I outed myself as an official hot mess in recovery, very recently. I found that process extremely powerful and decided to add blogging to my cognitive behavioral therapy tool kit. I am new at this, and feel clumsy. I spent way more time creating this site than necessary but it is all new to me, so I fell all over the place while figuring it out (of that I am still doing).
I am 50, one year sober and trying to create some order with my disordered eating. I have let shame swallow me, it is a toxic poison, that shame. And I am drudging through its toxicity so I can rid of it and it’s sickness. I also have clinical depression and general anxiety disorder. The mental illness industry has hit the jackpot with me, though I know I am only a mild, annoyance to that conglomerate.
I work with a licensed therapist and a licensed nutrition therapist, both weekly. I have relinquished coloring my hair and getting my nails done to pay for these luxuries that I am very grateful to have access to. I have also decided enough is enough with all the glam, I even gave up most make-up with the exception of mascara (still on the hunt for a really lush making one that is BROWN only, that does not run off my lashes and into the already dark circles under my eyes) and lipstick. I want to embrace my aging and use the money for more fun things like adventures, when therapy is needed less and I have better recovery management. I went to Costa Rica this past summer and had the time of my life- I want more of that!
I have been seeing a counselor or therapist of some sort since I was about 30, and first diagnosed with clinical depression. I have been giving therapists the runaround for 20 years, and really not working on “the” issues. But all my other issues seemed to entertain them enough for an hour, and it was often documented that progress was being made. But really, I was playing a game. It was “let’s pretend” I am going to really be genuine in therapy. I do not know that I was consciously aware of the game until I hit my rock bottom and started to really dig deep and could see in retrospect that I was farting around with all the others. I have had my share of awful therapists too.. but I was an awful patient as well.
The very first therapist that I let in, was Josh. He got to work with me on my substance abuse journey. I met him almost a year and half ago. He didn’t put up with much shit, and could see right through me. He had the luxury of working with me in a group setting and an individual setting for almost 30 weeks. It was an intensive therapy session, apparently that is what I needed to be real. Josh will always be in my heart, and in my brain! He was the start to all of this recovery work. He will say, it is all my work but I know I am NO easy patient and that man worked!
Once I had about 10 months of sobriety under my belt, I knew I needed to continue in therapy as I was graduating from intensive outpatient therapy. I knew alcoholism was just one of my abuses and I needed to move on to the next “disorder”, to “recover” from. It will be way more difficult than getting and staying sober, it is a dysfunction I have lived with probably since I was 16 years old. I am driving the struggle bus on this one! I decided to tackle my eating problems. I have struggled with weight for years and obesity is in my genetics. I have participated in every diet ever created, I have binged, purged and restricted myself. I have f*cked up any possibility of having a healthy relationship with food. I even had weight loss surgery in the summer of 2013 and kept 90 pounds off, until I started intensive outpatient therapy and started to live a sober life. In this year of sobriety I have gained 45 of that 90 back. I went right back to eating out of control. I have stretched my surgically modified stomach and ruined $30gs plus of surgery. Weight loss surgery does not magically make and keep you at a healthy weight- it truly is only a tool. This past year, I replaced all the alcohol sugars with dessert sugars. And I became sedentary because getting sober, for me was exhausting and depressing, so exercise took a back seat. Bing, Bang, Boom, I am XL again. It is very scary and very upsetting but I am hopeful that my intensive disordered eating therapy will get me to a point to have a healthier relationship (a normal) with food. I want to be at a healthy weight and active again, I am hoping this new path in therapy will get me there.
I have been going to therapy and nutritional counseling for a few weeks now. I have completely gained more weight since. While I have been working very hard in therapy for my shame issues, doing all the homework and then some, I have been doing very little for my nutrition therapy. I try, I really try. But working on shame while having no “crutch” (like wine and yummy fatty sugary goods) is VERY difficult. But I am trying. Hence this blog. I need to have a bigger tool in my CBT box, and I think I will try this. I believe it will give me focus and make me more accountable if I write it all out.
I will be genuine and raw. I have to strip all the onion layers away. I truly believe that is the only way I will get back to “ME” (well me minus all the onion layers actively covering me up).