This weekend I suffered my first real physical pain since being in recovery: I pulled something in my back (how I did it, I really couldn’t tell you), and I have had difficulty walking for the past 2 days. Multiple “old lady” jokes from my younger husband later…
The story of hurting my back would not be worth writing down, if it were not for being in recovery. It is temporary, and it is not seriously debilitating. It becomes significant, however, because in the past I would have gone running to the doctor’s for a lot less than this kind of pain. So the fact that I made it through without wanting to numb myself… well, it counts for something, anyway.
Having said that, I wouldn’t go out to buy me any trophies. Because now that I’ve had a chance to explore some real pain, and a real response to it, I have to honestly say that pain is not a trigger for me. In fact, it brought to mind a memory from a surgery I had quite a few years ago (and before I was in active addiction). I remember having a prescription for pain medication, and I remember consciously having the thought, “Well, if I take this now, while in real pain, that’s pretty much a waste. Why not suffer through the pain and then have the medication for a time I can really enjoy it?” Remember, that thought was years before active addiction!
That was not a pleasant memory to have, or even to share, but it’s the truth. The difference between then and now is the knowledge I have gained, the ability to identify the irrational thoughts, and the skills I have developed to combat those thoughts when they come my way… namely, to share about them with people who understand.
It is interesting to me that this is all happening as I am winding down the clock on the first year of recovery. Also interesting: as I opened WordPress to write this post, a fellow blogger’s writing caught my eye because she just celebrated her one-year anniversary (congrats Renee!). Towards the end of her post, she wrote, in big letters, “pain must be felt.” So I hope that she does not mind my using her quote for my title, because it sure fits my life right about now!
The support and help from my family, my friends, and the people in my Monday meeting today is nothing less than miraculous. I am truly blessed.