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.


sherpamelissa said...


SarahKK said...

Love you, my friend.

One day, one hour, one minute at a time. It's going to be OK.

Meghan Austin said...

You are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story!

Anonymous said...

You write what I think but am too ashamed to share. Thank you for putting it out the and minding me I am not alone in this.
Jennifer J.

Nancy said...

Weight loss, like most things in life, has its ebbs and flows. You're just in an ebb right now. The flow will come, just hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Erica, I feel your pain. I've been dealing with a food addiction since my pre-teens.

Alcohol, drugs . . . these are awful addictions, but humans can live without alcohol and drugs.
You cannot live without food. This makes it much harder to control.

Keep the "I choose to live" mantra up. It's a good one!

Anonymous said...

You are just like everyone else; just a little more exceptional at it.

So proud of you.

Kellynn18 said...

Erika, my heart goes out to you. I have been one of those "judgers" in my life before. For nursing school, I had to attend several of the "Anonymous" meetings. I chose to go to an AA meeting and an OA (Overeaters Anonymous) meeting. These experiences helped change the way I feel about addiction. I was inspired and moved by the people at these meetings. I am just as inspired and moved by you. Keep up the honesty. That seems to be the best way to deal with addiction. Know that you have people that love you and care about you and you're never alone--even if it feels that way. Love you!

Anonymous said...

You WILL work through this. :) I know it. Peaks and valleys, my friend. Love you!