Monday, January 23, 2012

Relapse sucks. Seriously.

It started real slow, real sneaky after I noticed that could "get away with" eating a "little bit of this" and a "little bit of that".  The weight was still dropping, fast.  It just kept coming off, so I thought those little bits didn't matter. But I was wrong...very, very wrong.

I'm a food addict. I need boundaries, especially with food, and moving on from there, with living my life.  But before I began a program that addressed my food addiction, I didn't know how to stop eating. Let's get real here--I'm the type of gutter-level food addict who binged so bad for a 14 hour period that I ripped a hole in my stomach lining (hernia). I didn't know that at the time, of course. I was too busy eating more food. I felt something in my stomach had stretched and popped after I had been throwing all that food up (even I have limits, apparently) for four hours, but I didn't do anything about it. It didn't even occur to me to call a doctor. I was morbidly obese, somewhere over 350 pounds at the time. I knew the drill by then--go to the doctor, hear the "lose some weight and your symptoms will disappear" speech, go home feeling lower than sh*t, open the refrigerator to get something to numb that feeling. I wasn't aware that this was the pattern I had developed over the years. It was what I did, unconsciously and automatically. If I was taking a breath, I was thinking about what I was going to eat, where I would eat it, how much money it would cost (I had contingency plans in case I didn't have enough money to eat exactly what I felt like I wanted), where I would eat it...on and on.

That has been my life, day after day, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, from the time I got my first "hit" eating a half bottle of chewable vitamins at age 5 until...well, we'll see how I do today.  It's all about staying in today, which is something that I'm not in the habit of doing. That's all I can handle because I'm in that emotionally agonizing infernal place of knowing that I have to work my recovery program to keep alive, but hating every second of it because it leaves me emotionally vulnerable.  Like most food addicts I've talked to, I love comfort, ironically enough. I have always been very uncomfortable and revolted by the appearance of my body, even when I working my recovery diligently and I was 65 pounds thinner than I am right now. But that encompassing hatred of my body has been superseded by the irresistible need to succumb to the familiar calm and the anesthetic effect food has always had on me.

"Face your fears, get out of your comfort zone." That's what my sponsor tells me now. How do you do that when you are accustomed to reaching for some of this and that before you can answer the telephone or say hello to someone?  It freaks me out, to be honest. I was calm and in charge on food, at least that's how I felt. I clearly remember that I never felt the level of anxiety on a minute by minute basis the way I do now.  I don't know how people get through the work day without having a stash in your desks drawers, and taking vending machine breaks throughout the day. Maybe the rest of you have your own addiction problems that don't show up on your body the way mind do. A part of me wishes I did have one of those "hidden" addictions--you know, being addicted to relationships (and that's in spite of the fact that  I'm a relationship anorexic; I'll take a down home Southern food or working on my writing over a man ANY DAY), playing video games, collecting coupons, going to comic book conventions...actually, I take back collecting coupons and playing video games.  Those might not show up as pounds on the body, but I can't see myself doing them. They're way too complicated.

These are the facts: I know the food plan; I don't have to scramble around trying to figure out how to buy and fix the food the way I did when I was a newcomer. What I have do now is pray for the courage to remain abstinent from flour, sugar and excess food, call my sponsor on me, do my prayers and quiet time, call my fellow food addicts for help and write down what I'm gong to eat the next day and how I've been feeling during the day--EVERY SINGLE DAY WITHOUT FAIL, something I didn't do with any consistency in the past. It's simple enough plan for living. But it's definitely not easy. When I went on diets, I never changed my thoughts and behaviors. My recovery absolutely demands that I do both. And I have to do it, if I don't want to die  If you want to know what I'm talking about, check out my previous posts about all of my health issues here . And here. And here. Oh hell, if you don't have anything better to do right now, read this here.

Until next time, folks.

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