I have been reading and reading books since I started my post substance abuse counseling to explore the next layer of onion wrapped around my person. And this book is speaking to me, I am identifying with it and it may be helping.
This book is telling me to become friends with my compulsion. They book is telling me to respond to my compulsion and not to react to it (what the hell?). So I named her. Her name is Contessa. Contessa Compulsion. I think it sounds like royality, though she really is just a royal pain in my ass! Oh, yeah- she is going to be my friend, I should be nicer to her.
Contessa is actually quite pissed with me. See I do not allow her to drown in luscious, chilled oaky/butter balanced chardonnay anymore. No more Sonoma Cutrer for her, and she is angry. She is not coming around to the idea of being friendly with me. Since she can’t drink alcohol anymore, she is moving on to the next best toxic compulsion for me…. food. She has chosen to sabatoge all my weight loss efforts of the last 4 years. That is how pissed she is. And I have been allowing her to win. AND now therapy is telling me to make her my friend. How will I do it? I am not sure, and it sounds a little crazy. But hating my compulsions and fighting my compulsions has not worked yet, so why not try to build an alliance.
So how does one do this? I am suppose to talk to her. Me and Contessa are supposed to chat now. When I first read about this in the book “the Gift of my Compulsion” I had a grand old chuckle. And then I named her. Why not- this could be entertaining. So I named her but didn’t speak with her right away, we don’t have the greatest experience with trust, the two of us. So she will have to wait.
And then it happened. She whispered to me. I heard her talk to me, coaching me, controlling me. Usually I check my work at my office door when I head home. As I drive away my thoughts about work roll back up Gillotti’s hill and away from me. I separate work from home pretty well, most of the time. Every once in a while I get a case that holds on tight to me and slips past the school’s lobby door behind me and slinks into the passenger’s seat of my car. Contessa makes her follow. SO this happened last Thursday. I found myself outside of the Sherman IGA with a pint of chocolate chip Arethusa’s ice cream and a full size Heath Bar. Now I have not purchased a full size candy bar in years and this has me thinking, I am perplexed as I sit in my car in a very familiar parking lot with very familiar sensations in my body. So as I back up my car and pull out of the parking lot I start to ask Contessa questions. “Contessa, what gives? What is going on? What is going on with the ice cream and what about this Heath bar?” You know what she said to me, she said “Shut up, the Heath bar is for now, you can’t eat a pint of ice cream and drive stupid. Hence the candy bar. Do I have to tell you twice.” She is SO pushy, so pushy. So I ate it, she was right, the candy bar was for right that instant. Then as I am sitting in my living room in front of Judge Judy, eating my ice cream (I did purposefully scoop my three scoops into a coffee mug so I would not eat the whole pint. How is that for good decisions?!) I asked Contessa what that feeling was about in the parking lot and what is this familiar feeling I am experiencing now? She did enlighten me and said, “well you know how you usually check your work at the door so it doesn’t follow you home? Well I allowed it to slip through the door and get into your car. You drove to the liquor store but went into the grocery store nearby instead. This could have been wine. You made the right call, I helped you with that.” I replied, “Oh my God, I was by the liquor store, a common stop for me over a year ago. And this familiar feeling is the feeling I used to get when I craved my buzz because of a rough day.” An ah-ha for me.
For the first time since I started gaining weight, again… I forgave myself and I did not beat myself up for giving into my binge. While eating crap was a bad call, it is what I needed in lieu of a more toxic compulsion. Contessa is going to be a rough bitch to deal with but at least she is talking to me now and I am hopeful that maybe my book is not nuts, and that there is something to making friends with your compulsions.