Can I stay sober and sane with long term health issues? – By Greg R

I hear a lot about staying sane in ‘fellowship’ situations. Staying sane, while staying sober is quite difficult. Add long term ill health issues on top of that and the difficulty rating rises quite significantly.

Hardly any of us ‘get away with it’ in our addiction. We come round, come to and then come to find that bits of our physiology and psychology have suffered damage from our disease. With me, it’s bone density and damage, which causes Chronic Pain, having to walk with assistance, and a stonking case of ‘M.E.’, (more commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and a few other things besides. For all of these conditions, I’ve had to seek help from qualified and experienced specialists in their respective fields.

Within the fellowship I’ve had experience where sponsors suggested that their protégé cease taking their medications. I did this, once, and that is the operative word, once. My sponsor at the time told me to stop my medications, and me, being the dutiful sponsee, promptly did so.

Bad move…..not only was my sponsor not medically qualified and experienced, I too, had little experience of sobriety or knowledge of the medications I was on and what they were for. I was very nearly hospitalized on a long-term basis with the consequences of my actions.

Needless to say, that person is no longer my sponsor. I’ve even heard of people, in my own AA district, coming close to death and having to be hospitalized. Today, I listen very carefully to my doctor. I follow instructions. If something is prescribed, I stick to the prescription. Abuse of a prescription is just as bad as going out there and getting street drugs. Today, I trust myself to follow directions, and that’s only because of 12 steps and a Higher Power that I choose to call God.

I don’t talk much about my conditions, I just accept them, follow sane suggestion, both medically and program-wise, and manage the best I can. Some of the things in my daily routine are difficult for me to do which involve lifting and shifting. It makes the household cleaning interesting.

This is where priorities come in, and that’s where the 12 Steps help. I’m powerless to do most simple things when my condition is poor. It’s frustrating, I can tell you. I have to keep asking myself the question, is it important?….and work my way toward acceptance of my situation.

It’s really tough some days, but  I do what I can, when I can. As long as I apply the principles of the program on a daily basis, I cope. I treat my conditions A Day at a Time too. Recently I reached 12 years of sobriety, which goes to prove we can do it! No matter what the personal situation, be it health, finance, relationship, no relationship…whatever the case. We can stay sober.




About Greg R

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