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LETTERS FROM WAKE ROBIN FARM

Benzobuddies Revisited

This comment showed up on  a blog post I wrote a year ago, so I thought I'd move it to the top where people would have a better chance of finding it. Everything the commenter writes here rings true to me regarding the webside, Benzobuddies.org.

 

 

June 06, 2019 8:27 AM EDT

I experienced the same thing on BenzoBuddies. At first it was a great forum and others on that forum helped me through the toughest times of my withdrawal. After I healed, I thought I would pay it forward. I was doing a good job helping others and then decided to introduce outside sources of hope and encouragement. I was instantly reprimanded and when I complained, they pretty much locked down my account to where I couldn't post anything without moderator approval, nor could I Personal Message anyone. My account was for all intents and purposes...worthless and not usable. I told one moderator in particular that you need people on the site that healed to help and give hope to others. She dismissed it and said I thought I was "special" and "better than everyone else." Because I volunteered my time on the site? Needless to say I don't go on BBs any longer. Their draconian rules are only meant to stifle what they claim they are about, which is giving others hope. Too many rules, too many moderators on a power kick and too political...that's how I would sum up BenzoBuddies. Plus too many hard core people that claim they never heal when they don't tell "rest of the story." Almost all of those cases involve being poly drugged and having preexisting medical conditions prior to any type of anti-psychotic drug use.

- Igotmylifeback

 

 

Like this poster, while I was initially relieved to find the Benzobuddies site and learn that I was not along in the hell I was going through in withdrawal from Xanax, the place quickly became a negative in my life.  The nastiness shown to me by certain members and moderators was hardly conducive to healing when what is so sorely needed is kindness.

 

I right away broke the unspoken Benzobuddies rule that says it's okay to go on at length about the amazing book you're going to publish just as soon as you get well, but you mustn't actually DO it.  Apparently it's hard on the feelings of people who want to tell themselves they're going to write book.  They're enjoying collecting  posts of encouragement and admiration from others for the writing skills they're already displaying.  Actually writing a book makes them face the fact that they are NOT writing a book.

 

I had hoped the story of my eventual recovery would be helpful to others. It certainly wasn't helpful to me.  Okay, it's true, it WAS therapeutic to feel I would have my say and tell what it felt like to sit in each of these doctor's offices, but in writing out and going over and over in editing the most painful scenes of my ordeal, I really set myself up for PTSD. People who just forget may do better. But, I'm a writer; that's what I do.

 

Once my book was published, BB moderators scolded me if I mentioned it on the site.  Occasionally the moderator, Colin Moran, would talk about setting up a thread where books by members or former members could be listed.  Funny thing, that list finally went operative about two days after closed my account. I am not exaggerating.  I assumed my book would be on that list, but a fellow BB whom I'd befriended off the board told me no, it wasn't there.  When she suggested Accidental Addict be listed she was told they couldn't because I hadn't personally requested it.  Ha! How's that for a Catch-22? Because now that I was off the board, I had no way of contacting them anyway.

 

Well, nuts to them. In the end, I doubt people on the BB board are the absolute best audience for my book anyway.  So far, it's probably had more impact on people who start reading it just to check out a trainwreck story of somebody else's problems, only to find that drugs that gave me grief (Oxycodone and Xanax) are the very ones they themselves are currently taking.   

 

So, heads up! If you're taking Xanax occasionally to sleep, you may be compromising your brain.  You won't know how much until you try to go off.  Please, educate and save yourselves.

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Another Amazing Immigrant Story

I honestly don't know why somebody is sending me People Magazine.  I never asked for it; I don't pay for it.  But an even bigger mystery is why I haven't yet figured out I could simply relegate it straight to the recycling bin.  Instead, I dutifully flip through, as if the trees used to make the pages will somehow be less wasted if I at least glance at them.

 

Tonight, though, I was glad I did.  In a L'Oreal, Women of Worth ad, I saw a tiny picture of a young Cambodian woman and stuck on the name: SreyRam.  Could that be our SreyRam?

 

The  SreyRam we knew was born in the Killing Fields during the Cambodian holocaust, and when she and her parents escaped they ended up in our town, Corvallis.  Hers  was one of several  Southeast Asian refugee families who came to work on our small farm during harvest, and factual bits of her story became a part of my novel, Children of the River.

 

SreyRam was, for me, one of the most memorable of the children who played on the farm while their parents picked raspberries and cherry tomatoes, and lately we have actually been talking about her, because  we could not get over how she sat in our kitchen at the age of three or four and studiously, ambitiously poked  a wire into each heliochrysum flower for drying.  We were astounded at her dexterity, because our son, close to her in age, could not have managed that in a million years.  Neither could our twins, later on. But now, Miles's son, turning five yesterday, has  that same phenomenal dexterity, which has given us cause to recall SreyRam with fair frequency.

 

We knew she had  done well, graduating as Valedictorian of one of the local high schools with perfect SAT scores.   The last we'd heard—and this was just a rumor—was that she had passed up a full ride to Harvard in order to go to Oregon State and stay near her ailing father.

 

So, tonight, when I started Googling, I found myself experiencing one shivery moment after another and repeatedly tearing up.  Because—guess what--the little girl who'd sat in my kitchen speedily wiring flowers with her astoundingly nimble fingers had become a surgeon!  She'd gone to med school here in Oregon and capped off her studies at Yale.  She was now in Houston, having garnered more scholarships and awards than I could write out here and is reportedly known for doggedly putting her energies towards helping vets, women, and all medically underserved populations.

 

When I wrote in Children of the River that my main character, Sundara, wanted to become a doctor because she'd been inspired by the kindness of a doctor who'd helped her family of refugees, I was basing that on an interview with someone other than SreyRam, who was too young to interview when I was doing my research.  But I love hearing that she too was inspired by a Red Cross surgeon who had operated on  her and her mother after they were injured by a rocket propelled grenade in a Thai refugee camp.  Apparently her mother had hammered that story home with the admonition to pay back by helping others when she could.

 

As I've said before, at our house we are very pro-refugee, pro-immigrant.  What could be more amazing than a baby born into Pol Pot's killing field surviving against all obstacles and actually thriving to become a surgeon?

 

Who knows what contributions to our society might ultimately have been made by seven-year-old Guatemalan asylum seeker Jakelin Caal Maquin who died at the border under the heartless policies of Donald Trump?

 

Can't we please get back to being the good guys?  The ones who send out the helpers to inspire the next generations?  

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