Posted by: innerpilgrimage | May 27, 2012

Trying to Find a Good Title When All I Feel is Sadness For Cleaning Out My Blog Links

      I just cleared the blog links of people who haven’t written on their blogs in a year or more.

Well, except Lara’s blog–recoverydiscovery. She was my first sponsoree/sponsee, the first person I committed up to Step Three with. She and I had such aligned processes, and her recovery helped me when I landed square in anorexia after reaching the end of my weight loss. Hey, I’m compulsive about food–it’s all or nothing, right? I’d gone from indulging to excess all the food to being capable of rejecting it and getting an ego-hit that way. In fact, losing abstinence due to anorexia is currently the face of my relapse. Making minimums was hard yesterday. I nearly blew abstinence because “I wasn’t hungry.”
      By the way, that was bullshit. I was playing chicken with my hunger, ignoring my body’s signals, making myself busy. Time passed. Then? I had to eat.
      Am I a three-meal-a-day eater? No. I try to run with the “eat when my body says to eat” theory. Forcing myself to eat when I’m not hungry is a control issue. It makes me rebel, makes me angry. So I eat nutritionally. Yes, I still sometimes put off a meal because I don’t sense hunger (like the signal being nausea instead of growling stomach) properly and don’t respond to it. See, I spent decades not even letting myself get hungry. I literally lived from a point of full-to-overfull. I could actually be full from the night before. A growling-stomach hunger pang was rare. Very rare. Usually happened after an actual bout with the stomach flu–the next day, when I was weak but better.
      I expect some people have already worked the program for me (as we are wont to do, even me) and decided that because I am not 3-0-0 or 3-1-0, I am not abstinent.
      Well, I ate a balanced diet, and I have for over 2 1/2 years. My HP doesn’t seem to be telling me it’s time to change it again (which was part of the addition of the minimums and increasing my daily caloric intake maximums–to accommodate the anorexia compulsion), so I’m not. Did I almost lose it? The reality was there. However, in my heart and intuitively? I didn’t lose abstinence yesterday, despite missing lunch.
      As an aside, I ate breakfast this morning–about a hundred calories of cereal. I’m about to go back for a couple of dried prunes, since I’m feeling a little nausea-hunger-pang. I underate breakfast–part of the game of chicken my anorexia plays. “I ate,” it whines. “I ate a reasonable amount. Ignore the hunger. It’s lying. It’s trying to make you 300 lbs. or more again, and that will KILL me!”
      As if not eating won’t make my heart stop or my lungs collapse–which happens. Or make me accident-prone because I don’t have enough healthy fuel in my body not to make me distracted and dizzy and unfocused. Same problem I had obese, actually. See, I ate junk food the whole time, so I was rarely eating anything healthier than sugar, fat, salt, and trace elements. It’s an irony–I abuse my body thin or obese. The only time I do not is in abstinence.
      It’s actually part of the reason I don’t follow the harsh no flour, no sugar diet (yes, I said diet, not food plan) some people use. Denial of sustenance, or pleasure, or both does not work well for me. That said, it works beautifully for others. Some people, I wholeheartedly believe, have a real and very visible allergy to white foods–in the same way people have dairy or meat allergies. Yes, a person can have a meat allergy. And it really is less the meat and more the chemicals used to preserve the meat. M— cannot eat a MCDonald’s hamburger without having severe stomach pain (and emetic results) even after the first bite, yet M— can eat the grain-fed beef and pork products from the butcher shop. Add the probiotic benefits of active-culture yoghurt (which I do, too, since I have a sensitive digestive tract, inherited from my mother’s mother), and we are a meat-eating family.
      So, I respect that the no-sugar, no-flour, no-salt food plan works beautifully for some people’s chemistry. To me, food addiction is similar to narcortics addiction. Some people are sensitive to heroin; some people are sensitive to crystal meth; some people are sensitive to cocaine or crack; some people use pain-relief pills–like valium or oxycontin. They may use the others from time to time, but there is a drug of choice that cannot be used in moderation.
      Like, for me, in the shell peanuts and halvah. Or actually walking into an All You Can Eat restaurant or a place with a lunch buffet. For example, Pancho’s Mexican Buffet’s chile rellenos? Yeah, that is a major trigger food for me, especially with the queso. I don’t want it; the idea of the oily-ness makes me queasy. However, if I had a bite? I would not stop eating; I might even purge on site and return for more. They are that much of a trigger food. Chinese food buffets and Indian food buffets are the same. I’ll binge-eat both, given the chance. Hell, I think I could binge eat at a salad bar. So, I don’t ever choose any meal with a multi-trip salad bar. Oh, and I don’t eat mass-market chocolate, because the idea of the chocolate is so far from the reality, I binge on that, too.
      So, I do eat chocolate, but it’s the fussy organic and fair trade stuff. And, for some reason, I don’t need to binge on it. I can actually make a candy bar last four days. And I can politely share it with others. And I don’t eat chocolate every day. I didn’t yesterday, and I probably won’t today.
      So, anyway, this comes around to the individual recovery we all have to journey on. This is our quest, our hero’s–or herione’s–journey. The quest is not to lose weight. Not any more. We may have associated happiness with the weight loss when we were unhappy with our bodies previously. I know of many people in and out of program who lost weight and were as miserable thin as fat–including me. No, this is a quest out of bondage. This is a quest to free ourselves not just of the symptoms but to live with the daily reality that to keep the symptoms from returning, we have to vigilantly self-care.
      A food addict is like a diabetic, in that one must be thoughtful of one’s self-care in order to appreciate the life and the treasure the form we possess. We were snatched from death–our living death. Sleeping through or hiding from life, blaming everyone (and ourselves), fighting diets and rebelling to higher scale readings than before, hating our lack of normalcy. “Why don’t diets work!” I raged. Because diets are for people who don’t abuse their bodies with food, came the Truth. Diets are for people who can realize portion distortion slid their perception of portion size and adjust their portions to normal to compensate. Diets are for people who don’t consider food good or bad–food is just fuel to them. Diets are for people who can stop eating when their bodies signal the sensation of fullness. Diets . . . aren’t for me.
