overcoming my addiction may have contributed to the hostess factory shut down…Part 1

well, maybe not…

closet/insgiht from a woman's heart

follow me into my closet (watch your step)…

the closet was dark. it was a sanctuary of sorts. the place my heart could indulge without shame. shame constantly screamed at my mind. however, for a few short moments, i silenced the torment in that dark closet. i would make a plan before i emerged from this temporary sanctuary; there would be questions to answer. i’d think of something. for now, all i wanted was that sweet sensation of filling my mouth with twinkies, ho-ho’s and snickers. satisfaction would only come if my mouth was so full that there was hardly even room left for breath. yeah, sometimes there wasn’t room for breathing…i’d choke. i couldn’t let that happen though because solitude was vital to success…i did not want that door to be opened. no one could know. i felt the calm come over me. i would sigh. breath deep as if i was inhaling life itself. my eyes would closed to allow my senses to acknowledge every possible sensation. i was so grateful to be alone with this pleasure. 1….2…6…10…12 twinkies demolished. 1…3…6 snickers bars gone. wait, where are the ho-ho’s…what…where…where ARE THEY? they can’t be gone. it can’t be over yet. i’m not ready. i sifted through the empty wrappers. i shook the boxes. it can’t be the end. it can’t be the end. desperation was ascending. not one morsel left. nothing but the rubbish laying at my feet. panic struck my heart. those calm moments of gratitude were being washed away by waves of panic. i knew exactly what was coming next. forget the plan. the pleasure of the past 10 minutes vanished. the replacement tore my heart to shreds…i failed again. i’m an idiot. a worth-while person would be able to get her weight under control. i’m pathetic. why am i so weak? i get stern with myself. this is not acceptable! you did not deserve all those treats! you’ll have to explain where the groceries went (i’ll claim ignorance…after all, i’m on a diet. i won’t be suspected). where did you disappear to (just in my room…didn’t you see me?). idiot! what is your problem? my mind is racing in a hundred directions and not one helpful answer is to be found. there’s one solution. purge. get rid of it. i’d start by vomiting, and then make sure nothing at all passed my lips for the rest of the week. maybe, just maybe, it will prevent any further weight gain. most importantly…i will punish this horrid body of mine for being so weak. an acceptable atonement. punishing myself should make the shame stop. i won’t feel so guilty.

twinkie/insight from a woman's heart

bulimia consumed my high school years and drifted like a ghost through my early adulthood. my physical solution to my internal problem of low self-esteem and self loathing. temporary and tormenting. a dysfunctional solution that became a way of life and my picture of normal life. a vicious cycle that wounded my heart further.

my parents become my accountability. reduced to guarding the bathroom door was not on their top 10 list of parenting duties. yet, they did. they were the beginning support and bless their hearts…i’m sure the day i was born… they never imagined the terror of those years.

addiction (according to Wikipedia):

mood altering substance or behaviour despite adverse consequences.

classic symptoms:

  • impaired control over substances or behavior,
  • preoccupation with substance or behavior,
  • continued use despite consequences, and
  • denial

weeds in my garden/insight from a woman's heart

not to mention all resulting little things (weeds) that were growing in the garden of my heart. when you plant a seed, roots develop, a feeding system is produced and “stuff” grows. in this case, the seed was self loathing. a huge root system of low self esteem developed. then any negative re-enforcement fed the root; disapproving looks, teasing, comparisons to a higher standard, and on and on. the weed produced…the “stuff” that grew…anger, resentment, shyness, conflict, jealousy, hiding/secrets, over spending on clothes, wounding beautiful women, wounding women in my condition (they needed punishment, too…i could cry thinking about this one), self-hatred (and that is the short list)…non of which were bringing the beauty i hoped for in my life.

i worked for years applying techniques, recycling back to bulimic like symptoms, trying something new, recycling back to bulimic type symptoms…around and around. the solution seemed to move further and further away. nothing worked and hopelessness flooded my heart. i was thirsty and every time i reached for the bottle of vinegar.

i don’t even think i recognized why i couldn’t get to the bottom line.

mybody/insight from a woman's heart

my awareness was limited to: body size = acceptance, value and love. (i really felt like i should be able to fix the body size issue. the lie was that fixing my body would fix my heart).

