Tolerance

I wonder as my time in AA accumulates about getting better.  Getting better and better and better.  Once in a while something changes drastically for me.  Most of the time it doesn’t.  Most of the time I coast.

I went to the dentist today.  I’ve never like it.  Who does?  My teeth aren’t the greatest.  Since my late 20s I’ve known that things are going bad.  It will continue that way until I die, I guess.

On the way to the dentist I did my usual fighting-fear-with-gratitude thing and I mentally thanked God for – teeth – dentists – the ability to pay the dentist – anesthesia – things like that.  I work with people who, for various reasons, often have terrible, terrible teeth.  I see terrible teeth every day.

While the hygienist worked on me I did my usual leave-my-body-and-live-in-my-mind.  I tried to think of other things.  I thought of other things, but of course my mind came back quickly and often to the hands, plastic, metal and pain in my mouth.

So I began to wonder about it.  I wonder if I can increase my tolerance of the dentist.  My current level of tolerance gets me by, in a way, though I know my avoidance makes me put off trips there past what would really help me.  But I get by.  I do it without drugs.  I haven’t even had laughing gas (one of my favorites) for many, many years.  Though I want it.  I don’t ask for it.

So I can rest there and continue to get by.  But maybe I can do better with it.  I started to think of exactly what she was doing and how it felt.  It hurt, it was frightening, it was unpleasant.  But it was leading up to a cleaner and healthier mouth.  It was leading up to enabling me to keep my teeth, such as they are, for as long as possible.  Could I enjoy it even?

No.  Anyway the news I got there is that I will have many more opportunities to practice and increase my tolerance of the dentist in the very near future.

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