Addiction… the loss of Control

For the past several weeks when contemplating on things to write about, a particular subject kept popping up for me and I kept putting it on the back burner. With the events of the past week, I feel compelled to sit down now with pen to paper.

Many of you know of my weight loss story. Well a part of it anyways, for I never went much into the details of my internal journey.
When I think back of those 26 months; 2 years and 2 months losing 396lbs, like, wow. In nine of those months losing a rapid 200 of that, I shake my head.
With much praise and “well done’s” and in seeing the results, I am sure that many thought I finally had conquered my “emotional eating”; but looks can be deceiving.
The mental and emotional side of my weight loss, I never addressed. Oh yes, I “thought” I had. I knew intellectually all that I had been taught but there was a “disconnect” from my head to my heart.
I remember the many visits to the surgeon’s office to remove my 72 staples after my last surgery. Each time I went away, the more and more discouraged I got. I tried to explain the pressure I was experiencing but I felt unheard.
My picking began to start.  I struggled with the temptation. It was a very tumultuous time. I found it very hard to share with anyone what I was feeling inside.
For 9 months, I did not let a crumb pass my lips and now I was sneaking tiny morsels. I felt I was falling apart. Shame set in. Guilt for having nibble set me into a frenzy of walking so I wouldn’t gain before my next appointment.
Then my last appointment came, the result was as before and I left the office devastated.
Straight to the Tim Horton’s I went. I bought a dozen donuts and half a dozen muffins, and started demolishing them.
I stopped into the superstore on the way home and picked up anything that spoke my name. Ice cream, potato chips, cookies, chocolate bars anything I could get my hands on; I was out of control and could NOT stop.
When I got home, my binge continued. As I stood by the counter I shoved cookie after cookie into my face. In convulsive sobs, the tears were streaming down my face. I knew I needed to stop but could not. I reached for the 2k of peanut butter, grabbed a spoon, and started to devour it. I went to the nestle Sundae ice cream; downed it. It scared the hell out of me. Something had taken over me. I was totally out of control. After the second day, I started to ease up but once again, another binge would take control.
After a week, I got on the scales and seen I had gained 20 lbs. I felt sick, guilty, and shameful. I had blown everything.
In my guilt, shame and feeling a failure I withdrew for weeks. I never got dressed and bawled my head off. I would not answer the phone.  In not sleeping, I felt like the walking dead and there were times I wished I were. I was going down a deep dark hole fast. I felt if I died, it wouldn’t really matter. I wondered if I could do it. As I sized up the needle; I wondered how much insulin would it take.
Thank God, I had made regular appointments with my family doctor. When I seen I had one approaching I struggled with the thought of going but I dragged myself to it. I broke down in her office of what had happened. I told her I needed help. She sent off a referral to mental health and immediately; I got an appointment the following week.
I always recognized my addictive behavior through the years. I always felt while walking by the gambling machines that one loonie would be my demise.
I knew that first Christmas after Curtis died when my mind was sizing up the liquor I had on hand…I knew I couldn’t go there… I was scared that I would never find the bottom of the bottle. I just knew.
It is so easy for me to go to that “feel good” to cope, although my addiction is unrecognized as one.
My binges or my emotional eating/addiction can easily transfer to anything.  I have to always be aware. Even transference to shopping and exercise was a feel good for me.  That is how I lost 200 pounds in 9 months; it became my addiction, my feel good. When my weight came off, my transference went back to my old friend food because in real emotional times that is my comfort; my coping mechanism that I knew so well.

“Someone does not become an addict because they were raised in a dysfunctional family. It is not caused by emotional wounds. It also has nothing to do with will power or strength of character or morality. It does not have anything to do with intelligence.
Addiction is not caused by environmental factors. It is a physiological, genetic allergy – a hereditary predisposition involving brain chemistry.”

-Excerpts from Dance of the Wounded Soul by Robert Burney.

When a person has that addictive predisposition, they make something their primary coping mechanism. Mine is food.
Recently I was reminded of that dark time in my life. When my addiction took control and it lead me down a dark hole, a place I remembered all to well.

This week a friend was lost in that dark hole. He took his own life. My heart aches for what he must have felt.
Many a time at the cottage Wilson heard me sing. In hearing this song this evening, I think of him…

Too soon to leave this earth
How could all your work be done
Ash to ash and dust to dust
Seemed to me you just begun
When grief invades my soul
There’s comfort in a prayer, I find
Though these candles honor you
They burn for those you left behind
I’ll sing for you because I need to
Right now this is all I know
You always said you wanted me to
So I will sing you home
I will sing you home
Know that you will live
On the lips of those who knew
What it was you had to give
And what it was they learned from you
This is my prayer for you
And maybe someday I will know
If it helped your journey home
Or if it helped me let you go
We’re born unto this earth
Generations one by one
Ash to ash and dust to dust
There is nothing left undone
Chorus X 2

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