Sunday, 19 February 2017

274-1/365 Remembering Relapses

I have gone off the boil when it comes to blogging and reading blogs, I still plan things I should blog about but then just don't sit down to do it. It's all ok though as my life is moving along merrily with barely a thought of booze or even sobriety (well booze sobriety anyway). I just am me who doesn't drink or even think about it much. Who knew this was possible?  Well loads of people, I just never really believed them.

One thing I can say is that I am feeling a great sense of empathy for those out there struggling with lapse and relapse. I am not struggling with alcohol but I have been on and off the sugar wagon this last few weeks and it's just the same feelings, addictive behaviour, regret, remorse, self hatred etc etc. One day I was sneaky eating some sugar laden product in the living room in the dark, eating it quickly in case my daughter came in and saw me. I suddenly came back into my body (not sure where I had been in the past 5 minute lead up) and realised oh my goodness -sugar is the new booze! Well not the new booze but a more intense version of the food issues I've had all my life. Suddenly this issue has be promoted from bothersome overeating, especially when under the influence of alcohol, to full blown cross addiction.

I have recently done a 30 day reset on all potential allergenic foods along with sugar. At the end of 30 days, which was amazing FYI, clear headed no sinus issues, not a single headache, feel lighter, feel better, feel satiated after eating, no bloating, (I could go on and on) you are supposed to reintroduce foods one at a time for 3 days and see if you have a reaction. Well on day 35 I think it was I decided to give it a go. I was holding out to see how long I could go without any of the forbidden foods but it was mixed with a slight fear about eating them and what could happen. How prophetic.  In reality I think I had a craving so thought ok I'll test it out. Well I had some chippy chips (from the fish and chip shop) big fat juicy British chips not skinny crispy fries. I shared a small portion with a colleague who unbeknownst to me like cheesy chips and ordered our (shared) chips with cheese. I didn't make too big a deal of it and thought ok so I guess I'm trying dairy today too. Disaster!!

There are many of you who may not believe in food addictions in the way that normal drinkers think we are just overly self indulgent lushes who need to tighten the reigns on wine. Let me assure you that for some people food is like crack and I have realised recently dairy and sugar are bigger issues for me or have become bigger issues for me than I ever realised. That cheese gave me licence to eat more cheese, buy cream for my coffee and butter for my........ 'Oh I'm not supposed to be eating gluten or even gluten free products' (that was the voice of reason trying to speak up) BREAD a whole loaf of lovely expensive white crusty bread cut thick. And the gloves were off.

This last few weeks has been a backward slide into addictionville with the calorie count some days being stratospheric. The mood has dropped and that ensuing sense of failure, self hatred, self pity, shame and promises to get back on track. Self sabotage to the nth degree. Not to mention bloating, stomach pain and oh my..... the heartburn, oh wow I had forgotten how bad it could be, plus the shakes from all the sugar. It really is like wine or crack or heroin. Ironically I am also doing today as the "last day" like I used to with booze. Today I'll have all my favourites to one last time get them out of my system and "say goodbye" forever. Anyone relate???    FFS it all seems so infantile and deluded, like a big lie I am telling myself that I know is a lie but I still feel I need to say it. I think it's because I need to say goodbye to some things forever like gluten and dairy which I have known for years have caused me issues but because the reward was in my perverted brain better than the punishment (digestive issues and headaches) I kept experimenting,  eating them in smaller portions or only every few day or often in blow out binges. Having gone 35 days or more without them and then diving head first into them in overdose form, the kick back this time has been way more pronounced, the pain worse and the punishment all the more noticeable and frankly not worth it. I am still stuck with the fear I won't be able to get it bank under control though and food is everywhere these day.

