Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sick and suffering…

In their meetings, AA and NA members often offer thoughts and prayers for those addicts who are still “sick and suffering”. 

It is a powerful reminder for many of what they have come from and come through and what they don’t want to go back to.

I had – by coincidence – some reminders of that today.  First, I was towards the end of my run when I passed a very large man coming out of the pizza joint near my workplace.  Even though I had my headphones on, I could hear how hard he was breathing.  He had a pizza box and a large soda and he just GLARED at me when I ran by.  He was a grey color and waddled along with difficulty.

Because I am a terrible person, my first thought about him was very judgmental.  And then – almost immediately – I wondered if - when I was fat and frequented that very pizza joint - I ever glared at a particularly thin or fit person I passed.


And then I remembered how I felt back then.  When every step was painful.  When clothing was always too tight and horrifically uncomfortable.  When walking short distances made me pant like a Basset Hound.  When I felt guilt and shame for my eating choices but ate them anyway.

And I thought that this man was sick and suffering and even though I could not stop and “fix” him, I could offer thoughts of compassion, not judgment.

Later in the day, it came to my attention that someone that I know – who has a terrible problem with alcohol – was in the midst of a crisis and was angry at and fighting the people who were genuinely trying to help.  Out of shame and/or denial. 

And I felt for this person who is clearly still horribly sick and suffering but not yet ready to surrender.  The pain I know that this person was feeling – even while lashing out – is almost tangible to me.

So as I reflected on this on my drive home – these 2 people from presumably different worlds – who came to my attention today I tried to realize what I am grateful for.

I have an addiction that I have not gotten complete control of yet.  It still is ever present.  And some days it wins.

But I am lucky that, for the most part, I am not someone who is still sick and suffering.  I am reasonably fit.  I can run and play and enjoy life more moments then not.  My addiction no longer threatens my health on an everyday basis.  I am not at risk of losing my family or career over this addiction.

So, as you guys know, I don’t pray.  But I offer my positive thoughts to the 2 I brought up, as well as everyone else who is sick and suffering tonight.  Because I KNOW – with absolute certainty, that is CAN get better.  I know because I have been there and emerged – not perfect – but better.  So much better…


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