my problem = low self-esteem. to fix the problem i had to get to the root. discovering and facing the problem, honestly, gave me the freedom and ability to find skills and a lasting solution. dealing with the root gave me real power to kill the weeds (the visible stuff).

i wanted a “get fixed quick plan”. after all, in our society there are many messages that convey “quick” is possible…overnight success, miracle diet plans, get rich quick schemes, and on and on…so, hey, i wanted a quick fix, too. it didn’t exist. i just got thirstier.

it took deliberate action. it took patience. it took endurance….it took time.

time/insight from a woman's heart

i had cycled in this addiction for years. i needed time to unlearn poor behaviours and readjust my dysfunctional “norm” to a healthy “norm”.

there was a plan…..

come on…

we’re leaving the closet and hitting the track next…

join me…

hit the trail/insight from a woman's heart

check out my next post…and i’ll show you how my journey to emotional healing and release from the trap of addiction began.

please be sure to stop by the comments section and let me hear from your heart on this post. As well, if you have not signed up to share my journey…click the follow my heart button and you will be notified when new insight’s from my heart are available.

i look forward to seeing you next time,

D

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if your heart gets thirsty, don’t grab the vinegar

my thirst for life/insightfromawoman'sheartdesire. a strong feeling of wanting or wishing for something.

desire fuels dreams. it ignites the heart.

Beethoven’s 5th symphony resulted from the desire sparked in the heart of the writer.

Sir Edmond Hilary conquered Mt Everest driven by his desire to overcome.

my aunt and uncle are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary soon because desire sustained their love through the years. (70 years…wow…amazing…beyond amazing)

desire believes the possibility of action. action believes achievement worthwhile.

emotionalguage/insight from a woman's hearti’ve said before that feelings are like a gauge in life. understanding their purpose and potential helps me harness my energy in the right directions. it requires developing skills so that my feelings are a working part of the system toward functionality. feelings, like anger and frustration, are labelled as negative but are intended as a warning that something is not working properly. giving my attention to the warning and taking action to fix the problem keeps my overall system/goals on track. suppressing or misusing the emotion often produces adverse effects.

desire is an important part of our system controls. it was designed to motivate us. carry us through difficult times. press us toward goals.

however, a wounded heart can grab desire and pull it into a cycle of addiction. addictions serve as relief from the pain of the wounds the heart is experiencing. our desire for wholeness and self preservation is strong. addiction is like being thirsty and trying to quench the thirst with vinegar instead of water.

broken/insight from a woman's heart

i gained some wisdom on this point from John. in his writings, he shares a memory about a Samaritan woman. Jesus was getting out of town because the religious leaders were jealous and on another rampage. tired and thirsty, he sits down to rest and meets this woman. culturally, He should have dismissed her. her wounded heart grabbed His attention. compassion moved Him. He was physically tired and thirsty. she could help him with that. she was emotionally thirsty and He could help her. there is something very powerful about meeting someone who knows nothing about me yet is able to recognize specific details of my life. it gets my attention. it got the Samaritan woman’s attention, too.

conversation/insight from a woman's heart

basically, the conversation began with the reality that “thirst” is a reoccurring need. a need that can not be ignored. quenching physical thirst is easy. emotional thirst is challenging; therefore, my natural inclination is to reach for a physical solution (easier because i understand my physical world better). this woman had done this. i don’t think Jesus was labelling this woman the way everyone else did. her actions were a symptom of a deeper issue…a wounded heart. a woman in search for significance and love. a woman searching for relief of her pain…loneliness. in that light, can you see yourself in her shoes? can you look inside your heart and see times when you were so thirsty. the temptation for grabbing vinegar (addiction) appearing to be a reasonable solution? her desire for love had sent her on a journey. when disappointed, that same desire changed her path. she was a long path of failed relationships. when one relationship didn’t work…thirst drove her to the next…and the next. i can only imagine her emotional journey. i can understand it because along the way i have reached for physical solutions to the cry of my own wounded heart.

the advice she received was this:

  • unless you deal with the root issue, you only perpetuate the thirst.
  • physical solutions applied to emotional /spiritual issues result in addiction.

