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Sharing a Foreign Language

Posted by AlisonFSmela
AlisonFSmela
Alison Smela, is in long-term recovery from alcohol and an eating disorder follo
User is currently offline
on Monday, 30 December 2013
in Other Addictions 0 Comments

There have been many times in my life when words or phrases came to mean something other than what many understand them to mean.  Off the top of my head I can think of a few examples.

My husband and I communicate in ways often causing our friends to do a double-take and wonder what in the world we are talking about.  For example, I might be in the living room doing something and yell down to my husband in the basement to bring me “that thing next to the big thing.”  Seconds later he hands me exactly what I needed.  We share a language created during our many years of living together.

Another opportunity to share a unique means of communication is in the work environment.  When I was still active in the corporate world, my team of many years knew exactly what each other needed or what we meant by a simple nod of the head or a raised eyebrow. We had spent hours together creating, editing, masterminding and learning to trust one another.  In all that time we eventually understood things without needing to say a word.  When we were in situations where verbal connection wasn't an option, those non-communication actions spoke volumes.  I was somehow comforted by this; feeling a sense of security knowing I was part of something uniquely special.

When I was drinking and rarely eating, there was a lot of conversation in my head which was uniquely special for me too.  I never shared these ongoing internal dialogues with anyone because I couldn’t explain them.  I had a difficult enough time myself just trying to understand how and why the subject matter would roll back and forth like a pendulum. One moment I’d be justifying my irrational behavior and the next I’d be mentally berating myself for having such thoughts.

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At Your Age, You Should Know Better

Posted by AlisonFSmela
AlisonFSmela
Alison Smela, is in long-term recovery from alcohol and an eating disorder follo
User is currently offline
on Monday, 23 December 2013
in Alcoholism 0 Comments

Over the last 12 years, I've done a lot of self-study about what kept me in lock step with the powerful disease of addiction. I've peeled myself back, layer by layer, to unveil the root causes for this.

One of the most profound things I uncovered during that investigation was how the toxic phrase “I should know better” directed my life.

Growing up, I heard, " Honestly, Alison you really should know better” on a rather regular basis. This phrase was so ingrained into my head that as I grew older, if I found myself in a bad spot, within a second I’d think, “Ugh! I should have known better!”

For the average person, a reflection like that is nothing more than a casual check-in.

Not so for someone who lived for decades underneath the addictive, obsessive diseases of alcoholism and an eating disorder. For someone like me, that statement is monumentally damaging.

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Feeling Better

Posted by AlisonFSmela
AlisonFSmela
Alison Smela, is in long-term recovery from alcohol and an eating disorder follo
User is currently offline
on Monday, 16 December 2013
in Recommended Reading 0 Comments

In early recovery, I was often told, “Trust me, you’ll feel better soon”, or, “I know this is hard, but I promise, you’ll feel better soon.” I lived by those words.  I was so shaky, ashamed and scared. I felt awful.  I desperately hoped the non-stop physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual suffering would stop.  I wanted so badly to feel better, physically as well as emotionally. I tried each and every day to focus on those words of reassurance and deny what I thought and felt inside.  I held tight to the recommendations of my recovery role models, the encouragement from my friends and family outside the rooms of recovery and my own willingness to get better, hoping eventually I’d feel better.

And eventually I did, but not in the way I had expected.  What began to happen was I started to feel my feelings better.  I started to feel happiness better, I started to feel anger better, and I started to feel sadness better.

Although this sounds like a play on words – feeling my feelings better - the point is, in order for me to experience healthy recovery I had to allow myself to actually feel what I had long been trying to deflect, change or control.

For example, during the Christmas holidays my emotions would always kick into overdrive.   No matter what age I was, I would become completely nostalgic.  I’d think about stringing the lights with my dad, hearing my grandfather whistling a holiday tune or sitting at the top of the staircase with my brothers and sister waiting for my Dad to tell us Santa had arrived.  I’d get excited to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” with my family or maybe catch an old Charles Dickens movie by myself.  As I got older the holidays stopped being those experienced as a child.  They became strung by addiction instead of lights and wrapped around bottles of wine with little food instead of gifts presented with love.

I won’t lie, those first few winter holidays in recovery were difficult.  I couldn’t stop focusing on how sad, angry and frustrated I felt for all those Christmas and New Year holidays lost in the blur of addiction.  In those early recovery years I had difficulty fully embracing the magic of the season.  To be honest, I really wanted nothing more than to get through the series of events, wishing they would just be over.

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"Green with Envy or Is the Grass Really Greener"

Posted by doctormarty
doctormarty
Licensed psychologist and an active participant within the recovering community,
User is currently offline
on Monday, 21 February 2011
in none 0 Comments

Although certainly not limited to those who harbor an addiction, the familiar saying, "the grass is always greener" is a perfect fit for the addict within us. After all, nothing is ever good enough, is enough, or satisfies our "hunger" for more. Nowhere is this more prominent than for those of us who have suffered with any one of the "flavors" of disordered eating [aka food addiction].

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Finding Love in Recovery - The 4 A's of a Healthy Relationship

Posted by doctormarty
doctormarty
Licensed psychologist and an active participant within the recovering community,
User is currently offline
on Monday, 14 February 2011
in none 5 Comments

Someone once told me to expect that any and all relationships I had prior to entering recovery would change dramtically should I continue working a recovery program. In fact, recovery and working the steps can set the foundation for being able to find something that had evaded not just me, but most of us, namely a healthy, loving, and lasting relationship. Here's what I learned along the way - The 4 A's of what most of us are looking for.

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"I'll Quit Tomorrow" - Putting off Treatment

Posted by doctormarty
doctormarty
Licensed psychologist and an active participant within the recovering community,
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 09 February 2011
in none 0 Comments

Cross addiction or multiple addictions is a fact of life inherent within the recovering community. Many of us come to the rooms of a 12-step program or treatment facility intending to tackle our alcohol and drug problem, or perhaps our eating disorder. However, many of us realize we have other addictions to manage. Putting off the need to tackle the remaining addiction(s) has brought many of us back to our primary addiction.

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Cross Addiction: Eating Disorders and Chemical Dependency

Posted by doctormarty
doctormarty
Licensed psychologist and an active participant within the recovering community,
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 02 February 2011
in none 0 Comments

Those of us who have been in and around the “recovery community” are all too aware of the prevalence of eating disorders within the recovering alcohol and drug community. The purpose of this article is to heighten awareness of both the nature and prevalence of eating disorders particular to the community of recovering alcoholics and drug addicts.

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Are Eating Disorders Really Addictions?

Posted by doctormarty
doctormarty
Licensed psychologist and an active participant within the recovering community,
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 03 November 2010
in none 0 Comments

What defines an Eating Disorder as an "Addiction"

Although there has been some controversy as to whether anyone can be "addicted to food" (AKA food addict) or manifest the symptoms of addiction with respect to the other eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorders - the following is a list of the criteria appearing in the DSM IV (Diagnostic Manual) of the American Psychiatric Association for any and all addictions (dependencies):

-   TOLERANCE

-   WITHDRAWAL

-   MORE FOR LONGER PERIOD THAN INTENDED

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