Recovery Share: Go Ahead and Be Sick

Lately I seem to keep coming back around to acceptance. It’s a fine place to come to, of course, but the fact that keep I “coming back to it” means that I keep “getting away from it.”

In this case, it’s about being sick. But as always seems to be the case, this little situation is part of a bigger pattern, and there always lessons to (re)learn. Dammit.

So I’m sick — not terribly so, but a head cold kind of thing, hacking cough, headaches, and now a real nice plugged ear, which I haven’t had before. I’m not miserable, but I don’t feel like doing much.

But I’m also in the middle of a work trip, researching soccer in England for a book I’m working on. So while one part of my brain says, “Screw it, I’m sick,” another says, “Hell no, you need to get out there and see Nottingham; it’s your only day here!” I already missed a game in town yesterday.

Thus does the split brain cause tension. What’s the right thing to do?

Well, let’s go back to acceptance — not to what I think I should be doing, or what I had planned, or what I think a Real Man would do, or whatever. Let’s just start with What Is and go from there.

It’s the same as getting sober. As long as I put off accepting I was an alcoholic, I kept drinking. Every thought of “I’ll figure this out” or “I’ll just push through” or “I don’t have time or space for this problem” was, in fact, the same as pouring another drink. There’s a direct connection.

It wasn’t until I accepted that I was an alcoholic — that I really would never “drink normally” or without negative consequences — that I got on the path to sobriety.

With this head cold business, it’s really the same thing: “What’s the best way to get healthy?” Um, rest, meds, and maybe a doctor? What’s the worst thing to do? Ignore it, do things to make it worse, and add layers of anxiety by convincing myself it’s a tumor or something.

Let’s just try being sick, which for the moment means that today won’t be the Perfect Day of Research and Work, which doesn’t exist anyway. And losing a day now doesn’t mean the project is sunk. It doesn’t mean I’m weak. It doesn’t mean any of this is my fault.

It just means I’m sick. And I’m pretty much taking a day off to take care of myself. And at some point I need to come back to Nottingham.

I know that for a lot of people this is really simple stuff, but it’s something I have to practice at. If I am not in acceptance of the present moment, then I am creating stress and anxiety. If I can get back to acceptance and start from there, peeling away all the stories, then at least I’m in a position to deal with reality.

And then I’ll drift off again, and someday something — which I will call a “problem” like sickness or failure or just life — will bring me back to acceptance.

Thanks for reading.

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