By Don Killian
I should probably be doing some editing, but I feel compelled to write this in the quiet solitude of this morning while my brain is not cluttered. Perhaps, I need to read this more than anyone else.
When I began to emerge from the agony of my withdrawal at the end of 2011, I would experience periods of enormous emotion. It was not just happiness, or joy, or relief. It was something else. As time went on, these moments became more frequent and more defined with respect to their source and their purpose. They also became extreme in their intensity – so extreme that they were almost unbearable. The “bliss” (I like that word) had an endlessness to it – an eternal quality. There was a “perfection” about it that I could “feel” deep inside – in my soul or spirit (not sure of the difference between the two).
In time, I realized that this “bliss” was linked to something I was told while I was still suffering. More correctly, it was linked to the one who told me. Actually, both are true. In the tenth month after I swallowed that last bit of Klonopin, I heard a voice deep inside my being. It gave me six words – “So that you may know suffering.” It was the voice of my Creator. I began sobbing immediately. I wanted desperately to hear the words, “You are now going to be healed.” I already knew I was suffering. Duh! I wanted a better message, but then it quickly occurred to me that the Creator had not abandoned me. For so many months I felt like I was not only deserted but also being punished for past transgressions – of which there were many. TNTC – too numerous to count. The voice was an acknowledgment that the Creator was still checking in on me – even though I was still in anguish. Apparently, the plan was for the suffering to continue.
A few weeks later, the voice spoke again – three words – “to give hope.” That was a bit more palatable. It implied that the suffering would end. Those words were not a command. They were not my “orders.” Since I have healed, I have come to realize those words were a statement of fact. Their purpose was to let me in on the role I was going to play one day – when I was once again whole.
When I became well nearly three years ago, much of my life simply dovetailed into the fulfillment of that purpose. It was an unconscious sort of thing. I messaged, called and met people in withdrawal. It was the natural thing to do for me.
Over these three years, I have become keenly aware that the owner of the “bliss” and the owner of the “voice” are one in the same person – the Creator. I have learned this as I have attempted to “give hope.” I have realized that there is a profound pleasure in the act of “giving hope.” It feels like that “bliss.” It is that “bliss.” It is not merely in the act itself though. It is in the gift given by the Creator to perform such acts. That gift is compassion or love – but not an earthly love. It’s a pure love – a perfect love. It is not Don’s love. I didn’t conjure it up by exerting my will or trying harder. It has been given to me. It belongs to the Creator. The Creator has poured it over me (bliss) and is allowing it to flow through me (give hope). I don’t understand it, but it is as real as the white beard on my face.
At first blush, this sounds incredibly wonderful – almost perfect. What could be better than doing exactly what the Creator wants by simply saying, “Yes, I am willing to be a conduit of your love and compassion ”? It has not been that easy. It has required a willingness to be hurt – to suffer pain. This perfect love is a spiritual love – a love that is stronger than anything else in existence. It is profound in its effect on not only the giver but also the one to whom it is given. But it flows through imperfect beings who are subject to the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” I am one of them. It has become a battle of perfect spiritual love of the Creator versus imperfect earthly human love. There is much intense pain from injuries incurred in the battle, but there is also a lot of infinite pleasure.
Although there are many scenarios in which this is true, the most difficult for me has been in “being there” for members of the opposite gender. I was recently involved in such a situation. In showing the perfect compassion and love of the Creator, it is easy to begin to feel the imperfect human love toward the other person. In fact, it is almost impossible not to. Maybe it is impossible. In this particular situation, I had become so close to this person that I was having tremendous conflict sorting my feelings out. I was beginning to feel hurt in some way – very hurt. I decided to cut her off completely. It was simply “damage control” for me. In doing that, I created intense pain to her by withholding the love that we all need – the Creator’s love. She was hurt deeply and let me know. It was nearly devastating. The pain of knowing the depth of the hurt I caused was devastating to me. It was an infinite sort of pain that far overshadowed the original pain I had. We are human. I am human. There is no blame in such matters.
What I have learned is that the love of the Creator has a high premium if we are to let it pour out from us to others. More importantly, the premium of not allowing that love to pour out to others has an even higher premium – an infinitely awful price. I have experienced that. It is a hard truth.
If I am to share the Creator’s love and compassion with others, I have to expect to experience earthly human pain. It is a given. It is all the more true in benzo withdrawal. The need to hear those words of compassion from someone who has healed is great. The need for that hug, for the shoulder to cry on, for the hand to hold, and for the strength and hope to continue on the journey is enormous. I have known that desperation intimately. It would be heartless for me to ignore the need. Sometimes I do well at trying to help and sometimes not.
I need to be willing to experience some profound pain as I reach out my hand. (Sometimes I desperately want what is not meant for me. My humanness gets in the way.) If I withhold the Creator’s compassion and love (which was given to me), the pain is so much greater. It is devastating – especially when it deeply hurts another.
Life on life’s terms.