Addiction

I have read that secrets are lies.

And, you cannot be authentic if you are hiding what you do, think, feel and believe from yourself and others. This is not to say that what you do defines you. You may be partaking in unhealthy habits and things that are not you at all, but you do them to hide who you really are. Perhaps you’re ashamed, worried or afraid of being…you.

That’s what I do. I’m not sure who I am; I only know that I’m sure it’s not worthy enough to be loved.

And so…

This is my secret.

I have been battling addiction in the form of binge-eating disorder, bulimia and food addiction the past few years on and off. However, it has been most extreme the past year of my life*. I have also been battling depression, anxiety and loneliness (chicken or the egg scenario).

*I’m really afraid, embarrassed, ashamed, regretful, anxious and angry about my behaviors. Let me be frank: For the past full year alone, these binges have been nightly – meaning every night. When you read definitions/characteristics of binge-eaters, most will exclaim that binges must occur twice a week. That makes me cringe – I only wish it were that seldom (and, yes, I recognize the ill irony in that horrid thought pattern for really one time is too many). Even more alarming is the fact that these binges are always on bags of very unhealthy junk foods as well. It’s not just “healthy” foods or boxes of cereals. No, rather I’ve spent, and continue to, an embarrassingly enormous amount of money on buying bags of chocolates and cookies – daily. All in the vain effort to calm the deep anxiety and terror that rise deep inside me when I find myself without my addictions.

It’s very important that I make this clear:  I am still currently battling these issues; I don’t mean to come across as being recovered if it seems that many posts/words are construed that way. Really, I am writing as much to learn and absorb the things that are true and real in life…my habits have taken me outside of what is real. Perhaps I write as much to convince myself that I am seeking recovery. In this vein, I may refer to it as “active recovery”. Peeking in the doorway but lingering at the edge. Although a small, small step, writing may help me merely acknowledge what is going on in my life and where I am at. Nothing more as I still continue to binge every single day. Don’t I feel like a fake fool.

I know what you’re thinking – ” why can’t you just distract yourself! Do yoga; meditate, read, write, etc!” Of course, it’s all so simple isn’t it? And, maybe it is. But the addicted mind, my addicted mind, cannot simply escape so easily; the pulls, the terrors are so strong, it’s nearly impossible to leap at times.

These addictive behaviors (that are so silly to you I’m sure) have destroyed me and who I thought I was….who I thought I could be.

The truth is, I hate myself.

I am so very scared that I have ruined my body. Ruined it. I used to be athletic, long and lean. Now, I’m bloated, with stretch marks, full of sugar and poisons, soft, fluffy…sick.

I feel that after a year of nightly ravages, it’s impossible to fix the damages done.

It needs to end. And, yet, I struggle every. damn. day. I give into it. I am weak.

I have read, and am trying to believe, that it’s not all about willpower. It’s not about willpower or how strong you are. No – change and true healing requires willingness and support. It’s about hitting rock-bottom when you realize that the food or the drugs or the alcohol or whatever your vice – because the addiction, the substance can be anything is not helping you anymore. When even getting that fix leaves you feeling more empty and devalued than before.

And, that’s when you get scared.

That’s when you realize that you have no love or life in you. So you have nothing.

Oprah Winfrey once had a show where she interviewed and discussed the lives and repercussions of formerly sexually abused men, including famous actor, writer and director Tyler Perry. She asked one man what the whole experience did to him, how it changed him. He responded that it made him a “bitter, bitter man”. And then, through tears, he further said that it changed him forever – he will always wonder who and what he could have been. 

I was in the middle of a binge when I saw that. I did not stop the binge. I continued to eat, numb myself, through tear-filled eyes, and thought about the similarities between that man’s words and myself. Even though the situations were entirely different, I felt the same way about my ED. It made me bitter. It made me paranoid. It made me angry, full of hatred and self-disgust – towards myself and life. I felt even angrier thinking about it though because unlike the victims on Oprah – I was doing this to myself.  No one else was intercepting or ruining my life; it was my own doing and my own fault.

But, blaming yourself and being angry with yourself will never heal you. Somewhere along the line of all those years, I lost myself. I lost myself and the only voice that emerged was ED’s. My psyche was too weak, too weary and too ill-prepared to overcome ED. My formerly bright, vibrant eyes became ED’s – distant, dull, devoid of feeling…other than hurt and anger and…emptiness.

How ironic that the thing in my life that caused me to binge and feel deathly full was the same thing that left me empty.

And, like that victim, I wonder who I could have been – right now at this very moment. Or what my life could have been like…what it will be like now that I have these demons so ingrained in me they feel nearly impossible to face.

I need to fight back.

I need to get this devil out of me.

The truth is that I feel I am so far gone, that I’ve done so much damage to my body – my swollen, soft, unrecognizable belly – that it’s too late. That even if I were to eat clean and healthy for a full year now – it would be too late!

Is that true?…it feels so true. So frighteningly unbelievably true…

It is a battle everyday. Binge-eating and bulimia is truthfully, at least for me, an addiction. Just as a crack addict needs their crack, I literally can shake and cry in fear all night without my binge foods and the promise of it keeping me busy all night. The truth is, it’s not the foods I need, but the comfort, the security, the feeling that I have something in life…because without I have nothing.

Nothing.

I don’t know who I am…

I don’t know what I want…

I don’t know what to do with my life…

I only know that I dream of lands with bright yellow sun rays

…I dream of bright blue skies, oceans,

Green grasses and valleys

Heavenly misty mountain-tops

Rugged earths

Soft sandy beaches

never-ending

Paris

Italy

Greece

Africa

That’s all I know that I think I want…

But that’s pike dreams in a little girl’s world

as she’s waiting


waiting to forget

waiting to return to normalcy

waiting to forgive herself…

but I don’t think I can ever forgive myself or recover for all the damage I’ve physically done to my body.

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