”. I new she was right so I just stopped. Oh my God! That was a nightmare. I quickly got right back on and then began to worry and feel great hopelessness about how or if I could get off.
I tried cutting the pills and put up with horrible withdrawals for months. This only worked for a while before the withdrawals became intolerable as I got down to smaller amounts of the drug. Then I made a difficult switch over to Klonopin because it was longer lasting and would dissolve in milk which meant I could taper by smaller amounts. This didn’t help much with the withdrawal problem either. I was stuck!
I really began to fear that I was going to be a casualty of benzodiazepines! How was I ever going to stop taking this? How did I ever get here? What was I thinking when I started popping these?
I started researching the internet and found Point of Return. I was really not wanting to have to go to some detox center. I was so scared. So I decided to give POR a try. I new that my withdrawals were my physiology freaking out and sensed that giving my body high quality nutrients just might help.
I was right! I started on the program and began tapering again. What a difference! There were still withdrawal symptoms (no program can eliminate these entirely) but they were so greatly diminished and I felt optimistic again! That was huge. My strength and attitude greatly improved as I stayed with the POR supplements and the amazing support I received from the on-line discussion forum.
The whole process took me about 6 months. I took the month of December 2010 off from tapering because of family responsibilities and Christmas. I picked up again in January and completed my journey in February.
I just can’t say enough about the POR products and team. They really delivered on their promise to help me through the benzodiazepine nightmare. I went from being terrified to feeling exhilarated as I reached the finished line. I am once again feeling creative and purposeful in my life!
Thank you God and Thank you Point of Return!
Paul M. (California) - Klonopin
Dear Point-of Return Friends,
I assume that I am not one of your typical customers except for the fact that I wanted to get off of antidepressants. I was recently unemployed and not able to afford medical insurance. My incentive for choosing this particular time to take the leap was due to the fact that I was running out of medication (Lexapro) and was shocked at what my monthly costs would be without insurance, and found them cost prohibitive. My physician suggested that I could switch meds to one that was less expensive. I was hesitant to do so because it was so hard to find one that I was successfully able to get on in the first place.
I began to do research on the web to find out what I could about switching from Lexapro to another antidepressant. The more I read, the more I wanted to get off of them altogether. Fortunately, while doing my research, I came across your life-saving website and within a short time decided to order your package to get off of anti-depressants.
Because I had very little medication left before I found your website, I had already begun reducing the amount of medication by a half. Within a few days of the time I received your package, I reduced my medication by half again (one-fourth of my original dose). For those reading this testimony, I do not recommend attempting to do what I did.
Upon opening the package and reading the materials, I of course discovered another, much better, plan of withdrawal. By now, I was within just a few days of being completely out of medication, but began the first twelve days of taking the supplements as outlined in your Point-of-Return withdrawal guide. (Please note that the guide recommends completing this step - these first twelve days, before beginning reduction of medication.)
By the time I reduced my medication to one-fourth of the original dose, I began experiencing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. With hind-sight, I see the wisdom of only reducing one’s medication as suggested in the Point-of-Return withdrawal guide. Despite my awkward plan of attack, your staff (Andrea) kindly encouraged me to stick with the program, and made specific suggestions for my particular situation. We remained in contact by email, until I had finished taking the supplements and was no longer experiencing withdrawal symptoms. I am confident that had I known about and followed the program as outlined in the withdrawal guide, I would not have experienced any withdrawal symptoms.
I am doing well and very excited to be antidepressant-free. I very much appreciate the chapters on Glutathione, Probiotics, and especially Continued Health After the Program. I found the program very helpful despite my unorthodox method of starting it, and will be forever grateful for your program, materials, and supplements. I sincerely hope that my appreciation and gratefulness, and that of other customers, makes your sacrifices and long hours to make this all possible, worth the effort.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your team members, each one of you, are truly life-savers!
Dennis N. (Washington) - Lexapro
Dear Point of Return,
I wanted to inform those who are considering using Point of Return to do so. Almost 3 years ago, I went to a walk in clinic for possible pneumonia. The Doctor gave me Levaquin. Although it was only 5 tablets, I immediately developed insomnia. I had never had a problem with sleeping, but after taking the levaquin,I began to struggle with sleep. After weeks of struggling, my Doctor put me on Xanax. After several months on Xanax, I was put on Lunesta to get off of the Xanax. After weaning myself off of the Xanax, I tried to wean myself off of the Lunesta and was unable to do so. I began to look online to see if there was anyone who could help me. I found Point of Return and called to find out what they could do for me. I talked to Alesandra. She began to help me put my life together. After months of weaning off of Lunesta and using the supplements, I am in the final stages of my recovery. I want to alert everyone of the dangers of Levaquin and to avoid this medicine at all costs. If you have developed insomnia as I did, please get on the program.
I cannot imagine not finding Point of Return and in particular, Alesandra. They have helped me get my life back. And to think, all because I took 5 pills
J. B., Pastor in Tennessee
In the summer of 2010, I was diagnosed with stress disorder due to my job. My doctor prescribed an anti-depressant telling me that was how this disorder was treated. The anti-depressant caused me to have anxiety, headaches, and a major case of insomnia. I went to two other doctors seeking help. One doctor put me on Ambien, and the other doctor put me on Xanax. I took each of these drugs each night, and at first I slept very well. After being on these pills for only a couple of months I noticed my sleep had become bad again, and I was lucky if I got 3 to 4 hours, instead of the 7 to 8 I got at first. It appeared I had reached what is referred to as “Tolerance” to both Ambien and Xanax, and was having “Rebound” effects and the “Withdrawal” symptoms started to affect me greatly, and I was miserable. One night as my Brother and I prayed, we were led to look up these drugs on the internet so we could better understand what was happening to me. We were absolutely shocked to see what all of the horrible “Side Effects” of these drugs were, and I had a lot of them. My doctors had assured me these drugs were ok to use and I would not become addicted to them. Later, my doctors even told me I could just stop taking these drugs “Cold Turkey” without any problems. Thankfully I did not do this, but I did at first cut back to half of both drugs within less than one week. This was a mistake, as the “Withdrawal Symptoms” became almost unbearable. I looked on the internet for help, and that’s when I found the website for Point of Return. I enrolled in their program and started the supplements right away. Alesandra Rain at Point of Return contacted me, and helped me to start my “Tapering” process once I stabilized from my previous cuts. She helped guide me through a very rough time of weaning myself off of 2 very addictive and very powerful drugs at the same time. I finished the program in approximately 7 weeks, which is considered pretty fast. I felt I had to go fast due to the “Tolerance” issues and the already present “Withdrawal” symptoms. Between my faith in God and the help of Alesandra at Point of Return, I have been Ambien and Xanax free since December 30th of 2010.
I am continuing to improve daily, and am confident I will be back to 100% soon.
Jeff F. , (Arizona) - Ambien, Xanax
First of all, I want to say there is hope for all of you who are going through a trial you feel will never end!
I was addicted to a sleeping pill for 4 years that turned on me and stopped working. My doc told me to go cold turkey off of it which in turn sent me into the worst hell of my life…withdrawal!! I thought I was going to die…from panic attacks to tremors to wondering if I would ever be normal again. After multiple doctors, more drugs and NO answers, I then found Point of Return (POR)!
Alesandra was my angel on the other end of that phone call walking me through how to conquer this! She was the most sensitive, loving person who gave me so much hope to push forward. She could relate to me because of all that she had gone through. Her book made me feel like I had known her forever.
I never thought I would sleep again, but Alesandra kept telling me to hold on and be patient. The POR program works. Every piece of advice she gave me was proven true. I am now sleeping GREAT and the support/sleep and relax has helped me with that!! It really, truly works!
I give the glory to God for directing my path to Alesandra and the team!
