Day 2 – I am not my condition, and neither are you

As I mentioned in my first post, I am an alcoholic, and while that term is what I am, it is not who I am. I see myself as a person with an illness, something that I need to fix. Traditionally, they say that alcoholism is for life – that you never really recover – and that you will fight it for the rest of your life.

I don’t accept that.

If I resign myself to that mantra, I may as well go drink myself to death right now because I will be accepting that I am going to fight myself every day.  I don’t want to live like that. I was thinking about this today and it seems more and more like people with conditions are routinely told that all they can do is cope and take medications.

Diabetic? No hope there, just take insulin. Never mind changing your diet, there is no way you are going to get better.

MS? None here. Take these pills as you slowly degenerate, since you can’t fix this one either.

Ulcerative Colitis? Just treat the symptoms with steroids. Don’t bother fixing the underlying problem.

Fibromyalgia? Celiac? How many other conditions are really “permanent”? While alcoholism is different from these conditions, I still have to think that if I can treat the underlying reason I drank that the term “recovered alcoholic” may someday be what I am. As for that underlying reason, thats a topic I’ll have to unpack.

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3 Responses to “Day 2 – I am not my condition, and neither are you”

  1. I must disagree with you. Every time I speak with somebody who has diabetes (ESPECIALLY somebody who is newly diagnosed) I spend a lot of time explaining what they can do to in order to rely as little on metformin and insulin as possible. Diet and exercise are the cornerstone to any diabetic, just as much as support, strength and self control are to an alcoholic.
    You are absolutely correct in saying that to treat any disease or condition, you must determine the underlying cause and treat that. This is what medicine is built on. However, sometimes we must treat the symptoms (particularly if they are life threatening i.e thyroid storm) that are secondary to the underlying issue in order to get to the bottom of a disease process.
    You are smart and introspective; I hope you determine the underlying cause that gets you to lose the control you have on drinking.

    • I meant no disrespect to anyone in the medical profession, as I believe that the intentions of most of these folks are nothing but good. I suppose the point that I’m trying to make is that the information is often wrong and we end up relying on treating the symptoms. Take, for instance, the list of diabetes “superfoods” from the ADA: tons of carb-rich foods and fat-free dairy! If diabetics don’t get calories from fat, they are inevitably going to eat tons of carbs and throw their insulin out of control.

      Then we end up with figures like Paula Deen who make the claim that as a diabetic she can still have “one slice of pie” while openly promoting a drug company.

      So sorry if I came across as derogatory of medical professionals; it was not my intent.

      • I thought you were actually right about most of what you wrote. The only problem with chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension is that the patient is noncompliant (he/she visits their doctor, then doesn’t make any changes to their life) and continues the bad behaviors that led them to their disease in the first place. This mistake is prevalent in all areas of health and medicine, as well as addiction. It’s great that you see this and are taking actions to make those changes in your life. I wish there were more people like you out there. Stay strong.

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