Here is a re-print of one my favorite stories from the great writer, Anne Lamott. I think about it A LOT.
When I was 38, my best friend Pammy died, and we went shopping about two weeks before she died, and she was in a wig and a wheelchair. I was buying a dress for this boyfriend I was trying to impress, and I bought a tighter, shorter dress than I was used to. And I said to her, ‘do you think this makes my hips look big?’ and she said to me, so calmly, ‘Anne, you don’t have that kind of time.’
That got me thinking about time. Sure, life is short and we really don’t have time to waste obsessed with weight and food.
BUT what if thinking about food and my weight IS how I spend all my time? What then? If I put down the food, what on earth will I do with ALL that time? AND, how will I cope with ALL my problems.
The latter question first – for those of us with addictions, we don’t think that food and alcohol and drugs are our problems. To us, these are our solutions!!! Initially, they really work. They anesthetize all our pain and keep us from having to deal with life.
For normal people, too much food and alcohol are just problems. Many people who eat or drink too much, cut back and they’re fine. Take my mom, she loved to eat and picked up unwatned pounds over the years. My mom even ate emotionally – when she was angry or tired. She didn’t like the extra weight but didn’t do much about it for a long time.
Then, my mom got divorced. She met a man – a younger man. Off mom went to Weight Watchers and off came all that weight. Problem solved. Occasionally, maybe around the holidays, she’d gain a few back . Out would come that Weight Watchers scale and those pounds would fall right off. Once again – problem solved.
But not for me – the real compulsive eater. Not for me the bulimic and anorexic. When I put down the food, the problems come up. For the first four decades of my life, I used constant food to mask and soothe my problems and pain, but of course, THEY’RE ALL STILL THERE.
What i need to do; What i MUST do is face my problems. Get to them, get through them and be rid of them.
That’s what happens through the 12 Step process, and I find my way to freedom. I learn I don’t need food to ease my pain. I can deal!
Back to my first question – what am I going to do with all the time I spent binging and purging and starving and weighing myself an obsessing about food and weight?
That’s what I need to discover. I need to learn how to live life, NOT just pass time in my mental obsession. Frankly, I need to learn how to have a live. Bingeing is NOT a life.
And, I need to realize that I can deal with whatever comes up. I can be bored. I can be uncomfortable. Neither of those two is going to kill me!
No matter what, I can. And will. Be fine.