Sunday, January 3, 2010
Ascending From The Depths
Yesterday I was in a purple rage. I was furious with every member of my family. I started arguments with each one. It was like I lined them up and went down the line..”…And YOU!”… As I drove away to clear my head, I thought, ”What the hell was that” And then it hit me: four days abstinent from sugar. Bingo! I knew that I had not only read about this phenomenon, but had actually experienced it before, but so long ago that I’d forgotten: cold turkey from sugar addiction brings up lots and lots of anger, peaking on the fourth day! Whoa! I scared myself!
But, the thing is the anger was all justified, in fact, it was about all of the things that I’d been stuffing for months. Swallowing mistreatment, disrespect, inadequate concern, all of the things that I took on, and pretended to myself it didn’t matter, but they did matter, and my body, mind and spirit was paying the price for keeping the peace.
But the bigger AHA! Moment was when I realized that all of that swallowed anger was exactly coinciding with my food relapse, and the thirteen pounds that I had gained over those past 6-8(?) months - I’d been in a relapse for so long that I couldn’t really say how long it’s been - but, today, my fifth day of abstinence, I feel clearer and more centered than I’ve been in a really long time.
I’d had abstinence from sugar for nearly eight years, only to lose it when my mother died. That loss sent me into such an emotional whirlpool, so overwhelming, that I lost my abstinence, and though that was seven years ago, I have still struggled to regain it.
I’ve had good long periods of abstinence, during that period, though, in fact, two years ago I lost 35 pounds, the weight that I’d put on, over three or four years, as a result of that relapse. During that time, I had two solid years of being sober with my food, but this year, for some reason, it fell apart.
Despite the slight hysteria and the fact that my anger could have been expressed in a much more healthy manner, I still managed to retain a sense of balance, and even attain serenity during the course of the day. The first thing that helped was to be able to understand what was going on with my emotions; it helped me to realize that I wasn’t just nuts. It also helped me to realize that though the manner in which I expressed it may have been wrong, the feelings were justified.
Also, my response was really healthy: I immediately got my snowshoes and went out for a hike in the gorgeous snowy woods. It put everything in perspective, and I instantly began to relax and to feel the healing power of nature. I then went home, gathered up some things, and headed for the local coffee house, where I set up my laptop and began to write. This was a very healing thing to do, as well, because for me, doing that is an “artist date”, as Julia Cameron talks about in her wonderful book, The Artist’s Way; so it was a very nurturing thing to do for myself, and that helped me to regain my strength, as well.
While there I wrote a piece for my nature blog, and that felt really good, because, I’d let everything else be important than that, and three weeks had gone by since I’d last posted, which had made me feel very sad. So that was another gift I gave to myself.
But then I had to face the gritty issue before me: if I’d gotten into this terrible state, because of all these feelings I’d been stuffing, what was I going to do about it? How was I going to change in order to protect myself from making the same mistake again?
I set about making a list of the things that had to change: first I had to really check in with myself, to see what was bothering me the most, and ask myself some hard questions about what I could do to make my response healthier, both for me and my relationships. I knew that certain boundaries needed to be set in place, and that would mean work, work for me that is scary, because telling the truth is scary – will I still be loved if I’m not quite so agreeable?
But I feel the hardest part of the work has already begun. Today I am free from my addiction. Today I am starting to feel the benefits of clear thinking and an inner balance. I know from here, I can do anything!