Sunday, May 06, 2007

Throwing My Back Out

"I used to have eyes in the back of my head, she said, but I kept throwing my back out & my chiropractor made me stop." ~ via
Every morning I get an email from Story People and this one made me laugh out loud. I need to laugh more. In the chronic pain/fatigue group I'm in, the facilitator told us that a good belly laugh has positive effects on our immune system for 24 hours. My immune system can use all the help it can get right now. Seven years ago I had Bell's Palsy and it never completely went away. Eventually I came to see it as my body's alarm system. When the left side of my face feels like I've been to the dentist, except the freezing hasn't come out yet, my body is trying to tell me something. Like attend to better self care. Or no outside activities. Or time for a good belly laugh.

It's been a difficult week. Basically a no spoons week. I tried to listen to my body and that meant sleeping a lot and next to no activity. Only daughter was home for a visit and that was good. We both wished she had had one more day here before she had to drive back home. That was a great improvement over her time here during Christmas holidays.

Yesterday I went, dragging my feet all the way, to my AA meeting. The left side of my face felt like cement. On the way to town I told myself that I really didn't need to go to the meeting. Then I started making deals with myself. If I did go I would pass if called on to speak, unless there were less than 5 people there. Around in my head went one deal after another. Eventually I recognized that the deals I were making with myself sounded no different than the deals one makes when they are still drinking. I asked myself why I was thinking like that. Tears threatened to overflow when I realized I was feeling vulnerable. So vulnerable. The kind of vulnerable where tears would turn to sobbing if I opened my mouth to speak. Tears would spill over if someone had a kind word. What I really wanted to do was isolate myself until I felt more in control. I find it really hard not to judge myself when I get like that. And I assume every other living soul, especially other alkies, are going to judge me too. I wondered if I was simply trying too hard, if that was possible in recovery and if what I needed to do was let go and let God instead. When I admitted to myself that I would rather isolate than go to a meeting I knew I had to get my butt in a chair at the meeting. Isolation was what I excelled at when I nearly lost my sobriety last year. Going to the meeting was an act of my will. It didn't really matter how I was feeling at that point.

There were more than 5 people at my home group meeting. Three times that amount. And most of them were people I'd never seen before. I told myself that every single one was an angel sent by God to remind me that I wasn't alone and that I couldn't walk this journey alone. I felt like God was having a belly laugh of His own while grabbing me by the shoulders and giving them a squeeze of reassurance.

I had reconciled by the time I got there that if I was called on to speak I was going to share how vulnerable I felt and the whole head trip I took on the way to town. But I wasn't asked and instead got to listen to people share of their strength, hope and experience. I was reminded to use my energy to work on real problems, not the imaginary ones in my head. That was the nugget of truth I took with me as I left the meeting.

I did see my chiropractor not too long ago. And while he didn't tell me to stop using the eyes in the back of my head, he did tell me I was a mess and that I needed to come back for more adjustments.


Heidi Renee said...
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Heidi Renee said...

What an honest and transparent post Hope. I wish I could transfuse you with spoons over the phone.

I'm so glad your time with B was positive! Answer to prayer!

And I'm also glad you didn't isolate and willed yourself to that meeting, what a blessing and a nugget to head home with. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Keith shared something he heard with me the other day - 'worry is the misuse of the imagination' - i liked that - i have so much better stuff to spend my imagination on than making up stuff to worry about! :) love you!

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