The Battle for My Gut, Substitution and the Next Layers of Sobriety

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There’s no doubt in my mind that “bacterial die off” is a real thing.  I’m going through a 10 day course of cleansing herbs and probiotics and man, this is rough.  

My eyeballs hurt; every joint in my body feels like its 98 years old; stomach twisted into knots; muscle cramping; no energy; head pressure like a balloon filled way too much; lost my voice; cold night sweats; shaking chills; and a lovely, deep wheeze.

So why go through this?  

I’ve been trying to nail down the exact cause of my “food allergy” symptoms for months.  Basically, they appear like any other allergy symptoms: sneezing, runny to clogged nose, terribly itchy eyes, wheezing, etc.  

And while this may sound like not such a big deal, it was actually really bad.  I couldn’t breathe and it was getting worse and worse.  

I tried elimination dieting to some success.  And at one point, all I had was cauliflower, carrots, sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar for a week.  Yeah, that worked but let’s face it, living like that just sucks. 

It was time to go on the offensive.   

I’ve entered into the Battle for my Gut. Let’s see if knocking out the bad bacteria and bringing in reinforcements of the good will be the key to this health issue.


The reason I share this, is because it illustrates the concept of substitution in addiction.

I was using foods high in carbs and sugars to aim me in that same direction as alcohol mixed with cocaine did: faster.  It is these same foods that have caused, and perpetuated, the overgrowth of nasty bacteria in my gut.

It’s a cycle. It’s THE cycle. Taking the stuff that makes me feel better only to realize later on that it makes the whole thing worse. Which of course, makes me want to feel better…

It’s humbling to be doing this work in sobriety for so long, yet see the same patterns have manifested for me with food.  The sneaking and justification and guilt and then validation are all exactly the same. 

So, while I deal with the physical symptoms of this die off and attempt to right the ship of my digestive bacteria, it also brings awareness to some of the mental, emotional and spiritual factors that are also in play.  The next layers of truth are revealed and some of the underlying reasoning for my participation in this cycle become clearer.

And this is the beauty of this work, if we want to keep growing and becoming a better person, it never really ends.  


If you have an example of substitution, please share it below in the comments section.


And I invite you to participate in the Medicine of Connection by following along on the new Alchemist Recovery IG feed and FB page. I’d love to hear from you!

Randy LyonsalchemyComment