There have been so many times during my recovery that I have wanted to quit. I was in so much pain in the nursing home that all I wanted to do was lie in my bed. During rehab, I wanted to quit almost every day. I can’t begin to tell you in words, what it is like to over come an addiction to narcotics. The lesson I learned was that the difference between giving up and succeeding was taking the first step. The hardest part of rehab, most days, was getting out of my wheelchair. It was easier and less painful to just sit. Once I stood up at my walker, I was committed. I didn’t worry about taking ten steps, I worried about having the nerve to take the first one. The same was true when I started going to the gym. Getting to the YMCA was often harder than the workout. I still wake up feeling pretty bad every day. The first thought that enters my mind is “pain” followed by “accident”. The biggest challenge I face each day will be decided in the first 30 seconds of waking up. Can I make myself get out of bed? I know it is going to hurt. I also know that if I go down that rabbit hole of not getting up, of giving in and staying in bed for a day that my will to continue to get better may be in jeopardy. It is the mental hurdle, “the mental first step”, that keeps us from success.
I decided early in my rehab, that all my injuries were not going to determine how far I could go in my recovery, they would only determined where I started. I believe this is a key element to my success. Recovery is a slow process. There are no short-cuts. Most success stories are measured in months and years. Success is built with the tiniest of improvements, continuously piled on top of each other, until finally, they become visible to others around you. Perseverance is the key to recovery. It is taking thousands of “first steps” over and over again. Perseverance is your heart and soul overpowering your mind and allowing you to do things others said you couldn’t.
The accident has given me a battle to fight and a war to win. I know the cards are stacked against me. Time is both my friend and my enemy. I am not getting younger. However, I hope to get myself to a point where my body can age gracefully. A point that my injuries will not cause me to be more debilitated as I become older. I know the outcome will not be decided today, but what I do today will make a difference.