The sun reaches her warm fingers through my window, searching for me. “Wake up!” she insists. Already, the birds are singing, welcoming the new day. I open my eyes and lazily stretch my arms up over my head. I want to linger in the coziness of the blankets, but there are things I need to do, things I want to accomplish. I push back the covers and spring out of bed, eager to get started in the cool of the morning.

It wasn’t always this way. For a long time, the morning arrived and brought with it intense suffering. It was as if someone poured gasoline on my spine and lit a match to it, the heat unbearable. My mind raced with intrusive thoughts about death. I’d shiver with fright, even though I felt I was on fire. The anxiety that coursed through my body hummed with a chemical electricity, forcing my heart to quicken its pace. Everything hurt—my eyes, teeth, tongue, muscles, bones, and joints. There was no way to escape the pain. No place to hide. I was in the clutches of benzo withdrawal, and I had to bear it as best as I could, all day, every day.

If you’ve read some of my blog posts, you know how much I suffered during my taper and then after my cold turkey. It took years for me to heal from the damage the benzo I took as prescribed caused. But heal, I did! Here is what life is like after benzo withdrawal.

Happiness. It comes now in rushing torrents, gleefully pushing its way into my heart and soul. I don’t have to go in search of it. It finds me every day. Happiness is no longer tied to events, gifts, or things I buy. It is my natural disposition. Everything looks brighter and better these days, no matter what is going on in the world around me. My capacity for positivity has dramatically increased.

Peace. I know new depths of peace and tranquility I never thought possible. I don’t need to be in control of people, places, and things. I’m at peace accepting life on life’s terms and letting God, as I understand God, be in control. It’s a beautiful feeling!

Gratitude. I am grateful for the smallest of things— the tap, tap, tap of the rain, the songs of the birds, the gentle breeze on my face. I don’t need a lot of outward “success” to make me feel grateful. I’ve got plenty in my life every minute of every day. The deep-seated satisfaction it brings is priceless.

I know who I am. I was a broken, lost soul before benzo withdrawal. The benzo masked my feelings and my ability to heal from my past traumas. Withdrawal was the perfect cocoon for me to grow and transform in. Yes, it was a tough and challenging chapter in my life, but I am thankful now for the experience, for it gave me back to my truest self, the self I was always meant to be.

Not much ruffles my feathers. I used to confuse drama with happiness— I honestly didn’t know how to go about my life without some crisis to define it. Now I’ve learned to roll with the punches. I don’t get caught up in drama nor do I create it or invite it as I did years ago.

I’ve gained so much! Yes, I lost a great many things in benzo withdrawal. The losses were at times staggering. But I’ve gained so much more. I’ve gained the things that matter: love, respect, serenity, happiness, and health. I love myself. I love others. I have an appreciation for all of life, including the spider that lives in my bathroom window. All of life is precious and miraculous. I understand compassion now and feel it’s warmth all throughout my heart and soul. Compassion has improved my health in so many ways.

Life after benzo withdrawal is the best life! It’s richer, fuller, happier, and healthier. You too, are going to recover from benzo withdrawal. You will get your life back, and if you keep your heart open and embrace the four cornerstones of well-being (eat right—WFPB), move enough, stress less, and love well, you will get back more than you can imagine. You will become the best version of yourself: wiser, happier, and healthier. You will gain more than you’ve lost.

Keep healing my friends. You’re on the incredible journey to the best there is— the best you, the best life, ever.

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If you need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You may want to consider joining my life support group, Mornings With Jenn, for encouragement, education, and compassion.