Life Doesn't Fit in a File Folder



For the last nine years, in lieu of New Year’s resolutions, I’ve intentionally selected a single word to help guide my focus in the upcoming year.

  • Between 2014-2016, my word was BREATHE. I was in post-acute benzodiazepine withdrawal, and it was all I could do was hold on. I divorced & moved into an apartment. Everything was scary and different. My only goal during those years was to survive.
  • In 2017, my word was HEAL. I painted one piece each day and I’d taken a very part-time job at a local community college helping students with learning challenges. I did whatever I needed to do to support my central nervous system. I did my very first art show where my work was warmly received by the public.
  • In 2018, my word was CREATE. I started a website and began to share what I was making with the world in a more intentional kind of way.
  • In 2019, my word was GROW. I purged old relationships & made space to let in new people. I began singing again & meeting people within the recovery community. I offered emotional support to people coming thru psychiatric medication injuries.
  • In 2020, my word was CLARITY. By the time of the COVID quarantine, I knew that I could handle solitude. I used the varied strategies I learned during withdrawal to help me thru. I realized my strengths and figured out how to marry my interests and skills: writing, art, coaching, organizing and grew my social media platform in an effort to help others. I started writing my memoir.
  • In 2021, my word was PURPOSE. I published my memoir & continued to speak about the harm that is occurring to many people who take prescription psychiatric drugs long-term.
  • In 2022, my word was EXPAND. I made a conscious effort to say ‘yes’ to new opportunities. I was interviewed on several podcasts, and most recently, Nat Kucko did a story on my healing journey that made it to CBS News here in Rochester.

In 2023, my word of the year is COLLABORATE.

In September 2022, I started Square Dancing on Tuesday nights, and having that to look forward to has been life-altering. The community has been warm and welcoming, and I am enjoying learning a new activity that I can engage in for the rest of my life.

That got me thinking about how long it’s been since I’ve felt a sense of connection to something bigger than myself and, in 2023, I want to do more to foster those feelings of friendship and belonging, not only for myself but for others, too.

To that end, I’m excited to announce that I am collaborating with Dr. Kendra Campbell, a holistic psychiatrist who has started a movement called Free Range Psychiatry. Members of The Free Range Fellowship understand that true healing means discovering and addressing the underlying cause of any disease, and not just attempting to medicate away the symptoms. We understand that mental health symptoms are often related to trauma and psychological issues; hormonal and other medical problems; medication side-effects; gut issues; environmental toxins; vitamin deficiencies and imbalances; food sensitivities; as well as other issues. As a result of this collaboration, I will now be able to confidently connect my clients with benzo-wise prescribers who can help them with their tapers! I’m over the moon to be part of this amazing collective of enlightened souls & even more thrilled to be able to offer art classes as well as other offerings to individuals who are willing to learn to live a new way.


Many things are happening behind the scenes that I hope to continue to work on in 2023.

  1. SCREENPLAY – Most of you know that my memoir is available in paperback, ebook & audiobook formats, but you might not know that with the help of my amazing writing partner, Marty Medina, PSYCHiATRIZED has recently been converted into a screenplay! We are so excited about this. I’m working on the next steps, and I promise to report any and all developments on that front as they become available to me.
  2. WEBCAST – In 2022, Scott W. Fitzgerald & I started a weekly webcast called Things I Learned This Week. We met on random Fridays over at RocVox Recording Studio to record our thoughts on topics that range from the banal to the sublime. Frankly, we’ve been happily surprised by the amount of positive feedback we’ve received from people, and we plan to collaborate more in the upcoming year.
  3. FRIENDSHIPS – I’ve worked hard to develop & maintain friendships this year. I’ve been more willing to let go of the people who can’t communicate clearly, aren’t feeding my soul, or just plain don’t show up for me in one way or another. Ending relationships is hard for me, so I’m patting myself on the back for making progress in that area.
  4. WRITING. Aiming for one blogpost a month. Happy I’m feeling inspired to write again!
  5. SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS. I’m speaking to medical students & medical professionals to help them to reconsider their current prescription practices & teach them better protocols to help patients who want to de-prescribe from mood-altering medications.
  6. PERSONAL GROWTH. I’m feeling a desire to do something new in 2023; something that will require me to take a risk and invest time, energy and money on myself. More on that later. Just know I’m excited about this!
  7. TRAVEL. In 2022, I got to explore a little bit of Wisconsin, Chicago and Florida. This year, I’d like to visit Colorado & Oregon! Friends who live in those places, I’m coming for you!

What are you being intentional about in 2023? I’d love to know!

Wishing you all Health & Happiness in the new year & beyond!

7 thoughts on “2023 INTENTIONS & WORD OF THE YEAR

  1. Congratulations on the new collaboration! It sounds like the perfect way to spend 2023! And square dancing…the last time I did that was in grade school…it was gym I guess…and so much fun! Of course in 4th grade it was the only way we’d be seen with a boy! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Hi Dawn! I’ve gone crazy with the square dancing, let me tell you! It is truly the best part of my week! Thank you for taking the time to comment. You are the FIRST comment of 2023! I appreciate you! <3

  2. Beautiful and positive life changing events coming about for you and others. Coincidentally, I’m trying to plan a trip to Colorado to visit my brother. Also, I think you’ll like visiting part’s of Oregan.

  3. Dear Renée,

    What you’ve done post-benzo is awe inspiring — conquering unimaginable obstacles, growing and developing the courage to create a new you – a sculpture, discovering your gifted skill in art and sharing with the world through your business and teaching, cultivating and nurturing such meaningful endeavours (the list goes on) — it takes a whole lotta serious moxie!

    My word for this year is LOVE so inspired by one of your pieces — “Love is a Four-Legged Dog” which I just purchased as a print.

    Post-benzo is a nightmare but it’s also a time to reflect and rebuild, once enough symptoms have abated that is. It’s not by choice we have found ourselves in this unique group but at lest we all “get it” and have an extraordinary connection and ability to be empathetic, show compassion, provide support in ways we are able.

    You are a shining star amongst us. Now go COLLABORATE!

  4. I am still considering my word….it may be as broad and roomy as self-love which will encompass commitment and friends…..

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