Reading Time: 7 minutes
[ROUGH DRAFT] – Introduction
Driving for Uber may have quite literally saved my life.
Hi, my name is Michael, I’m an alcoholic. Every year on June 1st, I celebrate another year of sobriety. 2021 marks my 5th year. After a lifetime of not listening to my body, it decided to speak to me very loudly and it had my attention. That next morning I grabbed a bag of Skittles and headed off to my first meeting in many years.
In the early morning hours heading east down Del Amo Boulevard in the sleepy little town of Lakewood California I would often see a dingy little unassuming white A-frame sign with an arrow and the words, “Attitude Adjustment – 6:45 A.M.” Seemed like a great place to start until I was able to get my feet back on the ground and my life back out of the bottle. That first 30 days of meetings was foundational.
My first year of sobriety was bumpy but pretty uneventful compared to most. I had a very good support network and went back to work some 40 days later driving for Uber and I’ve been driving ever since. I never would have guessed how much I would end up enjoying it, much less that it would introduce me to the person who through listening to my story was able to identify that I had cancer.
His name was Richard. I picked he and his wife up at LAX for an afternoon ride to their sons house on the West Side of Los Angeles. At that time of day it took about 40 minutes to make the journey up La Cienega Boulevard from LAX to their destination. It’s not uncommon for longer rides like this to get into deeper more meaningful conversations and this one was no different. After a number of other topics of which I remember none, the topic of skin health came up and that’s when I began telling them about some of the weird stuff I had been dealing with over the last couple years.
After 5-10 minutes of me sharing some detailed things I had been learning about my own skin condition, I heard his wife say, “Richard, it sounds like he’s describing what you have.” After a few minutes more I heard his wife say the same thing again. I looked in the mirror at her and took note. The I heard her say it a third time with a tad more emphasis in her voice. And so I paused and asked…
“Richard, what is it you have?” He answered, “Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma.”
At that point my memory goes a little fuzzy for some reason but I remember him asking me a few short pointed questions followed by a kind suggestion that I should probably see a doctor before I worried too much. And so I did and that diagnosis was confirmed. Now I needed to really step back and examine where I was at and what was important in my life because I had just found out that I had not only cancer, but that I had been living with it for quite sometime completely unaware of its presence.
After I finished that ride I turned my driver app off and headed home. I was ready for a little time off to reflect.
Clearly my body had its own interest it was looking out for called homeostasis. No matter how badly I was treating my body, willfully or ignorantly, it was still loving me by trying to keep me chemically and physically, happy and balanced, even in my ignorance of its elegant and ancient ways.
Yes, even in my ignorance of its ancient wisdom I would awake each morning in a thick haze to find that its mercies were always new even if they were pounding and worn a little thin by my prior nights bad decisions. And I’m not just speaking of the alcohol; oh no. I was over-consuming in many ways. In a metabolic sense I was a gross consumer; a poly-nutrient and substance glutton. I liked all things stimulating. I’d like to say I didn’t know there was an off switch that that would be a lie. I knew where that one was too. I was ignoring it at 120 beats per minute. Usually while listening to Deadmau5. Now back to the black eye.
June 01, 2016 would be the day that I embarked on my fantastic voyage into recovery. Not only from the ravaging effects of alcohol but a recovery that was looking far beyond my immediate circumstance and my narrow gaze.
Let me get to the point. I believe most of us have never fully appreciated consistent prolonged complete hydration. I want to suggest that what we, the general public and possibly even the medical and scientific world are yet able to fully grasp what picture perfect hydration, would look like if it kissed us on the lips. The official word for it is euhydration.
At some point in my past my lymphatic system quit functioning optimally. As time went on garbage began backing up in the system. Any soft tissue really. As a result my body responded by employing extraordinary biological mechanisms to remedy the waste problem. I however unaware of the problem was doing nothing to address the issue.
Aside from that, in typical Murican fashion I lived a life of excesses unaware that my body’s ability to metabolize excesses, much less the normal load was hindered.
As a result my body, as it should, progressed through the seven stages of disease while I slapped spit on the symptoms and got back to work over metabolizing.
In September of 2017 I knew there was something wrong and made a drastic change in metabolism. I dropped down to 1200 calories a day while removing all candy, sugar and fruit for about 90 days. Then I went back up to about 1500 calories a day, still minus all the carbs.
I also stated working out a lot. Mostly aerobic type loaded(weighted) movements.
This all resulted in a process by which my body has been making itself new from the inside out. It has been a rather painful experience as many things just under the surface have been working their way out. It has been kicking out my old mans dead bones you could say.
The last 3.5 years has been an amazing journey. I’ve been fortunate enough to get to participate in my body making itself new; teaching me its ways and why they are so much better than mine.
What follows is about the first 5 years of that recovery and some of the history that led me to that point. But a little back history first.
As a child I had kidney related problems and a couple of associated surgeries that were pioneering at the time but ultimately doing less good overall than hoped. What was once a horribly invasive and scarring procedure can now be done with a catheter and injection of a little well placed hyaluronic acid. Two days later you’re rolling out the door.
Not so lucky for kids like my cousin and me. We had the surgery two and three times. Because it should have worked the first time right? But alas it took repeated failures in procedure for them to realize that they had the right idea, but the wrong procedure.
How often do we keep doing something just because we think it is the right thing to do? Or by chance because it feels good too
And then like any good squirrel with ADHD I thought, I wonder if this could be applied to behavior. I think it can. Hear me out.
Maybe we have missed some very important diagnostic tools when it comes to diagnosing what it is we refer to as behavioral disorders. Like addiction for example.
What if you are an alcoholic because you have been under-hydrated for some time? Think about that. What about the sodaholic? I’m sure you’ve seen them at your local convenience store just like me. They walk in the front door with that SUPER TANKER and then just a few short minutes later you see those same automatic doors open and here comes Johnny Soda-Pop with a gallon of who knows what.
Clearly Johnny’s body spoke clearly enough to tell him that he needed more hydration. So much so that he carried this albatross around his neck called SUPER TANKER as a daily and costly reminder of that broken record playing in his head. Hey, I’m thirsty in here. But was he getting hydrated? I don’t think so. Just like I wasn’t with my SUPER TANKER of vodka.
If you are a caloriholic is this because you have been malnourished for some time? Imagine a similar scenario to the one I described to you above. Is this why we eat too much?
If one is a smoker it is because they have been under-oxygenated for some time? You inhale too much(good stuff). Or smoke weed in California & Colorado, but nonetheless, our body is playing a message of pain repeatedly everyday, over and over again. It’s putting it’s hand to its mouth and inhaling. Yet we bought the narrative that smoking is cool and allowed the marketing guru’s at Marlboro convince you that this body-language message would look so much better with a cigarette in hand. Oh…And it’s stimulating to boot.