• David Smeltz

Surviving the Plague: Without a Drink or a Drug

It seems like eons ago since I last blogged. During that time, so much has occurred. And, all without picking up a drink or a drug. I’ve had to think twice about sharing some personal stuff though. But, I am reminded that although this is my individual journey, others may find help through learning what would have otherwise remained hidden. I wrote a book about my recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction so why stop now? Judging from private and public response to my book, my honesty has been beneficial for those experiencing addiction related matters. So, my life is an open book! The most awesome thing to happen during blog abstinence was that on April 20, 2020 I celebrated 19 years of uninterrupted sobriety and clean time! The only minor disappointment being that I have been unable to receive my 19 year coin from my sponsor due honoring observed isolation. I haven’t been to my home group since the beginning of March. I‘m currently high in the risk category for being a Covid statistic so I’m not taking any chances. At least until my oldest daughter gets married in February of 2021. I’m making that date no matter what! I’ve been hitting meetings online through Zoom, FB pages and through YouTube speaker meetings. No, its not the same and the speakers are not as diverse as I’m use to hearing but my main intention and commitment to these online meetings is to hear a message of recovery and to remind myself why I need to hear a message of recovery. As I was told early in sobriety “We’re quick forgetters”. I don’t ever want to forget what is was like, what happened and what it’s like today. I read recovery literature daily, talk to my sponsor weekly, talk to a sponsee here and there (which really reminds me..lol), and most importantly, I stay in close contact with a power greater than myself and of my own, personal, understanding. All things I've done since the very beginning of my recovery expedition. I cannot emphasize how much my Higher Power has guided me. Through ALL things! Through times of feeling alone and abandoned. Through times of self pity. Through times of self made crisis and chaos. It has always been present to use. Even when I step away from it temporarily. Thank goodness it’s always there when I finally surrender and stop trying to run the show.

Late February I insisted on speaking to an alternative primary care physician at Cleveland Clinic. I had been experiencing shortness of breath, increased fatigue with minimal exertion, pain and numbness in both hands (which I attributed to arthritis) and my feet were getting numb and painful. At rest as well as when walking. It was progressively more difficult to perform martial arts stances and techniques without great shortness of breath. It didn’t take much activity at all to be winded. I had an Echocardiogram done and found that I have Congestive Heart Failure which was the first shock. I’ve never had high blood pressure, I've been vegan for at least 10 years (vegetarian before that) and believed myself to be very healthy. I was asked about my family history and I told them my mother had died from Congestive Heart Failure attributed to Cardiac Amyloidosis. After a long battery of tests, I've been diagnosed with Hereditary ATTR Cardiac Amyloidosis. I’ll explain my diagnostic journey in subsequent blogs. But, just so you know: the prognosis sucks, the symptoms suck and everything about it sucks!! But, I don’t have to pick up a drink or a drug. I’ve learned In recovery that in order to deal with something; I first have to come to terms with it...be that relationships, illness, finances, etc... Heck, I thought coming to terms with turning 65 soon was a biggy! And this Medicare crap too! Anyway I’ll take you through this trip with me (if you’re so inclined). It helps me to write about it. Another adventure. Another book...HA! Another learning experience. All without a Drink or a Drug.

Much Love to All..

-Dave



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Cleveland, OH, USA

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