I taught visually impaired kids for many years and most Sunday nights I had trouble sleeping. Sometimes I didn’t sleep at all. I was scared … of parents, of not knowing enough, of making big mistakes.
Years ago, my doctor prescribed Lorazepam to help me sleep. And when things got really bad, she added Trazodone. During the worst times, I was eating three pills a night. Thought I was a mature person but I crumbled under the stress.
After I retired and was caring for my wife Jody as she fell towards death, both her meds and mine mushroomed. Through it all, I felt worlds away from being free. After Jody died, I tried to get off Lorazepam. It took so long, full of three-hour nights and daily dullness. But I did it! One of the biggest achievements of my life, I’d say.
And now I’m left with the Trazodone. My meditation retreat is over. No big events coming up. It’s time. Albert, my pharmacist, suggests that I take half a pill one night and a whole one the next, and keep that up for two weeks. Then Stage Two. Okay, Albert, I’ll do it, starting tonight.
I think about bedtime, after another rousing Toronto Maple Leafs game, and the fear returns. The Buddha would say welcome it but I’m not there right now. That’s all right. Will I sleep two hours or six? You know my vote.
The gossamer wings of meditation and the clay feet of addiction. Sounds like a human being to me.