“Peroneal tendonitis” he said, “hopefully, not a stress fracture, too. Time will tell”. I recall asking him, weakly, “how much time?”
“Two weeks, no running and make ice your best friend” and he didn’t mean ice, as in “on the rocks”.
As he adducted and abducted my foot, ankle and leg, his words echoed in my head. Tears slipped from my eyes. Nausea gripped my stomach and panic coursed through my veins. My brain’s default setting, on a good day, is always the same “I need a drink to handle this”, when faced with adversity, the passing thought becomes more of a fixation.
To a fly on the wall and to Glenn, my physiotherapist, I probably appeared to be ridiculous; shedding tears at the thought of two weeks off the road. I cope with emotion, any emotion, happiness, sadness, stress, anger, in one of two ways, I used to drink and now I run. If I can’t run to numb the intensity of my feelings, then bottoms up. The thing about my best friend, Coors Light, is that he’s always there for me, calling me, taunting me, tempting me. Without running as a source of comfort, distraction and support I become really nervous about my history with my old drinking buddy. All it would take is one moment of feeling pushed too far, to say screw it and take that first bittersweet guzzle, and we would be celebrating our long, lost kinship and time apart. This is only the beginning of the problem, because, while I wish time and again, that I could be like those of you who can have 1 drink and stop, I am not programmed like that. One drink is never the end, no matter how much I try to make deals with myself about having only one; enough therapy has made me accept on some very deep level that for me, my next drink will not be limited to a single; my buddy and I will be reigniting our special friendship.
I am stronger now than I was a year ago, and sobriety is not as fresh as it once was, which only means it doesn’t take as long for me to make the decision to turn the car around and head home instead of to the liquor store. Never the less, living without running for two weeks is torture for me, my husband, my kids, my co-workers, and the poor checkout lady. I can resort to “self-checkout” at the grocery store, but I cannot avoid all frustrating stimuli. I am a miserable person on the edge of grouchiness without the soothing rhythm of the run. I could get all biological and mention endorphins and dopamine and their roles in the brain, but I’m not going to, maybe another time. The fundamental principal at work here is I need to feel good. If a bottle or two of wine is out of the question, then I need to run, if I can’t run, I don’t feel good. If I don’t feel good, I want to drink…it’s a bit of a go around. Injury and rest come with high risk stakes. With constant thoughts of drinking, temptation is a burden I live with.
When I am at my weakest and temptation is strong, I stop and I ask myself…is my life better now or before I quit lushing the liquor? As much as I want an icy, cold beer, in my favorite frosted mug that reads “Christa”, on the front, I am quick to answer myself by admitting my life is better than ever. I love my life more than I love to drink. I love to run more than I love to drink. I am committed to a good life.
My two weeks of rest did not kill me, but they tortured my husband. I am proud to report the tendonitis had cleared, there is no stress fracture and they are still wondering where I am at the beer store.