Sunday, April 18, 2010

Black and white vs. shades of gray

Yesterday and today have been much more reasonable in both eating and feelings. I felt calmer, more centered, recommitted to my abstinence and my efforts at being in the moment and with my feelings.

I've been afraid of relapsing, and in a sense I did just that Friday night. I fell back into old ways of feeling and responding. I didn't eat a lot of sugar, I didn't go out and buy what I really wanted (ice cream), but I overate to a version of numbness ( and a not very satisfying version) instead of bravely buckling down and doing what I am committed to doing.

Like many alcoholics, I have a real tendency towards black and white thinking. With alcohol, nothing or everything is very real. We can't just drink a little; it sets off something in our brains that makes moderation impossible and even stopping again terribly difficult. People who "go back out" into the drinking world are often gone for years at a time and sometimes forever, dying from the consequences of the disease.

In some ways, the effects of food are more insidious. One meal, one piece of pie, isn't going to kill me or even necessarily set me to bingeing regularly again. But I do know that one piece of pie leads to two, leads to one every day, leads to two every day, leads me back into not caring about how much I weigh, how I feel, or what I'm putting into my body.

It was interesting to welcome back Friday night my old friend Who Gives A Shit, to feel again those feelings of fed-up-ness that make me want to eat. Exactly what I'm fed up with is harder to discern and may hold the answer.

There didn't seem to be anything special about Friday night. I'd had a good day, written two good chapters on my novel, spent the day with friends I love dearly and had lots of interaction as well as quiet time. Maybe it had been building all week or for the last 9 weeks of abstinence, or maybe some chemical in my brain just went off, the way it does when I have an occasional real desire to drink even after 20+ years of total abstinence from alcohol.

Maybe there is no understanding what happens, just a gentle acceptance that some times there'll be shades of all right and some shades of not so good.

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