This I Believe

scott - asheville, North Carolina
Entered on April 2, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: addiction

Mine is one of those lives mitigated by disease. I have a DIS-taste for that word DIS-ease. Likewise, DIS-abled. I have no DE-sire to be DISS-ed. I am promoting the phrase “alternate body styles.” The universe, in all its absurdity, has blessed me with a customized central nervous system.

There is nothing reasonable about a disease. It seems that some are the result of organisms living lives which are unfortunate for us, and we find it incumbent upon us to wage war on them. Other diseases, such as mine, seem to be the result of a miniscule error, perhaps one cell, that radiated through my CNS until, at this moment, it is a very great nuisance to me. Maybe, both.

Or, maybe it is environmental. My MS has progressed at approximately the same pace as our awareness of climactic warming. Then, you mix in the possibility of genetic predisposition.

I cannot think of my alternate body style as an impediment. It has been informative of a life worth considering, at least by me. It has been an adventure, but only in retrospect, not in the moment.

During the LBJ administration, sex, drugs and rock’n’roll had better adaptive possibilities than “straight society.” I decided to stay stoned until that war was over. (I remember the precise moment. It was while Nixon announced the invasion of Cambodia.) I succeeded. Then some. While living in a barn with thirty pigs, it occurred to me that my cure was killing me, and I’d rather not die. Not yet. I had resisted death for political reasons. Now, I had to decide not to die.

During the political ennui that set in with Carter, I began recovery from addictions. I repented, confessed and sought redemption all with out benefit of Jesus. I cleared up the wreckage of the past, earned a BA honorably and tried to be of use to my fellows. I have heard enough from them to believe that I may have been helpful. Redemption is a way of life that becomes a life of love.

I learned that an underlying cause of my addiction was a mental illness. After sixteen years of sobriety, I learned about “cyclothymia,” a bi-polar disorder. With help, I began treating that. This has been difficult only in that I miss the hypomanic episodes. Some of the symptoms are a lot of fun. I do not miss thoughts of suicide.

Then I leaned that I have multiple sclerosis. And, that Cyclothymia is a symptom of that.

I am grateful that through this I was introduced to God, who/which is still unfathomable.

The process of getting out of bed is a renewal of our covenant, in which I commit myself to live the best I can for that day, and God agrees to make it interesting enough to be pleasurable. Getting into bed at night and holding my wife is a prayer of gratitude for all that is. And, maybe some that is not yet. Life’s good. I believe this.