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Magical World

Wouldn't it be lovely if, with just a twitch of the nose, life, or any aspect of it could be changed. Instead, positive changes always seem to involve tremendously hard work, determination, and endless setbacks. How lovely it would be to have the powers of Samantha Stephens.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Addiction

I have never abused drugs, alcohol or any other substance in order to get high. In fact, I have always maintained a prideful sense of superiority as I've listened to some of my friends talk about the quest to get plastered/blotto/loaded/smashed, and known that I had no propensity to join them.

Ironic, yes?

There have been times in my life when I would do anything necessary to achieve the euphoria which comes after four or five days (sometimes only three when running comes in tandem) of starvation. It's a craving which only certain athletes and fellow sufferers of eating disorders can comprehend. But perhaps drug addicts can understand, as well. And while I know that I am harming my body when I seek it, I also understand the absolute relief I feel when that euphoria comes. And because I have experienced it more than once, when I begin to feel overwhelmed, emotionally, I really want that feeling in the worst way.

For nearly 20 years I have been, in addict terminology, "clean". But now, once again, as I sort through memories and feelings which have been carefully hidden during all that time, I find myself turning back to ANY coping mechanism which will help. But while in the past, I was able to use those mechanisms without worry or recognizable guilt, now, as an adult, I find the relief fleeting and the guilt overwhelming. I realize what I should have known before I ever put the negative coping skills into action--I'm not coping at all. I'm exacerbating an already desperate situation. And when the relief subsides, I am left with even more STUFF with which to cope.

So I crawl slowly out of the hole I've dug for myself. I start the food diary for the millionth time. I cut down on my running for a couple of days--replacing it with reading or slow walks. I talk to friends who have time for me--and then I spend a bit of time on my knees, thanking God for sending people into my life who are willing to care about the derelict (me) even when she acts really, really stupid. I remember that I'm an integral part of a family in which I am loved by each member. I remember that I have the strength to overcome. I talk to my therapist and my doctor. And I pray that this won't happen again, even though I know it's probable that it will.

Addiction (noun):
1. Being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming
2. An abnormally strong craving
3. A surrender to a master
4. Spiritual definition: "Addiction is any compulsive, pleasure-seeking, life dominating behavior which displaces our relationship with God, and is habitual despite moral, relational, and physical reasons which should rationally preclude its practice." (Definitions 1-3, Wordweb, definition 4, Gary's blog)

Am I an addict? Probably. Some would say, definitely. When I look at the list of all that is "wrong" with me, all that is weak, all that is broken, I am overwhelmed. It's very easy to turn to self-blame, to examine all the "if only's", "if I hadn't", "if I could have"...to believe that if I'd just been stronger one time when abuse happened, or when making a wrong choice, or when I allowed myself to go where I knew I should not be, that everything would be better now.

But the truth is this: Life on earth is not meant to be a vacation on a cruise ship. If the things I battle today were gone, they would simply be replaced by other, equally challenging trials, uniquely tailored to turn my weaknesses into strengths, and help me turn to gold in that excruciatingly painful refiner's fire. And when I look at who I have become, and compare her to the person I was many years ago, I know that God's way is working. I AM stronger. And although I'm not golden--yet--there are still times when I get a glimpse of sparkle and glitter inside of me--the potential is there.

5 Comments:

  • At Thursday, July 27, 2006 10:16:00 AM, Blogger firewarrior said…

    I hope you will grow stronger in Christ. Even though I'm never been an addict, I know how it feels when you had so much trials in the past that you think it's you to blame for all of that. I hated myself back then, I almost ended my life then. But I guess like you I found God and he turned my life around. So I'm learning everyday how to love the life God has given me. I don't think my comment made sense, but I hope this encourage you...

     
  • At Thursday, July 27, 2006 2:55:00 PM, Blogger -L- said…

    I had the impression that things were going pretty well for you. I mean, there was Hell and all, but...

    I guess I'm not clear on what the trigger was. I know you were stressed about the potential calling. Family issues. David. I guess I better go review some posts from a week ago!

     
  • At Thursday, July 27, 2006 3:27:00 PM, Blogger Samantha said…

    L: Readers Digest condensed version--I've been in the process, over the past six months, of working through suppressed memories--although suppression isn't exactly accurate--more like ignored memories--refusing to acknowledge they existed. I knew they were there, I knew what they entailed--I just chose to disregard them until I felt strong enough to deal with them. This probably would have continued indefinitely--except that my oldest son reached the age my cousin was when he abused me, and I began to experience fear when I was alone with my sweet son.

    So now I'm doing what I have to in order to resolve all that STUFF--and sometimes when it combines with the stress in my current life, I get a little overwhelmed. I guess it's not inconceivable that that could happen, but I have to keep working on using healthy coping devices. When something unexpected crops up, I occasionally lapse into old, bad habits. Still, I'm working on it.

    There--now you can read a good book instead of stalking my archives. :)

     
  • At Thursday, July 27, 2006 8:49:00 PM, Blogger Linds said…

    Crazy! You are the 3rd person in the last week that has the same birthday as me! Must be a good date to have a birthday. There must also be a thing about only incredibly good looking people having that birthday... because... just look at us.. :-) Anyways... I am very impressed with your post, your faith is amazing and very inspiring.

     
  • At Thursday, July 27, 2006 10:02:00 PM, Blogger AttemptingthePath said…

    I learned A LOT from that post.

    I saw that you found Linds, she's pretty much the coolest--and I've been raving to her about your the awesomeness that is you.

     

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