Debbie H. , (California) - Temazepam, Paxil, Neurontin
I am writing to let anyone reading this know that finding Point of Return (POR) has been a miracle for me. I had a horrific reaction to quitting Lorazapam cold turkey, after suffering for several months I agreed to take Amitriptyline as I felt it would allow me to atleast leave the house for my daughter's wedding. After several months of the debilitating side effects of the Amitriptyline I found Point of Return and ordered the program.
The effect on my poor body was almost immediate. Unfortunately I wasn't eating well and was "self-medicating" with alcohol which interfered with my taper of course. I ended up reinstating the medication, cleaning up my diet and going for help with my alcohol addiction. Within weeks I was feeling better than I have in years. My second taper was smooth and painless and now I am free of medication. It is a most wonderful feeling.
I cannot say enough good things about the entire POR team. They have somehow found just the right balance between professionalism and compassion that people who are suffering need. I will be forever grateful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Robin T. , (California) - Amitriptyline
I am so grateful to Point of Return for helping me to get my life back. After two hospitol induced drug over doses that nearly took my life, I found Point of Return and they helped me to get off Ativan. Not only was this drug not needed but it did countless damage to my body and brain. Later I was properly diagnosed with toxicity to the brain and with the help of Point of Return and a good naturopath I am healing rapidly and feel healthier than Idid before I became ill in the first place. I was also diagnosed with hypothyroid and low hormones even though the tests said I was fine. I had my thyroid tested multiple times and now I have the proper dianoses and treatment of my thyroid and endrocrine system.
I was able to get so much needed relief from the supplements during my withdrawl process as the drugs I was put on (Ativan and Trileptal) made me feel aweful. My panic is gone and My bi-polar and depression issues are melting away as well.
As an artist I was unable to dance and sing much less take care of my family. I am so grateful I get to be free to live my dreams now! I still am in the recovery process but I relish life and cherish every day that God has given to me. I thank Him often for leading me to Point of Return.
For those out there who are struggling or who are watching a loved one suffer. There is hope and you can get the help you need.
Tammi M. , USA - Ativan
Point of Return helped save my life!
Without Point of Return (POR) I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be writing this drug free and feeling so good. In fact, I hate to even think about where I would be if I didn’t find POR...terrible, I’m sure.
My nightmare began overnight with a mysterious illness. For two months I suffered through electrical currents in my brain and spine, adrenaline surges, racing heart, vomiting, intestinal distress, extreme nausea, dizziness, weakness, anxiety, shortness of breath and extreme sensitivity to any stimulus. After emergency room and doctors visits and numerous tests, they told me they couldn’t find anything wrong with me and gave me Ativan.
The Ativan helped for the first couple of days...then things grew much worse. Ativan brought on unnatural thoughts of fear, depression and paranoia. Although it lessoned the brain zaps, it made me feel worse. I was in constant, extreme fear. When I tried to stop the Ativan cold turkey I got even sicker. I truly thought I was dying.
By God’s Grace I found POR.
From the moment Alesandra said hello on the phone I knew I was in the hands of Angels. I was so sick, afraid, and confused about what was happening to me. She patiently and lovingly talked with me at length about the program, the effects of the drug, and what was going on with my body. She knew from experience everything I was describing.
I ordered the supplements and started taking them the next day. Within two weeks I could feel a big difference. As POR continued to work with me and tweak my program I felt better and better. The brain zaps and electrical currents completely stopped within weeks. My digestive symptoms greatly improved. The fear and anxiety lessoned with each reduction of Ativan.
The healing process can be a roller-coaster of ups and downs. The underlying causes of my illness plus the horrible side-effects of Ativan left me unable to work or do much of anything but fight through the symptoms. But POR helped me through it every step of the way. I did everything I could to help the process: change my diet, reduce stress in my life, emotional/mental/spiritual work on myself, and anything POR recommended. I kept my focus on the improvements, inspiration, gratitude and every small step forward. I would not have made it without POR...this I am sure of.
Just one month off Ativan and I am feeling amazing! I am astounded by how much healing took place during my taper. With the continued help of the POR supplements I am able to deal with my underlying physical imbalances pretty much symptom free.
If you are reading this and suffering the effects of prescription drugs, you have found a program that really works. You have found people who truly care about your well-being and have passionately dedicated their lives to helping you get back yours. With the loving and generous service of POR I not only got my life back...I reclaimed my Freedom, my Passion and my Health.
POR is an organization run on the principles of love and service. They give above and beyond anything I have every received from expensive experts and doctors. And they give it freely relying on donations rather than Doctor or Consulting Fees. They are truly a group of remarkable people filled with Light and Love.
I am forever grateful for POR and its dedication to serve us until we find our way back to Freedom. I am grateful for the miracle of POR, the unconditional love of my family and God’s Strength and Love that led me to Victory over Ativan, the Mysterious Illness and all that which would steal my Freedom.
Thank you POR. You can count on my continued support.
With Gratitude and Love,
Jennifer P. (VIRGINIA) - Ativan
How on earth did I get on this road again? I had been here before and vowed never, ever to let this happen again. But somehow, years and years later, thousands upon thousands of dollars later, multiples and multiples of psychiatric drugs and misdiagnosis and withdrawals later…….. Here I was, back on the “Devil’s in a bottle” yet again. I will just go from “Yet again” as that is where POINT OF RETURN, INC. entered my life.
I had been given three rounds of a steroid for chronic bronchitis. I got better…..too much better and before I knew it, I was manic! I called my doctor and told her I thought there was something wrong and she told me to just stop the last round of Prednisone. So, I just stopped. Over the next several days I began to hallucinate, my heart was palpitating out of my chest, I was in a cold sweat and the list goes on. I had to resign from my teaching job. I couldn’t care for my children. It was just a 24/7 nightmare. I had already been rushed via ambulance to the ER because I thought I was having a heart attack. They found nothing. The doctor, knowing my previous experience but truly not knowing what else to do, gave me some Klonopin and I took it! It is amazing what one will do when they feel as if they are staring death in the face. Within minutes, the mania was gone. I remembered just before I took it, that I got on my knees and prayed that if this was the wrong thing to do that God would have to show me the way out of it, “yet again”. Little did I know that the way out would be POINT OF RETURN three years later. So, while the Klonopin worked for the mania, I started having tremendous pain in areas where I had had multiple surgeries. I went to a pain management specialist and was given Hydrocodone and Oxycodone and plenty of it. Then, I couldn’t sleep. I went to see about that and was reassured by a reputable compounding pharmacist (and they know more about prescription drugs than just about anybody) that Ambien was NOT addictive and that I couldn’t believe everything I read. So here I am…. heading right back down the road to destruction and hell that I thought I would never be on again.
I started having so many physical ailments. I wound up having major surgery for GERD and a gall bladder removal. Less than a year later, I had exploratory surgery to see if the disease of Endometriosis had grown back even though I had had a complete hysterectomy. While going through all these surgeries, it just didn’t seem prudent to come off these medications. I never realized that it was probably these medications that actually led to the surgeries. It is such a vicious, evil cycle. I had come across Alesandra’s book “Deeds of Trust” and had read it and tucked it away on the back burner. I knew that I could not continue on this path. After the last surgery and adequate recuperation time I looked up POINT OF RETURN and emailed them. Terry forwarded my email to Alesandra and she called me! God did hear my prayer! Now, 15 months later, I am finally as of November 6, 2010……..DRUG FREE! It wasn’t easy. However, with the support of Alesandra, Terry and the POINT OF RETURN protocol, I am finally on the road to complete physical, emotional and mental healing. Angels come in all forms. These people and this program were truly…..”HEAVEN SENT”. Thank you God. Thank you to my husband Dan for his never ending support and belief in me and unconditional love. Thank you to my two beautiful boys, Drew and Graham who just kept on loving me when I was not loveable. Last but not least…….Thank you Alesandra for your never ending words of encouragement, advice, love and new found friendship. Thank you Terry for ALWAYS getting those products to me whenever I needed them and to wherever I happened to be. I am forever grateful to all of you.
