It is 4 AM and I am, as usual, wide awake. I can’t sleep because it feels like thousands of ants are biting/stinging my body. Of course, there is also the incessant ringing in my ears, skipped heartbeats, twitches, chills, ear pressure, weakness… well, you know.

I closed my eyes and did my normal surrender to the sensations. Anger bubbled up instead of acceptance. I was enraged that I have to suffer through withdrawal because I trusted a doctor to heal me 17 years ago. I sat with the anger, allowing it to “just be,” without judging myself for experiencing it.  It just is what it is. However, I know that anger won’t heal me. So I dug a bit deeper and was curious if there was any way I could frame the sensations so they were less troubling.

I thought of all the years my GABA receptors have been shut down from the benzo I took. I decided to imagine the ant sensation was a fine indication that my receptors could now wake back up and do the job they were intended to do. Suddenly, the ants picnicking on me were exciting in a strange way. I felt less like a victim and more like a victorious warrior, fighting a hard battle and winning.

I’ve been in tolerance withdrawal a mighty long time. I started my taper on October 13th, 2010. I need all the positive tools I can use if I am going to cross the finish line somewhat intact. Looking at my symptoms in a fresh light is one such positive tool.

I am not so much of a Pollyanna to think that every day I’ll be excited about the very painful and distracting sensations. But even if the thought of my GABA receptors waking up buys me only a short time of relief from this relentless ordeal, I’ll take it!

More peace, less suffering. I know I can’t magically stop the symptoms of withdrawal. But I can use my mind to create as much peace in the process as I humanly can.  You can do the same.

What symptom do you have that is the most annoying? How might you think of it today, as a positive sign that you are moving away from drug dependency and moving towards healing and freedom? Just for today, welcome the sensation and be grateful. Instead of a numbed out body from your benzo, you have a body that is springing back to life. Let’s celebrate that.

To winning the battle for freedom,  one day at a time.

Dr. Jenn