Addiction: A Matter of Heart
Like so many, I was saddened by the devastating news over the holidays about the deaths of George Michael and Carrie Fisher. Both were superstars in their respective fields and both had publicly acknowledged facing the challenge of overcoming addiction. Both will be missed and their bright stars dimmed way too soon. I sincerely hope they both rest in peace.
When I learned both had died as a result of heart-related problems, it really hit home. Their deaths should get the attention of everybody in the recovery community. It’s a wake-up call regarding the damage done to the body in active addiction and the import of self-care in recovery, to enable our body to repair this damage.
Irrespective of a person’s drug of choice, each substance damages the heart in one manner or another. For sake of brevity, I am omitting the research studies that confirm the link between heart disease and substance abuse. If anyone cares to see the studies, email me and I am happy to send scores of them. I recommend folks check out the American Heart Association’s website for more information.
This is an important issue that everyone with a history of addiction needs to be aware of.
My Own 5x Increased Risk of Heart Disease
Almost five years ago, and six months after being released from rehab, I had comprehensive blood testing done by Dr. Michael Bedecs, a cutting-edge Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Bedecs sat with me and went over my results, which were not good at all. Among the truths my blood work told, was that I had a five times increased risk of heart disease. When I heard that news, I was stunned. There was other bad news, but to hear I had a five times increased risk of heart disease got me to finally get serious about nutritional lifestyle change.
At that time, I was in “recovery” but smoking a pack-and-a-half a day, drinking coffee from morning until early evening, eating some type of fast food almost daily and my diet included lots of fried foods. I feel so blessed to have met Dr. Bedecs and to have learned about my compromised health, most notably damage to my heart and my increased risk for heart disease. Devastating news but not all bad. Dr. Bedecs told me that with some relatively simple lifestyle changes, almost all of the issues reflected in my blood work could be turned around. This message was what it took to get me to take my health seriously and prompt me to make self-care my number one priority.
From 5x Increased Risk of Heart Disease to “22 Year-Old Ethiopian Marathon Runner”
My recent blood work proves, beyond a doubt, that lifestyle change and self-care can turn around internal damage to our body including, the most important muscle we have, our heart. My recent blood work is, according to Dr. Bedecs, equivalent to a “22-year-old Ethiopian Marathon Runner.” If I could turn it around, quit smoking, change my diet and integrate exercise into my life, anyone can. I wrote a blog post about all this in February 2016.
Everything you need to design your own self-care program can be found here at Spiritual Adrenaline. Seize the day and start turning your health around right now!
We must not ignore the message that addiction is a matter of heart.