Tag Archives: Recovery

How do you use your words?

The brain is such a powerful and mysterious organ to even scratch the surface here is crazy.  I’m going to share my experience with my brain and what it does with the words I hear and the words I say.  I imagine my brain as an elaborate index card system where the “important” information is kept at the ready and the “other” information is filed waaay in the back.  Everything is there.  All the pictures, images, experiences, phrases and feelings are stored.  Accessing somethings are harder or takes longer than others.  I think my brain was initially misfiring and decided the “important” things are any negative comments or events are kept close at hand and are never to be forgotten.  Compliments, well, they fall into “other” and can be remembered with lots of effort.  In my experience growing up, pain was a stronger and more familiar feeling than joy so that may be why they are so “important”.

The things I remember the most, and seem to feel like they are happening whenever I remember them are the painful moments, the words that were said, the tone and delivery were never forgotten.  Those words became the voices in my head.  These voices are the comments that I believed.  In the movie “Pretty Woman” (yes, I’m an 80’s California girl) Julia and Richard are in bed talking  and after receiving a compliment Julia says, “The bad stuff is easier to believe.”  I cried when I heard that because it was true for me.  No one can go through life and not be scarred in some way, but I believe it is important to carefully consider your words when speaking to anyone, but especially children.  It’s like kids absorb everything they see and hear, even when it is not directed at them.  They are not old enough to make sense of some things, but in their world everything that they see, hear and feel is because of them.  (I am not going to discuss child rearing, I am just mentioning my viewpoint on the impact of our words and the delivery).

Words are so powerful, they can be used as sources of comfort, love, kindness or a way to wound.    Brene’ Brown refers to a quote that says “You are responsible for the energy you bring into this room.”  I am going to add that I am responsible for how I react to it.  It has taken me many years of floundering in the world to realize my life was basically just a  reaction to the world around me.  I allowed others words to send me off into various directions living as a victim.  I learned to use words to wound in defense. I learned very well growing up how to use sarcasm to cut, while getting a laugh.  The cutting words and statements came easily and flowed freely because that is what I heard and knew.  I am not referring to foul language.  I am referring to seeing someones weakness and attacking.  I spent my pre-teen years being attacked in this way daily.  In my teens it became a defense mechanism and eventually a tool.  I am not proud of this.  I have had to make amends to countless people because of my words.

The words I heard growingfile0002083689554 up had a part in who I became and what I thought of myself.  It doesn’t matter that my parents were doing the best they could with what they had.  It doesn’t matter that the people who harmed me didn’t know any better.  The words became a weapon in my own mind.  I just know that for me that when words meant to motivate, like “if you don’t do better in that class you will fail!”  Failure is unacceptable.  To motivate through words that create fear is not healthy.  I am not fear motivated.  I will do the opposite of what you want if I am threatened. The phrases and words spoken to me growing up became the voice in my head.

Today, I struggle with the mean critical voices in my head, which have developed steam, keep me in a place where true love has been impossible.  They are file4991280736472the tape that runs freely in my head. I have worked very hard at overcoming the victim behaviors and seeing the aftermath.  Seeing what I say and do to myself and how it keeps me from feeling joy and love for myself.  You can only give away what you have.  I have to love myself before I will ever have true love to share with another.
I spent 30 years numbing the pain.  When I heard Brene’ Brown say, “When you numb the dark you numb the light.” I realized that there is so much happiness that I have, but I couldn’t feel it because I was numb.  I decided that rather than spiraling down with the old tapes in my head I would take it one step at a time and change the tape.  I will climb the stairs and get to my place of joy and love with out the negative voices dragging me down the stairs.

It was a much faster trip down than coming back up, but I WILL MAKE IT!!

 

Leap of Faith

10376834_10152606755112176_3060665850839391739_nThis post is a bit of a surprise to me.  I figured it would take longer for me to be able to bring my guard down and attempt to even potentially let a man into my life.  I only share my experience in this blog and things which influence me to make changes in my life.  In order to love you must take risks.  I have been practicing letting women into my life and nurturing these friendships, which are positive and fulfilling.  I now have an amazing network of women whom I trust and enjoy having in my life.  For a woman like me, that is amazing growth.  I was raised in a household of men and find it easier to relate to men in some ways.

