Addiction to food is costing me the real me

March 29, 2003
The Iranian

Once an addiction has been acknowledged, it cannot be ignored, and it cannot be released without changing your life, without changing your self-image, without changing your entire perceptual and conceptual framework.
--Gary Zukav

This is an article of acceptance, of acknowledgement, of commitment. It is something I feel that I must do, a last ditch effort to save myself before I no longer know who I am.

Anyone who has an addiction knows how it controls your life, how each day when you awake, it is the first thing you think about, and each night as you cry yourself to sleep, you wish that you could take back your life. It is a double-edged sword. There is nothing that we continue to do if it does not give us something back in some way. Whether it is comfort or security or numbness. In my case, I think it is all three.

I am not one of those people who believe in blaming everything on their parents. What has happened in the past, during childhood, is over. As an adult, one must deal with it and choose how it will affect their life. You can both grow and become better because of it, or choose to be a victim of circumstances, continually blaming others for your choices. However, in order to move and on, you have to change the thoughts and inner beliefs about yourself that motivate your negative action.

My main memory as a child is one of being lonely. A deep loneliness wherein I felt as if the whole world was crashing all around me and I was drowning under the sadness of my heart. I had odd rituals that kept me somewhat sane. It was essential that I be home by 6pm. In my mind, that gave me a good three hours to be peaceful and spend time with my Mom before I had to go to bed. When my alarm clock would go off in the mornings, the song "Bright Sunshiny Day" by Billy Joel would usually be playing. I would try hard to choke back the tears and keep my throat from hurting while I sang along to the words. I didn't know why I was so sad and felt so lonely.

My use of food to fill that emptiness inside of me has been a major problem for me ever since. I was never an overweight child but my continued use of food for the attention I needed has hurt me in many ways. At first I used not eating for weeks at a time to shock people and feel more in control of my life. But now, I feel completely out of control, on the contrary, it controls me. Now every feeling, every emotion has to be numbed with food. It helps me to not feel; it helps me to focus on weight instead of that lonely, empty feeling.

I know now that it has nothing to do with weight. It has to do with feeling at peace with myself, being in control of my actions and my life. The constant cycle of up and down leaves me exhausted and depressed. Continually breaking promises to myself has led me to completely distrust what I say, because I feel like I am lying to think that I can change. I doubt that I have the energy, the strength, to take control of my life and stop this cycle that keeps me from growing as a person.

I feel like a failure because no matter how well I do academically or how many scholarships or honors I get, I do not honor the choices I have made. I do not feel like a success, because after all, in what way am I successful if I have no discipline over my personal life. I can get 4.0's, I can get accepted to great graduate schools, and I can write a damn good research paper. But when it comes right down to it, what does all that mean when I can't get through the day without taking an anti-depressant and numbing myself with food?

In his book, The Seat of the Soul, Gary Zukav says that by the magnitude of the costs of your addiction you can measure the importance of healing it to your soul, and the strength of your own inner intention to do that. Whatever the addiction may be, whether it is drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or food, when it starts controlling you and your whole life revolves around it, there is something wrong.

This addiction of mine to use food for comfort and numbness is costing me so much, it is costing me the real me. I have to find a way to let go. I must find the strength in me to choose growth and empowerment. I need to save myself before I waste away my life wishing that it were different and lose the chance forever, to become the person I know is in there somewhere.

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