Friday, June 24, 2016

Egg Shells

Shortly before Christmas I wrote a post entitled, "The Toll It Takes."  I shared briefly what it is like when you love someone who battles with addiction.  I have been reflecting on how this dynamic affects other relationships in your life.

When you love an addict, you tend to become numb to the heartbreak and disappointment you experience.  Yet when others let you down, the pain is much more poignant.  "One effect of alcoholism is that many of us are reluctant to get close to people.  We have learned that it is not safe to trust, to reveal too much, to care deeply.  Yet we often wish we could experience closer, more loving relationships."  ©Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters  You think, "Maybe I can trust this person.  S/He seems nice.  Seems like they care."  It's not uncommon to develop relationships with people who are either very needy or wholly emotionally unable to connect.

With the addict/ alcoholic, there is a constant feeling of walking on egg shells.  When you face strife in your other relationships, it's either fight or flight.  This is not a healthy way to deal with conflict.  I admit it.  When I get mad, my response depends on who / what I am mad about.  I tend to get mad, choose to speak my mind or keep my mouth shut, talk about it with my husband if I need to, and let it go.  I do not hold onto old grudges, things people have done to wrong me or my loved ones.  I mean, there are things here and there that I do not forget, which impinge on relationships sometimes.  But overall, I do not carry a bag of others' wrongs around with me.  That kind of burden leads to bitterness and resentment which are two feelings I can do without.

I grew up learning two different ways to deal with conflict.  One:  keep a list of all the wrongs people have ever committed against you (which are far too often exaggerated), and bring these up every time someone does something wrong and shove it in their face or rehash it over and over with everyone you know.  Simultaneously, my father taught by example to put your selfish needs to the side, to love and forgive.  God's grace.  I found the contradiction between both sides to be too much to reconcile.  Tempted sometimes to stir up old hurts, to rehash a wrong that was committed against me, I consciously try to choose forgiveness as a better alternative.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God.
Matthew 5:9

I have a hard time understanding why some people choose to harbor unforgiveness, allowing resentment to take the strong hold of their relationships.  Accompanied by a never relenting tendency to blame others.  This is the way of the alcoholic/addict.  If you say something in the wrong tone of voice, leave a dish in the sink, work too late, forget to call, have a bad day, or whatever else might happen, this becomes a reason for the alcoholic/addict to go on a bender or lash out.  They blame anyone and anything for their drinking/drugging.  No matter what you do, how you try to make things right, you really can't put things back together for them.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses and
All the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13

In my journey over the past two+ years, I have done a lot of soul searching.  What compelled me to eat?  Why did I turn to food as my comfort?  As I continue on this journey and life happens, sometimes feelings of poor self-worth, regret, and fear of abandonment are triggered.  Stress tends to really magnify this.  With all the stress of late, I find myself wanting to take short cuts.

"If I skip a meal, it's okay if I binge eat ice cream or cookies."

"I had a bad day today, my shoulder really hurts.  I'm going to skip the gym and lay here watching TV."  

I can see how easy it would be to regress, to fall off the wagon, to go back to my old way of dealing.  I resist.  I have been bringing oatmeal with me to work and eating breakfast there.  I keep some protein bars in my desk and make sure to always bring a piece of fruit and a yogurt, just in case I get too busy to eat lunch, I can grab something quick.  I adjusted my calories and macros again to give me more fuel for my bike rides.
A salted caramel ice cream cone (in a waffle cone) during the ELL Academy Field Day
I've been praying a lot.  Seeking God to heal my broken heart.  Why do I still want to turn towards food when I feel like this?  What causes my anger, why can't I let it go?  What do I need to do to avoid feeling hurt by others when things don't go the way I expected?
Sometimes I find the answers in nature.  It might not be a loud gong, but maybe just a whisper of a beautiful flower I see when I'm hiking.
This is a process, part of my journey.  I can see my journey towards fitness is also one of healing, which is necessary to keep me from going back to my old ways.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.  
Psalms 34:18

Stand by Britt Nicole

If you or someone you know struggles with addiction, you are not alone.  You shouldn't expect to deal with it alone, either.  Message me if you need someone to talk to or to point you in the right direction.  tracoleman99 @   (To avoid SPAM, I have added spaces before and after the @.)

Find an Alcoholics Anonymous group here.
Find a Narcotics Anonymous group here.
Alanon is for friends and families of problem drinkers.
Alateen, like Alanon, is for friends and families of problem drinkers, but is geared towards teenagers.

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