I pride myself and my recovery process on my choice to eat anything that I want to.
I gave myself permission decades ago to do so and it has greatly served my process.
I also have learned to eat anything I want to in moderation, which is no small feat, especially as a recovering food addict.
Yet, I have done so and really stuck with the program.
As a result, my body has stabilized, my moods have become more regulated, and I rarely have a moment of obsession about a “forbidden” food because there are no forbidden foods in my diet.
This plan does not work for everyone and many that I was in treatment with 20 years ago needed more structure in their recovery process. Always a reminder that there is absolutely no “one size fits all” in the recovery dance and certainly not in life.
I have also learned to breathe into my belly even in those moments when it feels impossible.
I recognized many years ago that I would hold my breath while eating – as if I would not actually be eating the food if I wasn’t breathing. It was a way for me to falsely control my intake and what I recognized eventually was that it was really messing with my digestion, assimilation, and metabolism. Holding my breath while eating anything, even a salad, was not inviting in the nutrition into my body – rather it was giving my body and my soul the message that I wasn’t worthy of eating. I wasn’t worthy of nourishment. The conflicting messages that I was sending to myself were indicative of the conflict I was experiencing internally and the external result was a very unhealthy digestive system, extreme mood swings, hormonal challenges, and constant obsession.
I never felt satisfied in life, period.
I was always searching for more – a food, a new exercise, a new home, a new job, a new love interest, a new pair of boots, a new bed! You name it.
I was completely unable to land in myself.
It took years to unravel that pattern and to find the understanding in myself that I needed to freaking BREATHE in order to land in my life. I needed to take that radical action of deep belly breaths not only while I was eating but also while I was moving throughout my day-to-day life and until I could do that consistently there was always going to be that longing – that searching – that sense of feeling incomplete.
And, for the most part, I have landed.
Enter, getting sick. I rarely get sick…I don’t know if it’s because I am a single mom and literally cannot get sick as there is no one to back me up with my son. Regardless, I have found myself down in the past few days and my system has been begging me to slow down, shift my intake, and rest rest rest. All are verydifficult for me, again, perhaps because of my wiring around must do do do as a single mama. As I have had no other choice but to slow down, shift my intake, and rest, I have had the golden opportunity to do some work on myself. Nothing like mixing up the “usual” routine and feeling compromised in my body to help me to look at myself and grow.
That is just who I am.
This round landed in my digestive system and subsequently has affected every system. Finally, the issues that I was feeling in my digestion landed my ass in bed. There was no more plowing through. I have had the opportunity to look at myself and my patterns around eating and living and breathing and relating.
Who knew that getting sick would be so enlightening??
I was able to note, bigtime, that my digestive woes were as a direct result of the stress that has been happening with my 9-year old around dinnertime. His meltdowns in my commitment to structure and responsibility during his school weeks reared their ugly head right as I was beginning the cooking and consuming process around our delicious dinners. Coupled with my exhaustion from a busy day of clients and work, I have more often than not, been frazzled, angry, and resentful during that dinner hour. Hard to admit but I spent many nights eating my dinner while standing in the kitchen putting out fires with my boy. Not good. The toll that this took on me and my body and my entire being has been eye opening.
Equally soul stirring has been my awareness around the attachments that I have in my food intake and consumption. Again, the pride that I have developed in relation to my recovery process and being able to eat anything I want to, has gone out the window while sick. When I am in the space of not being able to digest anything, of course, I have to shift my intake. The level of panic, anxiety, and clinging that this has brought up in me has been fascinating.
Now, at the point of turning a corner and beginning to feel much better, I am able to notice, honor, and hold myself in this space. This space that I was the “norm” for me for years and years.
The space where, now, 20 years into my recovery process, I can name as yet another growing opportunity.
A reset. A time of deep self-awareness. And a place of empowerment.
This time of sickness has indeed shaken my soul and opened my eyes to some deeply ingrained patterns, yet it has also been such a reflection of the incredible growth that I have been through – the work that I have consistently done – and the reminder that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me.
I am not broken, I am not wounded, I am human and an imperfect one at that.
I am able to glean insight from every single experience that I go through and always, always come through on the other side….more upright in who I am and at peace with this wild road of recovery.