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Archive for April, 2011

I had 2 things happen today that caught me off guard.

First, I craved a drink. But more than that I started to fantasize about going to a club, dancing like a hootchie and getting plastered. THAT is very weird for me. Even when I was drinking I rarely went to clubs and even less frequently actually danced at them (that took time away from drinking!).

Second, I had a horrendous case of body distortion (actually it is still going on right now). I was pretty sure that my thighs were growing larger by the second and that everyone was disgusted by how disproportionately huge I am on my bottom half. Unlike the drinking thing, this sort of distortion (especially as it pertains to my thighs and butt) is not so out of the ordinary.

But what was out of the ordinary was the strength of both these incidents. Some days when my cravings (generally I consider my body distortion to be the equivalent to a craving because it triggers the urge to use symptoms) hit I can brush them off easily. But days like today they nearly take my breath away. Much like jumping into ice cold water, I feel my breath sucked out of my lungs.

And I know that they don’t actually have anything to do with *really* wanting a drink or *really* wanting to compulsively diet. Life is stressful right now and both options (drinking and the eating disorder) appear to me as plausible escapes from the stress. I’m pretty good at pin-pointing that now, but it has taken me a long time to get here. And its pretty clear from the potency of the cravings that I still have a long way to go.

And it is also a good reminder for me that my addiction is a live and well. It is also a good reminder of what I do NOT want to go back to. I felt tortured enough today dealing with these intermittent bouts of my old mindset – thinking about going back to a place where that is ALL I think about makes me shudder. In the moment my head will tell me that it will be so much easier if I just give in to the craving, but the more distance I put between me and my addictions the more I realize how untrue that is.

Today I am grateful for the tiny reminders that keep me moving forward.

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I was always the kid who had to touch the burner to see if it was hot. The only way I’ve ever learned what not to do is by doing it first. And this didn’t change when I came into recovery. I, obviously, stopped doing the most detrimental things to myself but I still fumbled around a lot and acted quite immature. I look back now and am stunned at my naivete back then (and I’m sure this will happen again in the future when I look back to now). I knew so little about life and how to live it.

I worked very hard to trust that things were working out as they should and continue to do this today. This is definitely easier when things are going well, but is just as important (if not more) when things aren’t going well. And what I’ve noticed in my meager years of recovery is that everything is part of building up my life. I had to make the mistakes I did in early recovery to learn that I didn’t want to go that route again. The trick I have to keep in mind is to alter my next adventure so that the same thing doesn’t happen and I touch that burner again. Building up a life that has been all but obliterated is hard, slow, work. I make mistakes today that others my age probably think are ridiculous, but the only way I know they are a wrong turn, is by taking it.

Life has become my little science experiment. When one hypothesis yields a poor result then I have to alter a variable and try it again. I might not get it right that time either, but all I can do is repeat the process until I start getting closer to the goal.

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To put it simply, I need help from others because I can’t tell the difference between the insanity in my head and common sense. That isn’t to say that I haven’t learned a great deal about how to tell when I’m thinking crazy, but when it comes right down to it I think a LOT of crazy things and I believe them!

I have definitely learned that I can’t drink or use drugs “socially” or “in moderation,” so no matter what reasons my head gives me to the contrary I am able to ignore it. I have also learned that what I see in the mirror isn’t what is really there; my head likes to tell me I’m the size of a small country, but I know that isn’t true no matter how convincing my head makes it sound.

But there are other areas that are much less lucid. Areas that involve having relationships with people, handling stress, coping with anxiety, jobs… well, this could all be summed up as LIFE. These are areas that I generally suck at. The reasons *why* I suck at them could be many… mental illness, poorly developed social skills, trauma, character defects, whatever. And compounding my sucking at them is the fact that it is a regular old looney bin up in my head.

I think crazy things. And thinking those crazy things used to get me in a lot of trouble (whether it was internal or external trouble). In fact I would up an alcoholic and with an eating disorder… obviously following my crazy head wasn’t working so well. Thus I need everyone around me to keep my thoughts in check. When I start to “interpret” the “facts” of my life things usually get distorted so I have to ask someone about it. I relay the thoughts in my head to my sponsor, a close friend, my fiancé or my family and see what they make of it. We then talk it through and I am much more able to make a better decision.

And I am happy to report that the further into recovery I go the better I get at mitigating the craziness. Early on I was very dependent on those around me; often I asked people for reality checks multiple times a day… “Sponsor, remind me again why I can’t drink” “Friend, what does ‘Boy A’ mean when he says ‘X’?” “Fiance, do I really look as fat as I feel?”

Thankfully I don’t often have to check in about most of that stuff anymore, but the fact remains that I am still crazy and I will always need help staying out of that craziness. And I plan to continue asking for help. I need YOU and everyone else around me to mollify my craziness. So thank you in advance for keeping me out of my head.

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