If you’ve been unfortunate enough to frequent one of the so-called benzo withdrawal forums over the past few years there is little doubt you’ve run into a predator named “Rik” in one of his many incarnations. At last tally we counted 46 different screen names Rik used, with 24 of those used at Benzo Buddies alone. Following is small sample of Rik’s more popular names: HopeToBeMeAgain, KonaJim, Razzle, Rik9393, RixRaz, Sail_A_Wai, Sit2KNow, Dr. Rik.
Rik claimed to be a doctor and would offer his services to the poor addicts that populate these forums. He would gain their trust by pretending to be a benzo-wise doctor, obtain telephone numbers and other personal information – next would come the calls/emails and offers of consultation (allegedly for money). We later discovered the suffering Rik was really out on his yacht in the Pacific Northwest.
Continuing the Tradition
It was in the tradition of extending a helping hand through contact made first on the Internet that I met fellow Vancouver residents Rik and Konnie _______ in June of this year. The _______ had just purchased and taken delivery of a 1998 Catalina 22 mkII that the boat’s previous owner had had delivered to them from Arizona. Rik had asked the list some questions about stepping the mast, so I volunteered to come over and give him a hand.
Wow! What a gorgeous boat! Rik and Konnie had bought a time-capsule. The boat is a 1998 wing keel model, with a 1998 8hp Honda, bimini, full cover, stainless steel telescoping mast carrier, mainsail, 150 Genoa, 110 Jib, VHF, Depth Sounder, kick up rudder, dual-axle galvanized trailer, and has only been in the water six times and stored for the last three years.
When I arrived Rik and Konnie had already removed the duct tape and unfortunate sticky residue it left behind, so we were able to set about making sense of all the fittings and wires that hadn’t been put away in a manner most Catalina 22 owners who trailer much would be accustom to. After checking for signs of chafing from the trip up from Arizona, and getting all the shrouds and stays reattached, we raised the mast carrier, walked the mast aft until we could secure it to the mast step, moved to the cabin top, and then swung and lifted the mast into the vertical position. I then went forward and attached the forestay, followed by connecting the two forward shrouds.
The Catalina 22 mkII is suppose to have a “Gin Pole” mast raising system. In fact the hole in the base of the mast was present, and so were the two pad eyes mounted to the tops of the cabin top turning blocks, but the pole and block and tackle wasn’t present, so Rik is going to check with the previous owner to seeing if it is hiding in a garage. I suspect the boom vang could be used in place of the block and tackle, but I’m going to have to see a standard factory gin pole and side cable supports to fully understand this portion of the system.
After get the mast raise, I talked over some of the other aspects of the boat with Rik and Konnie, and then offered to made myself available in the future should they want any additional assistance. The _______ have a beautiful boat, and I look forward to seeing them out on the water.
Following are just a few of Rik’s claims:
- He was in serious trouble after less than 6 weeks on a very low dose of Xanax.
- He was in and out of 4 treatment centers, 2 mental hospitals and had more doctors than he could count.
- He sold a fabulous resort home to rent a small apartment a block from a hospital so he could be close the emergency room.
- He had absolutely every symptom on the 90,000,000 benzo withdrawal symptom list.
- He hallucinated often.
- He was floridy psychotic for months.
- He tried every holistic and medical treatment known to man.
- He kept drawers full of failed medicines, natural substances and healing tapes.
- He went to religious healers of all faiths (perhaps with his best forum friend Flick Rahke – who’s guru was noted deviate Adi Da Samraj).
- He was so sick he had to hire a live-in caretaker.
- He bought a pair of regulation police handcuffs to shackle himself to his bed to so he would not commit suicide during the worst days. He used them often.
- His nights were passed screaming into a pillow, curled up in a fetal position rocking himself.
- He was only able to sleep 2 hours per night for 2 years.
- He spent sleepless nights walking – sometimes for 8 hours at a time.
- He visited the emergency room so often he was on a first name basis with most of the staff.
- He posed as a doctor and called every major hospital in the United States – holding “rigorous” discussions with the department heads.
- He spent $5000 on telephone calls to doctors, in search of answers to benzo withdrawal, but found only one doctor who would aid him (and it wasn’t Ashton).
- His wife chained him to a radiator.
