The First Step

When people want to accomplish anything it typically starts with desire. When the person desires something they will likely take steps toward the goal. Here’s an excerpt from The Seven Steps to Healing your Brain where I took an early step toward recovery.

“I particularly remember the first night in the rehabilitation hospital, the fourth hospital in which I’d been a patient. All of the brain injury and stroke patients attended dinner in an echo-filled white hall. Rows and rows of white tables and chairs slowly filled with people wearing hospital garb. Some patients entered walking, and they all wore the badge of affliction with a protracted limp, or facial droop or flow of spittle. Some were in wheel chairs. Some came with the aid of a walker. The patients all sat at tables and staff brought their dinners. We ate in silence, except for one patient who endlessly nodded his head back and forth while humming tunelessly.

This was a critical moment in my recovery; On this day, I was scared. I felt different than most of the people in this room. I wanted to talk. I couldn’t. I wanted to laugh. I couldn’t. I wanted to recover. I could. I looked at the faces, some sad, some vacant, some lost, and I was terrified to be counted among them. This is not to be dismissive of other’s situations, but is rather to suggest that in that moment the passion to recover overwhelmed me and I wanted to rise above the situation.

When dinner ended and the staff began to collect trays from the patients and the room became alive with the sound of clattering cutlery and melamine dishes and trays, I made a decision. I thought,  ‘I am not like this. I am capable,’ and I rose up and began collecting trays from tables, helping staff clean. It was awkward, especially balancing the trays, and placing them into the movable racks, but I kept trying and trying and failing until one time the tray slid smoothly into the rack. I persevered. And in that moment, I shifted from being a victim of my circumstances to one who took control of his life.”

You can accomplish amazing things when you combine passion with effort. First, desire and second, begin.  Do something, anything, toward your goal. What are you waiting for?


In the spring of 1990 Allan Boss was in a motor vehicle accident. He suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. The attending neurosurgeon informed his family that he would never walk again or talk again. He recovered and finished three university degrees including a Ph.D., has written/edited four published books and his CBC Ideas docudrama “Updrafts” about recovering from brain injury won nominations for multiple international awards including the Peabody and the Prix Italia. He is currently writing a non-fiction book about his recovery.

Want to learn more? Email  with the subject Send Me the Free Outline to the book, The Seven Steps to Healing your Brain.

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