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Elizabeth5220

Healing More Than The Body...

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Like many, I have had a complicated, difficult, but also glorious life.

At 16, I had my first drink of alcohol--stealing into my parent's stash for a shot of liquid courage before a park dance. Within a year I was drinking every weekend, smoking cigarettes (and other dried organic products), and starting down a path of addiction which included bouts with anorexia.

When people ask me how old I am today, I laugh and tell them I'm only 40 because I don't remember my 20s. I have a strong self-depricating sense of humor. By the age of 34, after seeing my boyfriend lying in a hospital bed for 6 weeks in a coma dying from alcohol poisoning, I got sober. He got sober too--for awhile and so I married him. Unfortunately, his sobriety was fleeting and over the course of our 11 year marriage he was in and out of alcohol treatment facilities five different times.

Long, long story short--I left my dear, much loved husband and within two years he was dead from alcoholism at the age of 54. I pulled myself through this gut-wrenching guilt and the wreckage of our marriage, and from the bankruptcy and home foreclosure that went with it. Unfortunately, I didn't do it sober. In my denial, after 10 years of sobriety, I decided I could drink like a 'normal person' and over the course of four years almost killed myself with a deadly combination of alcohol and narcotic pain pills prescribed while I was dealing with hip replacements.

I finally got clean--again--and have been now for almost 16 months. It hasn't been easy, but then what good things in life are?

Why am I telling this story? I read so many threads filled with frustration and anger over having to give up all of the lovely gluten-laced foods that we've come to love. And the angst over compromised social activities...and on and on. And all of this is completely understandable and justified!! But I can't help but draw parallels--not between the two diseases, but the recovery process.

I don't completely subscribe to all of AA's principle or the 12 Steps--that discussion is for another forum. However, the first step of any 12-Step program is a form of acceptance and admitting that we couldn't fix the problem. As celiacs or gluten-sensitives or whatever--there is nothing we can do to fix that. There is no cure that will once again allow us to eat gluten like normal people. We just have to accept that. And for those of us not formally diagnosed, like alcoholism, we wrestle with, "are we or are we not?". And while the second step in the process refers to restoring a level of sanity and that may (or may not?!) be a little strong--it also refers to looking towards a Power greater than ourselves for help. Recovery from any disease is so much more than healing the body.

Wow. I didn't mean for this post to be son long! I just thought that a little perspective or another way of looking at things might help some. And if you're at a holiday gathering over the next few weeks and can't have some of those tempting treats--enjoy your glass of wine and think of me drinking my diet-Pepsi...that is gluten-free?? ;););)

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My dear Elizabeth

Your story is like others I've heard before. I am not a recovering AA Member but I do have some close to me that are & have been sober for over 30 years, only by the Grace of God & following the twelve- step program every minute of the day--- NON_STOP>>>>>>

I have supported these people through the years.A couple had fallen off the wagon as you have. The reason for this is they did not follow the twelve step program constantly.. They wanted to say they were a part of the twelve step program but they also felt they didn't need to be so strict & only follow parts of the program...what suited them ( like an easy fix, I'm trying sort of thing message for their piers)You know', family can't disown me because I'm sorta trying type of deal!!!

The main reason people do not succeed is because they want to follow their own plans & not follow the twelve step program...And stick with it. Once an elky or addict the desire is always there hiding in ones mind -- like the devil just waiting for a moment he can slip back into your life...and once again OWN YOU....

My wish for you is to re-think about your life & what a difference you could make by being a twelve step follower in the program & then helping another struggling huuman find the path to a wonderful life ... the life each person deserves with the Grace of God being the pilot...

By giving of yourself to others , you to will grow & find peace...

Peace & Blessings to You.

The journey is not easy but the rewards are increditable...

