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Wednesday, March 19, 2014


I've spent much of my life battling with inner demons. Nothing that any external source of struggle ever inflicted on me was (in any way) as powerful or deterministic as the ravages I visited upon myself.

After many years of self-defeating behavior and constant external focus, I became free of several addictions that I'd cultivated and indulged for 3 decades in 2010. Guess what happened? I developed new addictions. That's right. I went right ahead and moved on from substances and spending to food and dependency. As each new set of behaviors would enter my awareness (usually through the help, well-meaning or not, of others who were delighted to point these things out), I would respond the same way -- "my personality is addictive" and this is how I'm wired. That didn't help me, though. 

In reflecting upon that fact, recently, I've had to swallow some truths about myself. For me (and, I only speak for me, not to endorse the idea that its also someone else's experience), addiction was very much about avoidance of emotions that I felt unable to manage, consistent feelings of inadequacy, and diversion of responsibility. (NOTE: Much of this thought process is echoed in the book All is Well by L. Hay & M.L. Schultz, MD, PhD which is how this began to enter into my awareness in a consistent way.)

From a very young age, I felt 'different...damaged...unworthy.' I can look at some situations in my childhood and point to possible origins, but none of them fully explain it. Countless people had similar experiences to mine; yet, they did not use addiction as a coping mechanism. Awareness of all the research on brain interaction with addiction triggers, heredity, etc. also only provides a partial picture. 

And, as much as my very cognitive orientation despises it, I had to return to the emotional explanation. I was overwhelmed by emotion -- any emotion -- and I desperately sought numbness in any way I could. I never believed myself good enough, despite a myriad of successes that occurred over the course of my life nor by recognition and achievement that I regularly received from external sources. I was grossly responsible in most areas of my life -- to a fault, but had an intense and unreasonable need to completely shirk responsibility at some times, kind of the sociological concept of a 'moral holiday' where I could become thoroughly intoxicated or physically absent and do NOTHING that I was supposed to. Often, during those times, I would do nothing at all, or the complete opposite of what I should've been doing. Most often, the responsibility that I wished to eliminate was the care I owed to others who were close to me, to whom I was in a relationship with or had legal or moral responsibility for -- loyalty to my husband, emotional presence for my children, etc. 

And, in typical me-fashion, I'm sitting here wondering if anything I've written so far makes even the tiniest smidgen of sense. But, I'm going to press on, anyway. 

On the outside, I often look like one of 2 ends -- either all dazzle and spark, full of enthusiasm and energy; or, the opposite of that -- dull, neutral, hidden, and silent in a sulky way. My emotional intelligence is still developing, because I've only newly become accustomed to the presence of these pesky little feelings. I try to name them, to honor them (and myself) by experiencing them to the fullest capacity. And, I recognize that they are what they are -- transient. So, I can let them go when its time.

I do need to say that, even in the writing of this, I've gotten up from my laptop twice to search through the cabinets and fridge to find something to eat although I'm not hungry at all -- I have to work to recognize and manage the urge to 'stuff' emotions that come up, no matter the approach. This, alone, was the reason I decided to finish writing this entry, and to carry it through to the end. 

I don't know if I'll ever be fully recovered from my own internal deficiencies, or desire to compulsively eliminate discomfort in any form. I don't know if I'll ever cultivate the kind of authentic life that I yearn for, each day. I don't even know if I'll want to continue the pursuit in the future. So, instead, I'll focus on THIS moment. And, right now, I feel....


  1. I firmly believe every day that we walk through this existence it is a step on our journey to self understanding. I believe we start as babbling, drooling unaware creatures, evolve into a being so full of itself that it is inevitable that the reality of a world of mundane existence would crush it, and then the rebuilding of that self into a functional human really begins. We each make that journey alone, in our own minds, on our own path. Occasionally we share and find companionship in the journey, but I don't believe we actually fully understand the human condition until we exit it and can review it in retrospect, at a distance, without the soup of chemical and hormonal madness that is the biological engine of our being. Be gentle with yourself. We are all addicts in the darkness of our soul, it is just a matter of what our particular addiction is. We can all name one or more addictions, and those addictions change with the stages of our lives. Drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, food, business, attention, drama, achievements, self indulgence, television, technology, pornography, idleness, exercise - even good things can be addictions when handled improperly. You can be addicted to doing nothing or everything, sometimes both at the same time. We obsess on what we think will make us happy, we chase dreams, seasons, under analyze, over analyze - in the end we fail to stop and breathe - just breathe and feel our lungs fill. Feel our body at the cellular level and just be. You are loved and accepted just as you are.

    1. My kindred spirit, as always, I'm comforted by the amazing way you express yourself. I hope to look back on all of this from the next place with humor and insight and experience.

      I also hope to see you there.


  2. You have to take everything one day at a time! You know what you feel! You know what you are going through! That's a step in the right direction! Sending you many blessings ;o)