“How do you know when your habit has become an addiction?” Yes, I was talking to myself once again. A question I presented to myself in the most delicate manner as I was driving home from physical therapy session.
“Should I still be lifting weights?” This question was asked by me but not to me this time but rather to my therapist just before my session ended.
I asked this because of the severe muscle cramps and joint pain I had which are caused by the flairs ups do to my fibromyalgia, which usually gets worse during the winter months. Of course, I knew the answer but had to hear it from a professional.
I mean come on, if it hurts to lift groceries in and out my car, if it hurts to lift a blanket off my body, why would I think lifting any kind of weights would be any better?
His professional opinion was yes and he started to remind me of the definition for insanity, I put my hand up in front of his face as if to say, “stop, I know”, nothing like being confronted with the obvious. I almost rolled my eyes at the dear man, who is old enough to be my father and kind enough to be my grandfather but out of respect, I just nodded and agreed.
He was right; I had been doing the same thing repeatedly in hopes of strengthening my muscles. I had come to enjoy the endorphins that kicked in when I lifted and the results I had experienced from the workout but muscle strength I had not received, just the opposite had happened, my muscles had become week.
I thanked him for the session as well as the confirmation of what I had already known, scheduled my next appointment and headed for my car. Honestly, I was in a little fog as I got in my car to head home.
The familiar feeling of not wanting to give up a habit that was now bad for me brought me right back to my early years in recovery. “How could this be the same, this is exercise?”
The reality of it is this; there are those habits that are good for me and then those that are bad me. I know smoking is a bad habit, never a good choice. But then there are those habits that start out good and can turn into something bad, drug use for pain, food intake for pleasure, relationships, I could place anything in there and call it a habit and if I do it long enough it could become an addiction.
How did I know my habit of lifting weights had become an addiction? Simple, even though I had known it was causing me pain, harm and discomfort, I still could not imagine not doing it and even though I knew I should have stopped, I had to hear it from a professional and I still struggled with the answer.
After my realization in the car, I knew I had to quickly call my husband, not for sympathy mind you but rather for accountability, because I am queen of doing what I know I should not be doing especially if it looks and feels good. But ultimately what would happen is that my muscles would flair up and I would become completely useless to myself and others, it’s one thing if it just happens and another when I intentionally do something to harm myself.
It is crazy to think that in my flesh I would continue to do something just so I could reap the benefits of looking fit and feeling fine in the moment while paying the ultimate price of pain later on.
Therefore, how do I know when my habit has turned into an addiction? Well, here is the Webster’s definition of addiction. Addiction is the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
I think I am safe to say that my habit had become an addiction; psychologically I could not imagine myself without it and severe trauma it had caused.
“Do you know what I love most about Chris?" A question my fifteen-year-old daughter presented me with, one early morning as she was recovering from a bought of dehydration and a trip to the emergency room.
Of course, I thought! Chris, being one of my nearest and dearest friends, I immediately went to a list of a gazillion different things that she could possibly say in regards to why anyone loves Chris but I paused in the moment as she started to share her heart.
She told me what she loved most about Chris was that when she called her to see if she had any popsicles, Chris said no but if she wanted some she would go to the store for her.
My daughter continued to share what she loved most about Chris and her eyes lit up as she shared about the phone call that made her come to this conclusion. While my daughter was sitting in our living room bundled up in a blanket, resting and recovering, she had a sudden urge for a popsicle.
None was to be found in our freezer so she decided to give Chris a call, in hopes that she might just find one hidden behind some frozen veggies or ice cube trays, left over from the summer.
Their freezer mimicked ours, summer had used up the cool and refreshing treat. However, with out hesitation or thought and a willingingness that comes from someone who lives next to your heart, she was ready to hop in the car and head to the store.
This simple but profound action is what my daughter loves most about my friend. Her willingness and readiness to serve and give without hesitation. My daughter knew that Chris and her family had been watching their wallet like so many of us. Yet, Chris did not think twice about her trip to the market, she was ready to go in search of a treat for my daughter.
Now, I know that in many people’s eyes, popsicles are not a cause to make or break the bank but the message that was sent to my daughter’s heart was that she was worth it, valued and loved, without any hesitation or thought, Chris was willing and ready to give. That is a preighbor for you.
A preighbor is someone who responds in the spirit, to the spirit. I knew Chris and her family had been praying for Sami and so when the call was made Chris responded naturally, as many preighbors do.
In addition, even though it sounded like my daughter had a physical need or a want in her request for the Popsicle, I really think in her illness she just needed to hear another voice, someone who could be compassionate and caring as she started to heal from her days in bed.
Chris and her family live 2 ½ houses down from us. We have been neighbors for over a decade but three years ago, we became preighbors. Our hearts connected through our genuine love for the Lord and our passion to keep it real. We have spent time praying for each other, for our families and for the very community we have been called to live in. We are preighbors!
