October 2010 I began tapering off of my nightly dose of clonazepam. I’ve been in benzo withdrawal ever since. Every Christmas I said to myself, “Next year, I’ll be healed.”  I won’t say that this year, because it really doesn’t matter anymore. I have a life again. A very, very good life. I know how to manage my symptoms, but moreover, I know how to manage my reaction to them and to life in general. I am no longer the victim in any circumstance. In fact, benzo withdrawal has given me a fortitude that no pill could ever have given me. It’s not that I feel invincible, I don’t. I am keenly aware that one day I will pass on, like everything else. I feel strong in who I am, what I believe in/stand for, and what I really want.

Benzo Withdrawal syndrome profoundly changed my life. It was a gift, albeit a hard one to embrace. I know if you are still suffering, it may be hard to think that what you are going through has any redeeming quality. I assure you, in the end, it does. Be patient.

I am spending Christmas with my children at my sisters house. She is my only sibling, and we have never been very close. But withdrawal changed me and allowed me to see my role in our distance, and to amend it. Having my sister in my life is a gift that surviving withdrawal gave me. It also gave me the courage and the desire to pack up and travel the USA to meet many of you who read my blog because you are suffering as I was. I am looking forward to hearing all of your stories. It will be an honor, really.

I’m also celebrating a great delight this Christmas. My eldest son got engaged last night. It is a deep, deep, happiness to know that he is happy and building a solid life for himself. A life that includes love. His girlfriend is an amazing young woman who will be a good life partner. I couldn’t be more pleased.

I hope you all have a merry Christmas as much as you are able. I hope you can distract from your symptoms and hold a bit of hope in your heart. Hope that one day, you will not only feel like yourself again, but that you will feel like a stronger and wiser you. If you allow this suffering to open your heart instead of shutting it down, I promise you, life will become incredibly good.

With my full and cracked open heart, I wish you peace, health, and a deep sense of purpose. I know those are gifts that are waiting for you to unwrap, in time.

I love you all.