In 12-Step Recovery from addiction, sobriety brought me hope and a new perspective on life. But I learned that knowledge was of little value without action. I found that life could be a half-full and not half-empty existence if I took the steps necessary to live from a positive perspective. I recollect well upon discharge after 30 days of detox, immediately getting a sponsor, going to 90 meetings in 90 days, and following the recommended actions to maintain my sobriety. Though the practices changed over time, for the past three decades, the recovery road never failed me. For example, although I have not been to an AA meeting in over a year, my recovery practices have only increased through time. Though perhaps counterintuitive, the longer I remain sober, the more I take the necessary steps to maintain a sobriety.
I am coming to find the same attitude is needed for my life with cancer. In my last post I wrote about the postponement of my chemo treatments until after the first of the year, the resulting sense of liberation, and a commitment not to waste the rest of 2017.
Last week I met with my nutritionist and had a couple of physical therapy sessions that laid out a course of action. In my feeling of liberation from chemo, I chose to take too many liberties. Two of my post-nutritionist meeting meals involved loads of pasta and blue plate special diner foods at odds with the recommended Mediterranean Diet. I immediately fell into a lethargic state and procrastinated and put off my daily neck and back exercises. By the time Sunday rolled around, I was pressed just to get myself to church in the morning.
In the same way that a relapse in sobriety is a process and not a single event, my dietary choices were a start down a slippery slope of enabling my cancer to strengthen. The experience provided a very solid kick in the ass!
Most mornings, one of the items I post on my gratitude list is the opportunity to make choices. Now I still have that opportunity to make choices and opted for actually reading and acting on the materials that the nutritionist provided me. Since Monday I have made two pots of soup, that along with other healthy food choices, provided me with energy to function fully into the day including bike riding and work in my garden that I enjoy.
A graduate school professor of mine long ago talked about the “forgivability” for an error. Around issues of sobriety, my errors were forgivable enough that I remained sober and did not get to point in the relapse process where I chose to drink or drug. I am often torn knowing that sooner or later our own mortality catches up with the forgivability factor. Acting on that knowledge is a critical factor in the choices I make today in living with cancer.
Again, I am grateful for my years of training in AA in both acquiring knowledge and taking action.