It was my litmus test—
that stretch of pavement between me and the Starbucks on Broadway. It was what, a half a block away? Maybe a little less. I’d walked through the public parking lot that connected my street to Starbucks’ back door. On the days I could manage the short jaunt, I felt victorious. On the days I couldn’t, I felt doomed to a life of chronic illness. Plus, I missed my treat of a grande decaf latte. It was one of the things that I looked forward to while navigating through the hell of benzo withdrawal. So it was with a very happy heart that I walked that pavement today, and opened Starbucks’ back door and walked in and ordered a latte.
I’m back in my old neighborhood.
To be more precise, I’m staying next door to my old apartment; the one I lived in while recovering from benzo withdrawal. The one where I planted the flower garden. I’m at my best friend’s apartment overlooking my old yard. It’s changed considerably—no one is taking care of the flowers—but my memories bring it back to life in my mind. I also remember those hard years of relentless benzo withdrawal symptoms—the intrusive thoughts, pain, weakness, fear/terror/panic, fatigue, head pressure, dizziness, and all the other cruel things. This morning, before I joined my four children and their spouses/partners and grand-babies for a Mother’s Day Celebration, I stood in front of the garden and said a prayer of thanksgiving for my healing.
Sometimes it felt as if healing would never happen.
There were so many days (weeks? Months?) when I was convinced I’d never heal. I had too many symptoms, and some of them were severe. How could a body (and mind and spirit) recover from such horror? I went for so long without any evidence that I’d get well. And when I did have a bit of a window—when the symptoms lessened just enough to be vaguely tolerable—I’d be drop-kicked back into a seemingly deeper ring of hell.
And now? It’s forgotten.
I don’t think about my recovery except when I work with people who are in withdrawal and they ask me about my benzo story. It’s all water under the bridge. Gone. Forgotten. I am not haunted by any of it. Not one little bit. I’m grateful for all that I have learned from my suffering. I’m grateful for my heart that cracked open to love. I’m on this side of benzo withdrawal and It. Is. So. GOOD! You’ll get here, in your own time. And one day, you too will walk familiar paths that were once lined with your suffering, and you’ll see, hear, taste, touch, and smell and KNOW IN YOUR HEART, what a badass warrior you’ve been, and how you’ve healed.
It’s only in looking back that we can see where we’ve been.
When I was in the midst of benzo withdrawal, there was no way I could see that I was in the most powerful transforming experience of my life. I only saw suffering. But looking back over my shoulder, I see now the threshing room floor where all the chaff was stripped from me and I was polished until I shone so bright. You may not be able to grasp this next sentence yet, and maybe you never will be able to, but…I’m grateful I went through benzo withdrawal. Yup. You heard me right. Grateful. I hope that you allow this time of challenge, of suffering, to make you bigger, instead of bitter. For that’s what suffering can do if we choose to keep turning to love and not allow fear to diminish us.
That’s why I’m teaching Sacred Relationship.
I want to teach you about the brain and nervous system so that you can start to work on your own journey of recovering from the wounds that you’ve experienced before and during benzo withdrawal. If you are interested and would like to know more, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to join the workshop (99$), please pay at https://soulreminders.com/donate. We will meet on Mondays and Wednesday at 9 A.M. Pacific on a zoom room. (I’ll send you the link.) I don’t know how long the workshop will go, but we will continue until we’ve covered all the slides.
Healing is happening. All the time.
Even if you can’t believe it or feel it, you are healing. One day withdrawal will be over. It will be up to you if you allow it to open you—to grow you—to enlarge you —or if you allow it to make you bitter and small. I, of course, hope you allow it to polish you until you are blinding light. To where we can all see you shine bright.