From Charcoal to Lavender Lattes — with a very free verse poem

As I have been researching more about the dangers of using benzodiazepines, it caused me to reflect back on my life as it related to my many years of using the Benzodiazepine, Klonopin (Clonazepam) and the destruction Klonopin caused in my life. I was unwittingly addicted to Klonopin for over twenty years, overdosing on it more times than I can count, taking extra Klonopin without understanding why and then trying to take less not knowing it was putting me in a constant state of withdrawals.

My body constantly craved more Klonopin and I never understood why I couldn’t stop taking them. Their power overwhelmed me too much and I didn’t understand it was the Klonopin making me want more and to behave inappropriately. I thought it was my weakness, brokenness and my intrinsic badness. It caused me to hate myself even more than I already did and it also alienated other people from me as they did not understand why I just could not stop.

I understand fully why I could not stop now. It makes sense now. My behaviors were similar to a drug addicts on the street. I was a drug addict simple and true. There is no other way around it. I am not sure how I survived as long and as well as I did taking Klonopin over twenty years when it is a medication that is known now should only be taking for a couple of weeks to two months at the most.

After I finished writing my memoir and as I keep trying to improve it more and find a traditional publisher, I reflect on my past and realize how much shame is associated with mental illness. Stigma has a huge influence on creating the shame shamefully. I encountered so much shame and it really did eat my soul.

Here is the a very free free verse poem of sorts titled Charcoal of Shame. I hope you like it but are not too grossed out by the honesty of it. If you have followed my blog for a while you know I lay it right out there–throw it at you with honesty, truth and transparency. Sometimes much of what we write to educate others about living a mental illness life is not pretty.

This is what the realty of what an addiction of any kind is. This or much WORSE.

It always helps me to write it and I pray it can help you in some way to read about it.

The Charcoal of Shame

Why do you keep taking extra pills?

I don’t know.

Why cant you stop?

I don’t know.

What is wrong with you?

I don’t know.

You need to drink this.

What is it?



(Charcoal to soak up my overdose cocktail of Klonopin and Ambien).

I cant drink that.

Drink it or we will put a tube down your throat.

(Not a very nice bedside manner).

I hold my charcoal trophy of shame and stare at the cup of black liquid tar.

I can’t drink this.

Plug your nose. It helps.

I sip the thick charcoal smoothie–

 a warm glue like metallic mud

 covers the inside of my mouth

with a grainy residue of dirt,

 turns my teeth BLACK

and leaves a black charcoal mustache above my lip–

a mustache of shame.

Back in my hospital room the shame of mud pours out my other end.

A charcoal smoothie soaks my pants and soils my under garments.

I have no control over this waste running out of me.

It stains another tattoo of shame on my soul.

~written by Susan Walz

I no longer take extra pills. In fact, I no longer take or require any psychotropic medications at this time and haven’t taken any for one year, four months and five days. Hallelejuah!

Now I treat myself to Lavender Lattes, which are like heaven in a cup.

Recovery is possible. I am living proof.

Keep fighting and find your own heaven in a cup.

Or find your own little bit of heaven in your life.

Find it wherever you can and treat yourself as often as possible.

What is your heaven in a cup?

Or what is or your own little bit of heaven in your life? Please share.

Thanks for reading and for being here. Thanks for being you.

I appreciate all of YOU!!!

Much love and hugs, Sue

© 2019 Susan Walz | | All Rights Reserved



      1. I too hate medication and was never good at taking any of it. I always had adverse reactions and/or severe side effects. I think I was one of those people that medication didn’t work for but they help many. It is strange how the brain works. I know I became addicted to Klonopin but I have taken Opiates after a severe leg break and never had a problem with them and alcohol has never been a problem for me… just Klonopin. I hope you and your hubby are doing well. Thank you for reading and commenting. You are awesome. I appreciate YOU.


  1. Your lucky to be alive and I am so so glad you are alive to tell the tale! Benzos are nasty things! My psych doesnt prescribe them unless your in hospital and even then only short term. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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