Halloween, Self-Loathing & the Gift of Addiction

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So a while back, I was rocking the sugar-free life. THEN I went trick-or-treating for the first time with my tiny tot.  I had skipped lunch at a new job and I was angry with my husband. I took ONE piece of candy to fend off the hunger headache that was coming….. 

I then spent the next TWO YEARS struggling to get sugar-free and hating myself every day.

You do not have to make this same mistake. The mistake I am referring to is NOT eating that first piece of candy.

The mistake I am referring to is the “hating myself every day.”

The unreal thing is that I knew better. I knew I didn’t need to hate myself, but I couldn’t stop. 

I remember in the first couple of weeks off of alcohol as a participant in a recovery outpatient program, it hit me…. It really hit me:

THE REAL ADDICTION IS THE SELF-HATE, THE JUDGEMENT, THE CIRCULAR THINKING.

I got sober from alcohol AFTER I gained a new spiritual understanding that my self-worth had nothing to do with my accomplishments, behaviors or beliefs. I came to understand that the change I sought did not involve learning something I didn’t know or doing something I didn’t really want to do.

The change I sought WAS REMEMBERING A TRUTH THAT I HAD FORGOTTEN. I’m not sure that I can articulate that truth right now, but it is something like that sheer joy and endless potential that we see in young children that are steeped in their own magnificence and so aware of everyone else’s magnificence. It is what makes everyone happy to be around babies and toddlers. It is why everyone was magnetically attracted to Jesus (and other enlightened beings). Jesus knew who he was and he knew it about you – and he didn’t let the other stuff get in the way.

If you sign up for my email list, you get access to phone and computer wallpapers that say “Treasure your own magnificence.”  I heard Wayne Dyer say this and posted it on my bathroom window in the months leading up to getting sober.

I often hear in the 12-step rooms, “I have a built-in forgetter.”  That is true for me, especially when it comes to matters of the heart.  I literally CANNOT REMEMBER with my brain, matters of the heart and spirit UNTIL I fully integrate it. Then in time I start to take it for granted, life happens, I GET LAZY WITH MY DISCIPLINES and I get sucked back in and forget AGAIN.

I cannot claim to fully understand this phenomenon. I do know that this forgetting phenomenon is why community matters and a spiritual discipline of prayer and meditation matters. Above all, I know that is why I should never ignore that seeking impulse. Not the “seeking-to-fill-a-hole-with-a-treat” impulse (though that deserves some attention, too). I refer to the seeking impulse to get back to my truth, the impulse to explore myself and my Higher Power more.

Herein lies the gift of addiction: Our addiction brings us to our knees, to a place of surrender and to a place of willingness to change anything and everything to get over the harm we are doing to our bodies, the obsession that occupies our souls and to put down the substance that has hijacked our brains. It is what gets us to that place of “can’t live with it anymore and have no idea if how to live without it.”

So how could I have saved myself two years of sugar and self-loathing? Some would say, “It takes what it takes.” I could have reached out for help. I could have been tender with myself. I don’t really know the answer, I guess.

What I do know is that it is never too late and that anything can be healed. I am healing from the need to struggle. Is my food perfect? No. But I am not hating myself for it. The miracle is that I am letting myself give and experience love and I am being of service. I am here now, open and willing and telling this story. I hope it helps you as much as writing it has helped me.

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