Friday, February 28, 2014

It's been one week...*

It was only a week.

Maybe I shouldn't be so excited.

Just a week.

Seven days.

Not much time.

But somehow, a lifetime.

One week. That's how long it's been since my last binge. And maybe it's too early to celebrate. That's OK. I'm going to quietly mark it down and remember today as a measured triumph. Today, I remind myself that if I can get through one week, I can get through two, or three or hundreds.

I may have to start over. I might have to come back next week and say that it's been a day or even an hour since my last binge. But for now, the important thing is that this shows me that I can do this. Shoot, I *have* done this. And just because I haven't done it in a while doesn't mean I can't again.

It's strange how a week can seem like a flash or the most agonizing seven days of one's life. I'd say this past week has been somewhere in the middle. I've got so much going on at work and in my personal life right now that I'm a tad overwhelmed. And when I get overwhelmed, I shut down. I procrastinate. I eat.

But not this week.

This week I stopped myself when I thought, "Just this meal. Tomorrow I'll be better." Thinking about coming here and telling you all--and telling myself--I'd made it a week kept me from doing that.

So yeah, it's just seven days. But maybe it's just the first of lots of days.

* My sincere apologies for anyone who can't get the Barenaked Ladies overly catchy li'l ditty out of his or her head.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The seduction of addiction

I want to say, first of all, that I planned this entry a while ago and amended it a bit. I decided to continue with it in hopes that you guys know me and have been with me a long time (most of you) and therefore know I would never, ever trivialize this subject or compare my own woes to those of anyone else. I never want to seem self-indulgent (but, well, this is my blog so it’s going to happen sometimes. Oftentimes, even.) or make my issues seem any harder than anyone’s. But we’re all on our own journeys, aren’t we?

For a lot of people, addiction is a dirty word. I know it has been for me. My therapist used to say “To be human is to be addicted.” I know I scoffed at that once or twice. But then I realized she was right. It’s just that not everyone’s addictions manifest themselves in obvious ways.

This week, we saw the death of a supremely talented actor. And I read a lot of criticism about him from anonymous—and not-so-anonymous—Internet commenters. He was selfish, because he chose drugs over his children. He was an idiot who couldn’t get his life under control. It’s his fault he is dead because he was a drug addict.

These hateful words hurt me as if they were about me. Partly because, in many ways, they are about me. 

Before any of you roll your eyes, I’m not trying to compare my food addiction to heroin addiction. My addiction isn’t quite as dramatically fatal (though it can definitely lead to early death). It doesn’t involve syringes. I’m not going to get arrested for it.

But the darkness. The loneliness. The helplessness. These are the feelings that I think come with any addiction. These are the feelings that have permeated me lately.

I need to own up to what I am, before it becomes all that I am. Yes, I am an addict. And yes, I’ve had a relapse. I’ve been in the middle of this relapse for a while now.

I’ve been choosing food over life. Over friends. Over my boyfriend. Over family. I’m eating in secret. Feeling helpless.

Perhaps this sounds overdramatic. You know what? I don’t really care. I’m angry. I’m scared. I’m lonely. I hate this feeling of food being the thing I’m living for. It hurts too much. 

The ironic thing is that I have been one of those not-so-anonymous judgers in the past. I have friends and family who have dealt with addiction. And I often said the words, “I can’t believe he/she would choose *insert addiction here* over me.” I’d get frustrated and angry.

But when I think about it in my own life, I see things differently. I don’t want to choose food over anything else. I want to choose my friends and family and boyfriend. I want to choose life.

So that’s what I try to do every day. For now, though, I think it’s important—critically so—to acknowledge where I am now—where I have been for a while. Just so I can move on. 

So yes, I have had a relapse. But I’m committed to choosing life over darkness. I probably will have to repeat that to myself every single day—and I won’t always succeed, but I will make it happen.

I choose to live.