I often think things have happened in my life for a reason, including my Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. I believe having Type 1 diabetes saved my life.
I was diagnosed at age 16, and I seemed built to handle it. I was a responsible and very level-headed teen with a Type A personality. Throughout high school and most of college, I was the straight-edge friend who stayed in control and took care of my partying friends.
Then things fell apart in my junior year of college while I was studying abroad in England. Cocaine was the “it” drug there, and one night I asked to try it. One line is all it took for my downward spiral to begin.
Thus began a six-year journey of addiction that should have killed me. Cocaine is truly the devil at his best. The more often you do it the better the high gets, and you can trick yourself into still feeling like you’re always in control. I was a functioning drug addict for years before anyone close to me knew. I had graduated college, had a job, and was doing decently in managing my diabetes.
But the party didn’t last forever. Years of abuse on my body, mind, and soul caught up to me, and because the highs were so high, the lows were beyond low. Years passed, countless friends were lost, and I became a depressed and isolated person.
Yet I still had one tether to reality, my diabetes. It was the one thing that I couldn’t abandon. Having diabetes forced me to pop back into reality a couple times a day. It also was concrete proof that I wanted to take care of myself, that I didn’t want to die.
I never had that one true epiphany moment that made me realize I needed to make a change and confront my addiction. For me this realization was a slow process. But finally after years of damaging my body and my relationships with friends and family, I knew I needed to quit my cocaine habit.
Although I regret the damage that I inflicted on those close to me, I don’t regret any of the hard times I endured. I know now that this is why I am who I am and it has made me a strong, resilient person who can overcome any challenge.
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