Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sugar and responsibility

Last night I wrote that I was tired of being good. I meant it. I grew up in a family, where unasked but somehow driven, I became a good girl, a responsible child, so responsible that I felt that the well-being of my family rested in my hands. I never spoke this to anyone, so no one had an opportunity to tell me that I didn't need to do that. Add to that a traumatic experience at age 9 and I learned to be hypervigilant.

What happens when you combine overresponsibility and hypervigilance? Stress, anxiety, fatigue and a chronic need to be soothed. When I was younger, alcohol was my way to let go of my constant need to control things and manage everybody. Of course, it didn't work. Losing control when drunk just makes the need for control greater.

Then after I got sober, I still needed a way to at least temporarily relinguish control and the need to be good, so I reverted to sugar. I knew it was unhealthy but it was a way to be irresponsible. I didn't want to have to be vigilant about what I ate. I wanted--and needed--to be bad.

Now, well now, I don't have either of those. I could still overeat or eat junk but that doesn't have the appeal. That's not what I want. I could litter, I guess. That would be bad. I could run red lights. But my ethics are so well ingrained that I don't think breaking a law or two or endangering others is going to work for me. The challenge will be becoming less responsible; it will be distinguishing what I'm truly responsible for and what I'm not.

And finding ways that soothe that aren't so self-destructive.

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