It’s funny, how with all the awareness I’ve enjoyed in the last few months, I can still manage to lie to myself.
Following a day of practically full isolation, with a few meetings inserted here and there, as I lay on my couch, settling in, listening to the drone of the television, I felt it coming on. Illness. The sore throat, my nose, slowly but steadily, shutting down its respiratory function, my back becoming tight and heavy with the dull ache that precedes the worst type of cold.
I immediately resented my body. I had spent the whole day isolating by choice and I knew that the morning would bring on something I could not opt out of, not this time. And, I was right. My alarm went off this morning, sounding muted and fuzzy through my clogged ears. It was calling me to the weekly Step meeting I usually attend, and really enjoy. Lars would be there. And, I really wanted to see him. But, I had hardly any fight to urge myself out of bed. Turned off my alarm and rolled over. Returning to a restless sleep, breathing through my mouth.
I did not leave my apartment today. I didn’t even change my pajamas after bathing. And, as I sat, thinking that all this miserable isolation was unfair, I kept returning to the thought that yesterday, I had chosen to behave this way. And today, when I had my little plans and designs, my meeting, visions of hanging out with Lars, making a nice dinner, I was too ill. And, as I sat examining my misery, it dawned on me that I wasn’t unhappy that I was isolated. I was unhappy because I was uncomfortable. That fine line that’s so hard to define, even when I am well. I was uncomfortable with being sick. Uncomfortable bailing on my appointment with my sponsor. Uncomfortable that I couldn’t hang out with my boyfriend. And, having no choice but to sit there feeling that way.
Yesterday, I had been just as uncomfortable in my isolation. But, I had chosen it. I had created it. A reminder that I am still self-seeking and dramatic. Two things that I want so desperately to deny. To get away from. To say I’m cured of. Relieved of. Fixed. Changed. But, some things remain, in sickness and in health. A marriage to your character defects. These things that are part of you, to your core, and yet you desperately want to let them go. But, somehow, they find a way to convince you that it’s perfectly ok to just let them back in, and to have their way.
This misery, it’s not a cold.
It’s the hole that I know my spiritual program can fill. Or, at the very least patch up. So, in the quiet loneliness, I throw out a prayer. Almost an apology, because, I know. I know what I’m doing. I can’t lie to myself about these things anymore. And, maybe that’s the lesson, the little blessing in disguise. Knowing that I can’t cry out in discomfort when I have arranged the stage myself.
There is a very, very fine line between sick and well. And today, all alone, I realize that the cold is just the symptom.