I grew up in a Christian household—Sunday School, vacation Bible school, Christmas, and Easter were all a part of my formative years. I believed in God although I may not have lived my life with God at the center. But I had faith and was a good person. Then came benzo withdrawal. Everything about God was turned upside down and inside out. Like many people in benzo withdrawal, I had a tough time with existential angst and fear of God, eternity, etc. And I do mean fear: cold, hard, clutching fear that took my breath away and dropped me to the floor fear. I used to curl up in a fetal position and cry because I was terrified of God. Terrified of death. Terrified of eternity. To be honest, I was terrified of life! I used to pray, “God, where are you?” begging for relief, for some small comfort, but then cower in fear of an answer. Those were some of my darkest days in benzo withdrawal.
It’s not at all uncommon to suffer from fear of God. Or to feel that God is a million miles away, or that God doesn’t care about us. Even people who had a tremendous amount of faith before benzo withdrawal can’t always access that faith while in withdrawal. This lack of feeling God’s love in our lives, or trusting God, is a benzo symptom just like insomnia or intrusive thoughts are symptoms. It can be a very unsettling symptom as we feel so cut off from the real meaning of life, and life takes on a rather gruesome doom and gloom feel. Without faith, it is hard to shoulder on. But we must remember that God is there, always. God hasn’t abandoned us. It is just that our brains are chemically damaged from the benzo that we took and it is that damage that is causing us to not be able to feel connected (or loved) by God as we once did.
I’m happy to say that once my brain cobbled itself back together, my belief and faith in God as I understand God became much deeper and richer. I am so grateful to be out of benzo withdrawal that life feels precious and miraculous. I’m grateful for every second of it, and I take no part of it for granted. I can see how God used benzo withdrawal to polish me into the person I always wanted to be. Now my days are more God-focused. I’m not as religious as I used to be (religion is manmade) but I am far more in love with God as I understand God. My capacity for love, compassion, and accepting life on life’s terms, has grown immensely.
Don’t worry if you are struggling with existential angst. Don’t worry if you can’t feel God in your life, or if you are now afraid of God. Don’t worry if the world seems as if it is one big evil place or demonic. Most likely it is simply your “benzo brain” causing you such feelings (or beliefs) and once you are more healed, you’ll be able to once again see and feel the beauty and the joy in life. You’ll be able to be amazed at the miracle of our world and our lives. You’ll be able to feel God’s love and grace. If you are anything like me, your heart will crack open and you’ll feel an indescribable sense of peace and purpose. Life will be good again. I assure you.
(For those of you reading these words who don’t believe in God, in a Creator, that’s okay. This website is for you, too. Everyone is welcome here and I work with people from all faiths.)