Friday, February 24, 2012

Taking Care of Our Health

Monday I wrote about how we need to have time for ourselves, today I want to write about taking care of ourselves.

When you spend years abusing substances, you do a lot of damage to your body.  I gave myself chronic pancreatitis.  Now, I haven't had an attack since I became sober, but I still have major stomach issues.  Every time my sleep schedule is thrown off, which is a weekly event with my job schedule, I will be sick to my stomach for at least 2-3 days.

Because I've always had a stomach that acted out when I was stressed my normal instinct is to just ignore this.  But, I'm older now, and I have all the damage done by the years of drinking.  Ignoring what ails me is not really an option anymore.  I have tried ignoring it, it does not go away. The 2-3 days becomes all week and ends up with me in bed unless I am on regular meds from my doctor.

I also need to see him regularly for other issues, at 47 I already have osteoporosis, something I probably wouldn't have yet if it hadn't been for the drinking.  There is also a heavy family history of heart trouble, now all of my heart tests and stress tests come back A+, but the family history is there, and my years of drinking are there, so that also has to be monitored regularly.

On a day to day basis I generally feel pretty good, even on my bad tummy days; I'm used to my stomach rebelling regularly so unless its really bad, I just motor my through my stomach upsets.  I want to enjoy my life now that I'm sober and I actually live it.

The only way to make sure I have enough life left to enjoy is to see the doctor regularly, something against my nature.  Of course, I try to look at it this way, for a lot of years it was against my nature to stay sober.  Going against my nature is not always such a bad idea, obviously!

I know a lot of people in recovery run for the doctor for every little ache and pain; that will probably be the subject of another post.  But a lot of people are like me-we just don't want to go to the doctor until we are dying.  Even in my drinking days, with an attack of pancreatitis I would never go for help until it was so bad that I would need to be hospitalized for several days.  Since I didn't have any insurance, you can imagine how sick I must have been to be admitted for that long.

Today, I can't afford to do that.  I have a lot of things I want to do, a lot of time to make up for.  I can never get back the years that I lost to drinking, but if I take the time today to take care of myself physically then I will have a lot more years to enjoy and to do what I want.

Ignoring my health today is just another way of opening the door for my addiction to come back.  If I don't feel well, if my mental defenses are down because I'm physically not at my best, then its easier for my thinking to become clouded and my judgment to lapse.

This is something I will not allow to happen, so I go to the doctor every 3 months, I take my daily tummy pill, my baby aspirin, all my other medically necessary pills.  And whenever I think about what a pain it is to remember to take them,and to time them with meals and erratic sleeping schedules and everything else then I just think of all the things I want to do, and I know that the pills and the doctor visits are a necessary evil.

As I learn more about natural healing and holistic methods I will hopefully come to rely on my doctor for less pills and just visit him to keep tabs on my conditions.  But I am still very new to learning about those methods-I'll keep you posted!

Blessed Be!

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