The Affliction of Addiction and Diabetes

I have sometimes used the concept of addiction as a metaphor for Type 1 diabetes. Think about it for a minute. We, as type 1 diabetics, must inject insulin daily. If you are still taking shots then you 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 something like drugs or alcohol?? Yes, it may be good for us but we are addicted to it. We need it. And without it we will have symptoms of withdrawal. What I am asking you to do by contemplating being a an addict by being a type 1 diabetic is to hold a mental perspective that you perhaps 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? 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 goal is 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 in which you see your disease so you may obtain additional tools to combat it. I have had type 1 diabetes for 35 years now. I can tell you with 100% certainty that if you are able to increase your level of acceptance 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. The opposite of denial is acceptance. Work on acceptance and the quality of your disease control will increase.

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