The athletes have left Sochi. The town returns to its normal rhythms.

But the 2014 Olympics aren’t over. Every person in benzo withdrawal is an Olympian. We are in training for the best life ever. I know that may sound a bit odd, but coping with benzo withdrawal gives you an opportunity to grow into a strong, compassionate person who knows who they are and what is important to them.

A woman in withdrawal recently emailed me (I believe it was Jenn. If that is the wrong name I hope she will reply here or email me so  I can correct!) that she looked at this phase of her life as a time of training…. training to become her best, Her strongest. I loved her attitude and wanted to share it with you all.

I was so sick for so long that it was hard to see my life as anything remotely positive. Every day was a struggle to survive. I didn’t feel I was in training for anything good. But looking back I see that I was. And you are too, you just may not be able to see it or feel it.

Right now you are learning how to cope with one of the most challenging obstacles life could throw at you. You are learning what really matters the most to you. How to take care of yourself. How to let go of the things that you used to worry about, used to judge yourself and others by. If you are like so many of us who are recovered or mostly recovered, you are gaining compassion and a deeper ability to love yourself and others. (Or once healed, you can stay stuck in anger about withdrawal, which would be very sad and a waste of each precious day.)

I am grateful for benzo withdrawal. It was an opportunity to become a better me. Of course it would have been nice to have learned these lessons another way, but I am not sure there was another way for me. I was a pig-headed, stubborn, self-centered, feel-sorry-for-me person.  I needed a BIG wake up call. I got one! I still have many of my old character defects, but I am more aware of them and can keep them under control. Just like I can keep my anxiety under control (or how to cope when I can’t.) I learned, after so many years struggling with anxiety created by down regulated GABA receptors., how to go about my day in a way that lessened the chances of my CNS cranking into overdrive.

I am still learning and growing from this benzo withdrawal experience. Everyday is a gift. Everyday is another opportunity to learn to love more. To be kinder. To reach out my hand to another living thing and offer help. Every day is a day to sit in wonder and look up at the heavens and say, Thank you God. Thank you.

If you are worried that you will never heal, please try to put that worry aside. You will heal. You can’t stop your body from healing. It knows what to do, trust it.

If you are worried you will never put back the pieces of your life, please put that worry aside. You will. (If you need help, I am happy to help you.)

Once the mental fog, terror, anxiety, pain, burning, tingling, fatigue etc lifts, you will find your mind is razor-sharp! You will be ready to tackle life again. And you will. In ways that might surprise and delight you.

You are in training right now to become the best you ever. God is right there with you, his arms and his heart wide open, cheering you on. Go! Go! Go!

I’m rooting for you too! We all deserve a gold medal for our stamina, courage, and blind faith. We get that medal, not as a gold circle to wear around our necks, but as a fantastic life full of what really counts.

Go team! Go!