It’s been six days since my surgery. I’m healing well, and I managed to get to a meeting last night. I’ve been very open with everyone about all that happened, and with input from my sponsor and others I’ve decided that I am going to keep my clean date the same. I’m pleased–I would miss celebrating my current date and all of the memories that come with it.
Two days ago, I told my husband to dispose of the medication they gave him when we left the hospital. I’d managed a day without any, and I didn’t want it around potentially calling to me. Even though none of it felt really good at the time, I will set myself up for trouble if I don’t admit the potential for temptation. Admit that there were a couple of things about it that triggered memories: the way it relaxed all my muscles; the sense of an “off” switch.
Now, as I try to find my center and begin to deal with everything that stacked up while I was ill, I admit that the addict in me always craves that idea of an “off” switch. The idea of a button I can push to stop the world, a sign I can wear that says “not here.” Escapism is so deeply ingrained in the psyche of an addict that it’s natural behavior.
Just as the drugs began to flush out of my system, I came down with a nasty head cold. “Unfair!” said my inner escape artist. “I just had surgery. I should be exempt from this kind of thing.” I got on the scale, and found that despite eating nearly nothing I’d gained four pounds in LA. “Are you kidding me? I don’t deserve this!” Yesterday, I spent the day at a clinic getting ultrasounds because of an inflamed vein from the IV site. “Oh, come on!”
I’ve been looking around bleakly at the stacked mail, the calendar full of my daughter’s appointments, and the general mess, wondering what malign quirk of fate caused my hospital-issued personal assistant to go astray. “What do you mean, I was never assigned one?”
I’ve been staring into space, feeling the disorientation from the inevitable disruption in the absorption of my psych meds, and wondering if I can do all this. “How, when I was barely (if that) balancing everything before, am I going to make up this shortfall and get back on track?”
These are all understandable feelings! But I have to name them, and talk back to them, so that self-pity doesn’t get to creep in. I have to get reconnected with the values of recovery; those values that can fade into dimness under the onslaught of fear and stress.
Bring out the Zen Master of Borg: Fairness is irrelevant.
Bring out acceptance of what is.
Bring out gratitude; the awareness of my good fortune in avoiding a ruptured appendix (imagine this happening to me a few years ago…I’d probably have just thrown down a few extra pills and knocked myself unconscious instead of going to the hospital. Hello, peritonitis!)
Bring out willingness and obedience.
Bring out the maturity to tackle one task at a time.
Bring out patience and humility. Bring out faith.
Bring out surrender. Bring out the qualities that will keep me from overeating out of rebellion, or over-restricting out of fear.
Bring out perspective and the awareness of what others are going through.
Good idea. Bring ’em all out. Line ’em up right over there.
I know they’re all still there. They’ve just scuttled out of sight, like mice down a hole. Now I’m trying to lure them out…one thought, one action at a time. A meeting. A shower. A joke. A prayer. A fragment of poetry. Tiny thoughts, tiny actions like crumbs. If I think of it that way, it feels less overwhelming. It’s not my job to fix or accomplish everything right now: it’s my job to recruit the ones who can. Just scatter a crumb. Another. Watch for the sight of timid whiskers.