Becky W. (NORTH CAROLINA) - Ambien, Klonopin, Valium, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone
My story began July 2008 when I had some teeth extracted. I suffered pain for many months following the tooth extraction and never understood why. I went to numerous dentists, specialists (even 200 miles away), my family doctor and never could find the cause of the pain. Finally my family dentist recommended that I go to a neurologist to see if I had trigeminal nerve damage. Prior to the MRI I was given 2 mg. of Ativan because of being claustrophobic. For the next several days I was pain free and I related that information to my family dentist. He prescribed 0.5 mg Ativan and that is how it all started.
I later went to a dentist that specializes in dental prosthetics and was told that more than likely I had suffered some nerve damage in my jaw. He told me the pain may get better over time and then again it may not – the only thing I could do was to take medication for the pain. My prescription was running out. I went to our family doctor and explained everything. He continued a prescription of 0.5 mg. Ativan daily for the pain. I was told that 0.5 mg. was non-addictive and I could take that amount for an indefinite time without any worry.
Some months later, my body was building a tolerance and I felt a need for more. I did not want to take more than one pill a day – I had to get off of these pills. I tried going “cold turkey” (as suggested by my doctor) – that did not work. I tried cutting the dosage in half – things got worse. I became so desperate that I inquired about going into a rehab center. It was then my husband found POINT OF RETURN (POR) on the internet.
I contacted POR and Terry was the first person I spoke with. I ordered the supplements and started the program with a determination that I was going to make it. The POR staff and the POR family was there to help me throughout my “roller-coaster” journey. The journey was rough. Many days I felt like it was just me and my God on this path and I thank Him for the strength to persevere. I can gladly tell you today that even though the journey was rough; I am Ativan free today. I suffered some horrendous things while going through the withdrawal process but let me remind you – that is all temporary – it does get better. I may have to learn to cope with nerve pain but it will be without the Ativan.
To those still on the journey to become drug free – you can make it! Follow the POINT OF RETURN program, the recommended diet, take the supplements and most of all, be determined. Know that many other people have completed the journey before you – they were victorious and you will be too!
Glenda M. (ALABAMA) - Ativan
Oh, what a celebration. I’ve completed the tapering of Klonopin. I took it for 10 years, 2 mg. at night for sleep. Had I only known what type of drug this was I never would have ever taken it. It’s unfortunate that, from my understanding, prescribing physicians do not tell their patients that this, and other benzodiazepine drugs, should not be taken longer than 14 days, 28 max.
I have lived the most horrible 7 years with health issues stemming from the effects of taking this drug. Luckily, none were life-threatening.
Unfortunately, this drug takes you down. I haven’t been able to work for 5 years. I was declined an individual health insurance policy with BCBS last year because I was taking a benzo. This is when I decided I had to regain my health and get off these drugs.
I knew I had to get my body physically in better health first so to take on this challenge. In May, I began eating clean --- fresh fruits and veggies, grass-fed, free-range hormone-free meat, no sugar or caffeine, no fast food or processed foods. June 1, I stopped the Klonopin cold-turkey. Three days later I realized this was impossible. I researched the Internet and found Point Of Return (POR). I called and spoke to Terry. Having been taken by the medical industry several times, I’m skeptical doing anything. However, after reading the information provided on their website and knowing what they were saying was true, I was confident they knew what they were doing. I ordered the supplements and took them for 6 weeks before beginning my tapering schedule.
I was anxious to get this done and over. I experienced some personal challenges. I found out it is not good to get a deep tissue massage when tapering. I also found out how sensitive I am to MSG. Four weeks before ending my taper, I made the mistake of eating a grilled chicken salad at McDonald’s. Oh…the depression that I had. It was almost unbearable. It sent me to bed and drained me of all energy. I couldn’t get groceries or cook. I thought I would help myself by ordering pasta from Pizza Hut to nibble on throughout the week until I recovered. Wrong! The depression lingered and got worse. It was so bad, that I called Alesandra and told her I was going to have to go back on an antidepressant. She asked what I had eaten and I told her. She recognized it as being the MSG. From these two meals, Alesandra had researched and found they contained 21 ingredients having MSG. At least I knew the culprit and would not have to go on an antidepressant.
My sweet daughter-in-law came by and took me to get MSG-free groceries and made me 3 casseroles, baked sweet potatoes and a large fresh fruit salad to last me a week. We thought we were careful in selecting our groceries; however, not true. MSG is well hidden in food labels. My depression got worse after eating one of the casseroles. I looked up the ingredients and found that the cheese contained “potato starch.” It is high in MSG.
There were other incidents when I needed adjustments in my supplements. POR was always there. Alesandra must have her computer attached to her and on at all times. She is so quick to answer emails and phone calls. She, Terry and Andrea have truly been a lifeline and support. Knowing they are there makes the tapering process much, much easier. Thank you POR. You saved my life. Without you I would not have been able to do this on my own. I can start living again.
Kacee - Klonopin, 2mg. at bedtime for 10 years.
As a psychotherapist, I have adequate training on psychotropic medication and the effects that they can have on the human mind and behavior, including side effects like discontinuation syndrome. However, all of my training in psychopharmacology and psychology could not have prepared me for the almost one year debilitating experience that I underwent while on Ativan.
In January of 2010, I was given a flouriquinolone along with a steroid following a minor surgical procedure. Soon after, I experienced a reaction to the medications, including pain, insomnia, rapid heartbeat, blurry vision, hallucination, fever and numbness of the extremities. At the emergency room, I was instructed to discontinue the medications and was given Ativan in order to stabilize my central nervous system and promote sleep after 3 nights of insomnia.
Two weeks of taking 2mg of Ativan, I decided to discontinue using a standard rapid taper. I was alarmed to discover that just after 2 weeks, my body was unable to handle discontinuation of Ativan. I then concluded that perhaps a “chemical imbalance,” had developed as a result of the antibiotic and steroid I had taken and decided to continue taking Ativan until my CNS “balanced,” itself out.
The medication created unusual symptoms which resulted in my resignation from work as I was not able to maintain enough mental clarity to carry out my duties as a psychotherapist. I was devastated. Soon after, I moved back to my hometown to begin to find a way to resolve my dilemma.
I consulted a physician and a psychiatrist friend and attempted to carry out their recommended tapering schedule. I was not able to advance much without suffering excruciating panic and anxiety. I became increasingly alarmed as I had never experienced anxiety before any of it started. At that point I was experiencing paranoia, muscle aches and pains, irrational thoughts and fears about possible illnesses that I might have, weight loss, rapid heart beat, night sweats, muscle twitching, jock itch, dry irritated eyes, depersonalization, derealization, a drunk hung over feeling, tight band feeling and pressure around my head, dark thoughts, etc. I decided to discontinue my doctoral studies at that point as well as I was not able to drive much of the time. I was home ridden and began to develop moderate agoraphobia.
One night out of desperation I went cold turkey and ended up at the ER. The following day, I began to research benzo withdrawal on the internet and immediately came upon Point of Return. I was skeptical as I had only heard of people battling prescription medication dependence in an inpatient facility and had never heard of such a thing occurring on an outpatient basis. I had nothing to loose so I gave POR a call the next day. Andrea was the first contact I spoke to and the information and facts she provided convinced me to give the program a try. I ordered the supplements that same day.
The nutrients immediately began to let their effects known to me; I felt increasing vigor and stamina, the withdrawals became tolerable and my sleep stabilized. Of course, I had my ups and downs, mainly due to not following protocol but I came out through to the other side. On 1 occasion out of idiocy, I decided not to take the SUPPORT product to test its effectiveness; I had the most difficult taper that week and from then on decided that the SUPPORT was indeed a vital component to the process and that is was not a mere coincidence that my taper was easier.
Today is the first day I am off the medications and I have not felt this great in months. I am excited…my sense of humor has returned and I am looking forward to the future…things I never thought I would have again. All of the symptoms mentioned above have resolved. The only things I am experiencing at this point are muscle soreness, some fatigue and occasional headache.