My relationships with men, however, have been a double-edged sword.  I have had to learn that not all men are the same.  I have had more than my share of bad experiences with men.  I have not listened to my gut and ended up in situations where I have been physically and/or emotionally hurt.  For many years my solution was to not connect with men, except at work in a professional relationship.  When I did attempt to start a relationship I chose men who were similar to the men of my past, because those feelings were familiar.    If you treated me in a negative way, I knew that feeling and gravitated toward men that treated me that way.

Well, I have been doing some very intense work on healing that part of me.  Talking to that little girl inside who only knows pain, and nurturing her so that we can try to trust again.  Working to gain a comfort with stepping into the unfamiliar space of, when we are treated well, it is good and it may be unfamiliar and scary, but it is GOOD.  I sat a few weeks ago and had a talk with God about what it is that he wants for me.  I have a close relationship with God today, one that is more of a friendship.  We talk everyday, I spend time every morning listening for guidance.  At the same time I was working on knowing what I really want for myself and what my nonnegotiable’s are and am I really willing to step off that ledge and trust God to deliver.

I am not going to list off all things on my list, but I will say there is nothing on the list of the things I want in a man that I don’t already have in myself. I am pretty open, but someone who shares similar interests and beliefs is important.  Acceptance is important.  Everything else is between Me and God.

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The great news here is for the first time, maybe ever, I have stepped off that ledge and I am trusting God.  What is completely amazing is that he is showing me greater things than I could have ever hoped for myself.  I willing and able to step forward without knowing what is coming next, and that is OK with me today.

Have you taken the leap?

 

Quote of the day

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To find

the truth

about her eating difficulties

a woman must

listen to her inner stories,

consistently tracking the rhythm

 of her thoughts and feelings

with curiosity, not judgment,

day in and day out.

“Eating in the Light of the Moon” eCourse

A Letter to My Younger Self

Sweet Young Girl,379093_2670389453390_1642209506_n

The road you are traveling is a rough one, filled with potholes, treacherous terrain, mean and selfish people.  You have done nothing to deserve the bad things that have happened.  You are not being punished, but you are learning.  You are learning a very dangerous way to treat yourself.  You are learning to speak to yourself harshly, set unrealistic expectations for yourself and for those you love.  On the surface you think you are making yourself better, tougher and surviving on your own terms.  My sweet girl, you are making for a tough lonely life.

I know that you feel so much love, that is not returned.  You feel so much pain that feels unbearable.  If only there were something you could buy, or someone who could fill that space all of the fear, anxiety and pain would go away.   I know you don’t see what you are doing.  I know you think if you are perfect everything will be perfect.  If you are funny enough, thin enough, smart enough, perfect enough all the past will go away and you will only be happy.

I can’t say it will be easy, but you will make it through all of the pain, fear and harm that has come to you. YOU ARE STRONG!  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!  YOU ARE SMART!  YOU DON’T NEED SOMEONE ELSE TO BE THOSE THINGS…YOU ARE AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN ALL OF THOSE THINGS!

When you feel like it is all too much, read this letter.  Know that there are amazing people coming into your life who will love you until you can love yourself.  They will love you exactly the way you are.  Remember the best thing you can do is ask for help.  I know it’s hard, but it means you are strong, not weak.  It means you are courageous!  You can trust again.  There are people out there worthy of your love.

Most importantly, YOU ARE WORTHY OF YOUR LOVE!!  You are such an amazing woman and you can’t even see it.  You will see it.  I promise you!  It will start out being reflected to you by other people.  You have a light and a love that radiates from your soul.  You are smart, kind, beautiful, loving and when you accept all of those things about yourself, your life just becomes full, peaceful, and there aren’t any words for the amount of love you will have coming to you and from you.

You keep trudging the road of happy destiny and you will make some of the most amazing friends.  You are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.  You will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.  You will comprehend the word serenity and know peace.  You will see how all of your experiences will benefit others.  That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.  Self seeking will slip away.  You whole attitude and outlook on life will change.  Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave you.  You will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle you.  You will suddenly realize that God is doing for you what you could not do for yourself. (AA the promises)

Know that the best part of your life is yet to come!  Trust your gut!  Hang in there!  I will see you soon.

