Hello My Name Is Addiction
Hello, my name is addiction. I remember meeting the face of addiction, vaguely, for the first time when I was barely out of diapers. Hearing that whisper when my biological dad told my mother that he didn’t want me. I may not have fully grasped the meaning, but I felt the wound that resulted from those words. The trajectory of my life changed forever that day. It wasn’t long after that, addiction crawled up and said “Well hello there!”. Introducing itself in the form of sweet, blissful food. It felt good, comforting. Addiction wanted me in a way my dad never would. It held me close. Slowly piece by piece it built up an armor around me for protection. I didn’t realize at the same time it was building a wall that left me trapped in the darkness of my own mind.
A Friendly Disguise
Over time, Addiction disguised itself as my closest friend. Holding me in its arms from the moment it whispered “my name is addiction”. It didn’t dawn on me that as the days wore on, the pleasure felt from putting food in my mouth, the numbing of the loneliness, was in fact the same thing keeping me miserable and unhappy. From a very young age life had taught me something was wrong with me. I wasn’t worthy of keeping. It didn’t matter that my mother loved me or that later, as my sisters came along, I would be surrounded with love beyond the measuring of it. I couldn’t figure out WHY I wasn’t worth being loved by my paternal parent. So I created a reason. If I was fat then that had to be the reason I wasn’t lovable. It made sense at the time.
Everything will be fine!
This is what addiction waited for. That break in my mind, it seeped in and like wet concrete, formed a foundation in me that I built my entire identity around. Addiction took me by the hand and gave me a reason to feel good about myself despite how flawed I surely must have been. Food made me whole again when I felt broken. It wrapped its tight grip around my mind and pushed me further and further into my own prison. I couldn’t see the damage I was doing, I couldn’t see that the very thing that made me feel good, albeit temporarily, was also creating a sense of self-hatred that not only rivaled every other thought I had about myself but shortly became the guiding line of every thought in my head. Addiction turned into self-hatred and I never even saw it coming.
From the beginning to the end
While I know where it started, I still am not sure where it all will end. It has changed how I view my body, how I view love and relationships. I struggle against the battle of eating addiction every day. It took me decades to realize my problem was even an addiction. It never dawned on me that addiction could take form in the eating of food. I mean we need food, right? Food was what gave us energy and made us feel good. Yet the habits and relationships I developed with food were indeed very unhealthy.
As my body changed, gaining weight to protect me. Fat accumulating on my hips, belly, and thighs, I started to hate the same thing that made me feel safe and gave me pleasure. Guilt started to creep in with every bite that passed my lips. I learned quickly about being fat. Cruel children and their taunts. Well-meaning family members concern to put me on a diet. I was taught that food was the enemy. It was MY enemy. It never once occurred to me that the thing shouting “My name is addiction” in my head was the real enemy!
Food is NOT the enemy
Nearly 4 decades later, I finally realize that food isn’t the enemy. It’s only been fairly recently that professionals have started to explore the world of eating addictions. Some eating disorders have more societal familiarity such as binge eating and bulimia. Yet there are so many people out there, like me and possibly you, who in fact suffer from Eating Addiction. So many people who don’t understand why they find themselves sitting in their car shoveling fast food in their face. Letting the sudden rush of endorphins from the food ease their tears, stress, and fear. They don’t realize that in that moment they are doing the same exact thing that any drug addict is doing when they slip that needle beneath their skin. Looking for an escape from whatever pain pulls them down, threatening to drown them.
We don’t need to make peace with our food. We need to make peace with ourselves. Food is nourishment. It’s not the enemy ~ Kris Carr
Don’t lose hope
The good news is, this doesn’t have to be the end of your story. Every day is an opportunity to flip the page and start a new chapter. A trite cliche, maybe, but still so true. So far, in my life, addiction has been the deceptive villain. Posing as a trusted friend but slowly bringing me down from the inside. Here is where I push though. I WILL NOT be defeated by this! Through trial and error, I have put together a small list of steps to combat my addiction. As I dive deeper into this series on addiction I will be completely transparent about the good and the bad, in hopes that sharing with you may shine some light on different paths you can take on the road to recovery.
My name is addiction, but don’t lose hope, you can break free! It takes work, determination and being able to feel the pain that you’ve been trying to numb for so long. Here are a few steps that I have started with.
The first steps on the road to recovery
I’ve sought out professional help. I see a therapist a few times a month, give or take my schedule. It’s through this experience that I’ve been able to identify some habits that have in the past been just beyond my grasp of understanding. In therapy I’ve learned to recognize triggers, and identified the trauma that causes me to eat. I have come to realize that my need to eat is trying to fill an emptiness inside me that I was too scared to acknowledge.
Stopped Restrictive dieting
I have put away the need for restrictive diets and the constructs of “weight loss” for now. My main goal with food is to learn to build a healthy relationship with food. Building a balance in nutrition and changing the way my brain thinks about food. This includes changing the script in my head when I eat something. Remembering that food is neither good nor bad but a source of fuel for my body.
I write about everything. This is where you come in, in sharing my story with you, I hope to hold myself accountable to the truth of my journey. I don’t expect it to be easy, but I do believe in the success of this path. Putting my thoughts down in written form often helps me untangle the emotions surrounding my actions with food and my addiction. It’s easier to write it out and then look at it from the perspective of a reader than trying to just make sense of the noise inside my brain. I would highly suggest starting here, especially if you can’t afford or are not comfortable seeking therapy at the moment. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING!
Thank you for coming along on this ride with me. Facing recovery of any addiction isn’t an easy path, but remember you are NOT alone! Join me and we can do it together! If you found My Name Is Addiction helpful and would like to read more about my journey with addiction and my road to recovery, please check out the rest of The A Word series as it develops, and subscribe to the weekly newsletter for updates on the next post in this series!
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