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I’m sitting outside this morning under a cool gray sky. The birds are just now waking up, singing their celebration of a new day. I hold my coffee cup in my hands, appreciating the weight and warmth of it. As I sip my decaf, I count my blessings on this fine morning. There are many. There are the birds that flock to the feeders I keep filled with seeds and suet. There are the squirrels that scamper over to the nuts I put out for them. There’s the feral cat I feed. (I’ve named him Ghost.) There’s a red fox with a big black bushy tail. He likes to forage through the grass for fallen bird seed or to steal some of Ghost’s food. There’s the skunk who lives under my cottage and makes his appearance at dusk. There’s the wild turkey who comes to my back door hoping for a handout. And there are the deer that meander through my flowers when I’m fast asleep. I haven’t seen them, but I know they’ve been here; they’ve eaten the non-deer-resistant plants I foolishly tucked into the garden. ( I won’t do that again.)  Soon, the pear trees in the orchard will be laden with fruit and the bears will come and bring their cubs to feast. It’s such a delight to live out in the country among the wildlife!

A soft, unexpected rain has broken free from the clouds and splashes down. I pick up my laptop and coffee and retreat inside to my chaise lounge to listen to it. Such a melody! Another blessing to count. Inside, my attention turns to my friends and family. I’m blessed to have so many loving people in my life. When I’m still and quiet in moments like this, I can better connect to the good, to the Divine. I’m grateful for that ability for there were dark days when I was unable to connect to anything that felt remotely good. But God was there all along, waiting patiently for my brain to settle down from benzo withdrawal so that I could see the miracle, the absolutely stunning glory, that life is.

You may not be able to connect with life’s goodness, life’s glory right now, I know. Benzo withdrawal blinds us to it. It’s hard to connect to love, to joy, to the amazing mystery of the Divine—God—call it what you want. It’s hard to believe that life will ever be worth living again. Withdrawal makes life feel like a torture instead of the gift that it is. But I’m here to tell you, to remind you, that life is worth living even in the broken state of benzo withdrawal—even having to endure the unendurable. Life is worth holding on to through the months or years that it takes to heal. It’s worth whatever we have to experience in our recovery to get to this place of wellness, of wholeness.

A gentle breeze now blows in through my window, bringing with it the smell of earth and blossoms from my flower garden. How can I be more blessed than this, I wonder? I’m alive. I made it through years of benzo withdrawal. I’m living in a place teeming with life and with love. And I know, just as sure as I know that the sun will make her appearance tomorrow, that you will arrive in such a sweet place as this. You’ll be surrounded by life again. You’ll be embraced by love. Your heart will be so full of joy and contentment that you’ll wonder how you’ll contain it all—but you will.

My heart is brimming with love. Joy. Gratitude. I savor this sweet morning, knowing that I’ve been blessed beyond measure. As I count my blessings this morning, I’ll count yours for you as well. I’ll start with one, you’re alive. Two, you are loved. Three, you are healing, Four… why don’t you take it from here.

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