The poet Rumi once penned a brilliant few lines that read: “The sweet pleasure of reaching’s one’s destination is amplified by the suffering one has endured during the journey.” (Rumi Day By Day, by Maryam Mafi) Such a profound truth for those of us navigating our way through benzodiazepine withdrawal. The intensity of the suffering is unbearable, yet we bear it, day after day, week after week, month after month, and for some of us, year after year. There are times when we lose hope that we will ever reach the destination of “healed.” We worry that the mental and/or physical symptoms we suffer from are a life sentence—that we will never be free from them. But we trudge on, holding a little slip of hope in our hands, praying with every step that sometime soon, we will feel better.

Time passes and we look back over our shoulders and realize that we are indeed healing. It may be ever so slow, but it’s happening. Then, one glorious day, we wake up and it’s as if we have never been in withdrawal. We have control of our thoughts and our feelings. We have clarity and energy. When we step outside, colors appear fresh and bright, the sound of the birds singing fills us with cheer. The perfume of flowers makes us swoon with delight. Everything in life suddenly feels *AMAZING.* It is as if we’ve woken up out of a Rip Van Winkle sleep. We are like children in a candy store, our eyes and our appetites, enormous. It is the most wonderful thing in the world!

I once read, years ago, someone’s success story about recovery from benzo withdrawal. I remember that they wrote, “Nothing in life sucks.” It’s so true. We are so grateful to be out of the depths of hell, that everyday life with its ups and downs and aches and pains seems rather glorious. And, it is! We’ve suffered for so long that we have a greater understanding of life. We’ve expanded. We’ve become better people. We’ve learned to not sweat the small stuff—realizing that it’s mostly all small stuff. We’ve thrown off the shackles that used to bind us pre-benzos. We’ve escaped our old limitations; our fears and doubts.

The most common things will spark joy. You’ll take nothing for granted. You’ll feel alive in a whole new way. The best part? You won’t be haunted by the journey you were on. You’ll step out of that fine mess like a butterfly leaving its cocoon. You’ll unfurl your wings and fly. It will be such a sweet pleasure!

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