Posted by: innerpilgrimage | May 25, 2012

After the Storm: Owning the Process and Healing the Anger

      Well, after fussing yesterday and getting irritable about why I’m angry, I think I’ve just realized . . . I’m wrong.

      Wrong is good. Why is wrong good? Because I have hope to find an alternative to the thought I am completely without support, hope, or help. Being wrong is a gift. It’s a second chance– or sometimes a third or fourth or fifth or greater–to find something which aligns with one’s true self.
      Before I go on, I want to explain how I can both be a compulsive and have a true self. Well, the compulsion comes from what I think, buried so deeply and tangled so much into the emotions I fear (especially when I don’t meet my basic needs), that I act with compulsion. When I get a jarring reaction–anger, fear, sadness, and their related focused emotions–I know I’ve acted out of alignment with my true self. That part of me which wants unity, peace, serenity. The part of me which loves without condition. The part of me which seeks to thrive, so I can extend myself and help others thrive with me. The part of me which finds peace in being a student and teacher for a lifetime. The part of me I cannot lose. The part of me which tells me that the Twelve Steps works for me, if I work the steps with honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness. It’s the addiction which brings the anger (“It’s not fair I had to be cursed with a crappy childhood and cross-addictions!”), brings the fear (“If I do my Fourth Step, I will become depressed and I will eat; I will lose abstinence because I’m weak!”), brings the sadness (“I feel so alone as a binge-arexic; people don’t reach out in program to me . . . my parents were right–I’m not lovable. I am not and will never be enough to earn love.”).
      Well, my true self finds serenity in accepting my truths. The bad childhood and the addictions drove me to seek greater meaning to life. To seek the big truths. To look within because no one else can give me peace or serenity. There’s no Prince Charming to fix my life, and that’s good. Why would I want to be an emotional slave to a human being in order to get my peace-and-love high? Looking for love/joy/happiness/serenity outside of myself in the physical and mental world (substances to consume and experts to tell me what to do) is addiction. To seek a savior is to try to cure poison with more of the same poison. It’s gonna kill me if I keep trying to cure myself that way. I don’t go to a doctor to heal a bruise, not like one could do anything to fix it. Time and taking compassionate and mindful care of myself heals the bruise, and even an expert will tell a person that.
      Irrational fear (as opposed to intuition that a real threat is imminent) is also another addiction trick disguised as sympathy. I have something of value: Abstinence. I have triggers to my compulsion: uncomfortable feelings make me want to comfort-eat to soothe myself and push them down or away. The logic of the addict-argument, that truth will take away something I hold so dear, appears sound. I mean, it’s using honesty. The problem? That honesty is meant to harm, not help. Just because something is true in one situation doesn’t mean it’s true in all situations. When I turn from Step One and try to manage my unmanageable life? Yes, losing abstinence doing a Step Four is a very real possibility. Of course, if I’m not even at Step One any more? Step Four shouldn’t be worked. Step Four is worked only after Step Three, when I have surrendered my abstinence to a loving and compassionate and omnipotent Higher Power. The abstinence I have (just 24 hours, sliding forward slowly like the pounds-and-ounces marker on a doctor’s scale as balance is neared) has almost 1,000 other days floating around in a nebulous story which only exists in my memory. The illusion that those 954 days matter more than this 24 hours is addict-thinking. It’s my ego saying “I need that thousand days to impress people! To have them look at me with wonder and admiration! To be special!” So, there’s not even a point to fearing doing a Fourth Step will cause relapse, because it won’t matter if I’ve worked through Step Three. If I have turned my will and life over to HP, I trust the abstinence will stay or go depending on what I am supposed to be learning. If I’m supposed to relapse in order to be challenged with relapse? Then I will have empathy for those who have relapsed and started over. There’s nothing but unity-building to come from “failure” or from success. I am very aware of the signs of relapse, of putting my hands out to be chained into the bondage of the compulsive eating even as I complain it’s unfair. Yeah, I am seeing a whole lot of insanity right now in my thought over the past six months to a year. Hey, I got a little clarity! That’s good news. It means (to me) that I don’t have to feel afraid because when I turn it over to a Higher Power, the fear of losing the chain of days of abstinence won’t even be part of it–because my ego won’t be part of it.
