It’s all addiction to me
Many moons ago my pain psychologist said to me, “I want you to think of everything through an addiction lens”. Given that I had no actual official addictions I was very happy to play along with his wee game, I nodded sagely, wisely. Except that I didn’t do anything about it. I went home having ticked ‘therapy’ off my to-do list that day.
Let me digress to return to
whence I left off.
A while later I got weller … more well …. sort of better-ish. Not well or better mind you. Just more well-ish.
In having more time with fewer symptoms I was ready for unadulterated joy. I was eager to mop up each and every precious moment like a great big sea sponge. I would wax lyrically, about life, and the joy of each shiny new moment. I would stop, smell the roses. Hell, I would roll naked in the roses, oblivious to pricks and such.
Addicted to sugar and dry white wine
I found myself feeling restless, bored, oh so bored, irritated. Oh. So. Irritated.
And craving. Craving sugar, craving wine, craving anything at all to just shake me out of myself and the almost physically painful boredom of each shiny new moment.
In the later few weeks of feeling pretty good, I had slipped into 2 or 3 glasses of wine a night. A slippage, I suspect, that was on an upward trajectory (update for the future from COVID times, yes, yes it was). I had to stop drinking last week for two weeks of treatment, treatment that means I can temporarily eat sugar but must not touch alcohol.
This has put steroids under my feelings – my sugar cravings are just as bad as my dry white wine ones. Being free to have as much as I like, albeit temporarily, feeds the addiction to sugar just as much as the complete abstinence from wine feeds the desire for that.
Which leads us to … addiction to love
Someone in one of my mind improving podcasts/books/tweets etc recently was talking about love as an ‘addiction’.
Suddenly, clears as day – I see a flashback of me as a 20-something (and just maybe as a 30-something too). Boy was I addicted to love. Unattainable love was my potion of choice. This way I could keep the addiction really fueled. When a friend handed me a book entitled “Why am I addicted to love?” or something equally obvious – did I take the unsubtle hint? Join a support group. No. More likely I reached for dry white wine and a cigarette (I know, horrible, we all have dark secrets) to find any poor sod to listen to the drama of my unlucky-in-love-again antics.
That love feeling, I see now, was the exact same feeling that I get when I want something to eat that I can’t have or want a drink on an alcohol-free day. It is so strong I can feel it, sitting in the middle of my chest, a sort of tingling pulling beast. Trying to explode my chest if I don’t move towards whatever object of desire of the moment. Often the same feelings strike me (in reverse) as a need to get away from whatever is driving me insane with boredom, like the mindful coloring I was just doing to take my mind of the dark orange and ginger chocolate in my draw and the fine chilled New Zealand chardonnay in my fridge.
Addicted to whatever passes by.
So there it is, I seem to be an addict without an active soul/life-destroying vice. It kinda makes sense – some of my loved ones have not been spared in the soul/life-destroying thing and we know addiction has a genetic component.
My genes are desperately trying to express themselves and I am cutting them off at every corner. I feel my illnesses and anxiety saved me a dangerous addiction, rather than my awesome willpower. My prescription meds help me moderate alcohol and my anxiety leaves me too terrified to give illegal drugs much of a crack (pun intended). My horrible reflux and other symptoms save me from my sugar issues. Pregnancy cured me of my nicotine addiction (instantaneously and completely).
Where do we go – us addicts without an addiction? Would I be laughed out of alcoholics anonymous, shoppers anonymous and problem gambling support groups? Almost certainly I would. But can I understand a craving so distracting it destroys the shiny new moment you are in? I sure as hell can.
My Mum (the keeper of wisdom in our family) said “darling, if you were really an addict you’d just push through”.
So maybe I am only a wannabe. But what I really wannabe is enjoying each shiny new moment, craving ….. nothing at all.
There is always mindfulness
Of course, mindfulness is there at every turn to cure all – is it not?
I’m a bit sick of mindfulness; mindful parenting, mindful colouring, mindful leading, mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful sex, mindful whateverthef*ck (the book will still sell).
I sometimes want to give mindfulness a good old smack over the head with a bottle of chardonnay (empty of course).
Accept it is the only thing really helping. I did not go to the pantry or the fridge earlier. I did sit at my mindful coloring, listening to my Mindful in May interview, sitting, curiously noticing. Noticing I wanted to stab the thing and scream at it. I did not do that either.