Addict: Abuser or Devotee?

Many people don’t seem to have a difficult time losing weight. They make a few changes and BANG the pounds fall off! They cut our sugary drinks or they just reduce the amount of food they are eating…maybe the start working out or walking consistently. This has been a major source of frustration for me…I have done all of those things and they just don’t work. I REALLY hate the “Just drink more water” advice. I drink so much water every day I can feel my organs floating on my inside. Even talking with people who have done 30/10 can be frustrating. They talk about how the weight just came off and it was easy…no hunger at all! AAAHAHAHAH!!! It makes me want to punch them in the face!!! If so many people could do it “effortlessly” why can’t I?

Addict:

noun
noun: addict; plural noun: addicts
  1. a person who is addicted to a particular substance, typically an illegal drug.
    “a former heroin addict”
    synonyms: abuser, user, drug addict;

    • informal
      an enthusiastic devotee of a specified thing or activity.
      “a must-buy book for the crossword-puzzle addict”

This definition! An addict is both someone who abuses something or someone who devoted themselves to something. So this word has a negative or a positive application…depending on how you choose to use it. I have never thought of this word as a positive. Even if someone says I am addicted to ___________…it usually means I am spending too much time doing that thing and not enough time doing what that person thinks I should be doing. If I told people I was devoted to food they might assume I was a culinary genius or a organic farm stand owner. I wonder if their thoughts would stop there or if they would continue to where my brain goes…that I am too devoted to food based on my size. But then why do they care about my physical appearance? Or who is to say what is too devoted or not devoted enough? Why is everyone so obsessed with size and shape? Do larger people annoy others? Am I not human if I weight more than the average? Or look like the average? And what they hell is average anyways? Why do we look at larger people and think “Why don’t they have some self control!” “Don’t they know what they look like?” Those “why’s” are societal and I have no idea..I have little control over them. I know I am thinking something about every super obese person I see. But I really just get sad. There is a reason they are that way. Maybe they are perfectly content being that way and I should not even be worrying about that persons life. But I would bet they are not…and for many of these people they see no way out of their situation. And that makes me sad. But I do have control over myself and that is all I have time and energy for at the moment.

When I made the decision to do 30/10 I also made the decision to see an addition therapist. I had a idea that I might be addicted to food but when I found out my parents were planning an intervention and had sought out professional help and advice I knew that indeed I DID have a problem. Understanding you are an addict is hard to do. The words can come out of your mouth easily but to really truly feel and understand that word-addict- is hard. When we think of an addict I think of someone shooting up Heroin in between their toes to avoid track marks or a friend who just drinks way to much. We think of crazy people…people who don’t have their shit together…the weak and the soft. But I have my shit together…I am successful and educated and smart and funny…I am NOT an addict. But then again- what do addicts look like? Do they all look the same? Addiction is so fascinating in our society.  We have TV shows that revolve around people who are struggling with addictions of many kinds. My 600 Pound Life…Intervention…Hoarders…My Strange Addiction. ALL of these people have been ostracized by society and are now treated as carnival shows. We watch these shows in live-action horror…its like NASCAR. You only watch it for the crashes…sure the drivers are amazing but I don’ think you walk away from a race talking to your buddies about the poll position swap on lap 34. You talk about the CRASH. I LOVE watching those shows and other people do as well because they are fascinating. We love to ask the question “How could they get like that? Why do they keep eating? Can’t they see that they are living in GARBAGE?” Sure we can see it and they can see it…but it means something different to an addict. I can’t “feel” my weight. I have been this weight for a long time…my brain does not remember what 18 year old April felt like. And most days I see that I look good! I am dressed well and looking sharp! But other people see something different. You cannot judge an addict on what you see and you cannot talk with them about what you see because you are seeing something completely different from them. And when you do talk about it it’s hurtful. When “addict” was first used around me my brain said “If you thought I had a problem why did you not say something earlier? Oh…so you don’t like me the way I am? Based on YOUR standards I have something wrong with ME? I like ME! Why don’t you like ME? What is wrong with ME? Everybody has a few extra pounds…why are my pounds more worrisome than your own?” But what most people don’t understand is that those thoughts and THAT reaction  is the addiction speaking…it is not the person you love and adore talking. No healthy person would be made at another human for showing them compassion and empathy and concern and love. Its not LOGICAL! But addiction is not logical…it is not even located in the thinking part of the brain! Addiction and thought are NOT related in any way. While apart of them, someone’s addiction is not apart they like or enjoy. It is something they have tried to keep hidden and secret for a long time and now you- the questioner- are threatening to expose it. Its this thing that they know can hurt themselves and others and they try to keep it on as tight of a leash as they can. But when you start talking about it and exposing it…man…it gets ugly. That is why so many people just don’t say anything at all. It’s not worth the pain and hurt hearts that talking about it can cause. I think people talk about it when it just cannot go on any longer. When it has reached maximum capacity and starts taking over others lives. An addiction is hard enough for one person to carry…two people carrying it makes it an immovable obstacle that just needs to be blown up before moving on. And we have ALL been there with someone. They just can see it so we tell them and that leads to hurt feelings and broken friendships and lost relationship. And there are only two roads to choose the addiction has been exposed: to break completely for your own health or to continue to enable and try to support. We know that breaking from someone is like a death and we are rarely ready or prepared for that break. So we enable…and support until we find ourselves right back in the same situation doing the exact same thing…having the exact same conversations. Its exhausting. Its frustrating. Its humiliating. It’s fascinating.

