Body/Mind/Spirit Healing is the Same
After experiencing extreme throbbing from this broken leg I unfortunately am nursing, I’m beginning to see how similar healing from a fracture is to the process of “getting sober” I endured decades ago. As these endless, painful days pass and I’m able to think beyond “how do I get out of my body’s, my broken leg’s discomfort!” I have gradually come to see certain similarities between physically rebuilding a broken (or diseased) part of my body, is the same process as the slow but steadily improving state of switching from any negative addiction (habitual use of drugs, alcohol, etc) to a positive, healthier addiction. Like how I transformed from getting stoned and buzzed every day to being blown away by the joy, the bliss of embracing a natural state of mind. As I did when I transitioned from being “out of it” to being awake and aware in my consciousness.
The main difference between these similarities of which I speak— can you guess? — okay, I’ll spill the insights right here, without fanfare or oblique metaphors, like the “house-like” person who’s doing the healing in my illustration for this piece, an ink drawing by yours truly.
When a substance-dependent person has “hit their bottom” and life can no longer go on as it was: that is, when the moment of “surrender” has occurred and a person makes the conscious choice to stop dumbing down their natural-state of consciousness, i.e., when an alchie/addict like me decides “to be a sober person” — this is a choice. Picking up a substance is a choice, as well as choosing not to. If anyone tries to say “I have no choice,” they are still asleep to the human condition we all have in common: our free will.
Having a broken bone, golly gosh, is no one’s sane choice. It surely wasn’t mine, Only a masochist could admit otherwise. Therefore, for lack of a better word let’s call the fractured femur I’m rebuilding “an accident.”
Here comes my next thought, rumble tumble. Is there really any such thing as an accident?
Two different subjects already, yipes! Let’s take them one at a time.
Firstly, the healing of a bone, I was told right from the start of being discharged from the hospital after emergency surgery, that healing would take anywhere from four to six weeks. Meaning, if I did everything I was supposed to (good food, good sleep, no pushing the physical therapy that begins, literally, one hour after awakening from the bolt and screws inserted into the femur cap, see last post’s image) my body, functioning like all human bodies do, would efficiently heal this major bone break enough to resume most of my daily activities within this relatively short time frame.
Of course, more serious breaks take longer to heal. I’m lucky, I was allowed to put full weight upon the injured leg right away, making healing a lot easier.
Even so, I’m finding the ups-and-downs of the rising waves of pain — waiting for the thankful release of pain to kick in, enjoying a respite of no-pain, anticipating the next wave of throbbing ache, surrendering to the relief offered by strong meds, waves of ice, soothing moments of prayer, trying to tune-out watching mindless or mindful videos; the ups and downs of pain with or without access to beneficial herbs, acupuncture, massage, a heating pad, the rolling wheels of a walker, and multitudes of sympathetic grimaces and fake smiles of visiting beloveds and cheer-you-up friends —in the haze of all this came the realization that these waves of bone-healing are very much akin to what I endured in the first couple years of emotional/spiritual/mental recovery after having stifled my natural mind by being continuously intoxicated.
And so it was this wide-eyed realization hit me only yesterday, two weeks to the day of my so-called accident, when I made the connection of this recovery process I’m in the middle of, healing my broken leg, to what happened to me in my earlier years of learning to live as a sober woman at the age of 36.
Entering the 12-Step Fellowship and surrendering to my addiction, meant taking on a life-changing commitment. Meant I was fully aware of what I was doing, and was ready for the challenge. Sobriety is impossible to achieve without full consent from one’s mind/body/soul. My will power had to be harnessed to make this momentous decision. I made it, mainly because otherwise I probably would have died. Not probably. Definitely. I was that bad.
Once my will was aligned with the lofty decision of wanting to change my entire perspective on life — I just did what I was told by my fellow recovering AAs. And slowly, things got better. Yet, wanting to be “natural” didn’t mean the waves of intense emotional/spiritual pain would stop upon me signing up to live as a sober person. No. The residual effects of an entire adulthood spent getting high (really? it should be called “getting low”) demands that a person who has issues (who doesn’t!) has to deal with them at some point in life. And using mind-altering substances just delays when this “dealing with” period happens. Nothing gets erased when a person checks out using reality-distorting substances. It’s just that facing whatever issues one has is postponed until a later time, when one hides behind being intoxicated.
