I Am in Recovery…Again (A Newcomer’s Ode to IBS)

In my previous article, I related my recent struggles with IBS to my life in Recovery from an anxiety disorder and addiction issues. I also mentioned that I have taken philosophic and spiritual comfort from the concept of The Middle Way. Generally, what this means is that I make an earnest attempt at living in a moderate and humble way. Of course, there are many failures and successes along this path. This, however, is all part of the recovery process, regardless of what it is that you are recovering from. Yes, folks, I do believe that you can recover from IBS. Today, I would like to take some time to talk about my thoughts on IBS recovery and my attempt at managing the symptoms and ‘Disruption of Being’ that accompanies this unusually unpleasant ‘syndrome’.

I work in the mental health field as a mentor for individuals struggling to recover from mental illness and substance abuse issues. The Recovery process is ongoing and holistic. If a person is taking their prescribed medication, eating well, exercising, abstaining from drugs and alcohol and is present in their own lives, then one can say that recovery is going well and that this individual is currently successful. However, if even one of these variables is altered, it can begin a degradation of the process and result in hardships with any number of faces. Suffering and recovering from IBS is similar in that be most mental health issues and addiction problems cannot be CURED. Based on my modest research as an IBS newbie, neither can IBS.

And so, with the grim face of IBS staring down at us, what do we do? How do we do battle with something that, for all intents and purposes, will not go away. The path you choose depends completely on YOU. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Is IBS causing anxiety/depression? Do you really LOVE your foods and feel as though YOU CAN’T LIVE without them? Or are you completely ok with eating a diet devoid of all of the things you desire? All of these questions and more should be addressed when developing a Recovery plan. A Recovery plan is exactly what it sounds like. What steps will you take to manage your particular brand of IBS? If you already live a completely healthy, clean and positive existence, well, I suppose you don’t need a plan. You’re good to go. But, I would say that none of us are without 'sin' (tongue tucked snugly in cheek) and most of us can take some benefit from taking a hard look at what we can do to alleviate our IBS symptoms. As with most things, we can think and talk and read and search the internet and all sorts of things that we think means that we are TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS. But as life throws its many pebbles, rock and boulders at us, we tend to become more focused on the problem at hand and guess what happens next? A flare up. A fiery, painful, discomforting, problematic, disconcerting, embarrassing, discombobulating…FLARE UP.

I am new to IBS and cannot imagine the pain that this disorder has caused the lot of you that have suffered with it for a long time. I can say, I’m happy to be here. I’m glad to be on the team. Really. There needs to be a team, a community, a group to support one another through this RECOVERY. We are not alone in this. By sharing ideas, methods and feelings, we might become more knowledgeable, comfortable and empowered. And who wouldn’t want that?

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