Alessandra and Terry are also experts in their field. They are generous with their time and information and even made themselves available during the late night hours of the weekend. The conversations, emails and forum interactions provided me with much education and support. Alesandra and Terry both guided me to nutritional leads from which I was able to select and use to further promote a smooth taper. I feel as if I have received additional training than most of my colleagues will receive on nutrition and brain function and care. No doubt this education will serve me in the years to come for my own health, that of my family and my own patients struggling with dependence and addiction.
I would like to acknowledge my sister Elsa who is also a psychotherapist and provided me with much support and patience, and the forum moderators,Wendy and Rachel for your constant support, dedication and reassurance and everyone who has gone before me on the program and found healing….thank you all. I will never forget this experience and the invaluable lessons it has taught me. I feel enriched as a human being, as a student and as a professional.
Tony Q., MFT (CALIFORNIA) - Ativan
My doctor without warning decided she would not write a new prescription for Ativan. I had been taking it for six years to help manage anxiety. Without a prescription I went from four to six one milligram tablets per day to none. With the rug pulled out from under me, my life went into a tailspin. The panic attacks were disabling. Begging my doctor for relief and asking why this was happening to me she said, “you’re probably addicted.” I’ll never forget those words. It made me feel like a street junkie. All I did was follow directions.
After a knock down drag out argument, my doctor agreed to a prescription of one Ativan one milligram tablet per day. My misery continued. I was in a very deep dark place. I knew it was up to me to find some answers. Barely functioning I went to the internet. I searched Ativan addiction and up popped Point Of Return. I could not believe what I was reading. The part on Benzo’s and withdrawals described my nightmare completely. Thank God I was not alone.
I guess my doctor realized I wasn’t going away. I laid out POR’s plan and the tapering schedule and she agreed to do it. Next was to get a compounding pharmacist on board. I talked with two. My experience was that these people are wonderful to work with. Unfortunately my doctor said we could cut the tablets down to size and the compounding pharmacist wasn’t necessary. I had no fight left in me. The tablets prove to be a headache to cut.
My withdrawal symptoms continued to rage out of control. I wish I could tell you that the suppliments from POR afforded relief right away, but I was too far behind the eight ball. It is imperative that one follows POR’s recommendations and guidelines whenever possible. The suppliments seem to be playing catch up in combating my condition. It was so comforting having POR’s team just a phone call away.
If anyone continues to experience withdrawal symptoms-don’t give up! It was two to three weeks before the suppliments brought me relief. Meanwhile they were protecting my body from the Benzo beast. Hang in there! Over the following weeks things continued to improve and today I’m Ativan free!
My deepest gratitude goes out to my wife Stacy, the POR team, Alesandra, Andrea, and Terry. I can’t thank you enough.
Bob A. (FLORIDA) - Ativan
First, I just want to say thank you to the fabulous staff at Point of Return (POR) – Alesandra, Andrea and Terry for all the help and guidance in, not only attaining a med-free life, but also greater health! The past year has been quite a ride (and one I never want to repeat), but through your help, the terrific POR supplement program, and friends on the forum, I'm on my way back to health.
But, let me start at the beginning. As a result of headaches and occipital neuralgia caused by muscle tension and stress, I was given a dose of steroids by an Orthopedist. Within 2 days of finishing the steroid, I started shaking…and it kept getting worse. After being prescribed Flexeril,Celexa, Xanax, Ativan and Trazadone (consecutively), I was finally given a diagnosis of anxiety…along with Valium and Lunesta by my OB/GYN. Fortunately, all were relatively short-lived, except the Valium. Initially, the Valium worked. My neck and shoulders felt better and the anxiety felt manageable. However, soon the muscle tension started getting worse, as did my anxiety between doses. After searching the internet for solutions: I found Point of Return, (POR).
My journey has been much shorter than many, although it feels like a lifetime to me. It was a downward spiral, but my body is finally beginning to recover physically. I'm amazed that 7 weeks of Benzos led to (for me) 6 mos. of tapering. Because of both physical and emotional set-backs, I had to postpone and hold my tapers multiple times. I actually tapered longer than I was on Benzos to begin with! However, with much encouragement, I continued down the path of healing toward a single, focused goal…to be free of the Benzo beast. As I've said previously, I've counted on the support of three very special people – Alesandra, Andrea and Terry – some incredible supplements, and a whole lot of determination. Failure was not an option for me.
I'm no different than any one of you reading this. If you think you're the only one that won't heal (and believe me, you're not alone), you will. If you think that your sleep will never return…guess again. It will. If you believe that you're the only one who will fail on the supplements, you're wrong. How do I know? I've been there (as have many before me). And…believe me; I've had every doubt that you've had. So while I still have my occasional "off" moments or days, the good days now FAR outnumber the bad.
I think it's so important to focus on the "End Zone". Of course, it's far easier to try to sabotage our own healing, and focus and obsess and blame our lack of recovery on everything but the real culprit…the pharmacologic answer. The magic pill. In reality, we just need to stay the course, keep our eyes focused on the prize, and focus on "what is" instead of getting mired in "what if's". And "what is" is the present: putting one foot in front of the other and crossing the finish line. So know that it's possible to begin healing. It may not be a cake walk, but you will cross the finish line too. Please, please, please trust the program and our fabulous team at POR.
Love you all!
Janet S. (MINNESOTA) - Valium
As I started writing this I just remembered back when I was reading these testimonials when first finding this program. Thinking how lucky I would be if I got to that point where I could write one, something that seemed nearly impossible at the time. And now here I am .
Before I get into how I was right before finding Point of Return (POR) , let me share a little about how this all started in the first place. I was 24 years old, very healthy, in great shape. I was a personal trainer at a gym, very active, athletic...that was my life. Then an accident happened while I was at the gym( In 2006), the machine I was working out on snapped and struck me on the top of the head. Causing damage to the frontal lobe...Also snapping my head forward, crushing nerves in the back of my neck and leading to alot of nerve pain in my neck, back, other extremeties. Eventually leading to parasthesia( tingling, burning sensations) in other extremeties. Over time things kept getting worse for me, and wasn't getting any answers from doctors. And it's not easy dealing with all of these new issues on your own, not having any idea what they are, because I've obviously never experienced any of it before. I've been injured before, I've broken bones...but never this. Was always used to just fighting through an injury, would still play sports and workout with a broken arm, broken rib, etc. Not that I enjoyed the pain, but I just couldn't resist doing something I enjoyed so much . However with this injury, the more I tried to do, the more I set myself back..and would just end up with new symptoms that would get worse and worse and ended up with me going to the hospital eventually to try to figure out what was going on. But that never got me anywhere besides being offered a different med each time.
I always resisted taking a med that a doctor wanted to put me on, but eventually would give in to some , justifying it saying they know what they are doing and I don't want to feel this way anymore so let me give it a shot. Started taking klonopin in the beginning because I was having panic attacks, lots of anxiety. Was also taking pain killers for the pain I was in. Then I was put on Ambien because I couldn't sleep. And was on plenty of other meds throughout the last 3 years. And now that I am off everything, feeling so much more clear minded..getting a bit of myself back, I realize that most of the bad things I went through was because all of the medication I was on, it wasn't just the injury. The pain still would have been there without meds, but they made it worse. They weakened my mind over time, making me not able to handle the pain as much . Basically not being able to handle anything. Any type of stress would set me off. And that's what bothered me most because I was very strong before any of that. I just wasn't me. And I thought that person was gone forever because of the injury. But that is what taking all of those pills makes you believe. It's all false. So if there is one thing I hope you get out of reading this is don't believe the way you are feeling now is permanent. Don't think your situation is different and that there isn't any hope for you. Because believe me, it is the medicine making you feel that way.