This is what happens when you quit drinking for a decent amount of time and then relapse. You now know how much better life can be without alcohol, how good you can feel, how much more alive you can feel and what a sense of achievement and accomplishment you have. When you relapse all you want to do is get back to that happy state, why did you fuck it up, throw it all away, go back to your stupid addictive behaviour etc. It's the worst kind of cognitive dissonance there is and you know it yet it can sometimes takes us weeks or months or worse YEARS to get back on track. In my case it was  about 14 months before I was able to stop drinking after completing my first 100 days, 137 days in fact but one "fuck it" moment caused me over a year worth of misery and truthfully decent into truly escalating dangerous drinking. This recent blip with food is bad for me but on the grand scale of things not comparable to my drinking days. I will potentially have to put my grown up shoes on and take control again as the petulant, deprived lonely child seems to have taken over and run the show for the last few weeks. I see that now and I need to change it.

My food issues are mine just as all of our issues are our own but alcohol bleeds heavily into the lives of others, those around us, our kids, our partners and potentially innocent bystanders if we are out on the roads. If you are still drinking take solace in the fact that you can beat it but it takes hard work and determination to get through the first 30 days, after that you just need to keep going to 100 days and realising you are at the start of a whole new journey in life. However, if at any time you think it's worth testing out your addiction centre in your brain to see if you are cured, chances are you are not the exception to the rule and you may find yourself face first in a bucket of disappointment or cheesy chips in my case.

DON'T TEST YOUR SOBRIETY EVER! It truly is just not worth it.


22 comments:

  1. Loving your journey Ginger, I find your posts insightful and informative. So happy to read that you have gotten to a place where booze is a distant memory. Unfortunately I am back on day 1, so this is particularly useful to me today. :) SO x

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    1. SO, remember research and experiment. You just did more research. I did that since August but Ginger is right, now we KNOW we would rather be alcohol free, we just keep talking ourself out of it. Week 1 done here and it does feel good!!! Big hug!

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    3. It really is a distant memory and one I thought would never be mine. Each time I did day 1 again I learned something new and finally I found a way to make it stick. Keep going SO, it can be done.

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  2. Great post, Ginger. I would like to tackle food someday as you are doing. You make great points!

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    1. Hi HD, glad to see you are back doing more research yourself. Food and booze are so linked for many of us. Look forward to reading your updates.

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  3. Hi Ginger!
    I find that foods with a lot of salt make me want to eat a LOT more.
    You are so right...I never want to mess with my sobriety!
    xo
    Wendy

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    1. Yes I too am a salty person rather than sweet although can be tempted with a bit of chocolate.
      You though look like a small slip of a thing.

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  4. Hey GG
    Great on the booze front!!! Don't beat yourself up over the food, I can't believe you did 35 days with no dairy, no gluten etc...what if you could try giving up one at a time? I find yogurt, butter are no so bad but cheese and milk don't agree with me. You may be ok with some dairy and not others?
    You are really racking up the sober days= wow
    ox
    TWTIK

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    1. You too TWTIK, you are tracking not too far behind. I try not to beat myself up but then I have one of these binges and it's hard not to do the negative self talk. It's yet another journey I gave to do.

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  5. This is really good stuff and very interesting. I got into the same space and concluded that I have an addictive personality. When I smoked, it was packets and I have been guilty of binge eating - can't just have one or two jaffa cakes. I have had to watch the chocolate since giving up the booze and my real problem now is nuts but I am also keen to challenge my behaviours and have basically stopped all types of bread. I don't know whether the booze thing is a symptom of me being basically fucked up or whether everyone basically has the ability to over-indulge on booze, food, drugs, whatever but and its a big but - the majority are able to exercise more self-control - one biscuit, a glass of wine with dinner, a handful of nuts (and not making like a monkey in a nut shop). I don't know what the answer is but maybe lots of us suffer the same sort of compulsions. Anyway, I enjoyed your piece.

    justonemore

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    1. Jaffa cakes??? You can have my share, they are the devils food ha ha. As for the nuts, I can agree. As they are allowed I can go overboard yet not as bad as I do with crisps.
      I too look at others and wonder how they do one glass of wine, a few peanuts at a party, one biscuit. Who eats just ONE biscuit for crying out loud, minimum consumption is two surely (except Jaffa cakes)
      My compulsions are to change my state, find a different mood, blot out what I am thinking even if it is self reproach or hatred I replace it with.
      Thanks Justonemore

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  6. Great sobriety work - go you!

