I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
Addictions: Are They Real?
Recently I wrote an article for Lifetime Moms about my food addiction and the sometimes debilitating affects it has on my physical and emotional self. Sharing this with the world or the small piece of world that follows my written works, was probably one of the most difficult and humbling experiences of my life. Having the ability to write, share my thoughts and insights on the world around me is so much easier than sharing about my personal demons or flaws. The amount of support that I received from readers and close friends and family was a bit overwhelming and very much appreciated. The sense of validation from others is so very important when we open ourselves to reveal our deepest darkest most raw emotions. Let’s face it, once we release those tid bits of information, we can never take them back. It is kind of like when a child angrily yells “I hate you” to his parents. The minute the words are uttered they can never be stuffed back in and forgotten. They are out and they will stay out.
After sharing my addiction I found myself feeling a bit relieved that I did not have to bare that heaviness deep within myself any longer. As fearful as I was of being judged I realized that by sharing my darkest secrets others could see that there is hope and help if only we seek it and that sometimes we fall off of the proverbial wagon and that that is okay because now there will be others surrounding us to give us a boost to get back on the wagon. So imagine my surprise when I sat down on Monday with my husband to enjoy a little afternoon talk show television, and watch as a doctor loudly proclaims that food addiction is not real. Finding it difficult not to yell at the television, I struggled to remain calm and listen to her “educated” remarks trying to make sense out of her analogies and why she believed that there is no proven evidence that one can be addicted to food. I am happy to say that most of the audience was on my “side” as were some of the other guests on the show. Listening to her try to convince person after person that they were not addicted to food and that they simply ate too much or indulged because of periodic emotions infuriated me. If I could have had just ten minutes with this woman, I would share with her the reality of food addiction and just how harmful it is.
Having battled with my weight for most of my life I finally hit rock bottom when my obsessive compulsive behaviors took over and I began to stress over every little detail in my life. Pushing my husband and children to the brink with my desire to be perfect, or at least appear perfect I realized that the OCD was also driving my desire to eat massive amounts of food. Not wanting anyone to know just how much food I was eating, I became an expert in hiding food, something I am not proud of but was quite successful at doing. Food consumed my thoughts so often that I would catch myself eating breakfast while planning lunch and dinner. Then there were the snacks…oh how I loved the snacks.
My grandfather was an alcoholic. As a matter of fact, I rarely remember a special event or celebration where he was sober. It was an unfortunate part of our lives and was often times swept under the rug because back in “the day” you just did not air your dirty laundry and you just did not talk about stuff like that. If you did not talk about it, you did not have to deal with it and everyone would be happy right? Wrong, we could look the other way but when we looked back, the problem was still there.
Addiction is addiction, no matter what the drug of choice is. My drug happens to be food and while I have worked quite hard to conquer the addiction I have a long way to go. On most days I have success and am able to avoid giving into the addiction, but once in a while when I think I have it all together I fall. Sometimes I fall pretty hard; and that fall hurts. But I have a coping “tool” that I use to help get myself back in the game. It is simple to use and understand and can be used by anyone struggling with any type of addiction. Often times when someone falls off the proverbial wagon he/she tends to punish themselves and feel like a complete failure. However, that is far from the truth. When I slip and give in to the addiction I do not beat myself up anymore. I simply start over from that point. The key is this: Break each day into four quarters. If you fall during the day you are only affecting a small part of that day’s success. You still have the rest of the day to overcome and be successful. For example, I eat a sensible breakfast and head to work having not given in to the addiction. Then snack time for my preschoolers arrives and involves cupcakes for a student’s birthday; WHAM! I eat a cupcake or two and immediately feel guilty. Not anymore. I am still in the first quarter of my day and have three more quarters of my day left. So I tell myself that while I caved into the addiction I still have three quarters of my day left to be successful. I started using this “tool” about six months ago and have found that I am caving into the addiction less and less thus keeping my addiction at bay more often. To this I say “yay for me!”
What is your addiction? I personally believe that everyone has one whether they wish to define it or not. Take a long hard look at yourself and what it is that you indulge in more than you should. Do you shop too much; drink too much; gamble too much; clean too much; curse too much; gripe and complain too much? Whatever your drug of choice is, I believe that you can conquer it. Each new day brings us a world of possibilities and opportunities to live our lives to the fullest. For me, I have to tell myself quite often that I need to eat to live not live to eat. Let go of whatever is holding you down from rising above and shining like the star that you are. There are endless opportunities for us in this big world; we just have to open our eyes. In order to reach for the stars we must drop the junk we hold in our hands; in other words, let go of the crap that holds you down so that when life throws you something wonderful you can catch it.
To see all Karla’s Korner articles click here.