I also think that we think we cannot relate to these people we see on TV but in a small way we can all relate and we know it. We all have things that we struggle with. I have a hard time throwing some things away. I will eat dessert even if I can feel that I am full. Or we all know someone who is struggling with something…it is something that is close to us all. But to say that I am now classified as someone that I see on TV…one of those fascinations is a hard pill to swallow. Sure I eat too much too often but I don’t weight 600 pounds! Sure I have kept some mementos from my past but my house is clean and organized! We JUSTIFY our behavior to no end and we RATIONALIZE our decisions in a way that makes us feel safe. We continue to watch the shows and just imagine what their lives are like without having to really take stock of our own. These shows distract us from dealing with our own shit.

The outcomes of these shows are always mixed. The 700 pound woman gets her gastric surgery only to continue to eat herself to death. The hoarder gets his house clean by professionals only to fill it up again with stuff. The drug addict is flown to some fancy treatment facility only to relapse when the return home. Why does this happen? Because treating addiction takes more than some cameras and money. It takes complete lifestyle changes. It takes an ARMY of people to keep the addict on track to recovery. It takes faith, harmony, acceptance, understanding, empathy, tough love…But a key component that I see missing from ALL of these TV shows is an understanding of WHY addicts do the things that they do. In the show Intervention they spend some time reviewing the persons history and it is usually sad. Deaths, divorces, abuse…you name it these people have experienced it. Then you think…”I have been through ________ and I turned out ok!” But you have to ask yourself…”Did I? Did I get through that ok? Do I have any left over shit mulling around in my depths that are still messing with me?” I think the answer more than not is YES. Sure you got threw it…thats easy to do. You got threw it by pushing it aside, working more, having kids, buying an animal, laughing it off….you just kept on walking That is NOT getting through it. That is walking threw it...you can walk through a pile of dog shit and say that you walked threw it…but guess what. It is stuck in the soles and cracks of your shoes and if you don’t clean your shoes right away with a big brush that shit is going to become cement and its never going away. Getting threw and walking threw it are two different things.

So this is why I am seeing an addiction specialist. There is NO typical addict…no addict mold to fit into. Everyone is an addict of some kind. Some just choose to make theirs a bit more public. Or their addictions make themselves more public…like being fat. There is no hiding my size and shape. I can hide my emotions and feelings really well…but I cant hide my size. That was another reason for starting this blog…I now have one less place to hide in my life. And I am really kind of over hiding. I was doing that for at least 10 years now and it got me now where except 100 pounds heavier. So I must be an addict. I have really tried everything and nothing seems to work. I have also never found out why I eat more than I should. The body only requires some specific things and in a specific amount. I have gone beyond that for years and that’s what I want to find out. Maybe the answer will be simple- its tastes too good to not eat again or eat more of it. Maybe that is really it. Or maybe it is something more. Regardless of the reason- I want to know it and understand it. Taking about it and exploring it and understanding it is going to be the only way I get back to balanced. It is hard to admit that you need help to find that balance again…it seems like it should be something easy to do. But you have tried everything else and nothing has helped…maybe you are in a worst position than when you started. I bet the one thing you have not really tried and devoted yourself to is talking.

balance

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