    I struggle with food all the time too. It seems to be slowly getting overall better and not doing all that crazy drunken eating helps but it's still a long journey.

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    1. I'm glad I am not the only one who relates to crazy drunken eating. Sometimes I think cant I just not struggle with something for just one day. I think that's the nature of us addictive personalities, always looking for a better outcome.

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  7. I know exactly what you mean. In my previous 100 days I ended up thinking about sweets the way I did wine. Promising myself to only have it on the weekends. This time round I've not done that though. I think it makes staying sober easier if the sugar is low too?

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    1. Yes I have to agree on bad binges I feel like the food isn't quite enough, maybe booze will work. I quickly realise then that nothing is going to "cure" whatever it is I'm trying to ignore/process/avoid so best just wait it out.
      I am 3 days off sugar again and already I feel the clarity returning.
      Well done you on your 100 days 😊

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  8. I was reading this thinking, nice I wonder what it is like at 100 days and then the realisation that I am over that now at 107 I think. I knew this but it went out of my mind.

    I think about having a lovely wine with dinner all the time. It definitely has not gone away. But the truth is I wouldn't just have a "dinner wine" ha! that's a laugh - I would have heaps. The truth is you don't just indulge in "cheesy chips" you go home and attack the larder. Good on you for going so well - proof you can do whatever you want GG xx
    M

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    1. Well done on 107, can't believe you forgot! I could have told you the hours and minutes for me ha ha. Shows how far along mentally you are.
      I honestly don't think about wine anymore bar the odd fleeting thought but then I end up thinking 'no, I really don't even want it at all'
      As for the cheesy chips........ well, lesson learned.

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  9. Yes it's so not worth testing your sobriety, you are totally right. I know what you mean about the sugar, I can literally get lost in box of magnums. I honestly can’t face another restrictive diet. Food issues and drinking issues are very closely linked for me. I was bulimic for about 4 years when I got sober the first time. I swapped binging on booze for binging and purging food. If I restrict something I end up obsessing. I’ve recently bought a book about intuitive eating. It rejects the ‘diet’ mentality. I need to fix my relationship with food and with my body. I’ve only just started reading it but I’m in love with the ideas already. I’ll copy the link for you if you are interested… https://www.amazon.co.uk/Intuitive-Eating-Evelyn-Tribole/dp/1250004047/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1487792010&sr=8-1&keywords=intuitive+eating+evelyn

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    1. If you like that you may also like Geneen Roth.
      The thing for me is I know I have certain food reactions and should cut those foods completely (bit like an asthmatic that smokes) yet these are my trigger foods and I almost choose to eat them knowing I will suffer. It's a bit like self harming with food as a therapist told me once.
      Sounds like yours was a bit similar with the binge purge cycle, bulimia is a tough one. Hopefully reading between the lines, that is over for you. I hope the book works well for you and you develop a better relationship with food.

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  10. I love geneen Roth. She really spoke to me. Her book women food and god helped me stop demonizing food.
    I have had so many past problems with disordered eating. I cringe when I see someone wanting to cut out foods.

    But you aren't me, and if you can self experiment that's great. every time I try I spiral down.

    Except gluten. I have celiac disease. I don't eat it and don't miss it one bit. The health changes from removing it were shocking. My lifelong eczema cleared up, as did my migraines.

    I think a therapist is an important ally in dealing with emotion food connections. I know mine has helped me.

    Anne


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  11. Sounds like you did a Whole30? I just finished one myself and it was awesome. I plan on doing another one after my vacation. Sugar for me is definitely an addiction, just as alcohol was. I've slowly but surely been letting it creep back in, and I've got to get it back under control.

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