Rik was welcomed to benzowithdrawal.com by the hapless Andrew Bressler. TRAP welcomed Rik. Benzo Island welcomed Rik. Benzo Liberty welcome Rik. At Benzo Buddies, Colin also welcomed Rik – that is until he received dozens of complaints and was forced to ban him or face mass defections.
Note: The Benzo Liberty site is gone (it currently seems to be a home decorating site) but that is the origin of the following story.
From: “Rik” <rik9393@e…>
Date: Fri Nov 29, 2002 7:41 am
Subject: My Story
Since I have returned back to the is board I have received several E-mails asking about my background and benzo experience.
I seldom post on this board and actually have tried to distance myself from the entire benzo issue for the last few years. I have received a very strong calling to return to help others out of this life passage and will be working towards establishing the Benzodiazepine Recovery Center later in 2003.
This is my thumbnail background: undergraduate degrees in human sciences and pre-medicine, postgraduate degrees in counseling psychology and chemical addictions and lifelong research and writing on medicine, wholistic health and spiritual paths. In spite of this training a persistent and often severe anxiety disorder caused me to believe the medical lie that benzodiazepines were the answer. My degrees and professional credentials did not prepare me for the damage done by benzodiazepines or provide the knowledge necessary to extract myself from their grasp.
On a very, very low dose of Xanax I was in major trouble within 6 weeks, became severely paradoxical in 12 and went on a years crusade looking for a way to get off without enduring the near seizures I experienced with even minute cuts.
I was in and out of 4 treatment centers, two mental hospitals and more doctors than I can count and at one year was so sick on the drugs I had to hire a live-in caretaker. I eventually left my resort area home and rented a small apartment one block from a major city hospital emergency room and began the self directed 8-month titration down and eventually off. In spite of minute cuts my withdrawal was severe; for over 2 years I had absolutely every symptom on the benzo symptom list and in addition hallucinated often and was outright psychotic for months. I tried EVERY holistic and medical treatment known. I had drawers of failed medicines and natural substances, healing tapes, had been to many religious healers of all faiths in the end a bought a pair of regulation police handcuffs to shackle myself to my bed to so I would not commit suicide during the worst days.
I used them often!
I have been off all medications over 12 years now…in the days I detoxed myself there was no Internet, no support groups and I did not meet another benzo survivor until I was over 3 years off. This was truly my dark night of the soul.
Possibly because of the paradoxical effect I experienced my withdrawal was protracted and severe. I had no windows until around my 5th year. For the first 2 years, 2 hours of sleep were maximum, I would spend the days with endless walking, sometimes up to 8 hours continuously!
My nights were passed screaming into a pillow or curled up in a fetal position rocking myself. I prayed to see the next sunrise and the tiny bit of reality the daylight brought. I prayed to see the next sunrise and the tiny bit of reality the daylight brought. My body went into breakdown- normal colds and flu’s lasted months, my liver was sick from all the drugs I took to stop the symptoms and I experienced literally hundreds of physical breakdowns due to the stress andlack of sleep. I was on a first name basis with the local ER staff for years.
Fast forward: it has now been over 12 years and I have recovered from the benzo damage and the severe anxiety disorder. My only lingering symptom is stress sensitivity.
Along the way done thousands of hours of research, have charted the blind alleys, failed promises of both medicine and wholistic health and the ignorance of those who should have known. At one point as I began to recover I posed as a doctor and called every major teaching hospital and treatment center in North America and had vigorous discussions with medical department heads.
In over $5,000 in telephone calls I found one doctor who had credible knowledge on benzos…the rest denied the patient case I described (myself) or rigorously supported the use of benzodiazepines. The treatment centers were outright dangerous and extremely misguided…and remain so to this day.
It has been a long, unwanted journey. I have learned much and continue to put the pieces into place. For want ever divine plan it appears I am being called back into service to help others though this passage…understand I am very reluctant. Having survived this, most want to distance ourselves as far as possible from any hint of this time….my emotions are the same!!
I am taking the process of opening a Center for Benzodiazepine Recovery on step at time and allowing it to manifest itself.
In a few words the most healing thing I can impart is that absolutely everyone heals no matter how severe your benzo illness…no one remains in acute withdrawals forever.
James R. “Rik” _______