Posted by: innerpilgrimage | September 18, 2010

Text, Subtext, Addiction

      At the grocery store parking lot today, a guy who admitted he had been drinking asked for money for food, then tried to sell me a smart phone, then tried to sell me an illegal substance then tried to deny it was what it was.

      I was flabbergasted because the clear messages I was sending in words and body language (shock it was happening and just would not stop, even as I drove away) were not being listened to. To the point I even explained I was in a 12-Step program and knew what the man was trying to sell to me.
      I couldn’t let go of this surreal moment, where I communicated clearly both verbally and non-verbally and he just would not process those messages. After talking it out with my husband (who was there, and who has odd things happen to him a lot), I realized that the guy couldn’t process the information. There was no way for it to even get in through the haze of booze and probably his stock for sale. The event, for him, took place in his own head. The reality of two shocked people having it unfold before them did not get through to him. He thought he was in a normal situation, and his own head said everything was going fine.
      I can apply this event, then, to my own inner food addict and inner love addict. When I am in addict-mind, no one can get through. The addict-reality I wrap around myself is one where I assure myself what is happening is real. When I am focused on food, I can only hear the food of my obsession. I shut out others, and I sometimes get annoyed that someone is trying to get through. When I am focused on a romantic fantasy, I play it over and over. Normal interaction receives a deeper meaning–but it is always only within my own head. Someone avoiding me because I am putting up a wall between them and me is harsh rejection; someone looking at me and smiling is always an attempt to sexualize the encounter. That triggers the anorexia immediately, since I don’t want any encounter sexualized in reality and I feel guilt for wanting to feel attractive to and receive approval from others.
      Ugh. Hard to even say that, but that’s how it is when I am in addict-mind. But it’s nice to understand it in recovery-mind. It explains a lot about how I ended up isolating.
      So, I guess the process of learning how to “act normal” is something I get to work on. Listening attentively at group is one of the key things I need to work on. It seems, sometimes, that I am preparing my share while others are talking. That is the Number One way for me not to learn to get out of my addict-mind. Letting people in to my mental lobby, to listen to their experience with a non-judgmental attitude and an open mind will allow me practice well-adjusted behavior. Their experiences are opportunities for me to learn about my own addiction. Awareness is the key for my recovery–whether it be my awareness of hunting for appreciation or my awareness that using my index finger to clean the sauce from a plate or the foam from a latte cup. If I want to be aware, I have to be open.
      Open to the guidance of my Higher Power, something I struggle with too often. My ears perk up when I hear something, and even this strange encounter brought a message from my Higher Power: “Any day I wake up above-ground is a good day.”
      Every day I wake up able to choose to live in recovery is a fantastic day. I get a chance each day to practice ending my all-or-nothing thinking by learning to observe myself and others non-judgmentally, to practice giving up control of everyone else’s behavior and how it might look to others, to practice respecting my personal needs and maintaining my boundaries by listening to my body’s messages and the guidance of a Higher Power which has honestly exposed me to a pretty good life.
      My name is Jess, and I am a food addict. If I can believe in a Higher Power for others, then I can believe in a Higher Power for me. And the most important thing to remember is that I can’t change what others may think of my having a Higher Power. I feel it’s not insanity; it doesn’t feel like the addictive cult-mentality of food. My Higher Power wants me to be a functional human being. From learning to live sanely by exposing the little behaviors which remove the control of my own life to having people who are good for my sanity thrust into my life through inexplicable reasons, my Higher Power works in good ways. Even my husband is happier when I’m around, because the strange things (like people driving him off the road or being mugged politely by a man who explained that he was on parole and didn’t want to return to a life of crime, therefore could my husband and his friends spare some money) which always seem to happen around him are less frequent and always harmless.
      My Higher Power protects me in a way I have never found from human beings. When I give my life over to my Higher Power, I actually live one of those lucky and blessed lives I always dream of having. Good things happen at every turn. I get my needs met and can share my good fortune with others. Real friends enter my life and keep getting put back there when I need them. And I learn, ever so slowly, how to see the world through the eyes of a well-adjusted person by being made aware of my addictive behaviors (which I don’t want to do) and the solutions I can follow to avoid falling out of abstinence.
      In other words, with my Higher Power, it’s a wonderful life.

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