I’ve planned to write this post for some time, but I kept putting it off, it’s there on my list of posts to write, but I keep ignoring it, but the other morning as I walked at 5.30am, I started to prepare it in my mind, I had a path for the piece worked out, but then a song played on my iPod which just changed my thinking, a new thread on the same subject emerged, my pain, now I’ve got to work the two together, stay with me lets see how this pans out.
I thought my pain started a few weeks after I stopped drinking, my withdrawals certainly hit a peak at that time, but after re-reading some of my journal I note that I started with headaches almost straight away.
At first I thought it was just de-hydration, I was getting headaches most days, with no regular pattern, just an almost constant headache, which I learnt to live with. They were there rolling around my head from day-to-day, some days dull, some days raging, but I tried not to take anything for them, I take enough tablets as it is, I drank loads of water, but that didn’t help, those headaches were nearly always there.
But then it was like someone had flipped me over like an hour-glass, those sands, that were the headaches, slowly filtered through my neck and started to fill my bulbous body.
Firstly into my back and shoulders, then my lower back, then the hips, the knees and thighs, then the ankles, it gradually became easier to say where there was no pain, than describe how I felt. Paracetamol and ibuprofen became my friends, rotating between the two every few hours in hope it would all go away, so I could feel normal again, they took the edge off, kept it all bearable but didn’t take it away entirely, there was no getting away from this, I knew I would have to face this at some point, I thought it would be sooner, but here it was, the body craving, it had taken a holiday from the booze, but now it longed for alcohol, it was screaming at me, in turn I was screaming at the walls.
To cap it all one night in pain I slumped over the arm of my sofa reaching for pain killers, but I lost my sense of perception and hit the sofa’s arm heavily, right in my ribs, bruising them, so now I couldn’t take a deep breath, laugh, sneeze, cough, all the normal everyday things were now done in complete pain, I started falling apart at the seams.
On Sunday 22nd April I sat in Church in pain, I couldn’t get comfy, no position would help and every readjustment was painful, I couldn’t concentrate on anything, I was just trying to exist, everyone who passed me prayed for me, even our Pastor Gareth, but the pain wouldn’t go away, but when Gareth asked how I was, I couldn’t take it any longer, I said it was getting to me that much I just wanted to cry, with that I did, I let out the tears I had held in. I wore a mask of pain that day, a never changing pained visage on my face, that day I faced many questions and a few found out about my past that day, shocked yes, but keen to help, Oh Yes!
The next day was the lowest point of my recovery, laid alone on my sofa, I was in so much pain, I felt so alone, I was suffering on my own. Going through my head was the thought that I could take all this away be giving my body what it was craving for, alcohol, I knew or rather I believed that a bottle of wine would give my body what it needs and my pain would subside, I knew I couldn’t do it, but part of me wanted to, I was trying to fight it, but I was losing, the temptation was beginning to win, I tried fighting, but alone, in pain, scared, I wanted to give in, at that point I felt the need to let someone know, I texted a friend from Church, a simple text, I was in pain, I was suffering, I needed help and encouragement, no sooner had that text been sent then the low feelings went, the temptation just vanished, I was still in pain, but I had control back. When people say a problem shared is a problem halved, they are not kidding, it worked that night, with that one text I was beginning to master the pain.
The very next day I was back at the Doctor’s, I let him know everything about my pain, he examined me, concluded it was withdrawal pains and prescribed my cocodamol. Now here’s where I became a little wary, an alcoholic and addict, I was given an addictive pain killer with codeine, an opiate, time to exercise some self control here, I decided these weren’t to be taken unless I couldn’t handle the pain I was in. To be quite honest they didn’t do much more than the others, I started to gain control over the next week, I stopped taking the cocodamol with over half the 30 pills left, I ached still, but I learnt to manage and gradually the pain disappeared and I was free, the withdrawals I had dreaded were over. So mid May I started my morning exercise regime and watching what I ate in a successful bid to lose weight, so glad I could now move forward.
So the other morning as I started to plan this post, Can’t Take The Pain by Third Day came on my iPod, it quickly changed my view on the pain I went through, I started to look at it from a completely different angle.
Lord, You took the pain even though I left You
And You took the shame and You made it all Your own
Why’d you take the blame for everything that I’ve done?
(Can’t Take The Pain by Third Day)
The song is written from the view of Peter and his remorse of denying Jesus and leaving him to die on the cross, the pain he felt. I started to think about the pain I felt, I had denied Christ in my life on so many occasions, I had sinned, I deserved my pain, I was due it as a penance. Jesus took the pain, through choice, so we could be forgiven for our sin, He took the pain for all of us, including me, but I denied him, I carried on sinning, I carried on down the wrong path, but I was forgiven, the down and out, waste of life was forgiven, I was rebuilt, I suffered the pain of transformation.
With the pain went the temptation, it was broken, I found a way to deal with it, I prayed, I admitted I needed help, I confessed my weakness, I was forgiven, I couldn’t take the pain, it was true, I was weak, but the pain was taken from me, prayer was working, in need I asked for help and help was given.
We’ve all denied Jesus at some point in our lives, for 38 years I denied him, until I couldn’t take the pain, at that point I was freed and the rebuilding process gathered pace.
I am not ashamed to say I am weak and I need help anymore, years of denial drove me to the brink, I am so thankful I was forgiven and given this second chance at life, I praise the Lord everyday for the work he has done within me, I could never do it alone.