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My dear Elizabeth

Your story is like others I've heard before. I am not a recovering AA Member but I do have some close to me that are & have been sober for over 30 years, only by the Grace of God & following the twelve- step program every minute of the day--- NON_STOP>>>>>>

I have supported these people through the years.A couple had fallen off the wagon as you have. The reason for this is they did not follow the twelve step program constantly.. They wanted to say they were a part of the twelve step program but they also felt they didn't need to be so strict & only follow parts of the program...what suited them ( like an easy fix, I'm trying sort of thing message for their piers)You know', family can't disown me because I'm sorta trying type of deal!!!

The main reason people do not succeed is because they want to follow their own plans & not follow the twelve step program...And stick with it. Once an elky or addict the desire is always there hiding in ones mind -- like the devil just waiting for a moment he can slip back into your life...and once again OWN YOU....

My wish for you is to re-think about your life & what a difference you could make by being a twelve step follower in the program & then helping another struggling huuman find the path to a wonderful life ... the life each person deserves with the Grace of God being the pilot...

By giving of yourself to others , you to will grow & find peace...

Peace & Blessings to You.

The journey is not easy but the rewards are increditable...

Thank-you...I have a found a great group of people through AA and also an online support group of women through Women for Sobriety which is actually a 13 Statement approach specifically for women. It saved my life.

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That's an interesting thought. I think there may be some parallels, but the difference is that it's not an addiction we are overcoming. We are unable to eat most of the foods that the rest of the world is eating. If we can have them in a gluten free form they aren't readily available whenever we want them like they are for everybody else.

I think the grieving process is similar to what you go through with a death or any other big loss.

It's so much more than food. Food is culture. Food is history. Food is family. Food is tradition. Food gathers people together and it is a major part if not the major focus of cultural celebrations, holidays and major events for every culture in the world. You can get a PhD in anthropology with a focus on food!

When you lose gluten you lose freedom and you lose some social connection. The fact is that you are now forced to plan ahead in ways you never had to plan before. I can't just jump in my car and head out all day without thinking about what and where I will eat. I always pack food with me in case.

I can't just go to a party or potluck and eat whatever is served. I have to ask embarrassing questions or bring my own food. It ALWAYS makes at least one person, usually the hostess, uncomfortable in some way or other. Mostly they are worried about me and they feel terrible that I can't eat the way everyone else is eating.

Treasured family traditions are altered and sometimes abolished for people. If your family has been making the same gingerbread recipe for 3 generations and everyone gathers together to make those cookies each year, it is hard to ask them all to make changes. Yes it can be done, but still... the tradition is altered. Your grandmother's treasured recipe box may not have the meaning for you that it once did.

Christmas is especially hard. My fondest Christmas memories are going to my aunt's house to bake for 3 days straight and handing out cookie plates to all our friends and family. Gluten free is expensive and many couldn't afford to bake for everyone now.

I know that giving up alcohol can be socially isolating for alcoholics because they generally tend to travel in social circles with others who drink. But avoiding gluten is across the board. I don't know anyone who is an alcoholic except my stepmother's obnoxious sister who I avoid like the plague. So you can find large groups of people who do not get drunk. But it's going to be tough to find large groups of people who don't consume gluten.

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That's an interesting thought. I think there may be some parallels, but the difference is that it's not an addiction we are overcoming.

If you read through the threads, a lot of people do feel they are addicted to gluten.

I'm happy to see this thread here, and I hope it will help some people gain perspective, and learn how to deal with both the loss of a food, and, for some, the loss of a substance that made them feel good.

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For many the powers of booze or drugs are a constant way of life for them Same with what we have taught since our early years about food. My parents always told us that Bread is the staff of life.. Whole grains keep you healthy...And as children we believed & never doubted our parents geniune love for us....only to find out down the pike the very things they taught us is Killing Us.....Yes, very hard to swallow....

So loosing wheat & gluten from our lives we in a way have lost teachings from our most trusted love ones...now, I'm not blaming them but this cuts into the core of family ..celiac can (if we let it) divide families, separate us from true honest friends, Isolate us from how we live out lives..

Whether if be from an addiction or a disease we have lost a part of our being& we both addicts or be it to disease need to re-focus our thoughts & plans to adjust to a wholesome healthy lifestyle.. Both need constant attention every minute of the day...