I prayed to God every day throughout the 3 years, asking for help. I will admit there were times I was ready to give up. When the pain got real bad, sleepless nights, the restrictions..not being able to live..be active, etc I would lose hope at times. The more time that went by , the less hope I had. It was all draining me, it was a struggle just to get out of bed and go up the stairs. Eventually my goals got smaller and smaller. In the beginning it was about wanting to live the life I had before again, to get completely better and be active, be the happy person I always was..then I ended up giving up on that and just hoping not to feel so sick all the time, get a couple hours of sleep, not ache and burn so much, to not feel so "crazy" all the time. Things like that. The worst feeling is when I did sleep and would dream about good things happening but then wake up to reality..my never ending nightmare. I wanted to sleep all the time, I just didn't want to think anymore. Too much pain physically and mentally. And that is why I was on a lot of the meds , but eventually realizing a lot of those bad thoughts, feeling achy, overall not healthy at all was because of the meds. All of those times praying to God for help, then the times where I would get mad at Him, asking why is this happening( I think we all get to that point where we think enough is enough, why is this happening to me, when will it stop, why can't I just get my life back? And they are all the wrong thoughts). Because over time I was giving up , losing hope. And that is the scariest thing, losing that. When life just didn't seem that important anymore. I remember always thinking life is too short, didn't want to get older , wanting to enjoy every minute I could, then after going through the suffering non stop for 3 and a half years I started thinking life is too long, that I'm ready to be at peace now. It's a scary thing. And I had to get myself out of that mode a lot. To keep pushing when there wasn't much left.
And why I am saying all this right now is because I'm telling you that most of the way I was feeling was because of the meds. Yes there were plenty of things I was going through without the meds but they were making it worse, much worse. I didn't know that before, and honestly wasn't real sure about it when starting this program either. I read the testimonials and I tried being a bit hopeful that it was the reason I was doing so bad too, but thinking to myself my situation is different and I had a brain injury and so many other things have gone wrong . So it would take a miracle for it to work for me. I was running on fumes at the time I found POR. And I will never forget that day because that is when God did answer my prayers, that was my miracle. I'm sitting here right now only 6 months later and I'm doing a lot better mentally. My mind is so much more clear now. I am getting myself back. I am still going through a lot of pain yet handling it better now, shrugging it off and being positive. I still have a ways to go , no doubt, but the difference is I am "looking forward" to everything now. I am excited about the future. I see a future for me. Each day I am getting memories back , good memories. Before the injury I could walk outside, and just look around and be happy. Appreciate everything God has given us. Not needing anything to go my way to be happy but just to stand there, look up at the sky and appreciate life. I lost that during the three years. And I am getting that back now . The excitement to live is coming back. I am so thankful for Alesandra, Terry, Andrea, and everyone else involved at POR. They go above and beyond to make sure everyone gets through this as comfortable as possible, they make sure we succeed. Because they "know" we can if we follow the program exactly the way it is. There is no doubt for them like there is for us when starting this. They are on the other side, they've seen and experienced everything we have been through and know exactly what it takes to heal. I've gone to many..many doctors over these years, been to brain rehab , etc and nobody understands the way they do. Nobody had the answers they had. Nobody ever took control and layed out the steps to recovery. I always ended up going home and just dealing with things on my own again, trying to figure out what I should listen to and what not to listen to from the doctors. Because of so many setbacks I have had by listening to them, I lost that trust.
I can't thank POR enough and the best thing is knowing there are people out there like them. That's what makes me happy.
Johnny D. (MICHIGAN) - Klonopin, Remeron, Suboxone
I have been PAXIL free almost two months now. I never thought I was going to be able to say that.
It started almost a decade ago. I had been having some pretty crazy sensations that were unexplainable. I had been dealing with them fairly well. Then it all broke loose on a trip up to Northern California with my mother and son. I was experiencing the worst anxiety and panic and had no idea what was happening to me. Somehow I got through the weekend and had my husband take me to the emergency room the following Monday morning. I was prescribed Xanax. I new better than to take that but then headed to my doctor for a better answer. I assumed it was life threatening. She prescribed Paxil and Clonazepam. At that time, the only knows meds to me that seemed bad were Xanax, Valium and Prozac. As long as I didn't get those, I thought I was ok. The anxiety lessened as I got used to the medication. I guess it didn't matter at the time that I lost a lot of feelings and emotions. Little did I know that the decision to take that medication would turn into a downward spiral that would last almost ten years. At that point I wasn't offered other alternatives or given any explanation for the anxiety.
The next ten years I spent thousands of dollars on therapists, gadgets, books and anything advertized that promised relief from the anxiety that I was experiencing. My life seemed to even into a pattern of being ok for a couple of years then become a train wreck for at least six months at a time. This kept going on. I wasn't the only one suffering. Unfortunately my family suffered along with me. I can't believe I was so clueless in blaming myself and not realizing that the meds were the main culprit. I think I tried at least six or seven psychiatrists and more than twenty different medications that I never should have. I can't even spell them and yet I had no problem putting them into my system. Luckily most of them I only tried a few times. The times that I was feeling ok, I still worried about when the shoe would drop. It always did.
I never dropped my quest to find a way out. I finally came across the POR website and decided to order. I could not believe how fast my emails were answered and how much I could accomplish in a phone call to them. I had finally found my answer to the nightmare I had been living. I took longer than most, but I made a lot of changes in my life that will stick with me forever. The forum also became and still is extremely invaluable to me. I did have sleepless nights but I spent most of them pouring over the POR testimonials and hoping someday I would be able to write my own. They gave me hope and made me feel like I could do the same.
I will always be so grateful to Alesandra, Andrea, Terry, Rachel and Wendy. They truly watched over me and I never could have finished without them. I have a whole file with Alesandra's emails that have become such a treasure to me. I have them from start to finish and are so detailed that they are a journal in themselves from her to me of my journey.
I know I appreciate life more than I ever did. I will continue to support POR and the people that helped me regain my life. I never would have the happiness that I am now currently experiencing without them.
Thank you for the bottom of my heart for everything.
- Love, Pam R. (CALIFORNIA) - Klonopin, Paxil
It all started less than a year ago. I was involved in a pretty scary car accident. Soon after that I noticed some discomfort in my chest and went to the Doctor right away. He didn’t find anything wrong and told me it was muscular. I was still worried and made an appointment with a cardiologist just to be safe.
A month had gone by already by the time I saw the cardiologist and took all the necessary tests. This caused several sleepless nights and at the same time I started to develop some anxiety.
It was a week or so before getting my results from the cardiologist that I had a panic attack and ended up in the hospital. A psychiatrist came to see me and talked to me for only a couple of minutes. Right away he prescribed Clonazepam at night and Xanax during the day. I decided to take Clonazepam only, and still had many questions regarding the medication.
For the first week or so, it worked very well, but I was already feeling tired during the day. And soon after that I started to get very bad side effects. I lost weight and I knew I had to get off the medication but the Doctor thought I had to be on it for a while. My friends and family thought the same as well so I knew then hat I had to look for an alternative on my own. I tried to quit on my own by taking some natural herbs, but it made it worse. I went back to my original dose and started to research the Internet.
I found POR and called immediately. It all made sense but I was very skeptical. For the next few days I thought about it, made some more research and finally decided to order my supplements. I was still skeptical but deep inside I trusted this new family I had found.
It has been a difficult journey and there were times at the beginning where I didn’t know if I would be able to finish the program and there were times when I thought that my only option was to reinstate the medication. But as soon as I gain confidence and started to build some nutrients in my body, everything became easier. And every time I needed support or had any questions POR was there, answering my calls and emails (even during the weekend).
I finished the taper on April 7, 2010 and I am so excited to be done with this monster benzo. Point of Return definitely works. I have learned so much about myself and because of this became a much stronger person. I will never forget this experience and hope that it can inspire others in the same situation. I am so grateful for this program and to Alesandra, Andrea and Terry for helping and guiding me through this experience. You guys are great!!! God bless you always!!
- Juan H. (TEXAS) - Clonazepam
My journey was the nightmare from Elm Street. There was no end in sight. The light at the end of the tunnel was a train.
