I tried a lot of things to heal from benzo withdrawal: meds, vitamins, acupuncture, neuro and biofeedback, massage, juicing, going vegan, going paleo, ditching gluten, sugar, caffeine and junk food. I ate purple foods (someone said they had a healing “vibration”), tried cleanses, positive affirmations, prayer, meditation — the list goes on and on. Nothing that I tried “cured” me. Not. One. Thing. I felt hopeless and helpless. You could say that I hit rock bottom. At the time, I thought it was the end of the world. It wasn’t.  Rock bottom was the turning point for my way out of the mess that my life had become in benzo withdrawal.

I used three steps to climb out of the darkness of my self-pity, fear, anger, and resentment. The first step was to admit that I was helpless over withdrawal and that my life had become unmanageable. It was a hard thing to admit because I wanted to believe that I was in control. Admitting that I wasn’t in control went against every cell in my body. However, I knew, deep down, that I was indeed, helpless. I couldn’t control what was going on in my body or in the world around me.

The second step was to come to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to “sanity.” My peace and serenity in life weren’t going to come from me; they were going to come from something greater than myself. I call that something God. You can call it whatever you like. Every day, I spent time getting to know God. I bared my heart and soul to God in conversations. I also looked for God in everything; people, animals, plants, weather, the seasons, etc. After awhile, I felt less alone. I knew that God was always with me.

The third step was perhaps the hardest. I had to relinquish control. I had to give my will and my life over to the care of God. I had to ask God for help in doing that, as I wanted to be in charge, even though my life was pretty miserable with me at the helm. When I was able to let go and let God, as the saying goes, my life turned around. I felt peace. Serenity. Harmony. I no longer had to control people, places, and things. I was able to accept life on life’s terms. I no longer fought my benzo withdrawal symptoms. I stopped feeling sorry for myself, and I got on with living my life.

I also stopped asking “Why” (which kept in stuck in the problems), and I started asking “How” and “What.” How can I serve God today? How can I serve others? How can I be most useful? What is the most loving response to everything? What can I do to take good care of myself? Self-pity dropped away and a new emotion coursed through my veins: satisfaction. I was at peace.

If these three steps look familiar to you, it is because they are the first three steps in Alcoholics Anonymous. They are the foundation for recovery not only from any type of  addiction, but from emotional angst, drama, self-pity, fear, and other “ills of the soul.”

My benzo symptoms didn’t miraculously go away when I took these steps on a daily basis. But my relationship with them changed. They no longer destroyed my happiness. They didn’t obliterate my serenity.  I stopped fearing the symptoms or fearing what would become of my life. I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that I was in the care and comfort of God as I understand God. I wake up every morning with a grateful heart and a sense of wonder. Life is incredibly good, no matter what is going on around me. I have learned how to let go and to let God. It’s an amazing freedom. I want this freedom, this peace and serenity, for you