Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “December, 2014”

My own Christmas miracle

Christmas is over and the one holiday left is my second favorite time of the year. So I’m feeling pretty good right about now. Plus, I got some pretty awesome presents. I am writing this blog on my new MacBook. (Look who’s fancy!)

I made it through the food holidays with my eating boundaries in tact. That makes 8 Thanksgiving/Christmas Seasons in a row. But for most of them, I did not do much, if any, celebrating. This will be the second year in a row that I have lived in the town I grew up in, close to family.

When I lived in New York, I didn’t fly back to my hometown this time of year. I might have met friends for a bit in the evening. Exchanged gifts. Called family. But for the most part, I happily spent my days alone.

And now I live with my boyfriend. Just a short drive from both his family and my own.

But I want to note that, except for breakfast at my mom’s (with explicit instructions from me about what kind of bacon to buy and how big of an apple I wanted), I kept my boundaries around my eating by not eating with everybody else. I ate at home before or after the parties. I packed my meals in tupperware and brought them with me just in case.

And I didn’t really think twice about it. It was easy. I didn’t have to be around the foods I don’t eat. I didn’t have to look at cake and pie and cookies. I colored with the kids, or talked with family. I got to do the social part without having to deal with eating.

I am so grateful for the way that I eat now. I make sure I eat delicious food every day. Not just on holidays. And I don’t ever have to feel disgusted or ashamed anymore. I am not sorry that there was no candy for me. I am not sorry there were no chips and dip for me.

The truth is that since I put boundaries around my eating, I am not sorry at all about food anymore. Ever.

Now that my friends, is a Christmas miracle!


A crazy trust exercise

More of the same this week. I’m so ready for the Holidays to be over.

I’m also now having a hard time. I’m pretty actively unhappy lately. And I’m at a loss for what to do or how to fix it.

If I were a friend, I know what I would say to me. That I have to trust. That I have to trust that life is working the way it’s supposed to. That not only will it get better than it is, but it will be better than it has been before. Better than I think it can be.

That is always the way it has been since I got my eating under control. What I learned (very slowly) when I stopped eating sugar was that I didn’t so much have an eating problem, or even so much a sugar problem, as I had a living problem. Yes, sugar is a physical addiction for me. And eating it sets up an insatiable craving for it. And yes I have eating disorders. But those things are the ways I used to deal with being bad at life. I have heard other addicts call it “trying to fill a God-sized hole.” I ate to fill a hole. I eventually learned that that hole could only be filled by a combination of integrity, trusting life and trusting my heart.

When I look at why I am unhappy, (an issue I am not ready to talk about yet) I can’t imagine how it could get better. At least not any time soon. It feels like I should expect at least a year of this frustration. And frankly, maybe longer.

And this is where I am supposed to trust.

The truth is that since I have gotten my eating under control, I have never had a permanent downgrade. I have had to let go of some ideas I had about what I thought I wanted. I have had to stop being a martyr. I have had to give up a certain amount of self-righteousness, and the right to complain without trying to make it right. And I have certainly had minor, temporary setbacks. But never once have I ended up worse than when I started. In any aspect of my life. So why would I expect it to happen now?

I might need to start having conversations. I might need to take some actions. I am going to have to listen to myself and trust my heart.

It’s hard to trust that things will get better when I can’t even imagine a timely, happy resolution. But isn’t that what trust is? Believing in what is unknown and uncertain?

Blah blah freakin’ blah

I have been feeling pretty blah lately. Maybe it’s winter. Maybe it’s that I haven’t been getting enough sun. Maybe it’s the holidays, which are not my favorite.

I know that my life is sweet. I think about how happy I am every day. But I am not really actively happy in the last few weeks. I guess it’s relative.

There is a certain luxury to being blah. I don’t have any real worries. I don’t have any crises. I don’t have any real drama. If you ask me what’s wrong, the answer is nothing. I’m just blah.

I spent many long years in desperate unhappiness. Because I was an addict continually engaging in addict behavior.

