Serenity in Illness
So after two years of drilling down, getting nowhere, I came to believe that only a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity about my health, and, in fact, only that Higher Power could restore my health if it was “His” will for me.
I decided that I needed to find a way of life that supported my current health issues. As the Serenity prayer says:
- God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
- Courage to change the things I can,
Try as I might, this illness, like many of my career and fame desires, couldn’t be budged. I had no serenity bashing my head against the wall trying, over and over and over, to find a cure.
What could I change?
- I could NOT change my health, but I COULD change my attitude about it.
- I could stop fighting it.
- I could find meaning in my life despite it.
- I could be grateful for what I have instead of focusing on what I lack, such as the fact that all the tests showed no life-threatening condition.
Well, it is sort of obvious that when you do the same destructive thing over and over and get the same result, that is insanity. I have learned in recovery that what brings me peace is what I need to keep doing and what makes me restless, irritable, and discontented brings me closer to debting.
I know how much those of use who suffer with these types of illnesses want relief. We are frightened, especially as we see our health decline, feeling powerless over it and finding no help from the medical community to stop the progression. It is so tempting when someone offers you hope to jump at it.
But I had to gain some insight and discretion in what makes sense for me. I can no longer afford to jump at every opportunity, and I mean that financially, emotionally, and physically. My body cannot handle it just as my checkbook cannot.
Saying no to temptation around my health issues has brought sanity back into my life. I can truly say that my life is far more relaxed and joyous because I am not going to doctors and other practitioners daily or weekly. I follow up with my three doctors because it is necessary for keeping my disability. I feel profoundly grateful that I have three doctors who DO understand chronic illnesses, such as mine, and take them very seriously, even though there is little to nothing they can do to fix the problem.
PRGs and Health Issues
There is one final aspect surrounding our recovery and chronic health issues I would like to address. This is both to the patient and to those on his or her PRG team. I know it is difficult, when I am on someone’s PRG, to challenge medical spending. I feel scared, because I’m not a doctor. However, I can only share how my fabulous PRG team handled this when I went through the struggle.
- If there was an acute problem, such as an abscessed tooth, there was no issue at all. We figured out immediately how to pay for this.
- On my adventures, chasing the holy grail of a cure, while they didn’t stop me, they worked hard with me to ensure I wouldn’t debt.
- They were honest with me and asked me to think about the tough questions of whether my latest health-cure obsession would be a good use of my resources.
- They made me pause (ugh, was that hard) before jumping into a new option.
- They finally convinced me to commit to one thing at a time and make a six month commitment to one possibility (the Gupta training) before jumping into anything else.
- When I was going down one path, they helped me become willing to not research any other so-called cures.
- They were very tactful, yet truthful, in telling me that my behavior was compulsive.
Acceptance is Always the Answer
In the end, I was more interested in getting recovery than in getting my way. And, hard as it was, I did my best to follow their suggestions. And now I am so grateful. Because of what they taught me, I said no a number of times to some new “smoke and mirrors” opportunity. Now, my medical category is appropriately funded and in balance. We have come to see that investing in massage is the one worthwhile ongoing spending that is helpful.
My life is so much more relaxed and happy now that I live in acceptance of my illness … most of the time. Not to say that I don’t get scared at times, but I no longer let my fear send me into a tailspin that culminates in spending money to no avail. I’m still dizzy, tired, achy, and all the rest, but because my attitude has changed, none of this makes my life unmanageable any longer … most of the time. (I strive for progress, not perfection!)
I respect the illness and no longer do my will at the expense of making myself worse … most of the time. So I drive infrequently, limit computer time, have little outside-the-house social contact, but I found other fabulous ways to create a full life.
I turn to my Higher Power, my program, my phone network, my meditation, my art, and yes, writing this blog, as the way to co-exist with my illness. My life is more meaningful than it has ever been and far more joyous and peaceful. Not perfect, by any means, but I truly feel that, for today, regarding my health issues, I am living in recovery, rather than in fantasy. And that will keep me sober just for today.