Is Diabetes an Addiction??

I have sometimes used addiction as a metaphor for Type 1 diabetes. Think about it for a minute………

A type 1 diabetic must inject insulin daily. If still taking shots then a Type 1 diabetic might have to partake in a “fix” up to 8 or more times a day. If on the pump, we are constantly “hooked” up to our drug of choice.

But, Michael, we don’t crave insulin?? Try not taking it for a day or two and see if you begin to crave it.

But, Michael, it is good for us unlike being addicted to something like drugs or alcohol?? Yes, it may be good for us but we are addicted to it. We need it. Without it we will have symptoms of withdrawal.

What I am asking you to do by contemplating being an addict by being a type 1 diabetic, is to hold a mental perspective that you may not have thought about. When thinking of our disease as an addiction there are a few pathways that may open up. Explore these. Think about the people around you. Are they acting like co-dependents or enablers? Are you treating them like co-dependents or enablers?  Do you hide your disease? What is it that caused the addiction in the first place? Do I own any responsibility for the onset of my situation? Is the goal to overcome my addiction?  Has my life become unmanageable?

Check out the 12 steps of AA. The first step says…..”We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.” Does having diabetes imply we are powerless over something and that our lives have become unmanageable? What is the something that we are powerless over? For sure the immediate task is to manage our disease. If we don’t, our lives do become unmanageable.

I don’t bring this thought exercise out to be provocative. No, my intention is to offer a momentary shift in the way  we see our disease so we may obtain additional tools to combat it. I have had type 1 diabetes for 39 years now. I can tell you with 100% certainty that if you are able to increase your level of awareness you will increase your ability to respond to your disease on a moment to moment basis. Denial is one of the hurdles in the recovery of an addict. Some say the opposite of denial is acceptance and it is acceptance that will “set you free.”  Screw acceptance.  I don’t accept this disease.  However, I am willing to be aware.  Work on awareness and the quality of your disease control will increase and you will be on the healing path………..