I am a survivor of lifelong addiction. I am also a survivor of lifelong mental health disorders. I have watched this disease brutally abuse my body and my mind, nearly taking my life, and I watched it completely destroy my family. A tsunami where we all just let go and let ourselves fall where we may, yet surviving the ebbs and flows of the waves that many times, separated us, and nearly took us down completely. We kept our eyes on the shore, hoping to someday arrive to safety. We have rebuilt the dynamics of our family, slowly and purposefully, through empathy, compassion and love, and most importantly, the understanding that this is a brain disease. It was not my intention to harm myself, at least not consciously, or to harm those that I love.

Now in my 10th year of recovery, taking my last “high” on April 2, 2013, I educate and advocate in the field of substance use disorder and mental health. I woke up on April 3, 2013, very close to death, and decided to ask God to save my life, and to show me where to begin. I promised Him that “If you show me the way out, I will follow any path you put before me to serve others.” I had been living with these life threatening disorders for forty years.

God showed me the way out, and I kept my promise. It is a privilege to serve those that God places in my care, through my private practice, through my speaking engagements, through my workshops and through my book, “Write Pray Recover:A Journey To Wellness Through Spiritual Solutions and Self Care.”

I continue to be vigilant of the disease of substance use disorder within myself, and those whom I serve. This disease is a chronic and progressive brain disease, yet it can be managed and treated.

My entire recovery is firmly rooted in natural and organic solutions as I live a holistic lifestyle, and at the center of my wellness, and of my life is my spiritual practice.

Recently, in May, 2022, I was scheduled to have an epidural for a severe back problem in order to offer me relief. Prior to arriving at the ambulatory surgery facility, I told my doctor’s nurse on the phone that “I do not want any narcotics.” I reminded her that I am in recovery, and that any narcotics, i.e., pain killers, could be dangerous, and even fatal. The nurse said that I would need to speak to the anesthesiologist when I arrived at the facility. This gave me great anxiety. I knew that I was going to be given a drug in an IV to put me into a “twilight state,” but did not want any narcotics.

My anxiety was excessive as I laid there waiting for the anesthesiologist to come to speak with me prior to the surgery. I used my alternate nostril breathing to help me to relax, and did very well. My heart rate was erratic, and I purposefully used this practice, and diligently focused on the sound and feeling of my breath, in order to help my body and my brain to relax. Yes, it was challenging, but this is a tool that I use daily, so my body and brain “know” and are trained to recognize that once I begin to “breathe” deeply, that “we” are going to reset, and all will be well.

I was aware of what I needed.

I needed to speak my truth to the doctor. “No narcotics.” And until I did, I was in a state of panic. Someone else has control over my wellness. I felt helpless.

I was terrified that since I had not had any narcotics since April 2, 2013, that I may suffer an overdose. I was terrified that when I awoke from this procedure if given narcotics that I would be in a full blown relapse. SHEER PANIC. I KNOW WHAT I NEED, AND WHAT I DO NOT NEED. “No narcotics.”

The anesthesiologist finally arrived. She was a jolly young woman of about 40. She asked me how I was, and I replied that I was very anxious. Her response was frightening as she rubbed her hands together, smiled, and said, “Don’t worry! We are going to give you some juicy drugs and you won’t feel a thing.” I told her that I do not want any narcotics and let her know that I am in recovery. She responded, “Oh your brain won’t remember anything! Don’t worry! You are safe! You need the narcotics because in a twilight state you will still feel severe pain, pressure and burning if we don’t give you pain medication. You’ll be fine.” Again, she made direct eye contact with me and smiled.

My heart was beating so fast at this time, and I could barely speak or catch my breath. I uttered, “Okay.”

My heart beat even faster, my breath was shallow, and my stomach was cramped into a knot. My entire body was shaking, and my teeth were chattering. My tongue and face were twitching. My legs began jerking involuntarily.

I could hear my brain screaming at me, “Wendy, speak your truth!!!” I absolutely knew that this doctor did NOT understand the probable severe consequences of what she was telling me was “safe.” I trusted a doctor decades ago to get me off of these drugs, only to have him enable me further, prescribing over 2,000 pills of a lethal cocktail, for years. I nearly died of a near fatal overdose.

He is no longer a doctor. His medical license was permanently revoked in 2018.

I watched the doctor at the foot of my bed look down to write something on my chart. I was connected to a heart monitor to my left with a nurse monitoring the monitor, and in my right arm they had inserted an IV port.

Within a few seconds, which seemed much longer, in a barely audible sound, I asked the doctor to “please come here,” slightly motioning for her to approach me. I was crying with tears raining down on my cheeks.

She smiled and stepped into my personal space. I looked her in the eyes, still shaking and barely able to speak and said with conviction, “NO narcotics.” She put both of her hands up, as you would see when someone says, “I surrender,” and said, “Okay, no narcotics.” She went back to my chart and wrote it down.

My body relaxed. My brain relaxed. And I went through the hour long procedure without any narcotics. Yes, I felt the pain, pressure and burning, and still made it through successfully.

We are always in charge of our wellness, and inherently, we always know what will be best for us, and what could potentially harm us.


Ask yourself, “What do I need in this moment to provide myself with wellness and peace, and Who can help me to get there…”

Implement an Integrative Approach that resonates and serves YOU

and Make a daily commitment to your wellness…

S.W.I.M. into Wellness,  as outlined in Chapter 6 of my new book, “Write Pray Recover:A Journey To Wellness Through Spiritual Solutions and Self Care.”

My book is available on Amazon and other online stores worldwide. You can also find a link here https://writeprayrecover.com

No matter who it is, even a doctor, never substitute anyone else’s opinion or advice for your own. Only you know what you need, and do not need.

The photo below is the actual tape from the heart monitor before I spoke up for myself. I was unable to take the “after tape” with me from what my heart looked like on the monitor once I spoke my truth, and they had already taken my phone and locked it up, so I could not even get a photo. However, the nurse said to me after I said, “No narcotics, “Wow, that is what was causing you to experience a panic attack! Your heart rate went back to normal!” And she showed me, and the doctor, the printout of my heart rate. Yes, back to normal.

Plan out what you want and what you know that you need prior to placing yourself into a situation like I experienced. If possible, have someone with you to advocate for you.

I had nobody with me as my friend was not allowed into the facility. I believe that God was with me that day, and that He spoke through me. It was yet another Divine intervention that saved me from this disease, and saved me from experiencing a relapse, or even death by overdose.

Wishing you wellness,




Wendy Blanchard