Without drink in my life, I can feel my thoughts returning to old compulsive behaviors, and it’s somewhat unsettling.
I knew kicking my alcohol habit would leave a void. A void I’d have to fill. Time to kill. Emotions to place. Hungers to satiate. What I wasn’t expecting was the return of an old demon from long, long ago.
Back in my high school and early college days, liquor was not the method I used to quell my emotions. It was food, and general obsession around it. Consuming it, controlling it, limiting it, binging on it, purging it. It was a major issue that defined a very dark and lonely period in my life. One laced with shame and secrets. One that no one addressed openly.
I received treatment back then through therapy and through treatment by way of my university’s health center. And, it was very effective. While I still struggle with, and fear I always will, a very poor body image, it is something that I regained control of long ago. I’m at a healthy body weight, have a healthy relationship with food, and, in sobriety have made even more of an effort to make sure that my body is in good condition. Eating extremely well, exercising daily, and taking time for healthy cosmetic care.
But, these last few days have been trying. As I plateau emotionally after the extreme high of my first month of sobriety, I find myself restless. AA meetings and rehab are still phenomenal supports, but, something in me is awry. I find my thoughts returning to those obsessive food patterns that I spent so much time unraveling. And, while I haven’t acted out in an unhealthy way, it’s the thought patterns that scare me.
It’s so strange how when the body can’t have one thing it desires, it yearns and obsesses over another. My addict elf inside, yearning to destroy me by any means possible.
Seeing this thought process for what it is, I have to consciously decide to cut it off at the pass. Recognize that this obsessive thought pattern is just my brain seeking what it’s lost. Seeking out that self-destructive cycle that it craves.
Alcoholism and addiction are illnesses. It is something that I have to continue to remind myself. It is so much more than putting down the drink, avoiding the bar filled with old fair-weather friends, and triggers. It’s maintaining that awareness of self. Of what my ideal, most optimal body, inside and out looks like. And, saying, “Stop! Look at what you are thinking right now. This is illogical and unhealthy.”
Tonight, I need to go to bed. I need to regroup and find the positive, elated woman that was sitting in my skin just a week ago.
These little blips of depression, I knew they were coming, I knew it. So now, I have to make the move to continue on the road that has been so good to me. To let the toxic thoughts dissipate instead of letting them eat away at me. This isn’t about food or drink. It’s about my brain.
Outsmarting my most snide foe, myself. One toxic thought at a time.