      Abstinence is for me, and that means I am learning to respect my body by neither abusing it with overindulgence of feast foods–especially desserts–nor abusing it with denying my hunger or putting it off because I “feel fat”. Which one cannot “feel”, by the way. Of the many feelings related to body dysmorphia–anger, sadness, fear, and their related focused feelings–fat is not a feeling. It’s a great excuse to abuse my body in anorexia, though. A really great excuse for the addict mind to punish me for whatever I perceive I deserve to be punished for–something so deep within that I can’t really even get to it. It’s there, a Leviathan moving in the black depths of the sea of addiction. I feel the ripples of motion on the surface, where I am in the recovery boat. I feel when it moves through that void and tears through with doubt and fear and self-loathing. But I do not yet know its name or what it looks like. I just know it’s there.
      So, with addiction having these lovely murderous monsters skulking around and threatening my life, and recovering having the light of truth exposing these monsters–why would I choose the monsters over the light of truth?
      Because if I’m not fighting the monsters, they can’t kill me. Well, that’s what my addict self wants to believe. I’m not safe from my addiction if I appease it. Addiction isn’t here to make friends or deals. Promises of perfection? Sure. Distractions of the shiny and sweet, of reliving childhood memories which never happened? Oh, yes.
      To borrow neo-Christian polytheism, addiction is the Devil. It is the Prince of Lies, the master of Hell, and I live in Hell every damned day I indulge in addiction. Though I don’t believe in the Devil (my Higher Power doesn’t have an equal anti-energy causing harm to the world and relieving me or anyone else of personal responsibility) or God (though I will go straight into addiction and tell any religious person who believes in the co-conspirators of evil, God and the Devil, that they’re wrong–BIG character defect), I empathize with the cultural descriptions. I have the imprint of my culture and my lax Christian upbringing, and it does help frame my journey in many ways.
      Did I do a disservice, then, releasing those weblogs? I think no, because they were released long ago by their creators. My recovery is a living process; my addiction is the effort to keep the illusion going. In recovery, I can live a life without fearing death, because I will have lived fully at all; addiction is about longing, desire, the not-attaining. The not-achieving. Recovery is about letting the suffering go aside and live today with compassion for all living things–including me; addiction is about medicating away the suffering with more suffering. Recovery heals me; addiction poisons me.
            And to have a “perfect” abstinence, a “perfect” recovery, a “perfect” working of the 12 steps before I deserve any happiness in life–that is the addict self getting in the way. Recovery is quiet, whereas addiction is loud. Recovery is peaceful, whereas addiction fights itself constantly (in a battle of “good” versus “evil”). Recovery is love and life; addiction is punishment and death.
      These are my truths. Why I wrote them? I don’t know. I don’t really have a subject to this entry . . . except that I feel guilty for having indulged my social anorexia and didn’t reach out to those people who needed it. Those people who stopped writing, who gave up.
      Including me.       But I am back to write more and more, so that’s positive. Hopefully, this seed will grow strong enough to get me into the rooms again. I just have no faith in the meetings right now. And it’s not the meetings. I know it’s not the meetings.
      It’s my addicted perception of how the meetings don’t serve me.
      And that, dear co-journeyers on the path to recovery, is the cunning, baffling, powerful, and persistent nature of addiction. If I want bitter poison because I want to punish myself? Addiction provides. If I want sweet poison because I want to feel good? Addiction provides. However, all addiction provides is poison; what addiction and compulsion guides me from is probably the path I want to go–no matter how narrow or lonely my compulsion tells me it will be. And I know addiction will be waiting and compulsion will be walking right beside me to turn me back to the beginning if I doubt–which it is constantly whispering in my ear I need to do.
      But I don’t want to. I’ve experienced the promises of recovery as they were manifesting in my life. The people around me saw a very real change–involvement in life without the desperation to control it all. Joy, compassion, love. I was who I wanted to be, and then . . . I got distracted by the far future and the far past and stayed there–feeling guilt and fear.
            My name is Jess, and I am a binge-arexic. I am a toxic love addict and real love avoidant. Something’s happening with this. Not sure what. But I needed to write it, so here it is.

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Responses

  1. Another wonderful thought provoking post! Thank you! I have been working my program since March ’10 and I came in with diet thinking. I worked a perfect to the letter program for 68 days. Did everything I was told. Checked every bit of it off the list. I had the ugliest white knuckle abstinence you have ever seen. The obsessive way I worked my program was way crazier then me in disease. Yes there were a couple of miracles that happened too. I am sure you have hear people talk about getting in the life boat. I found out I can tread water outside the life boat for 68 days tops! When I came back after a 6 months hiatus. I did it again. Diet mentality. I got 60 days 4 times before finally getting what I was really looking for. I am in the room for joyous happy and free. I make 3 phone calls a day. If people I call do not work a program of joyous happy and free I do not call them back. They do not have what I want.

    • What an insightful comment, W-S! I appreciate very much and understand what you’re talking about . . . and also learned about what trouble I may be having in program. There is a level of diligence we have to bring to program in order to get the most out of program, and I appreciate your experience, strength, and hope. Thank you!


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