Sickness Addiction, Maybe the Worst Addiction of All

A few years ago, at the beginning of a summer, I started working with someone who had been diagnosed with als and was using a motorized wheelchair to get around for the most part. We put some serious energy into getting her healthier, and toward the end of the summer she told me she had good news for me. She had gotten up from that wheelchair and walked around for, get this, an hour straight. Oh how much better she felt.

That was pretty much the last I heard from her.

Huh? Wasn’t she pleased? You would think she would be excited to keep going and get even healthier.

While I was surprised at the time, I am no longer perplexed by things like this. I know the deal. Sickness addiction put her right back in that chair and is keeping her there.

What do I mean?

Check this out. It turns out that right about that time, a group of people in her community had come together to give her, yep give her, a house, renovated to accommodate a wheelchair. Wow. What if she no longer needed the wheelchair? How would that have all worked out?

She also has projects going on, some of which are closely related to her being sick. What if she were no longer sick? What would happen to her bucket list of things to do before she died? What would happen with all the other things that to some degree revolve around her being sick.

So she was stuck sick, and still is, as far as I am aware.

I have seen this type of thing countless times and it is a huge theme in healing and has been a huge surprise for me.

When I got into helping people heal, I figured some people would be skeptical and others, such as people with medical degrees, would feel threatened by it. I was not ready for how stuck people are being sick. That’s maybe the biggest obstacle to healing of all. Sickness is so deeply integrated into people’s lifestyles, into their images of themselves, into everything they have going on, that getting healthy is the last thing they are ready to do.

Being sick can catalyze improvement in people’s lives, such as improving relationships with family members or changing for the better what they find worth focusing on. People who are ill get involved in causes and do other things they never did when they were healthier. People who are sick even get called heroes, just because they stay positive in the face of it all. For these and other reasons, being sick can have a very powerful allure.

Yes they march for cures, and speak before congress, and donate to research, and volunteer for clinical trials, and travel far to get treatment not available locally. Yes, they and their families are truly devastated by the consequences of illness.

Still, when you get right down to it, what’s really keeping people sick, when in reality their are plenty of ways available for them to get healthy, is their own addiction to sickness and all that comes with it. Sure, using drugs can harm your body. Sure, smoking has its damaging effects. Sure, gambling can be horrible on your finances and blood pressure. Still, the addiction that does the most to make and keep people sick is addiction to sickness itself.

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