More Thanks: Free From Addiction (Part 2)

A week of posts where I complain and whine about my health issues. Who would have thought that is possible? Well, it is. Even as I type this, I am coughing like someone with a 20 year chain-smoking habit. That has caused my voice to go out a few times. You could not imagine the number of people who will call you to chat when you tell them you have a sore throat and you’re about to cough up a lung or two. It feels like this happens every time. I don’t know if it’s a form of validation to see whether I am really that sick or not, but it happens–a lot.

This isn’t what I do, but it sure looks how I feel/sound. (Wait… did that make any sense?)

Regardless, I am starting to feel somewhat better which is great. So, I guess I am thankful that I am feeling a bit better right now.

Speaking about that, a few days ago, before my voice went out and I felt like I drank a quart (which is about 1.15 litres, because the measurement really counts here) of dumpster juice, I had a chat with one of my cousins and I realised something: Wow, my family is really messed up. I still love them so I don’t mean that as something that makes me angry. It makes me more sad than anything.

As my cousin was more or less naming off the drugs he does and how much he drinks, I couldn’t help but think about how lucky I am that I never really started. There are reasons for this though. My dad was quite an alcoholic when I was a kid. Mostly, things were relatively calm at my house. He wasn’t one of those belligerent drunks that punched holes in walls every night (he did do this a few times, but only 2-3 times) or anything, but when he was angry while drinking, things would go flying across the room. The music would get really, really loud. He’d always want to have these chats with my sister and I that were, I guess, deep for him in his inebriated state. I learned quickly just to stay out of his way because he’d either have a hangover or he’d be drunk to the point where bonding wasn’t possible. It really made me sad. He finally was able to get himself together years later, but the damage was already done.

I am a binge drinker when I drink. It probably explains the 2-3 day hangovers I get. Luckily it’s only a day or two per year, but for the past few years, I’ve been drinking responsibly… and that’s good, right?

That’s the main reason why I don’t drink more than I do (perhaps 2-3 times per year up until now). Plus, hangovers are a bitch for me… and I tend to over-drink. Let’s just say that it’s really hard to balance that quantity vs time aspect. I do admit that when I first moved here, drinking became a coping mechanism for me and for a while I drank about 4-5 times per week. I put on a lot of weight and just felt pretty bad. It only lasted about a month.

On one side of the family, all my uncles are alcoholics (including my cousin’s dad). Every holiday we had over my grandparents’ house was a chaotic mess. Every year it was the same old thing: “I quit drinking.” Out of the corner of my eye, I’d see them sipping on something, go and smell it, and it would be strong enough to burn the hairs out of your nose. No one ever really stopped drinking, I think.

I don’t know why or how, but I have avoided falling into that lifestyle. I hardly drink. I certainly wouldn’t even dream using drugs like my cousin does. Addiction is a horrible thing in my family, I feel and I am thankful that I never let it fully grasp me. It really messed with my childhood a lot and it still affects me in one way or another now in my adult life (but at least now, I can be more vocal about it). I wouldn’t wish this kind of thing on any child or spouse. I don’t know where I got the strength from becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs, but I’m thankful I have it. I guess that applies to smoking cigarettes too…

Ah, and about my health… I am from a family of smokers too. I saw pictures of my mother smoking while she was pregnant with me. I like to blame that for all my allergies, breathing issues, and for getting sick all the time. I don’t smoke either and never had the urge. Hell, I don’t know what I’d be like if I did.

I do get sick a lot and take a lot of sick days. People see this as a little excessive (and unwarranted) but I know my body. I know what I am capable of and not capable of when I am sick. I know when I can push myself and when I need to stay still and rest. I shouldn’t have to feel guilty for taking care of myself.

I know this post is a bit strange. It was brought on by something, but I was going to post something about my health regardless if I got sick or not. I decided after my last post that I was going to post something about the thanks I owe myself for being strong in other ways. I know stuff seems a bit negative and stuff, but it’s my way of processing it.

So that’s that! I hope this long post makes up for my lack of updates lately. I’m gonna try to do my next batch of Thanksgiving-themed thanks posts later.

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