And as I lay prone struggling for comfort just yesterday, incapable of moving much because of the next damn wave of bone-healing pain erupting, and not willing to take any of the heavy meds I use at night for daytime use (hey! no sense in dancing with the devil too much) … I found myself reminiscing how familiar this wave of pain and the ensuing relief-phase was feeling.
Here’s the thought-picture I was drawing: In the early days/months/years of not using any substance to dull the pain my previous life had become — aka recovering from self-destructive addiction — I had waves of feeling great (the “pink cloud” effect), followed by waves of angst, followed by uplifting moments of peace that’s also known as Serenity; followed by the oft-repeated pattern of layers of emotional detritus being uprooted from deep within my psyche and pushed to the surface of consciousness … for me to feel… and release the pain. Never to return, that emotional shit, when it’s been fully faced.
Waves of euphoria followed by waves of self-reflection followed by waves of … you name it, it came to pound my mental state. But I hung on to sobriety, and prayed, and listened to those who were helping me become a better person.
And … because I no longer was numbing my feelings with substances and resultant drama-queen-ism, I did what I was being shown to do by my lifesaving fellowship of recovery. I talked to recovery folks who were going through what I was. I practiced the 12-Steps of spiritual recovery. I learned to Easy Does It, Let Go Let God, First Things First, and Think Think Think the best I could at any given moment.
Choosing to be a sober person was me exercising my will. The waves of emotional growth, up and down and all around, was, and continues to be, worth the price of having made this momentous life decision. I’m now sober longer than I had been a functioning pothead-boozer-addict, having replaced my bad-girl nickname tequila teZ with tropical teZ along the way.
The waves of my broken leg’s physical pain signals are similar to the emotional ones I endured getting sober. When I saw my first big improvement, walking upright right after the leg was bolted and screwed together, I was blown away and so so grateful I wouldn’t have to be bedridden. Currently, bone breaks such as mine are treated by getting the patient up and mobile ASAP, and for me that meant within an hour of awakening after surgery.
The hurdles I gladly jumped over after that, were comprised of noticing the tiniest movements: lifting my bad leg up to get horizontal without using my hand and arm’s strength; walking on the walker smoothly instead of jerkily; finding a comfortable sleeping position (this happened also, just yesterday!); dealing with muscle-shortening spasms in hip flexors and calves of the affected leg, due to muscles atrophying and/or doing too much exercise when guiding therapists aren’t around. Over-achievers beware: healing takes time and patience. One of the lessons this so-called “accident” has already revealed to me is my tendency to get myopically focused on creative projects. I consider this leg healing now my biggest project.
Am I one-minded about my broken leg’s recovery? Yes! Emphatically, yes! Seeing as I can’t go anywhere, or do much of anything that I’m used to doing, my entire sense of “self” is focused on getting better, as best, as self-lovingly, not fast but as totally, as completely as I possibly can.
I’m already envisioning new yoga poses I want to try as soon as I can re-enter my yoga shed, the well heated Santosha (contentment in Sanskrit) Shack.
So there I was, prone, in pain, waiting for it to be relieved, realizing that recovery, whether of a broken leg or of a life misspent seeking misadventures, I was happily distracted momentarily from the pain by a terrific aha! moment of an inner awareness. The next one. Always, the next one.
Recovery is recovery, whether of body, mind, or spirit. Recovery takes commitment, effort, and relaxing, letting time be the blueprint for progress, never forcing my will onto how fast or how slow I’m to get better.
The second thought I struck upon here, about whether what happened to cause a broken leg really is an accident or not, I’ll save for my next post. Having a major weight-bearing bone broken is a great impetus for doing self-reflection. What lessons do you have to share with me, you healing leg o’mine?
Be well, my friend! May Covid stay far far away from your door!
In Spirit’s Love,