Being drug-free is an important part of who I am, but it’s not something I’d recommend to others as a holy grail. One of the reasons I’m not evangelical about living drug-free is that I have my own health problems that come and go, regardless of how clean I live.
That’s not to say that I haven’t been hopeful about paying attention to what goes into my body. I have worked very hard, with the strong support of my wife, to build a healthy vegan diet. I’ve been happy about leaving alcohol in the past. Fortunately for me, drinking was never a matter of addiction, and I can’t say I ever get cravings to hit the bottle again.
I feel like I’ve hovered really close to the breaking point over the past couple months. I’ve run through the gamut of depression, urticaria (ever since I was young, I’ve had bouts of hives from heat, cold, exercise, and viral infections), influenza, general irritability, and sheer exhaustion. All of this comes after eliminating foods from my diet that, according to blood tests, cause inflammation in my body. On top of my teetotaling lifestyle, I kind of assumed fixing my diet would be the magic bullet I needed. It’s hard to express how frustrating it is that reality has not matched my hopes.
A couple days into my recent bout of flu, deep in fever, I imagined that the old sick part of me was dying and that finally, my healthy self could emerge.
My wife, probably the person in my life who has the most positive impact on my health, recently started a blog called Everyday Sisterhood. I think one of her main messages is the importance of social connections. While I am blessed to have many friends and positive online acquaintances, I definitely feel a hole in my social life. Probably for the past three years, I have become more and more of a home body, opting to spend time with my boys and latching onto any excuse to opt out of a social situation. Once in a while, I’ll head across town or travel hours away to attend a concert, but I’ve often done this alone. And, really, hardcore punk concerts are not always great places to have conversations.
If my healthy self is to emerge, I have to act to change this unsustainable situation. The whole point of being a father is to demonstrate a healthy direction for your children to follow, right? Well, maybe that’s not the whole point, but it’s got to be a pretty big part of the point.
Until I figure it out, feel free not to follow my example.