during those days, people were looking for “the messiah”. he would change their world. i think Jesus was saying that He came…He was there…in human form. however, the answer was not the fact that He was in their midst. humans eyes see value so superficially. the plan was not to come and set up His kingdom and taken over. people felt like that would have made “the world right” and as “it should be”. i think He was showing us that we were created with all the resources required to live healthy, successful lives. i think He came the way He did to demonstrate how to use this “being” He had created. you know, tell me and i learn in part…show me and i understand the lesson better. He created mankind as an intricate being with great potential. that creation combined with His wisdom was intended to guide the journey called life. in the garden, God came and walked with man. He left the living to the man. man was given everything he needed to exist, including wisdom and guidelines (healthy boundaries). He left the details of how it was walked out to the man. i think Jesus did the same. He demonstrated how it worked.

pathways/insight from a woman's heart

He told us that His kingdom could be summed up as:

  • righteousness (doing things the right way; using the wisdom provided )
  • peace (freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquillity)
  • and joy (delight, gladness, pleasure-not dependent on circumstances).

He also said that all the instructions in the Bible were about relationship and summed them up as:

  • love God.
  • and love your neighbour (the people around you).

you know…the bottom line…as simple as it gets. equation for success? actioning wisdom the right way + peace + joy + love (for God and man) = successful living.

sounds simple. yet, vinegar (addiction) as distasteful as it is, becomes the alternative we reach for even when we know water (the success equation above) is the refresher.

addictions are a trap. they bring temporary relief. however, they also bring shame. shame brings more pain (the reason we turned to addiction in the first place). increased pain brings increased desire for blocking the pain causing us to reach for the addiction again. except, a principle called diminishing returns applies next. the relief acquired is diminished requiring more of the addiction to satisfy. around and around the cycle goes. physical solutions to a spiritual/emotional issue is always temporary at best…requiring that you repeat those solutions over and over while remaining as thirsty as before.

there are many addictions….some obvious….some culturally acceptable…some not so much. the easiest to recognize and judge (because we tend to be a bit judgemental) are things like alcoholism, drugs, self harming, over eating, outburst of anger, or sexual addictions. the ones more difficult to identify are co-dependency (helping others or a good cause), sports achievements, business success, and even things like ministry or charity. maybe you could add to the list. all designed to distract from the real issue and bring temporary relief. vinegar instead of the real thirst quencher (real solutions).

April2009 027

so, here is the wisdom is i see in john’s story:

  1. be honest. see the problem for what it is: no more hiding, blaming, or denying it. face up to the truth of how i am living.
  2. find a safe atmosphere of acceptance. Jesus didn’t treat the Samaritan woman like the other people in her life who kept her bound in her shame! He was honest but accepting (which she longed for) and gave her a safe place to open herself up to honesty.
  3. adjust perspective. i need to work through “why i do the things i do”. define the “junk” that i have come to accept as “right” thinking and action. mutual ignorance (enablers) won’t assist in gaining the correct perspective. i need to be challenged.
  4. allow time. i need time to allow change to take place. it’s not quick! i must apply deliberate, consistent action.
  5. ask for help. if appropriate support or medical assistance are required…be humble and meek enough to ASK FOR HELP. humility does not come naturally. it’s a purposeful action. i also pray and look for wisdom as i’ve said before.
  6. be compassionate with “me”. compassion is easier given than received. i need to give myself the break i ask others to give themselves.
  7. don’t give up. deal with the pain. feel it. then challenge it. overcome it.

i get thirsty. i always will. the key is to learn the skill to quench the thirst. my momma taught me to reach for water when i am physically thirsty…not vinegar. i have that one down pat. when my soul and spirit are thirsty…there is an appropriate thirst quencher that won’t leave me perpetually thirsty and cycling in the disgusting taste of vinegar i call addiction.

April2009 031

before you go…maybe you can help me with my next post. was this helpful? would you like to hear more about the addictions i cycled around in and how i was able to use the above steps to get out of the addiction cycle? if so, stop by and leave me a comment. i’d love to hear from you.

walking/insight to a woman's heart

it was nice to have you stop by,

D