      So, it really has to do with my perception, with detachment from the judgments I make then hide from by acting out my addictions. And when I’m not acting out my addictions, themselves, but I still have the addict mindset? When I am not working the steps? I am a “dry food compulsive”. I live from a place of anger, fear, and grief. I am trying to control and manage the addiction without the hit from the substance.
      As a loving and compassionate being by nature (the true self), punishing anyone or anything is an anathema. It feeds the suffering, makes relapse a very real possibility. The solution?
      For me, recovery. For me, practicing the Twelve Steps to the best of my ability. To accept it won’t be perfect because I am not perfect. I am an evolving being in a learning system, seeking a spiritual solution to a spiritual problem which I’ve spent most of my life trying to fix with physical and mental magic cures. Selling myself magic elixirs which do nothing except remove me from life mentally, physically, and spiritually. Moving me farther from fulfilling my purpose on this world before I die. Living in regret, pretending I’m immortal and have all the time in the world to learn this in this lifetime.
      Simple but not easy. One AA slogan explains this beautifully: ” The road to sobriety is a simple journey for confused people with a complicated disease.” There is a simple solution, which we resist because we are confused and the disease is complicated. The illusion that a complicated problem requires a complicated solution is just that–an illusion which creates more confusion in us. To be honest enough to admit a problem exists at all, to be open-minded enough to accept that a complex problem can have a simple solution, and to be willing to (as Step Zero explains) make the conscious decision to recover AND to do whatever it takes to live in recovery (never be cured, just live daily in mindful recovery) is simple. But as an addict, the incessant mental chatter can overwhelm the silence required to talk (pray) and listen (meditate) in order to gain clarity through ourselves from that Higher Power we turn to in crisis and in daily life.
      Well, to me anyway. That’s what my recovery truth is. That’s what the program offers in the steps and promises as the gift of recovery. We don’t graduate, but we certainly get to enjoy the benefits of what sounds like a pretty good life–one which, when I first read the promises–I did not believe was possible for me.
      My name is Jess. I’m a food binge-arexic, toxic love addict and real love avoidant. Back to Step Zero for me, with the gratitude that HP has held onto the abstinence I surrendered long ago. I know I cannot be sane about food. That is so deep a truth that it supersedes all of the addict messages and can draw me out of the insanity long enough to get some clarity. Am I perfect? Sheesh, no. Yesterday’s entry–where I was trying to be magnanimous even as I was indulging my anger–was a practice in grandiosity. Were there some moments of truth in the entry? Yes. Those truths allowed these ones–which are giving me a sense of exhausted peace. I feel physical and mental tiredness from having fought addiction for a long time, but I also am experiencing peace right now. I know clearly that the program will work for me. Now, I guess I just surrender my will and the hunger to control MY program and surrender to HP and THE program. It will happen if I let what I am fighting go to my Higher Power to hold and be open to the opportunities which come my way–when they come my way. That’s compassion and love for myself, the first person I need to help before I can go out into the world and help others.



  1. Thank you for such a beautiful post. It hit me right between the eyes. If your daily meditation includes, ” I want to give the message to whomever needs it the most today.” I think it was me. Thank you.

    • Hi Wishfulshrinking!

      I am so happy that your HP used me in your recovery in the program. It happens all of the time for me–others share in meeting, and I get one of those alarm-clock awakening moments. I feel half-asleep, and then I’m shocked aware by someone exposing a recovery truth either purposefully or simply because honesty is flowing and they’re working their own self-realization in that share. Same thing for recovery blogs.

      You’re welcome for whatever I wrote that resonated. And thank you for letting me know that recovery was working within me (instead of fully indulging my insane compulsions) when I wrote it.

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