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Pain Management

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I was given gifts today, the gifts of patience and acceptance.

About a week ago, I threw out my back playing volleyball at a picnic. It was painful, so I took some precautionary measures regarding my recovery, and I made careful choices so I did not overeat. After my meal, I committed to my husband that I would not eat anything for the rest of the night, because I could imagine grazing on leftovers to distract myself from the pain.

I figured I wouldn’t have to live with the pain for long. Unfortunately, it worsened throughout the week. When I realized it was not going away by itself, I saw my doctor, who prescribed medications. I took them and started to feel a little better.

The acute back pain is gone now since the medications reduced the swelling and muscle spasms, but my sciatic nerve still hurts quite a bit—in fact, my sciatica has never been quite this agonizing. Today I figured some spiritual activity might contribute to the healing.

I asked my Higher Power for help. First, I took Step One to realize my powerlessness over this condition. With Step Three, I turned over my fears: the onset of chronic pain, the inability to participate in sports and exercise, and getting fat because exercise would not be an option. Next, I listened via Step Eleven. God told me to be patient, that acceptance helps, and that he would help me through this. He told me to stay grounded in the present, and . . . oh yeah, and don’t eat extra food, because it really wouldn’t help.

Because I felt my Higher Power’s presence today, I was able to endure a very physically painful session of therapeutic massage recommended by my doctor. I was able to turn over my fears about the future and my physical shape to God, and I was able to accept that I am in pain and can take it easy. I also received the gifts of patience and acceptance. Healing happens in God’s time, and I have a choice either to sink into self-pity or be useful.

Patience, acceptance, and being of use certainly feel better than self-pity and contribute to the serenity that helps keep me abstinent and at peace. I am grateful to my Higher Power and to this Fellowship for showing me a better way of life—with it, I have the ability to get through all sorts of pain.

Edited and reprinted from The OA Stepping Stone newsletter, Baltimore Area Intergroup, October 2005

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