I do not have Triskaidekaphobia, fear of Friday the 13th, or any fears or phobias attached to the number thirteen—just the opposite. Thirteen is going to bring amazing things! June 23, I celebrate, and I do mean celebrate, thirteen years off the benzodiazepine, clonazepam, that I took as prescribed for far too long. The story of my taper, up dose, taper, and eventual cold turkey off the equivalent of thirteen mg of Valium is here on these pages. I didn’t set out to become a global leader in benzo withdrawal; I started my blog to journal my recovery. But here we are, thirteen years later, rounding the corner toward 800 blog posts, Individual Coaching, a support group, numerous videos, and courses I’ve created for the community. It has been a blessing to serve you. Truly.

I get asked what I would do differently knowing what I know now. My answer is always that I am grateful for my benzo withdrawal experience, even as tortured and traumatic as it was. It was an opportunity to recover not only from the brain changes the drug caused but also from all my past traumas that caused my anxiety and panic. My past emotional turmoil is long gone! I’m whole. Healthy. Happy. If I could become who I am today without the benzo withdrawal experience, then I’d say that I would have never set foot in a psychiatrist’s office! I would have found ways to work with the trauma that fueled my anxiety and panic. I would also have embraced the Four Cornerstones of Well-Being™ earlier in my recovery. 

As I look forward, I see so many exciting things! Two new grandchildren will be born this year—a boy and a girl. That makes nine! None of my four children (three sons and a daughter) were married when I started my benzo recovery journey. Now, they all have growing families. The best part? We all live within a fifteen-minute radius—maybe even thirteen minutes (smile!) My life is so incredibly blessed! There are some personal goals I am moving toward this year, feeling confident I will reach them. Most of the journey is about being open to love. The more I put aside my ego and let love lead me, the better things are. The more I observe negative thoughts and feelings and don’t buy into them, the more I manifest health and happiness. Benzo withdrawal was an incredible training ground for that. My intrusive thoughts were overwhelming. It would have been a disaster if I let them run my life. 

Here I am, thirteen years after my cold turkey, older, wiser, and healed: living proof that recovery and transformation are possible, not just from benzo withdrawal but from our pasts—the slings and arrows of life that made us feel we needed a benzo. My message to you is one of hope and resilience. No matter where you are on your journey, know that healing and happiness are within reach. Keep moving forward, embrace the Four Cornerstones, and let love lead the way. 

Please join me in celebrating thirteen years of freedom from a pill that changed my brain and my behavior and kept me from living my highest and best potential, my authentic self, and my true gifts. I am so grateful I am free. Thank you for being part of this incredible journey with me. Together, we can continue to thrive!