The nature of recovery

A week or so ago, I was quietly celebrating a small but noticeable improvement in my stamina. Not that my capabilities had really improved much, but I was able to stretch the boundaries slightly and bounce back from deep exhaustion more quickly. I even felt confident to mention it to a few close people.

I took myself on a couple of small excursions — one to Wendy Whiteley’s secret garden in North Sydney, and another to an early yum cha lunch with friends, locally. The excursions were several days apart. It was exhilarating to be wandering in that magical garden just for the fun of it, and to be going out for lunch for the second time since having had the stroke.

But as it turns out, I’ve spent a lot of time in bed since, and find myself still deeply exhausted days later. Damn!

As I dragged myself around the local streets on a shortish walk this morning, it came to me that recovery might be a life-long endeavour. I thought of Russell Brand’s recent documentary in which he talked candidly about his recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction. About the term ‘recovering alcoholic/addict’ which I’ve heard in reference to people who’ve been dry/drug-free for many years. Something like twelve years on from stepping clear of drugs and alcohol, Brand admitted he didn’t know for sure that he would not return to those addictive behaviours, even though he didn’t want to. Recovery — a lifelong experience?

Post-stroke, it’s an active choice to find constructive, nurturing ways of living in recovery; the alternative is a dismal downhill slide. How blessed I am, then, to be able to access a rich inner life of reflection, stillness, creative insights. How blessed I am to be able to express myself creatively in my writing and in crochet.

Writing my morning pages this morning, I became aware I hadn’t written any poetry nor blogged for a while, and that I missed it. That my spirit felt a little cramped. So part of my focus as I walked was on allowing a haiku to arise. Here it is.


recovery two-step —
dancing in a small space my
spirit heart expands


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One Response to The nature of recovery

  1. Selena says:

    We are blessed that you share these insights.
    I know Wendy Whiteley’s garden – a secret splendour, somehow always with the right mood for the visit. I’m so delighted to read you took yourself there, and yum cha. I saw the Russell Brand doco too, and agree with you: it’s almost as though recovery is a state of mind, an approach to life that allows for ‘then’ and ‘now’, or ‘from’ and ‘towards’, which opens life out; there are new possibilities for change, growth and strength.

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