It all started one fine afternoon in February with a doctor visit for some mild anxiety about a PVD “floater” that had developed in my left eye. I was prescribed Ativan at 1 mg in the evenings to calm my anxiety but also for sleep. After a month, I noticed that my falling asleep was becoming increasingly more difficult and raised the evening dose to 2mg. As a few weeks progressed, the 2mg of Ativan became non-effective in inducing sleep and was prescribed 10mg Ambien to take instead of Ativan but to continue to take the Ativan during the day. After a few weeks it all quit working for sleep.
Doctor then prescribed a small dosage cocktail of Remeron, Amitriptyline, and Trazadone. Idea was that each one in a small dose would cause sleepiness. At times one would work, and then another, then it was decided to take them all together before bed. If I could not fall asleep then would take the Ambien after the cocktail. Continued with 2mg of Ativan during the day. Then was put on Lexapro to take during the day because I was now depressed and anxious.
My blood pressure was now at 180. Pulse would run in the 120. Sugar was in the 140’s. A big piece of the problem was no one ever told me how addictive Ativan was and if you quit taking it---you went to a major withdrawal.
The last day of my old life in an attempt to stay sane included Ativan during the day along with Lexapro. Then for sleep—would start with the cocktail of Remeron, Trazadone and Amitriptyline about an hour before bed (varying the doses each night somewhat). That would never cause sleep—so would then at bedtime take 10 mg of Ambien. In an hour take another 10mg of Ambien. And if that did not knock me out (which in the end – it would not)—top it all off with 1 or 2mg of Ativan. Wow—what a day of pill popping---all for a little sleep.
One spectacular Saturday in August, I was researching on the Internet about how different drugs had different channels to the brain and how some did not work together—stuff way over my head—but somehow found Alesandra’s web site. I called and spoke with Terry. He told me that I really needed to speak with Alesandra and I left my number. That evening I was horribly depressed at my parents home.
About 9pm I got this phone call from Alesandra. I was amazed that someone was calling me back that late on a Saturday evening. But for 2 hours, she and I talked about everything. It was the first time in my 6 month ordeal that someone knew what I was going through and understood my problems.
I had spoken to at least 10 different shrinks, sleep counselors; etc…everyone wanted to put me on some other type of drug. Alesandra knew exactly in less than an hour how badly I was messing with my brain chemistry by taking all that crap and in different doses. My brain was being zapped daily and there was no end to it. That evening I concluded to limit myself to a max of 3 drugs and stabilize the chemistry in my brain.
Ativan was number one—because it was the most addictive. I was given the choice of what other two I thought I needed for sleep. I decided on Remeron and Ambien. That evening, I took the Remeron at bedtime with 2 mg of Ativan and fell asleep without the Ambien. Thereafter, I never took Ambien again and with the regimen of POINT OF RETURN’s treatment and a slow gradual withdrawal of the Ativan and Remeron, I was healed and drug free within a short period of time.... that was 2 years ago.
Thank you God for directing my web fingers to Point of Return.
- Mark M. (OKLAHOMA) - Remeron, Ativan
I asked my wife to schedule our family’s annual check-up and she told me that it could be by mid-March of 2009, in time for the kids Spring Break. The moment she told me the schedule, I began to experience some sort of negative thoughts about the result. And because of a long waiting time, everyday was like a torture to me about my health. After a while, I began to experience those sleepless nights which I tried to alleviate with wine every dinner, heavy coffee every morning and some tea in the afternoon. I didn't know I was brewing a disaster, because of sleeplessness, heavy caffeine plus alcohol.
March 3, I was at the office when I felt this troubling sensation, numbness of extremities, shortness of breath, dizziness; heart pounding and I thought I was having a heart attack. I asked a friend to rush me to a hospital. I thought that was the end of me. A nurse asked questions and put me on machines, checked my vitals and gave me Ativan shot. In 15 minutes or so, the doctor and told me that my heart was good. It was nothing, just a "Panic Attack" – that was some new words to me. They gave me a few more tablets of Ativan and sent me home. The doctor told me to take one-half of 2 mg pill in the morning, the other half in the afternoon and take the whole 2 mg at night and I should be fine. There was no mention about the nature of this Ativan pill and how long should I take this or when to stop and how this would affect me.
The first two weeks, Ativan worked really well, but after that, the feel-good effects gradually faded. A few more days later, my anxiety and depression grew bigger in me due to sleeplessness. I didn’t have depression before taking the Ativan pill. So our family doctor added Paxil to my meds. I took it and stopped immediately after 2 days. It gave me body tremor and extreme anxiety. Then he replaced it with Prozac, which I took only for a day for the same reason. It gave me more body tremor and seizure-like symptoms. After a month or so, I developed this panicky feeling and chronic insomnia. My doctor asked me to just stop everything including Ativan (cold-turkey) and he replaced them all with Temazepam 30mg and Trazodone 100mg. My sleep went to zero the first few days then improved after a week then gone again. At that point, my body was deteriorating and I was loosing weight fast. The meds were not helping at all and the symptoms abruptly came with so much pain and mental torture.
I was in agony day and night for months. But I still need to work to support my family. I couldn’t simply make the world stop so I could take a rest. I have a young family to support. At times, I just walk out of my office because of this overwhelming frustration and pain. We have acres of tree-lined ground and a man-made mini-lake/water falls in the office campus. Somehow the environment had a calming effect on me. I walk alone praying and most of the time blaming myself for taking those drugs. I couldn’t believe that those pills were capable of taking me hostage in my own body for a very short period of time since I started taking them.
One day I was in the office attending a meeting, I thought I was loosing my mind. I was hyperventilating, my brain was aching, and my body was in tremor and in excruciating pain. I ran to the bathroom and I soaked my head with water to alleviate the pain. I was relieved for a moment then it came again. It went on and on and getting worst everyday. Then one crazy day, I stopped taking any medication in hope that the symptoms will go away. I was wide-awake for several days counting the seconds and minutes. I could hear the ticking of my wall clock the entire time. I had a weak body, foggy mind, tremors in my muscles, and my sanity was fading. My wife didn’t know how to help me. It was extremely devastating to her, too. I took my pills back but I gained no solace. I was a full- blown train wreck.
I knew I had to do something about the situation and I need to do it quickly because doom was coming in too fast. I analyzed my situation and contemplated on how to deal with it head-on. I realized, I need to tackle 4 areas in my life that would help my current condition, my health condition, my thought process, my sleep (or lack of it) and my spirituality. I started to eat healthy and natural food with lots of vegetables and lean protein. Then I enrolled to a fitness gym to get a daily light work out. I saw some improvements especially after the work out. hey say it’s because the body releases endorphins after the exercise. At that stage, I take any form of relief, even for just a few minutes. I also attended a Christian Life Program about this time. It was my wife who convinced me to attend. This Christian renewal 8-weekend program has helped me regain my spiritual footing and self-confidence. But that was not enough because I still need to work out my anxiety and thought processes. I bought this popular attacking anxiety and depression program from the Internet. I learned a lot about this program and it yielded a very good result towards my healing. There was a tremendous improvement since I started my all-out combat against the pills. Weeks later, I planned to start tapering my meds all by myself so I searched the internet if there was anything out there that can help. I found the Ashton taper method but it was vaguely explained. I need something to ease the body pain. The next day, I searched the internet again and this time I found a website that explains how to taper properly with supplements to help the symptoms and there was a lot of Testimonial, too. I immediately called out the number and somebody on the line answered, she was Andrea, one of the sweetest voices I heard over the phone. I almost cried when she offered me a solution to my problem. My prayers have finally been answered. And yes….it was the Point of Return office still taking phone calls even after office hours or maybe I was just lucky that day.
The reason you’re reading this Testimonial is because I made it clean. I am still healing and having a wonderful time with my beautiful wife and two teenage daughters. Today is our 14th wedding anniversary and this is a wonderful gift to us. This entire experience is life changing for the better.
