Most food addicts, including myself, think that my only issue is food. It was hard for me to recognize that I was maladapted to life. I used food as my only coping mechanism, and every area of my life suffered. Including my relationships.
It would be so easy to believe that because I was in tremendous pain, I was the only one suffering. I used food, no different than a drug addict, and it rob me of opportunities to grow and mature.
I went unconscious for a time; I had to severe ties with my spirit. I had to lie to myself to continue on living in a dysfunctional way. If you really think about it, we all have to lie to ourselves to live in a manner that goes against our life purpose. Sometimes the lies are small like – “people will think I am crazy to leave this amazing high paying job, even though I am desperately fading”. Sometimes the lies are big like – “Maybe I can change him, and he’ll treat me right.”
I had to go back and learn some life lessons on my own. At 262 pounds, I decided to love myself unconditionally. Everything – the lumps, bumps and stretch marks. Taking good care of myself. Which for me means moving, cooking beautiful healthy food, and sleeping well – are all acts of self-love. I had to create an environment where I could succeed. I am like most folks; need a positive, nurturing, caring environment. I need to surround myself with people who believed I could do it, and most of all, I needed to believe I could do it.
My internal environment was far from this idea. I lived in a world where I thought tomorrow would be different, but today I need to get through it with binging. That I needed to binge to survive. Each failed attempt to control my food was met with a horrific assault to my self-esteem. This punishing internal environment caused me so much pain, and the more pain I was in, the more I had to use. I was caught in a vicious cycle. This is why a staggering number of people struggle with addiction, looking for pain relief in all the wrong places.
To quote one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Deepak Chopra “The solution never lies at the level of the problem, the solution is always love”.
True love is unconditional, something I can longed for since childhood. And now I was slowing dying from the lack of it. My way out, was to love myself. This way, I did not need anyone to give it to me, and no one could take it away from me. It would become the new way I related to myself, through the eyes of acceptance and kindness. I saw the best in me, and that brought out the best in me. I reclaimed my human-ness, which means I will never be perfect. I will never look perfect, act perfect, or eat perfectly. And this imperfection makes me loveable. A new found freedom was born!