See, anyone can be a neighbor but it takes a very special person to be a preighbor.
Thank you Chris for setting the example for choosing not to just live next to my house but also my heart!
“He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor”.
Life filtered through the lens of our childhood past and present memories, our experiences over the last few days made for delicious story, full of aroma and flavor. The sent of our childhood shenanigans made their way through the caverns, to the canyon and all the way to the wings of a Cessna 6254D.
When you experience life together with someone you have history with, someone you have known your whole life words become delicious, full of flavor and feelings. When you experience life together with someone, you have history with, whether it is through victories or struggles every moment stirs up old memories, which in turn collide, with the new ones and the child with in you comes face to face with the adult you, gently reminding you not to take life so seriously.
Question of the day "how long does it take for the balls to form?" rolled off the lips of my forty something year old brother. I apologize in advance, I know this does not sound holy, righteous or even pleasing to some of you, but it was so dang funny, my response was natural and spontaneous. I was even a little shocked but pleased at the fact that I could still giggle at the girl inside of me.
My brother stood behind me finishing his question to the guide who was giving us a tour of the Grand Canyon caverns, I knew better to even look behind me, making eye contact with him would have ruined the very serious moment as the guide jumped in with enthusiasm to explain how many billions of years it took for the crystal balls to form inside the cavers we were in.
I was dying of laughter inside, turning my head ever so slightly so that I could peer out of the corner of my eye making a ever so brief contact with my brother, there we were standing among strangers but not as forty something year old mature adults but rather all of a sudden I become 10 again and he was 12 ready to loose it because not only did he say balls in public but he was able to make an adult say the word as well, like that was his intent!
It took everything in me not to break out in laughter, here we were taking part in a history/geology lesson, inspired by the hand print of God all over the cavern walls, yet another part of me was lost in the moment of my past, sharing an unspoken connection with my big brother all because of a simple unplanned question followed by a very authentic response.
In my grown brother’s defense, I have to say, he did not set out to cause my mind to take a quick trip to the gutter, he had an honest question, little did he know how quickly the child inside of us both needed to be free for the rest of the trip.
The good news is she was just dehydrated. She had been fighting a headache for over 24 hours, chills and a slight fever. They gave her fluids and something for the pain and released her within a few hours.
That was the prayer as we left the house in the middle of the night, doctor’s orders over the phone, E.R. bound. Because of her complaint of pain in the neck and eyes and her lack of energy, they wanted to rule out meningitis and ordered me to head straight to the hospital, no waiting until the morning.
That word “meningitis” is not something a parent wants to hear in the same sentence as their child’s name. With her blanket in one hand and mine in the other, we went in to the E.R. and with the favor, we seem to have in places like these. A room was waiting and a nurse was in place, no waiting for our turn or wondering who was next.
As I sat next to her bedside watching her sleep and praying for her pain, I couldn't help but think about the many hours I spend next to the bedside of the sick.
As part of the calling as a minister the other side of the bed is a very familiar place for me.
But, nothing in this life prepares a mother to sit next to the guardrail of the bed that her own child is sleeping in. I wanted to take her place, remove her from the bed, take out the IV and make it all better.
With those thoughts in check and the reality of how helpful the fluids were and how safe she was, I took a deep breath, found peace and just sat next to her bedside, held her hand and started thanking God for the resourses we had to make sure she was being cared for in her sicknesses.
We were giving our marching orders after the fluids were administered and all the blood work was finished. No meningitis or bacteria to be found. A viral infection to be fought with rest, sleep and lots of fluids.
I am one happy tired mama! Thank you all for your love, support and prayers. She is wrapped up in her pink blanket, water bottle next to her own bed and sleeping at this very moment.
Thank you God for preparing me for the other side of the bed!
As I watched them dance across the wooden dance floor I remembered that day in spring so many years ago when we were at the ball field waiting for the game to start and Tony was playing with Amanda, he was on his back with her in his arms and they were chasing lady bugs and I knew in that moment that I loved him because of the way he loved her. As they danced their dance, I could smell the green grass of the field as if it had joined us for the ceremony. I could feel the cool spring breeze enter into the moment, a gentle nudge from yesterday to remind me of how much my past was part of my future.
Even though I did not birth this child of mine, she is my child and the stretch marks she has left are not on my belly but across my heart. You could almost say we grew up together and I learned through her how to love unconditionally to forgive with out reservation and to look for the best in everyone. So, as she danced hand in hand with her daddy and I watched from the sideline I said a silent prayer of thanksgiving for the two of the most important people in my life. I learned to love because he loved her well. Thank you Tony and Amanda for being the best husband and daughter a woman could ask for. I love you both to the sky and back.