See if you feel blah, and you ask yourself why, and you have a million possible answers- like that lie you told, the fear of being caught in that lie you told, the promise you broke, that thing you were supposed to do but didn’t, that thing you weren’t supposed to do but did, that thing you stole and way you cheated, the fear of being caught cheating and stealing- that blah feeling can occur as real and eternal. Like it will never get better because there is a reason for it. Many good reasons.

And the other thing about addict behavior is that when you are active in it, it occurs as the only way to live. When I was acting out my addiction, I didn’t believe I had any other choice. I really believed that life forced me into making the choices I made. Like I couldn’t tell the truth. If life/luck/fate had made me succeed/be right/do a good job, I would have been able to tell the truth/make an honorable choice/have integrity. But instead, things didn’t always go my way, so I thought I had to turn things to my advantage with deceit and trickery. I thought I was just doing what needed to be done to save face. I thought that looking right was the most important thing. I thought integrity was the result of having a charmed life.

If you don’t know by now, I will fill you in on a little secret. Having a charmed life is the result of integrity.

And the first step in integrity for this food-addicted, eating-disordered, body-dysmorphic girl is to keep my integrity with my food.

So I’m blah. But I keep my boundaries around my eating. And I keep on keeping on. And eventually I will be inspired and invigorated. And that’s not today. But it’s still a damn sight better than being haunted tormented and ashamed. So I’ll take it. And be grateful.

A terrible moment is a reasonable price for a peaceful lifetime.

I have mentioned before that it’s easy to forget what it was like before I got my eating under control. There is something about the human psyche that allows things to become “normal.” It occurs day to day like this person I am, who is honest and honorable and reliable, is who I have always been. But of course, if I look at it objectively, I was not any of those things. I may have wanted to be that way, and thought that any time I wasn’t, I was justified, but the real deal is that I was regularly dishonest, dishonorable, and unreliable. I acted out of fear, shame, and a misguided sense of self-preservation.

I would learn later, once I was sober from sugar and from acting out my eating disorders, that the best way to preserve one’s self is to take responsibility. But I spent many years trying to pawn responsibility for my mistakes, problems, and failures off on anyone else. It seemed like the best way to be free. But it simply made me feel bad about myself, led to more bad behavior, and more needing to numb myself. In other words, it fed my addiction.

And all of that escapes me in my day to day life. I am not haunted. I do not lie awake at night anymore, worrying about what I did or didn’t do. I don’t lose sleep over anything. It’s a nice perk of integrity.

And then every once in a while, I will get a flashback. Of what it felt like. It’s not intellectual. I think about it intellectually all the time. I write this blog every week. I remember what I did and how I behaved, but I don’t usually experience it. Viscerally.

And then sometimes I do. And it’s terrible. Terrifying. It happened to me a couple of times this week and it was awful. But, then again, not awful.

I don’t know where it comes from. But I am always grateful for it. Once I get my bearings again.

There is a distinction I have. This way I am now, as a person I genuinely like and respect, is the real me. It is who I am supposed to be. And it is my destiny, or my path or however you want to name it. It is more real than the addict in me. But it is not who I am naturally. It is not my default. It is not who I am when I’m not sober. And I have to work to keep sober. I have to work at being the real me. It’s not a romantic notion. But I find that many romantic notions are false. Or at least misleading.

I think that feeling of being healed may be the big problem with addiction. The person you become feels so real. Like you couldn’t ever go back to the way you were. Because now you know. What to do and what not to do. But the fact is that I have met so many people who believed that they had life figured out because they were sober for a while. So they went ahead and tried to be normal and and found that they were not only still addicts, but that going back into active addiction returned them to all of their former bad behavior and horrible feelings. It didn’t matter that they had been sane and well for months or years. They hadn’t learned anything really. At least not anything that helped them keep the sanity they got from staying sober.

So I am grateful to those people who did the research for me. So I didn’t have to do it myself. And I am grateful for those flashback experiences, where I remember what it felt like to be the “natural” me. Because I’d rather feel it for a terrible moment than live it for a terrible lifetime.

Post Navigation