I quit drinking two weeks ago. Then, last week I went to a retreat, where I got to de-stress, unplug, eat super clean healthy food and…have a gallbladder attack? On the second night in retreat, I felt a sharp, stabbing pain in my right side and I knew immediately, oh – there goes my gallbladder! What I mean is, since I stopped drinking, my liver started cleaning house, and when my liver was sufficiently relaxed, my gallbladder knew this was it’s chance to clean out the accumulated and crystallized (ouch!) bile that it hasn’t been able to get rid of safely until the rest of the system was restored enough to handle the movement of the yucky things that our gallbladders hold onto until we give them enough time and peace to move out.

person holding red hot compress
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But here I am, in retreat, without my Apple Cider Vinegar, and without my Castor Oil, I didn’t even have a liver tincture, and I was in a lot of pain! Luckily, I was able to track down some ACV, and sleep on my right side on a hot water bottle, which took the pain level down from a 10 to a 5 – from sharp and stabbing and constant to a dull ache with occasional stabs. At this point, I went for a walk and found juniper berries, mugwort and even some of the last, fresh, juicy green thistle leaves of the season which I quickly threw into my water bottle with boiling hot water so I could sip on this medicinal brew for a couple days.

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My Clean Livin’ herbal blend includes nettles, blessed thistle and dandelion root, simple herbs that can support your cleansing

If I were at home I would have followed this protocol (which I did do as soon as I got home from retreat!) In the meantime, my liver wrote this poem, that I shared with my fellow retreat-ants and am publishing here by request:

“Oh, my aching gallbladder!”

“Hello? Hey! This is your liver speaking, is anybody listening?

Ah, there you are! Where have you been? We haven’t had a drink in…days!

So, what’s for dinner? A pint, a glass, a dram? What?! Soup, again?! I don’t care how good it tastes, you’re not hungry anyway. Besides, soup won’t take your shame away…

C’mon, let’s blow this popsicle stand and wallow with some other strangers at a hole-in-the-wall dive, where nobody knows your name.

Where the barkeep doesn’t get into your business, analyze your resistance, explore your transitions, give you tools for resilience.

So, if soup’s what’s for dinner, if that’s what you like, I’m outta here, honey, I’m taking a hike. Gallbladder here will pick up the slack. But don’t say I didn’t warn you, I’m much better at that.

I can handle the stress, I can process your pain. I can take the abuse, and I won’t complain. But gallbladder here, she won’t stand for neglect. She’ll stab at your side ’till she gets some respect!

So you and your aching gallbladder have fun with your soup. I’m taking a hike, I’m flying’ the coop.

I’ll find me a trail, I’ll get some fresh air, Hey, who knows? Maybe I’ll like it out there.”

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2 thoughts on “A letter from my liver

  1. Glad you’re ok! So interesting! I was just listening to Ann Louise Gittleman on a Ben Greenfield podcast – her new book, Radical Metabolism is a lot about the gallbladder.
    Also, I have been reading about Mugwort. How do I score some of that?? 🙂

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