I’ve never been what they call a “joiner”. Some of my friends belong to different clubs and exercise groups, but I don’t like committing to groups for the most part. The couple of times I joined a group, I ended up doing so much work I would tell myself, “Never again”.
If this sounds like you, don’t feel bad. But there’s one group I do belong to and have never regretted joining – my local Celiac group. I think everyone whose gluten intolerant should join a Celiac group. That’s a bold statement, but I have a lot of reasons for making that recommendation.
First, the extent of how many people have Celiac disease is just beginning to be realized. Getting the word out is important so people who’ve been suffering for years without explanation can get help. My support group and others around the country have been instrumental in publicizing important gluten news, writing articles, creating forums and organizing information campaigns.
Support groups often function as grassroots organizations that can produce big results. For example, the new U.S.A. labeling laws are the end result of a campaign by Celiacs to force the government to take an interest in the health of thousands of people who are gluten intolerant. The government accepted suggestions and comments before writing the law, and the end product has made life so much simpler for Celiacs at the grocery store.
I’m proud to say I worked on the committee within my support group that harnessed the forces of the membership to promote new labeling laws. We wrote letters, sent emails, submitted surveys, contacted our congressmen and pretty much made a complete nuisance of ourselves – but it worked!!!
Another reason it’s good to join a Celiac group is so you never isolate yourself from the mainstream. I never feel alone with my problem, because I have a group of people I can contact anytime I want with similar problems and concerns. I get great ideas on how to cope, make new friends and share experiences.
Belonging to a group is also a way to help others. Once you settle into your gluten free life, it’s easy to forget how frightened you felt when first diagnosed. But when I go to my support group meeting, I look into the faces of those newly diagnosed and see the same fear.
I can reassure new members that everything is going to be all right. They can look at my glowing health and realize they have a healthier future in the making. I’m proof to a new member that he or she will get well, feel good again, enjoy life and even be able to eat with zest once more.
When you join a Celiac organization, you find a new “family” of sorts. My group gets together and talks about little and big issues. We don’t always agree, but we’re always passionate about helping each other. It’s a great feeling!
I highly advise you join a group if you don’t already belong to one. We’re all part of humanity and need to do our little part to make it a better world. Joining a Celiac group is a great start!