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Diabetes - Type 1 Community
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Avatar universal

Diabetic with a substance abuse problem

I was diagnosed with diabetes in 7th grade. When I became a freshman in high school I started using marijuana anywhere from one to more than 10 times a day (I DO NOT smoke cigerettes). When a became a junior I began drinking alchohol a lot. I know that I am phycologicaly addicted to marijuana still, and am also an alchoholic (drinking maybe a pint or so every night). However, I do test 4 times a day and am on an insulin pump, I do a fairely good job of controling my levels, and I work very hard In college (currently a sophmore). Eventhough I have this problem I still have a lot of motivation (except not wanting to exercise) and a drive to be successful. But my problem is, I want to live a long life, with little or no complications with my diabets, as well as to one day overcome my substance abuse problem.
My main question is what are the chances of a person in a similar situation as me to grow up with little or no complications with diabetes.

i need help!!!

p.s. I am currently 19 yrs old and have been living w/ diabetes for about 5 yrs now.
5 Responses
Avatar universal
Hello Livabetes,
GREAT screen name!  :-)  As you know, we're all volunteers here.  The advice you've received from the comments below say more & better than anything I could offer you.

It is heartening to hear your interest to overcome substance abuse.  The little I do know is that a personal, internally-motivated decision to make difficult changes is REQUIRED to beat the abuse.

An abused mind is clouded & plays tricks on the person.  The trick is that the abuser is "better off" or "can't function" without their drug of choice.  It seems that that's always a lie.  Drug users eventually end up on one of two paths -- the path you're attempting to take and the path that leads to a premature end.

It seems that one very hard part of getting & STAYING sober involve separating from other users who pretend to be friends.  They are not friends, they are equally scared & dependent & feel safer with folks who won't challenge their choices.  They will not help you get & stay clean unless they are committed to the same thing.  AA and NA are *FABulous* organizations to help users develop a strong network of folks who've been there & done what you're doing, who are still tempted and fight their demons, and who day-by-day, decision-by-decision they are winning.

Many abusers self-medicate to avoid facing personal demons -- tough childhoods, diagnosis of a serious disease like DM, surviving parents' chaos and/or lack of involvement, etc.

FInd a support system to help you discover your own courage, your own grace under fire.  It may be scary soemtimes, but you also create the chance to really blossom & to become the person you want to be.

Good luck ... please do commit to your long-term health.  It's clear you're very bright (few could function at all with a pint of alcohol dulling their senses each night) -- let that SHINE!
Avatar universal
Dear Livabetes,
It sounds to me like your will to live and your perseverance are strong.  I applaud your effort!  I also applaud the fact that you are seeking help and have been transparent.  It takes strength to admit you need help.  Is your health care giver (endocronologist or internist) aware of your use of drugs?  Please consider discussing your concerns with your dr.  They should be able to direct you to someone who can mentor you.  I do know that the use of drugs of any kind (alcohol falls into that category too) speeds up the complications of diabetes three fold.  Here are the facts from my own experience:  My son was diagnosed at age one, began to use drugs and alcohol at age 14, and lost his life to diabetic complications (heart and kidney failure; he was also blind) at age 33.  It was his cardiologist who told me my son would have lived much longer if there hadn't been drug use.  This mother's heart hurts for you.  I know how difficult your situation can be.  Please, please talk to your dr. and seek assistance.  I want you to succeed.
Avatar universal
my brother was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when he was 12, smoked weed from age 13 to to age 29, started doing harder drugs at about age 18 and drank daily then started doing heroine at about age 27. he is insulin dependent (2 shots a day) and ate right and stayed fit. he started to lose his teeth at age 25 and his feet started getting spots on the bottom around that same time. now he is 32 and no longer drinks or does drugs and his health is better. for him, all that junk he did, did not affect his health too dramatically but if he had not stopped partying, we may have lost him. i commend you for reaching for help. try going to a counselor to talk about why you drink and smoke, maybe there are some underlying issues that need to be resolved. you, as a diabetic, want to do everything in your power to live a long and healthy life. you deserve it like everyone else. i realize it can be somewhat traumatic to live with this illness but you can live a long and wise life and be diabetic. lots of luck to you
Avatar universal
Unfortunately, there is hardly any research or data on substance abuse or diabetes... put it this way, when I put that into google, your post was the first to come up!!!  Zero search results on pubmed too.  You are posting a question that has been untouched by the reasearch and medical community so take that into consideration when receiving advice.
You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders and know what you need to do to take care of yourself.  You just need to find support for making healthy behavior choices.
All the best!
Avatar universal
I have had diabetes since I was two and have struggled with an addiction since I was 15 or 16 I have struggled with an eating disorder and still do. I am also a dedicated student but unlike you I do not take good care of my diabetes.  I think its awesome that you are able to manage your diabetes despite your addiction.  You might try an AA or NA meeting.  I joined an Annorexics and Bulimic support group that has helped me but I also need suport in managing my diabetes because I get discouraged so easily with it and just give up.
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