The Blessing of Addiction

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If all things can somehow be used for good, what good can come from an addiction?

It’s easy to see the downside of addiction: It can be mind-boggling to overcome because it’s cunning, baffling, and powerful. But what about the power that comes from releasing that addiction?

One answer is obvious: If you manage to extricate yourself from your own addiction, you can guide other people by sharing your story. (Actually, this is true if you escape or not. Some of the most compelling stories I’ve ever heard came from people who were still using their drug of choice.)

A great analogy for me is that of a heartbreaking relationship. What good can come from being deserted by the person you love most?

It happens every day and to everyone. Who hasn’t been rejected by a friend or lover who we idolized, whose good opinion meant everything to us, and who devastated us simply because they didn’t recognize in us the same thing we thought we saw in them?

What results is a perilous loss of self-esteem, as with addiction. Life loses its spark, and we ruminate on what we lacked that would have earned this person’s love.

And as with addiction, we blame ourselves.

For a brief time in my early twenties, I gave my power to someone I barely knew, really. But I bestowed upon him the keys to the kingdom. I decided that he was what I wanted, despite evidence suggesting that this was not a match made in heaven.

I’d been on the other side of relationships, and often wondered how someone could be so devastated after a break-up. Why was it such a huge deal?

I was taught why, as life tends to teach us what we need to learn.

The man who didn’t love me committed no crime except to realize that I was not the woman he was destined to spend the rest of his life with. He was right. But because I had made him the arbiter of all that was worthy, his rejection signaled to me my total lack of worth.

And even though the circumstances were largely beyond my control, I struggled to make sense of what had happened. The mind seeks reasons, which the ego is happy to supply.

To start with, I’d never lost the weight I’d been planning to lose for years. I didn’t have my shit together, and sometimes drank too much. But what really happened is that subconsciously I felt powerless in the relationship. And with this loss of power, I became someone else — someone over-emotional and easily hurt. I checked my confidence at the door, and never got it back.

By having my sense of self shaken, I was forced to confront how easy it is to feel unloved by the world. To give your good opinion of yourself to other people. To let the world tell you who you are.

What I know now is that this relationship was not a failure; it was an invitation. Through it, and other life experiences, I learned to forgive myself and love myself completely.

What took me years to discover — having later given my power to another lover, alcohol — is that my worth comes from a source that dispels all self-doubt. I am a child of God, and my strength comes from a universe blessed by my presence. Seeing this in myself makes it easier to love other people wholly, seeking to forgive their shortcomings as I do my own.

I know absolutely that I am completely worthy of love, and that knowledge has helped me create a world that reflects this love back to me.

And I know absolutely that you are as worthy of love as I am.

 

“ … I begin to remember the Love I chose to forget, but which has not forgotten me.”

A Course in Miracles, Lesson 60

The Wine Diet

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Last night, I had an unusual dinner … Wendy’s french fries and a large chocolate frosty. I like the way the hot salty fries are cooled by the sweet bliss of the frosty.

I’m on a sugar detox diet, allegedly, but I fell off the wagon with a cookie here, a muffin there, and now I’m on the sugar overload diet.

Drinking wine used to take care of my sweet addiction, although wine itself contains very little sugar. Like diet drinks, it still seemed to satisfy my sweet tooth. Later on, sugary mixed drinks were my appetite suppressant, causing me to eat far less than I normally would for dinner. They even functioned as a meal replacement. And because the alcohol was nonnegotiable, I could bypass desserts with ease. I’ve found through experience, however, that I have to get rid of all sugar to be successful, just like with alcohol. I will never be a moderate sweet eater. I’ve tried. It doesn’t work.

I approach this addiction a lot like I did with drinking: I binge on sugar because I’ve come up with a plan, which will start tomorrow. (My plans always start tomorrow, rarely today.) Tomorrow, I will start my sugar shut-out for let’s say … three weeks. (And by sugar, I mean pasta and bread and white rice too.)  I know I’m going to go through sugar withdrawal — I’ll be tired and edgy for a few days, craving sugar in all my waking hours. And just like with wine, I have to binge to really prepare for the purge. I usually begin on a Monday, but because it’s a holiday, I’ve allowed myself an extra day of sweet indulgence.

It just so happens that Hip Sobriety has some perfect advice for the occasion:

Sugar Addiction in Sobriety: Why it Happens + 13 Tips How to Break it.

In one hour, when the doors open, I will be back at Wendy’s, claiming my final Frosty.

Wish me luck!

The Eclipse and Sobriety

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Today, people all across the U.S. are making plans to watch a miracle of timing, when the moon and sun align to produce an astronomical phenomena that momentarily transforms the way we see the world.

I would say that your decision not to drink today is just as awe-inspiring, transformative, and mind-altering as the eclipse. Your decision to take back your power sends shock waves through the universe, leaving no one untouched by its wave of positive energy.

You are a force to be reckoned with. Unleash your power. 💕

 

 

40 Days of Sobriety. Try It!

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Hip Sobriety is a legend in the sober blogosphere. I am so inspired by their stuff. Here is just one paragraph from their “manifesto”:

2. You do not need to hit rock bottom. Some 90% of folks who struggle with alcohol (in the US) are not clinically addicted. We have an idea that we need to be falling down and lose everything to address our relationship with alcohol. Not true. If you’re worried about your drinking, if it’s causing shame or fear or keeping you from the life you’re dreaming about, that’s more than enough to begin. And the sooner you start, the easier it is.

Anyway, if you’re struggling with sobriety or want to reinforce it, they offer an email-based 40-day Mantra course for $ 34 that looks right up my alley. They also have an 8-week “Sobriety School.” I totally would have done this when I was struggling, had I known it was out there. Looks like a great way to jump-start the process.  💕

Myth of the High-Bottom Drinker

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A friend recently said to me, “At least you’re a high-bottom alcoholic, if you have to be one.” I couldn’t really agree with her about being a high-bottom anything. It kind of depends on where you might have ended up had you not begun drinking at all. In other words, you don’t have to be homeless to have been hit pretty damn hard by the “grapes of wrath.”

I am reposting this blog (written at a blessed 10 days sober!) because I think we sometimes use the term “high bottom” to show that we weren’t really all that bad, were we?

Day 10 at a Fork in the Road