Category Archives: addiction

I Knew This Day Would Come

IMG_0640For the first couple of weeks on keto, I felt like a pile of dirty clothes, left on the floor to fester and rot. Well, maybe that’s a little exaggeration. I just remember the transition from being a carb-burner to a fat-burner was not without its struggles.

For the next couple of months, I started feeling better and better, and I knew I was feeling on top of the world (cue Karen Carpenter’s voice here). I also knew that no one ever stays feeling that way forever. Gradually, though, I have become a little less ecstatic and a little more realistic.

I’ve been cheating on myself a little bit lately with food. Still no carbs, but a little bit extra here and there. I managed to keep this fact from myself as I simply didn’t write down all the transgressions on my food tracking app. For all intents and purposes, if you looked at my food diary, I was rocking this diet!

Hi my name is Siouxsie and I’m an alcoholic. That’s what they say at AA meetings, even if your drug of choice is something else. I’m far, far from an alcoholic, laughably so, but I still possess addictive thinking and behaviors. And what I’m addicted to is anything (legal) that I think will make me feel better. My drug of choice used to be carbs. How often I turned to junk food and sugar when I sensed dissatisfaction within. And, just like any addict (I think), when you get rid of the main source of feeling “good,” a bunch of feelings you have been avoiding rush in and vie for attention. Surely these feelings contribute to relapses.

And for an addict, occasionally there will be some other substance which will quell that dissatisfaction and those uncomfortable feelings. Which brings me to today.

I turn to social media now hoping it will make me feel better. More connected, heard, witnessed. I turn to meaningless television shows I can binge on Hulu and Netflix and Amazon prime. I turn to the carb equivalent of literature — easy to take in, non-nutritious, digested quickly and I am left wanting more.

So what if there is a “keto equivalent” for information? What if there is a portion that is similar to these good fats I am eating every day? Well, if you have read anything I have written you may know I love a good analogy. Therefore, for me there is definitely a keto equivalent.

The good “fats” are writing, creating, reading non-fiction, drawing, reading classical or deeper literature, listening to podcasts with some depth and meaning. 75% of the time I am using my brain these are the activities I want to be doing. The protein is connecting with people in real life.  (In some cases, that may mean FaceTime if the person lives in California.) 20% of the time I am using my brain, I will be nourished by connecting with people in real life. The “carbs” could be empty or near-empty like scrolling through Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, or slightly more nutritious like (TBD – to be determined – any ideas?) and I would allot 3% of my brain space to these activities.

I drew the onion illustration for my post. Normally, I just google an image, which is fine, but I like drawing, even though I’m a primitive beginner. Actual food was the outer layer of my onion. I see that information processing is the next layer. The parable of the two wolves has caught my attention today. I want to feed my good wolf so I’m taking in more goodness, kindness, compassion, truth, beauty.

I still have to work out what going “keto” on information looks like. I know a few things it doesn’t look like. I have a hunch that shifting my information “macros” will lead to a more satisfying, meaningful experience. What about you? How do you find a good balance in how you take in information and create things? What tips do you have for managing the information that is available and coming at us full speed ahead 24/7/365? What are your good “fats” relating to information?


I Have a Sponsor!

There are many types of sponsors. In today’s marketing-heavy world, sponsors are the companies who pay to support a program, sports events, conference, or workshop. Another type of sponsor is the sometimes life-changing ones available through 12-step programs. Guess which kind I have?

As I have walked alongside someone I love through their recovery journey, there have been many family events and educational sessions. All of those have been about helping the family/parents understand what the addict is experiencing, and timely topics such as enabling vs. supporting.

Along the way, a few times it has occurred to me that I have addictive tendencies as well. I find that my “drug of choice” is easily accessible, and just as hard for me to resist as is cocaine or heroin or alcohol to the users of those drugs. As a matter of fact, during a conversation several months ago, my dearly beloved addict told me that I was saying things about food that sounded just like the things addicts say about drugs and alcohol.

I try more and more to listen to the inner promptings I experience. There are plenty of times when I am just barely aware of them and plow over them and do what I want anyway. But, the times I act on those promptings are powerful.

Recently, I felt a prompting to ask my beloved addict if he would sponsor me. I recognize that he is still in the midst of his own recovery, and doesn’t have everything figured out. I see that he is young and still making his way into adulthood and maturity. But I also note that he has a sponsor, so he knows how it works. And I’m not expecting perfection, only perfect imperfection.

I started out by asking what a sponsor does, how does it work, what is their responsibility, what is the sponsee’s responsibility? And then I asked him if he would be my sponsor. He said yes! I could see there was some hesitation — after all, he is only partway through.

Our breakfast meeting turned into the first meeting between a sponsor and a sponsored person.

After our breakfast meeting, I was given an assignment. “Write a blog post expressing any new discoveries and thoughts or understandings about your belief system.”

Here it is.

People who use drugs or overdo it with alcohol are always at risk of being getting into legal difficulties. People like myself who “use” food or overdo it ALWAYS get in trouble with the “police’ in their own head. I NEVER escape being convicted, tried, and sentenced. Every single time I break my “law,” my internal police force comes down on me hard.

This is an ironic realization for me, because I am just about the least likely person I know to break any laws. I was accused of shoplifting back in my early 20’s, and every single person who knew me knew that the store had made a mistake (which they had and admitted to). And yet, here I am, breaking my own “laws” on a regular basis.

My other assignment this week is to tell my sponsor just one time when I am facing temptation, to realize that I can eat donuts every day for the rest of my life if I want, but to take one instance of temptation and contact my sponsor about that. I will do this.

I’m honestly surprised at the places we went in our discussion today as we talked. I wonder what will come of this for both of us!

Thoughts from Drug Court

I left my house this morning at 8:10 to visit Drug Court with a defendant I know.

Things I noticed:
Young men who wear their pants below their buns actually go through the motions of pulling them up, but only to just-below-bun level. 
These same young men can rely on their pants to stay up just by virtue of the pant legs touching the floor. They can’t fall down anymore than they already have.
The court system is incredibly dehumanizing. Even with a caring, competent judge, the accused is at the mercy of the court and must simply wait as long as it takes. In our case, we waited over 2 1/2 hours for 3 minutes in front of the judge. But that’s the way it works.
It is my preference never to be handcuffed as that looks like some kind of uncomfortable situation right there.
I have added court-appointed attorney to my list of jobs I am grateful I do not have. I think they provide a necessary service and are hugely important to the legal lives of millions of prisoners, but what is it like to work with person after person without really being able to touch them. I’ll grant you I’ve never been an attorney or a defendant, but from the outside, that looks like a tough gig.
My heart went out to the old man next to me whose CAA told him in front of everyone that he does not qualify for Drug Court because of his “extensive felony record.” When the attorney walked away, the man said in frustration, “I haven’t been in trouble in twenty years.” I responded sympathetically. Before he walked away, he sadly said. “This stuff just never goes away.”

Don’t I just wish that every young person in that courtroom could understand what an opportunity they have in Drug Court. The opportunity to come out without a record, while being given treatment to deal with the substance abuse issue. And yet, substance abuse is surely only the tip of the iceberg for many, if not all, who stand before that judge.

The opportunity not to have to say in 40 years, “This stuff just never goes away.”