Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My thoughts on addiction

I has taken me two days to write this. I hope that I can remember all of the thoughts that were swirling around in my mind. I have really been thinking about addiction a lot lately. I find myself questioning all that I used to believe to be true about how to recover from an addiction.

It feels the same way it did when I started to question my belief in Christianity. Things just don't feel right anymore. I can no longer accept that I am never going to be able to be free from the things that I will turn to for ease and comfort. I can no longer believe that if I don't follow a certain 12-step program I am doomed to live a miserable existence.

Here's a brief retelling of my time in "recovery". I joined a 12-step group in Jan. of '06 because of my compulsive overeating. Stayed in the program for 2 1/2 years, lost 120lbs. It appeared that I was in "recovery". Was I? I definitely had physical recovery, but I had very minimal emotional recovery and absolutely no spiritual recovery. But I was skinny, so who cares. My spirit cared. I was dead inside. I finally couldn't take being told over and over that I could not trust my addict mind. That I WOULD pick up the food again, if I didn't keep going to meetings and working with a sponsor and being of service and blah, blah, blah.... If I did these things I would be in recovery.

I didn't want to be in recovery, I wanted to be free. I wanted to lose the incredible sense of hopelessness that I had. Why was I hopeless? Any good recovering addict would tell you that it is impossible to be free if you are not spiritually fit. I got all kinds of advice. Pray more, meditate more, go to church, ask other people how they came to believe in a Higher Power, surrender (that was my favorite). All of this was very well intentioned advice. My fellow addicts did care. They truely wanted to see me happy, joyous and free.  I agreed that in order to be happy, joyous and free I needed spiritual recovery.  I just had no idea what spiritual recovery was.

I left this program feeling totally defeated.  I was a hopeless case.  I tried the most structured and disciplined 12-step foodie program and I failed miserably.  I was still skinny, but I hated myself more than when I came in to the program at 250lbs.  So I did exactlly what I was told I would do if I left.  I gained weight.  I had to. I had an addict mind, that was to lead me back to hell.  I was going to die.  I had an incurable disease that could only be managed if I followed the steps.  I was never to be free.

Fast forward to today.  I am free!!!!  I don't follow a food plan, I don't have a sponsor and I don't attend meetings.  I still read the AA Big Book once in awhile, because there are certain things in there that speak to me.  I don't believe in the steps and I don't believe that I have a disease.  How can this be possible?  Because I finally trusted myself.  I finally chose to believe that I was not under the power of an addicted mind.  I embraced myself for who I was.  I allowed myself to say no, to that bully in my head.  I acknowledged that it was there, and I told it to go away.  I stopped living everyone else's truth and found my own.  

I have spiritually awakened.  I woke up from the nightmare that was my life and saw all the light that I have always had, but didn't know was there.  My spirit is free from the bondage that food and addiction had me in.  I am able to believe that my body is not me.  It is simply the vessel in which my spirit resides.  Food is food.  Nothing more.  I don't think about food unless I'm about to eat it.  I don't weigh myself, because it doesn't matter.  It is just a number.

Getting to this point did not happen overnight.  My awakening has taken months.  I don't even consider myself fully awakened yet.  I had help from very special people who know who they are.  This work can not be done alone.  I am forever grateful for where I am today.  I am grateful for all the misery I had to go through to get here.  I want others to see their light and share it. 

I know that 12-step programs work for some people.  It keeps them off of their drug of choice.  I would not call it a solution, however.  The dismal recovery rate of all 12-step programs speaks for itself.  It is my hope that someday, addicts will conquer the bully that lives in their hearts and minds.  Someday they will face it and say, "Get the hell out!", and it will go.  They will walk away from drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling, etc, etc.  Not because they have to, but because they can.

I'm going to step down off of my soapbox now.  Nobody even reads this, so I guess I'm not really preaching to anyone.  It just feels good to get these thoughts out of my head.  Who knows, maybe someday, someone will read this and think......

Just my thoughts.