The last piece of my 4-piece puzzle was answered by the Point of Return program. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Andrea, Alesandra and Terry for a job well done. God bless your hearts. Special thanks also to Rachel and Wendy and the forum friends who were there with me all the way. It was like a family in the forum, no one is a stranger. You guys are awesome!!!!!
POR Rocks! Much love, Gilbert M. (TEXAS) - Temazepam, Trazadone
About 14 years ago, I started on my journey with an introduction to antidepressants. I had been in a fairly good marriage for almost 20 years. We had 3 sons (my former husband had maintained that the most important part of life was family). But in 1990 he left us and finally 6 years later remarried. That's when I "fell apart," and my family doctor started me on Zoloft. Two years later I stopped the med because I had gained 40 lbs (was not overweight at all before), and began to have severe hot flashes. Fortunately, they were relieved with natural hormone creams. I did in time remarry a very nice widower with 2 grown daughters, and we have a lovely granddaughter who is 5-1/2.
Then in 2000, stress at work skyrocketed, so I began Effexor 75mg. I had lost some weight before this, but gradually it came back and with it a feeling of complacency, and something new-- a desire to spend money - not gamble, but I wanted more clothes, shoes, etc.Fluctuating weight didn't help. I tried for 3+ years to stop Effexor, with my doctor's help, but couldn't. The brain zaps and imbalance were too much. So I continued on. Then in 2005, with added work stress, and work related injuries due to increased computer use, carrying a laptop (I worked as a case Manager in Community health care) my dose was increased to 112.5 mg. In the meantime I had various meds for neuropathic pain-pinched nerve in my neck that caused pain right down to my hands - Gabapentin,Tylenol #2, then Tylenol #3. I was also on Nexium for acid reflux. By the fall of 2007, I decided to retire, and start to look after my health. I started my taper from Effexor in late Oct 2007 with the help of a Naturopath, then retired Dec 31/07, and in January reached 37.5 mg with no difficulties. But I suddenly was stuck. The brain zaps, imbalance issues began when I tried to omit a day. My own doctor suggested omitting a dose every other day.
That's when I "accidentally" came across POR with my own brand new laptop! I had been praying for a solution, and God was listening! I called through with a little apprehension as I wasn't sure about finding groups, etc on the Internet, but then I spoke to the most wonderful person ever-Alesandra. I sensed her caring immediately! She listened carefully, discussed how I could safely taper the Effexor by compounding, explained the POR programme, and suggested I think about it. I did, but not for long. The next day I ordered the supplements, Alesandra's book too. Like so many, I read her book, and could not put it down. I cried and cried. This was the beginning of a successful but very gradual taper which I completed Aug 22/08.I took longer because I had a fear of those horrible brain zaps. I followed the programme carefully until mid Sept.08 when I thought I would be ok, and stopped it. This was a major mistake on my part.
Our family went through two deaths (older members) that Sept, and in early Oct I noticed a ringing in my ears. By Dec it was horrible, made worse with an ear/sinus infection, and suddenly lack of sleep and panic attacks began. On Dec 23, my family doctor started me on Clonazepam.5mg BID. It helped for a time with sleep and decreasing the volume of the ringing, but little did I realize the path I was now on. I did get down to .5mg at bedtime by mid March, and was stuck. Finally I reconnected with Alesandra - she was so kind as usual, and oh so understanding. Then by late June, I decided I had to start to get off this horrible med, and a younger family doctor was helping me and started guiding me on the tapering. This time I was making NO mistakes. I started back on the POR supplements and have followed the programme very carefully. Occasionally I have made the odd small error with food, and I must admit, it shocks me when I realize even a very small change in diet can effect me.
I can't begin to thank Alesandra enough - she is always right here, answering my emails, phone calls, telling me I will make it. And of course Terry and Andrea are just incredible too - making sure my orders get through, especially when I order last minute--forgive me - will try not to keep doing that!
During the late 1990s, I managed to develop heartburn/acid reflux issues, and went through a series of meds - Zantac, Losec, and finally Nexium.The latter I took for almost 6 years until Alesandra spoke to me about its many negative side effects last May. I was aware of the potential for osteoporosis, and because I already have osteoarthritis, agreed to stop it. I managed fairly well with minimal heartburn problems until about 6 weeks ago. I've been so careful with my diet due to the tapering, and also tinnitus, but something set things off, and after a week of abdominal pains, nausea, poor appetite, severe heartburn, my family doctor convinced me to trial Nexium once again. I had an endoscopy last Nov which showed oesophagitis, so of course the fear of cancer in the future reared it's ugly head. Three days into the Nexium, and my tinnitus was almost unbearable (and it had been getting much better-weaker), plus I started to get very anxious. Suddenly I was on the phone to Alesandra, crying a"basket case." This loving angel had me calmed down in no time, reassuring me I would be ok, and not to feel badly that I had started back this PPI. As we talked, Alesandra checked --sure enough-- tinnitus is a side effect, and so is anxiety. But Alesandra did not stop there - she looked into options and came up with Active Manuka Honey. I stopped the Nexium immediately, and fortunately found the honey locally the next day. It continues to give me relief, and I can also take our Canadian Gaviscon as it does not have aluminum. Of course I watch my diet too. Both the tinnitus and anxiety calmed down within a day!
I should also mention my pain issues that were severe when I was working,have improved immensely, mostly due to the POR supplements,and a little from retiring-not lugging a laptop everywhere,etc.I rarely take anything now,and if so only a regular Advil.
I successfully completed the Clonazepam taper Dec 20/09, the day before my birthday, and it was such a neat present. I did think I would just sail through after, but have experienced a few glitches (not serious), but each day gets better and better. And I am so grateful for this most wonderful programme, for my prayers being answered, for Alesandra, Terry, and Andrea. They are a blessing to all, and such a unique trio. Where would any of us be without them? And then meeting so many super nice people on the Forum, for the sharing of our various struggles and triumphs, and I must not forget, for both Wendy and Rachel--2 special angels who offer their love and support to all of us. And as I continue my journey of healing, my goal is to reach out to others to help them get off such terrible meds by directing them to this phenomenal programme! I will be forever indebted to POR.
- Kathy R. (CANADA) - Clonazepam
*Results may vary from person to person.
*Testimonial statements do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Point of Return.
*Because prescription medications can cause severe withdrawal reactions, do not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician. The decision to taper any medication should be discussed with your doctor and done with their consent and support. More...
*Always consult with your healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking or stopping any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have any health problem. More...
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Interested in Tapering Off Your Medication?
Included in Our Withdrawal Program
- WORKBOOK - outlining nutrient schedules, items to avoid and step by step easy-to-follow instructions on how to implement the program.
- SUPPORT - specialized formula specifically developed to ease drug withdrawal. A pharmaceutical grade microfiltered undenatured whey protein isolate that promotes glutathione and supports immune health.* (570g)
- MOOD - omega-3 fish oil for cognitive and brain health.* Supercritical technology. (90 softgels)
- RELAX - all-natural protein containing a bioactive decapeptide that has clinically proven anti-stress properties to help reduce tension.* (120 capsules)
- SLEEP - natural tart cherry sleep remedy*. (100 tablets)
- PHYSICIAN'S GUIDE - To give to your doctor to engage his help.
- JOURNAL - to track your progress.
- SHAKER CUP - A 12 oz. cup for mixing the SUPPORT.
- FREE ACCESS TO SUPPORT FORUM - a private discussion forum afforded to POR cilents only - Available 24/7.
Start and Receive a FREE Drug Interaction Guide
Programs We OfferAntidepressant / SSRI Withdrawal ProgramClick here to learn more about tapering SSRI's.Benzodiazepine Withdrawal ProgramClick here to learn more about tapering benzo's.Sleeping Pill Withdrawal ProgramClick here to learn more about tapering sleeping pills.Protracted Withdrawal ProgramClick here to learn about our protracted program.
