Home Recovery Whatever and However

Whatever and However

5 min read

As a sickly kid, I learned to be dependent on my mother. She made all the decisions for me, and I learned that I was incapable of picking myself up when I fell. She was judgemental and emotionally abusive—a rageaholic and compulsive overeater. At age five, my clothes fit tightly because I was fat. I ate to bury the pain, eventually gaining and losing over 300 pounds (136 kg) before I started recovery.

Today, I’m on dialysis with end-stage kidney disease, so adherence to my food plan and access to nearby medical facilities are vital.

One evening last December, I came home from dialysis to find my apartment badly flooded. I spent that night in a nearby hotel.

My kitchen cabinets and drawers were so badly warped that the whole kitchen had to be gutted. They brought in huge blowers to stop the mold in the ceiling and dry the place out. A company was contracted to find me temporary housing, and I told them I couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel if it meant eating only at restaurants. They found one that had a kitchen in each unit, and my homeowner’s insurance covered the cost, which was good since I ended up staying there for seven weeks. The one plus was that my dialysis center was right across the street.

On top of everything else, we had the second worst total snowfall in Philadelphia’s history that winter. We seemed to get fresh snow every week, often 6 inches (15 cm) and once over 13 inches (33 cm), which shut down the city. I walk with a cane and take public transportation, so food shopping was arduous work.

I recalled a story in the Big Book, “Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict,” in which the writer says, “I do whatever is in front of me to be done . . . however it turns out, that’s God’s will for me” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd ed., p. 452). So, I took things one day at a time, sometimes part of a day at a time, and continually turned my will over to the care of God. I kept a daily list of things to do—it kept me focused. If something got done, great; if not, no big deal. I moved slowly and didn’t pressure myself. All that mattered was “making progress” and staying positive. (I relied heavily on my sense of humor.)

I also kept my sponsor, therapist, OA home group, and others in my support system informed, whether by phone, email, shares in meetings, or one-on-one conversations, of what was going on and how I was feeling.

Given my end-stage kidney disease and dialysis, I’m on a very restricted food plan. I never cut corners with my food. My heart and healthy bones are at stake, not to mention my clarity of mind. I need to be able to understand any change in my condition and choose the best option on short notice. That is what keeps me coming back. During those seven difficult weeks, I wrote, read program literature, and asked for help. Above all, it was my abstinence and my belief in God that got me through. He must have put me through this to help me grow.

— Marc

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