Google “benzo withdrawal” and you find a number of forums you can join for support. Before you create a user ID and password at any of them, it is good to understand the pros and cons of withdrawal forums.

The pros:

  • Forums are a great place to reassure yourself that your symptoms are “normal” for withdrawal.
  • They are  a good place to turn to when you are afraid, or weary of the withdrawal process or want to share a success.
  • It is comforting to know that other people are going through the same things you are. You are not alone.
  • Deep friendships have been made between people sharing a common challenge.
  • Once you have some withdrawal time under your belt, you may find it helps you to help others on the forum.
  • You may discover better ways to taper or to manage your symptoms.

The Cons:

  • It is easy to spend too much time logged into a forum. When that happens your life becomes overly focused on withdrawal with little room for anything else.
  • You may compare your symptoms or situation to others. Everyone’s healing process is unique.
  • You may over share personal thoughts or feelings and regret it later.
  • You may read conflicting or erroneous information.
  • People argue and verbally abuse others on some forums.
  • Reading horror stories can inadvertently create a negative experience in your own withdrawal.
  • You spend precious time not accepting your situation and creating more unhappiness and suffering

This is not an exhaustive list of the pros and cons. You may think of others to add to the list.

Overall, I believe forums are a good tool if used properly. Use them for support and encouragement. Do not use them as your daily pivot point. Find other things to occupy your mind and life with besides your withdrawal process. Use common sense when it comes to applying knowledge you learn on a forum. Remember, everyone’s healing process is unique. You may be healing faster or slower compared to others on the same benzo and time used.

What we feed, grows. If you spend a great deal of time on forums  focused on your symptoms, life becomes all about your misery.

Some suggestions to avoid over use of forums:

  • Even those on bed rest, which includes myself many days, need to engage in positive aspects of life. Read a good book, watch a funny movie.
  • Call a friend who is not in withdrawal and ask how they are. Listen with your whole heart.
  • Find a hobby you can do.
  • Allow life to go on around you as much as possible and participate in it as much as your health allows.
  • Find other things to think about or talk about, other than your withdrawal.
  • Write a thoughtful letter to a friend or loved on, instead of using email.
  • Meditate or pray
  • Walk or sit in the sun a few minutes every day.
  • ??? Fill this in with something you can do that brings you joy!

Sawa Bona,

Dr. Jenn

“Sawa Bona.” Sawa Bona is an African phrase that means “I see you.”  It acknowledges the connection that we share as human beings.  (The proper response to “Sawa Bona” is to smile widely and say “Sikhona” — which means “I am here.”)