There can be no taking it for granted on either.Yes, it is a challengee but I know we all can overcome whatever the issue with a strong will & focus that yes, I can & will WIN..

Many when starting out think they will never get through the diet change but through time & contant focus they survive , our healthy, happy , secure & giving back to others on this very site...

Just don't let that demon (which we all have) inside of us win.. We all can control what is happening in our world.....

I have lost many friends, no invites anymore but I'm so blessed that new friends & some old ones & family has come around to see I'm healthy, happy & living instead of being so ill I could not move for many years...

I' take food everywhere I go, share every chance I get, & answer every question thrown at me about celiac... I even have some who now ask me to make a gluten-free item because it is better than the wheat one..Plus many times they have no idea that it is gluten-free.Ie: I bake for our church social , everyone asks for the recipe! Oh, okay , it is gluten-free ...SURPRISE, SURPRISE.....THYE ARE BLOWN AWAY THAT gluten-free TASTED SO GOOD......

You can win.............

blessings

mamaw

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Thanks for all your replies.

My point with this thread was that the first few steps of any 12-step programs may be helfpul to some in coping with this diagnosis--acceptance and seeking help through a spiritual process. Or maybe The Eliszbeth Kubler-Ross modelof the five stages of grief...denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance??! ;)

Have a great day everyone!

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You are so correct.. We do go through the stages of grief just as we do when we loose a loved one......

Many years ago when some (still happening) have trouble adjusting to the gluten-free lifestyle I said we need a twelve step program! Some people have no support system & that makes anything so much more difficult...

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I think emotional strength is just like physical strength in that the more you exercize it, the stronger it becomes. I think the fact that I walked away from alcohol (and it was NOT easy), made it a bit easier to adjust to the new diet.

There is a big beautiful blueberry pie sitting on my table right now, that is a gift to a family that I will be seeing later today. Now, blueberry pie is my number one favorite dessert. I like it even better than ice cream. But I'm not even slightly tempted. I know how sick it would make me. And after finding the strength to give up alcohol, knowing how sick THAT made me, ignoring that pie is, pardon me, easy as pie.

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I think emotional strength is just like physical strength in that the more you exercize it, the stronger it becomes. I think the fact that I walked away from alcohol (and it was NOT easy), made it a bit easier to adjust to the new diet.

There is a big beautiful blueberry pie sitting on my table right now, that is a gift to a family that I will be seeing later today. Now, blueberry pie is my number one favorite dessert. I like it even better than ice cream. But I'm not even slightly tempted. I know how sick it would make me. And after finding the strength to give up alcohol, knowing how sick THAT made me, ignoring that pie is, pardon me, easy as pie.

I am not a fan of AA as I don't buy into their belief that alcoholism, or anything else for that matter, is "beyond our control". I don't think it is a bigger power because if it were, no one would recover. I don't know what the mindset mechanism is or how it works but at no time have I had any trouble sticking to this lifestyle. I think how sick you get after ingesting gluten may be a big factor for many because I never, ever want to be that sick again.

Nothing could make me crave gluten on any level. However, we have the power to create delicious substitutes of their gluten filled counterparts so that does help. Not so much for cigarettes or alcohol....no good substitutes for them! :o Your thoughts on emotional strength were spot on. I think that very true.

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I definitely think there is a mental component to get over that is similar to a grieving process. I agree with the above person who said they aren't tempted because of how sick they get, but that doesn't mean I don't get sad or miss the things I can no longer have. Yes, there are similar things, but no one can make me gluten-free baklava just like my Greek neighbor or a deep dish Gino's East pizza or General Tsao's chicken from the chinese place down the street. Similar, maybe, exact matches absolutely not.

Food is intertwined with our culture and traditions that it's as big of a mental shift as physical one. It's kind of like ending a relationship with someone you know is no good for you, but you still care about. You know it's best in the long run that you are not together, but it still hurts.

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