Specialized Nutrients We Utilize for Our Program
We utilize superior whole-food nutrients specifically developed for our withdrawal program. Our nutraceuticals begin working before you start the tapering process. You will remain on the nutrients while withdrawing to help make your experience manageable and comfortable. More...
SUPPORT - promotes glutathione, supports immune function*
"fee the difference*"
Specialized pharmaceutical bioactive microfiltered undenatured whey specifically developed to ease drug withdrawal.* (570g) More...
MOOD - omega 3 fish oil
"as pure as it gets*"
omega-3 fish oil for cognitive function and brain health.* Supercritical technology for purity and potency. (90softgels) More...
RELAX - reduce the effects of stress*
"scientifically tested, nature approved"
all-natural protein containing a bioactive decapeptide that has clinically proven anti-stress properties to help reduce tension.* (120 capsules) More...
SLEEP - natural sleep remedy*
"your zzzzz's naturally"
a natural sleep remedy* (120tablets) More...
Prescription Drug Information
An overview of all classifications and Information about side effects, classifications, possible interactions and valuable information for the public to make informed decisions...
Drugs by Classification
Anti-Anxiety Meds & Benzodiazepines: Information on Benzodiazepines and other anxiety medications. Common names include; Alprazolam (Xanax), Lorazepam (Ativan), Clonazepam (Klonopin), Diazepam (Valium). MORE....
Antidepressants: Information on all classes of antidepressants. Common names include; Paxil, Prozac, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta). MORE....
Sleeping Pills: Information on sleeping pills. Common names include; Zolpidem (Ambien, Zopliclone (Lunesta). More...
Stimulant Medications: Information on stimulant medications. Common names include; Ritalin, Adderall, Focalin, Vyvanse, Concerta). More...
Painkillers: Information on several classes of pain killer medications, such as opiates and narcotics. More...
Mood Stabilizers: Information on many mood stabilizer medications. Common names include; (Lithium, Depakote, Gabapentin). More...
Antipsychotics: Information antipsychotic medications. Common names include (Zyprexa, Seroquel, Geodon, Abilify, Haldol). More...
Weekly Fun Fact
Chocolate was used as medicine during the 18th century. It was believed that chocolate could cure a stomach ache. More...
Weekly Helpful Hint
Eat more chocolate? Or at least when you have a tummy ache? No? No, probably not....
Calmday Celexa Centrax Centroton Chantix Chlordiazepoxide Clobazam Clomipramine Clonazepam Clorazepate Cloxazolam Cipralex Cipramil Cinolazepam Citalopram Citox Coaxil Compendium Concerta Creosedin Cylert
Side Effects / Withdrawal Information by Drug Name
*While great care has been taken in organizing and presenting the material throughout this website, please note that it is provided for informational purposes only and should not be taken as Medical Advice. More...
Point of Return in the News
Interview with CNN National News
Interview with Geraldo at Large, Fox Nationalview more press
CNN National News
Geraldo at Large, Fox News Channel (Frequently)
KOVR Channel 13 - CBS Morning News
Santa Monica- Public Access TV
Regaining My Life After Medications view article
Next Nightmare May Lurk in the Medicine Cabinet view article
The Next Nightmare May Lurk in the Medicine Cabinet view article
Are Your New Symptoms a Result of Medicine You're Taking? view article
CNN News - Are You Taking Too Many Meds? view article
ABC News - High Doses of Prescription Painkillers Up Risk of OD Death: view article
ABC News Charlie Sheen: view article
Prevention Magazine -upcoming article
Chicago Tribune (Article) view article
Health Connection (Feature) view article
Crusador Magazine (Feature)
Outside Magazine (Feature)
Recovery Solutions Magazine (Article) view article
Pasadena Star (Article)
Drug Expert for:
*Blog Talk Radio- listen
*Top of Your Game - listen
*Staying Young Show (Dallas, TX)- listen
*The Karel Show KGO (San Francisco, CA)- listen
*WOR-AM (New York, NY) The Joey Reynolds Show
*WWRL-AM 1600 AM (New York, NY)
*Voice of America - Choices-Get it Right
*National Public Radio (NPR)
*LIB Radio Network
*Hip Hop War Report
*Holistic Perspective - Progressive Radio Network
*K-Talk AM 630 (Salt Lake Cit) - The Unspoken Word
*WFNY-FM (New York, NY)
*Advice Radio - "Writers, Authors and More"
*WJZW-FM (Washington, DC)
*WBIG-FM (Greensboro, NC)
*KHTL (Albany, OR)
*KCBX NPR (San Luis Obispo & Santa Barbara, CA)
*WBAI (NewYork, NY)
*WTBN (St. Petersburg, Fl)
*WWNN (Boca Raton, Fl)
*KTYM (Los Angeles, CA) Bobby Howe
*KBPI-FM (Denver, C))
*WFHR-AM (Marshfield, WI)
*KZZZ (Tucson, AZ)
*KTYM-AM (Inglewood, CA)
*KFAX (Fremont, CA)
*WIHT, WMZQ, WTNT, WWRC, WWDS
*KIML-AM (Gillette, WY)
*KPQ-AM (Seattle, WA)
*WTAN, WZHR (Clearwater, FL)
*KSTE-AM (Sacramento, CA)
*WMPG-FM (Portland, ME)
*WERC-AM (Baton Rouge, LA)
*WNN (Deerfield, FL)
*WGSL-AM (Buffalo, NY)
*Kerrang Radio (United Kingdom)
*WMNF-FM (Tampa, FL)
*KIML-AM (Gillette, WY)
*KPQ-AM (Seattle, WA)
*WITH, WNZQ, WNRC, WWDS (EC-MW)
*WJZW (Washington DC)
*WPFW-FM (Washington DC)
*WXRK (New York, NY)
*KTWM (Los Angeles, CA)
*WENG (Englewood, FL)
*Mom Talk Radio (Pompano Beach, FL)
*KSJS (San Jose, CA)
*KLWN (Kansas City, KS)
*KBPI-FM (Denver, CO)
*WDLB (Wisconsin Rapids, WI)
Press Releases: - View
Information & Resources:
Your source for helpful tools and valuable information. MORE...
How the brain works and what it needs to be healthy. MORE...
Health & Wellness Articles:
A collection of easy-to-read articles that provide information in many categories affecting our health.MORE...
- Nutritional Support:
More information on the nutraceuticals we offer for our programs as well as for general health. MORE...
Prescription Drug Information:
Important and specific on drugs that everyone should know to make informed decisions. MORE...
Information on our supported approved in-home program. Specializing in antidepressant, benzodiazepine and sleeping pill withdrawal. MORE...
Information and the importance of Glutathione (GSH), the body master antioxidant. MORE...
Good Fats, Bad Fats:
To Eat or Not to Eat. Over the course of human evolution a dramatic shift has occurred in our consumption of Omega 3 versus Omega 6 and this trend is contributing, more than any other dietary factor, to an epidemic of modern diseases. MORE...
In withdrawal from antidepressants, sleeping pills or anxiety medications, these jolts of electricity can worsen and become debilitating, although there is no current evidence that the zaps present any danger to the individual. So what causes brain zaps? MORE...
A few suggested tests that may help determine what's going on in the body and that are often either overlooked by the medical community or not checked. MORE...
The adrenal glands are primarily known for the production of our stress hormones Cortisol and Adrenaline, but they are literally a hormone factory that significantly affects the function of every tissue, organ and gland. MORE...
Diet and Healthy LIving:
Diet, organic foods, exercise and much, much. MORE...
Constipation and Digestion:
To understand constipation, it is important to be aware of how the colon, or large intestine, works. MORE...
Medications designed to target the brain can also cause nausea, diarrhea, constipation or abdominal upset because the body actually has two brains - one encased in the skull, and a lesser know but vitally important one found in the human gut. MORE...
Probiotics and Health:
The importance of maintaining a healthy bacterial balance in our body cannot be overstated. MORE...
Stay informed. A page dedicated to relevant news. MORE...
Important information all parents should know. MORE...