Monday, July 18, 2011

Selfishness

Addiction is a selfish disease. I mean this in many ways. It's an odd phenomenon that those with an eating disorder can tend to swing from being selfless to being overly selfish, but any type of addiction will cause self absorption and too much self focus. I'm still working on not being all me, me, me all the time. I have definitely come a long way. Even in the past when I was sick, I made an effort. I had a friend tell me that she was impressed that no matter what shit I was wading through, I managed to make at least some effort to be aware and concerned about others.

In the throes of addiction though, there seems to be a big disconnect somewhere. It's like nothing is genuine. Apologies come off as forced and there's a feeling that the person isn't grounded, like there's no true emotion behind anything done. There's a difference between going through the motions and really experiencing something. It makes sense though, because addiction has a lot to do with numbing out and not feeling, so it's not a big surprise that an addict can be cut off from his emotions. Often there's an emotional upheaval when getting to the other side of addiction as the emotions come to the surface, but there are some people who seem to be really good about keeping them at bay, even without any substance to mask what might eventually be uncovered. These are the people who are most likely to relapse. They have learned and probably lived in a way that allowed complete shut down of feelings and emotion. After years of this, it's hard to feel again. The longer it continues, the more out of touch with everything the person becomes. What's right and wrong becomes blurred as the addiction becomes more important. Friends, family and lovers suffer, but to the addict, it's never about them; it's about feeding the addiction. Even though my dad never admitted he was an alcoholic, he knew he had a problem. There were many broken promises to my mom, despite refusing to actually admit he had a problem. Again, there was a disconnect. He was aware on some level, but not willing to change, no matter what the effect on himself and others. I believe in my own case, I eventually became so embarrassed about what I was doing to the people around me, I felt I couldn't continue. Everyone says that getting over an addiction has to be done for the self, but I believe it has to be both. One has to give enough of a shit about others to actually care about actions. Eventually, my recovery became about me, but it didn't start that way. At first, I just wanted to stop hurting my mom, my sister and the friends who had been there time after time while I was dead set on self destructing.

 I used to feel like the world was out to get me. I felt judged at every step. It wasn't until much later in life that I realized most people are just trying to get by, not all that concerned with how some anorexic chick is living. This isn't to imply that people don't care, more to acknowledge that no single person is on center stage at all times.

 As far as the big disconnect, you can go through the motions of recovery, 12 step all you like and keep searching for that magic pill, but it won't work if you don't truly work though it, experience it and push to be outside that familiar comfort zone. Addressing all the crap that makes a person addicted is fine, but there's something more to all of it. As good as it is to look at the past to get an understanding of the causes of the illness, when it started and the potential triggers that have led to slipping down into bad places, I feel it's more important to find tools that will help move forward. I've lost count of how many times someone has told me that the addict in my life "didn't mean to hurt you. It's the addiction" as if the addiction is a separate entity. It's not. My addiction hurt many people in my life, but my addiction was really me. There's this great idea about telling your addiction that the both of you have to share the body, so you better make it work. The thought is that the illness can be recognized, and yet healthy choices can still be made, even when there's a pull from the addiction to go down the wrong path. Ultimately though, the addiction isn't something outside the self. It can definitely feel like it, but it is the dark side of the self. When I could accept this and take responsibility for what I had done both to myself and to others, I was able to begin to move away from the chains that were holding me.

Addiction and the willingness to change have a great deal to do with how much the addictive behavior gets in way of life. That's why some people think hitting rock bottom will promote an upswing. I can't say I agree fully. I bumped along rock bottom for a long, long time before I was able to change. Sometimes I think it was sheer luck that I came out the other side. I know I did a hell of a lot of work, and had to take that first scary jump into the unknown. However, for years and years I was simply stuck, imprisoned in my own fucked up little world, ruled by the dictator in me that was my illness. In the end, I finally saw that I wasn't going to make it if I continued. And I was unhappy, so unhappy. A lady I knew once said, "come over to this side to play! It's fun." She meant be a part of the world again. Somehow I knew I would one day. Even though life can still be a challenge, it's never as bad as it was, ever. Feelings can be a challenge, but I've finally realized that they pass, even when it seems like grief, sadness or fear will engulf me, I know the feelings will eventually change.

I'm sort of leaving my thoughts dangling here, but there's so much to be said about addiction. Sometimes I can only take *talking* about it in small doses.

This may seem inappropriate to get into now, but I have to say that the desserts at Piece, Love and Chocolate continue to impress me.

I was able to sample a few more treats with some friends. I loved them all. They're not overly sweet, which is exactly how I like my desserts. I can't stand that super sweet shock to the teeth that most desserts create. Yuck. These are not like that. They are full of flavor.

The white chocolate cheesecake- insanely good. One of the best cheesecakes I have ever eaten. God- it was sooo creamy and addicting! I could see it served with raspberries, but it stood alone just fine. Soooo perfect.

Chocolate with liquid caramel and salt. The caramel flavor sneaks up on you in a really good, subtle way. The salt is intense, but not overbearing. It's amazing. The unexpected liquid caramel flows over the taste buds, covering them for a spell before the chocolate flavor reemerges. A few thought this was the best of the 4 samples. I liked the cheesecake and mousse cup equally well, if not more.

Chocolate raspberry cake- This was incredible. It has a wonderful natural raspberry flavor, not that gross artificial flavor many respberry treats have. It also has a great texture with a soft chocolate cake and crunchy nuts throughout. The layer of sticky raspberry is in the middle, and it's a nice tart burst that blends nicely with the chocolate.

The chocolate mousse cup- This was ridiculously good. It has a true mousse filling, super soft and creamy, oh so creamy. It's a light chocolate whipped and piped into dark chocolate cups. Wow- the best combination. The dark chocolate cuts the sweetness of the filling so nicely, and I don't mean to imply that the filling is anything other than perfect. I just like the dark cup for added chocolate intensity. I'm not doing justice to how good they were in these little blurbs. They have to be experienced!

The foot is holding up OK. It's very stiff at times, but I ran some good runs last week. Hoping to keep it up this week.

Chocolate raspberry goodness

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for the well-written insight. It's fascinating to read and get even a very tiny sense of what it must be like to live with an addiction/disease like you did.

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  2. Thank you so much. I can't say I'm an expert, but I'm trying hard to understand it more and more.

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  3. I think addiction recovery has a lot to do with a shift in identity and a very honest evaluation of ones values. It is strange to be consumed with one thoughts and feelings. No answers on my end, but I have always thought of you as a warrior.

    Peace & Love Ms Lize :-)

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  4. Kendal! Thank you. I think you are right about the identity, definitely.

    :)

    x0x0

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  5. This really struck me:

    Feelings can be a challenge, but I've finally realized that they pass, even when it seems like grief, sadness or fear will engulf me, I know the feelings will eventually change.


    I've been realizing this lately, myself. It's hard to remember that sometimes in the moment, but that doesn't make it any less true. :)

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  6. I think this is a hard one for many people. A friend of mine talks about feelings being a bit like the weather or a storm that passes, but it is hard to remember when you're in the middle of it! We aren't really taught how to deal with our emotions in this country. Instead, we are taught that showing them or expressing them is somehow not a good idea.

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