Relapse and Mindful Recovery
From Sobriety to Relapse
Anyone who reads my articles knows that my Dharma is to encourage and support the people who read them with words, thoughts and musings about how wonderful it is to be aware of the life around you. That’s great when I, myself, am in the moment. As I keep saying, everything changes and thus, my particular mindset has recently undergone a transformative event, that I would have been happy to be absent for. In plain English- I would have been happier if I had not been invited to the party.
I struggle with binge eating. I have been through the counseling routine and the OA routine and I have even gone to some Al Anon meetings, although I don’t drink myself. The only framework that has really worked for me, regarding my journey in sobriety has been keeping mindful. That is my program and it might not be for everyone, but it works for me. Or it has been working for me.
As I have begun a mindful practice of prayer and meditation, I truly have seen the benefits of staying clean. For me, clean means no sugar, no carbs, no chocolate, and no desserts. Friends of Bill get this. While being aware of my sobriety, I am aware of how good I feel when I awaken and have no food hangovers. I am conscious of how productive I am in the sense of offering hope to those I encounter when I am off the stuff.
Well folks- the insidious instigator came to visit me over the last two weeks. Friends of Bill know who I’m referring to. My buddy has a name. He’s bigger and tougher and more street smart than most of the other bad boys I’ve encountered. His name? Pried.
His brother, Fear has left my mindscape for another land. I hope it’s a desert, so that he gets his just desserts, and I don’t mean cheesecake dessert. As far as I’m concerned, Fear can live anywhere he pleases, just not close to me.
My new friend, Pried, spells his name in this peculiar way because he is so, so sneaky. He is snakier than a water moccasin right after a swim in the river. His skin is full of the beautiful markings of an albino python and just as strong. Once he gets a hold of me, he squeezes the abundance out of my spirit and fills it with cholesterol and toxic waste by products.
Pried is soft and lovely to hold. His fullness is more akin to embracing a Rembrantian model of voluptuousness than the crack head whore of a Fear. As I met him, I didn’t even realize what house of horrors I was tiptoeing into.
You see, Pried is smarter than Fear. He looks like a great comment on Hub pages one day and then he turns into a nightmare about eating 26 chocolate chip cookies the next day. Thing is, for me, the nightmare is reality. I know that as I wake up and have the food hangover reminding me of my slavery to my new master. Watching the freedom of sobriety vanish, I cry out loud. Too bad my tears can’t wash my mistake. At least these days, I feel the tears, I hold the mistake and I accept it for what it is. A mistake. I am not a mistake, my behavior WAS.
One slip, one mistake, and I’m off the mindful wagon. In years past, I would begin to beat myself with a cat o’nine tails constructed of self loathing and personalized hatred. The bones at the end of the tether morphed into words of self talk “Stupid idiot, jerk, and dummy”. Shame, another forgotten friend, was the salt I poured into those wounds so I could remember well the mistake I made. Nothing feels as good as a good beating right? Anyone every heard that from their own abusers?
What clues did I have as to the identity of my new buddy? How’s this? Reading email is more crucial than listening as my wife is crying over another child abuse case at work. Feeling the tightening of a black mambo as its spiritual grip controlled my belly anytime I thought of writing another hub, felt oh so much better than sitting down and actually being present to the abundant energy that would allow me to type.
After the first chocolate chip cookie incident, I ran to the grocery store and bought a tub of day old cookies. Why? So that I could replace the ones I ate the night before, and return them to the plastic bag under my son’s bed all before he noticed my treachery.
It gets better. How did I know I was living in love with Pried? I encountered a real person who had read some of my recently published educational articles. While they were complimentary in their remarks, three comments weren’t good enough for me and my new friend. Therefore, waiting until midnight, I watched my son dreaming about Scouts and fishing, crawled under his bed to the cache’ of torment, slid the plastic bag across the floor so as not to make even a whisper sound; and slithered backwards, out of the room.
Safely in my office, hands shaking with the lust of a virgin husband on his wedding night, I listened for any sound of movement. Thankfully, all I heard was a rhapsody of snores in Vienna Boys Choir tenor and Peshtigo, Wisconsin Sawmill alto. Here I sat, beer belly, more accurately, Girl Scout Cookie belly, hanging over my tighty whiteys. Barely able to uncouple the hermetically sealed cookies, my pornographic yearnings gave way to shark frenzied munching of stale chocolate chip cookies.
My door was barred from reality. I was mindful of one thing: how comforted I felt at that exact moment. My shame was safe.
Thirty cookies later, I was talking mindfully to myself about how much I was going to punish my body, much less my soul. “This is only a moment” crunch. “Your body will forgive you”, burp. “Soon this will be over, in the whole scheme of things, how long will this last?” Acid reflux mixed with spit. AND I DON’T EVEN LIKE COOOKIES!
Hey Pried- you can leave now. The whole world will soon know that I am as human as anyone else. When that happens, maybe I, too, will know that I’m as human as anyone else. Guess what- that knowledge will, no, is, enabling me to let you go to another place. I just witnessed a human experience. It’s gone. It may as well have happened two thousand years ago.
Mr. Pried, you’ve been meddling in my life for two weeks. I am now telling you the same thing I told your brother. “Go in peace”. Maybe you should go in piece (es). In any event, I am remembering what my purpose is. I am offering this Hub to all the Addicts and drunks and Binge eaters and Strugglers in the universe.
May you all find peace. May you all remember what I had forgotten. One day at a time. Easy does it. Forgive yourself even before you apologize to the people you hurt.
Let me know what you think. How are you struggling? How are you making through just this day? Just for today. And finally, when you are completely sure that no one, not even you, loves you..... Remember me, the Abundant Old Soul. I love you.
Dream dreams and you’ll see miracles.
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