14 July 2009

Crossover & Competing Addictions...

Well, last night I stayed up later than usual to take part in a teleclass run by Pat Barone, a leading expert in the field of weight loss. It's a rather strange phenomenon that one addiction can easily be replaced or added on to the back of another [yet another monkey to carry!].

Food has always been a great love of mine and sweet foods in particular. I guess we're all familiar with the idea of 'comfort' eating... but the teleclass last night on emotional eating has really had a profound effect on my thinking about food. I discovered that a craving for hard, crunchy foods like peanuts or crisps might signify an underlying emotion of anger, which isn't being expressed. Those who have been addicted to substances - or people! - have spent a lifetime of numbing out feelings by using their particular drug of choice - alcohol, cannabis, gambling, sex, love or food... or maybe a combination of these. Getting in touch with these feelings is painful and, where extremely traumatic events are part of the person's history, counselling or psychotherapy can often help to alleviate the pain.

I discovered many years ago that pain is only buried in a shallow grave. It doesn't take much for it to be resurrected but we smother it in our drug of choice in attempt to bury it again and keep it away from us. By allowing these feelings, inherent in pain, to come to the surface and be aired, we are allowing for the possibility of breaking free from addiction, living a life free from the fetters of pain and chaos and creating a joyful and rewarding life for ourselves.

Recovery is an ongoing process... It doesn't stop when we stop drinking or drugging, gambling or relationship-hopping... It requires work from within... taking notice of what we're feeling and whether we're dealing with that in a healthy way... taking care of ourselves both physically and spiritually. Feeding the soul, through yoga and meditation or prayer and relaxation, a belief in a Higher Power and/or Higher Self, forms the roots of recovery and from there we can grow taller, wiser and stronger... a step at a time.

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