Now Playing: "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," by the Beatles
Today is a reeeeeeeeeal special day in my life! Today makes 7300 days in a row that my alcoholism has been in a state of arrest! (In other words, it's been 20 years since I drank! That's when the band learned to play!)
20 years without drink? What's up with that? I'll bet you're wondering why that's such a good thing??? Well, trust me...For me it's a VERY good thing! It has been 7300 days since I've had a blackout and not remembered what I said or did, or what happened to me the night before. It's been 7300 days since I've thrown up at a party. It's been 7300 days since I've been the victim of a violent crime due to the fact that I was incoherent. It's been 7300 days since I have believed myself hopeless. It's been 7300 days since I've had a hangover. It's been 7300 days since a whole lot of things I am happy to just leave behind!
I never thought I would have a problem with alcohol. I was a really good kid! But I had an extremely bad trauma happen to me when I was just turning 17, and I turned to the wrong things for relief.
The thing about alcoholism is that it has physical characterics. I don't just mean from the after effects of over-drinking...I mean the whole entire make-up of our chemistry. There are factors involved which predispose about 10% of the population to problems in the way that their (our) bodies process the substance of alcohol. It isn't just a matter of will power...it's a matter of a physical need. In any randomly selected group of Americans, 10 to 15 of every 100 people either are alcoholics or will become alcoholics. Ten million Americans are alcoholics, and another 10 million are problem drinkers who may be on their way to becoming alcoholics.
We will talk more in the future about specific ways to help deal with cravings naturally. There are many things that can help, such as changes in diet, supplying needed nutrients, making sure the body is in balance and not over abundant in yeast...there are many natural approaches which can be used to help reduce alchol cravings. Exercise is also beneficial, in many ways. Even brain exercises are good! We'll talk more in depth about all of this. Today I want to celebrate, and I could spend hours writing on a topic as complex and important as this!
Let me just say that recovery is a process. It's not an event...It's something that occurs every day. Recovering from alcoholism, or any addiction, is like walking up a down escalator...You have to keep walking or you'll end up at the bottom again. It's a lot of hard work, but it's worth it, for sure! It's a lot easier than living a life of alcohol induced lunacy!
Alcoholism is a perfect example of a disease or condition which responds best to a holistic approach. Physical needs must be met...deficiencies corrected, the body balanced. Emotional needs must be met, as well. Emotional growth is arrested when alcoholism takes over. Emotions become distorted, plus the alcoholic lifestyle sets us up for emotional hurt. Mentally, it's a lot of hard work to recover! Old ideas and thought patterns must be completely revised, and new ways of thinking developed. Behaviorally, habits have to be changed...who we hang out with, what we do for fun, how we cope with problems we have. It can have financial, sexual, and occupational ramifications. It can affects family relations, marital relations, how a person relates with friends and everyone else in the world. There are oftentimes legal consequences which must be faced. And spiritually...Every alcoholic needs spiritual healing, because most alcoholics are bankrupt in this regard, and don't even believe there is hope. Forgiveness, gratitude and humility are needed for recovery to occur at deep enough levels to bring true relief. Serenity is a spiritual thing.
How have I stayed sober for 7300 days? By applying the principles of Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness to the best of my ability one day at a time, for 7300 days in a row, just like anyone can!
We'll talk a lot more about this. As for now, have a great day, and if you drink, please drink responsibly. (And that means if you're alcoholic or have a high risk for developing alcoholism, the safest thing to do is not drink at all. If you do decide to experiment, please proceed with caution and be as honest as you can with yourself, and if you can't control your drinking, get help!) There is no shame in needing help. Alcoholism is a disease.
Alcoholics Anonymous is an excellent program to help recovery in the social, behavioral, and spiritual realms. AA is a fellowship of men and women with a desire to stop drinking who offer each other support. They endeavor to follow a program of recovery as set down in their basic text.
The founders of AA also realized the benefit of nutrition to recovery efforts, although this is not set down as a part of the program. I think it should be, and so did Bill Wilson. There is no doubt as to the relevance of nutrition to recovery from alcoholism, or any other addiction. I highly suggest adding a nuttional component to any program of abstinence to increase the chance of success.
Some people are resistant to the spiritual focus of the AA program, or the particular flavor it takes. That's okay...There are other programs out there to try. AA is good, but it's not the only program there is! The important thing is to begin recovery of some sort, before you become the next statistic and end up in jail, a psychiatric institution, or dead.
I thank God I am alive and I can look at the world today through clear eyes! I'm grateful to just be able to show up for life! But for the Grace of God...that drunk on the corner that makes us all cringe could be me. I could be homeless, without any loved ones, with nothing but misery and pain. Or I could be the woman sitting alone at the end of the bar, with too much make-up on over too many wrinkles, in a black dress at 8:30 a.m. Or that could be me in jail, or locked up as insane...Or like so many people I've met, and loved, that could be me lying dead. But for the Grace of God, it could be any of us.
We'll talk more about this sometime soon. Have a really good day today!
Mary Jo Eshelman, ND, CTN, CNHP
The information presented is the author's personal and professional opinion, and is intended for educational purposes only. Nothing printed here is designed to take the place of a physician's advice. If you are experiencing problems with your health, it is recommended that you consult with a licensed health care professional. All Natural HealthWorks! is not responsible for any damages or ill-effects resulting from the information presented herein, nor do we make any recommendations regarding your health. We are simply here as a resource for you in making your own choices for your health yourself.
It was 20 years ago today,
Sergeant Pepper taught a band to play!