A friend of mine once told me that for the first year of recovery, he couldn’t sleep for more than a couple of hours. He was tired all the time and affected his work. So, he went to see his doctor to ask for something to help him sleep. She specialized in treating patients with addiction issues. She patiently listened to his difficulties and when he asked for sleep medication she refused. She went on to say that when he needed sleep, he’d sleep. That was it, discussion over.
During his second year of recovery, my friend went on to say that he slept all the time. He grew concerned and once again went to his doctor. She listened attentively to his situation and when my friend asked if there was a medication to help, she replied refused again. She told him that his body must need the rest and that eventually it would all even out. He’d find his rhythm again and everything would be okay. He shared this story when I was going through my own physical inability to get the rest I needed. He found balance and later, so did I.
I haven’t been sure what’s going on with me physically, but I’ve slept until eight or nine o’clock in the morning for the last week. My normal routine has always been to wake up around 6:30 or 7:00, start coffee, have some time on the porch, and settle down to work. Quite honestly, I was a little concerned until Margaret reminded me that I had been in the hospital and on home IV infusion until this past Monday. I thought of my friend and I decided not to worry about it. It’ll all level out…
I must issue a disclaimer here. There’s no M.D. behind my name. I’m aware that people in recovery have often physically damaged themselves beyond norms. I’d never suggest that someone should or should not seek medical advice for physical or mental issues, but I’ve also learned that not everything has an immediate answer. In all areas of my life, especially spiritually, the answer to my questions is a simple ‘wait’. Sometimes you just need to hit the ‘pause’ button.
Waiting is still difficult for me, especially if the situation is extremely uncomfortable. My biggest discomfort today is the disruption of my routine. For that I’m grateful, because I’ve experienced far more troubling times of crisis. As my friend Jim used to tell me, “In the meantime, it’s just a mean time”. Just wait, it’ll pass. I’ve gotten much better at the practice, but I still have a long, long way to go.
I’ve tried everything I could think of to ease any discomfort I’ve felt; usually in ways that weren’t good for me. If I talked to Jim, he would listen to my rantings – for a minute anyway – and then tell me, “Cowboy, lack of power is your dilemma”. In other words, ‘just stop’! If “lack of power is my dilemma”, maybe I need to find power. That’s where trust and acceptance come in.
Over the last few years I’ve come to a degree of acceptance that sometimes, life simply shows up in ways I don’t like. No one’s to blame. It’s just living. My friends often respond to my troubles by simply reciting the old cliché, “this ,too, will pass”. That pisses me off. I want an answer now! That’s when my friend Jim would remind me that ‘it’ll all be okay on Tuesday at 2:00’. It was his way of saying, ‘quit struggling and wait’. It really will be okay…
Waiting was far more difficult prior to my relationship with the Creator. A couple of my friends point to this reliance and belief in a power greater than myself and say I’m shirking responsibility for my decisions. They are entitled to their opinion. I used to believe that waiting was weakness, that it was failure of some sort. Experience has proven that the opposite is true. Today, I’m responsible for the choices I make. They’ve proved rash and somewhat insane in the past. Today I pause. I make more responsible decisions and as a result, have better outcomes.
Waiting takes courage. Prayer is not magic. It is heartfelt discourse with the God of my understanding. Sometimes I don’t like the answer, especially when it’s ‘wait’. Still, I need to listen for the answer. If I’m not listening, I might as well be talking to myself (more of my insanity). It takes courage to believe. It takes courage to wait.
I guess my sleep patterns will get back to normal. I’ll be back to my routine soon. Life will go on, all is and will be.” In the meantime…