All my love,

Future Brenda

Quote of the day

“One of the first things a woman on the path of recovery from disordered eating must do is re-frame her concept of who she really is.  She must recognize her bright, intuitive nature as the gift that it is even though others’ discomfort with it has brought upon her some struggles and emotional wounding. She must begin to assert, both to herself and the world around her, that she is not defective.  She must begin to review and retell the story of her life from the understanding that there is nothing wrong with her, that although she has been hurt, she is not damaged goods.  Her disordered eating behavior is not evidence that she is a faulty human being in desperate need of repair.

…Her perspective must shift so that she can see this obsession not as some horrible character defect but, rather,  as a simple, and much-needed protective mechanism she picked up along her journey through life.”

Eating in the Light of the Moon, by Anita Johnston; Pp 18-19

I love this book.

What is a Binge?

This is information I learned while in treatment, recently, for my binge eating and bulimia. I have to say that it was one of the most eye-opening sessions that I had on my journey.  I have a sense of hope that being able to recognize the binge before it starts, maybe I can keep from bingeing.  This journey has turned my view of weight loss  and my relationship with food upside down.

I have learned that dieting is not an option for me.  Honestly, I am coming to accept that my weight is where it is because of my dieting and extreme practices.

There are two categories of binges:

  1. Subjective Binge – You eat a normal amount of food, but there is a loss of control.  You just eat it as fast as possible and can’t control it.

2. Objective Binge – Too much food, too fast with a loss of control.  I think this is what I always thought of as a binge.

8 Types of Binges:

  1. Opportunity Binge: 

This is a binge which is linked to availability, free time and privacy.  It is associated with the deprivation binge, in that it can be a food you have not allowed yourself.  It is very beneficial to have your days structured to help prevent this kind of binge.  I have to watch this one, since I live alone I have lots of opportunity and for me night-time is the worst.  I try to keep a regular scheduled bedtime since this is my most vulnerable time of the day.

  1. Stress Binge:

This kind of binge acts as a form of numbing or distracting from the stress, anxiety or pain.  It functions in the same way as a drug or alcohol does.  I have found that this type of binge for me is triggered by stress, but I specifically crave sugar.

This is one, where I have had to learn to not get over tired, set aside quiet time so I can relax.  I started meditating when I stopped drinking and it really does help me keep life in perspective.  Work Life balance, as well as, minimizing people who create drama in my life has helped me keep my stress levels to a minimum.

  1. Vengeful/Anger Binge:

Well, I am sure you can guess by the name of my blog, this is a binge I have used many times.  This can be anger related to myself, others or a situation.  For this binge, as for any of these, the thing I binge  on could be anything from food, alcohol, shopping, men…whatever it took to get that energy out.  I will say that this type of binge for me was more of a bulimic binge.  When I stopped drinking this binge took hold in food pretty strongly.  My alcoholism and eating disorders are best buddies and I have to watch them both very closely.

  1. Deprivation Binge:

This type of binge is triggered when you have designated that there are certain foods you can’t have.  I am actively working on retraining my thinking on “good” and “bad” foods.  When I tell myself I can’t have certain foods a craving is created.  I can hold off for a while then when I finally give in I eat too much, too fast.  The shame that follows the binge sometimes results in additional bingeing.

This is why my treatment team consistently tell me that nothing is off-limits.  Everything in moderation.  If I allow myself to have these things when I want them, I am less likely to binge on them.

  1. Hunger/Starvation Binge:

This is a binge that is triggered by waiting too long to eat or skipping meals.  You are basically starving yourself.  This type of binge triggers obsessive thoughts about food, mood swings, headaches.  I have found that this is a common binge for me.  I tend to work through meals and not snack through the day.  I will always binge at night due to this practice.  My dietitian has been a great help in getting this under control.  I have alarms on my phone to remind me of my meal and snack times.  When I stick to the 3 and 3 plan (3 meals, 3 snacks) I don’t binge.  Not only do I not binge, but my energy is constant through the day, my anxiety decreases, and I sleep better.

Restricting calories and increasing exercise can also, ultimately, trigger this kind of binge.  Your body feels like it is starving and will do anything to protect itself.  I will explain this in more detail in a post on metabolism.

  1. Pleasure Binge: 

This kind of binge for me is associated with parties and fun with friends.  It is for entertainment and stimulation.  The loss of control is subtle, but strong.

7. Attachment Binge:

This type of binge serves to satisfy an attachment strategy.  it is an attempt to satisfy an unmet need.

  1. Habit Binge:

This is a binge that is so normal that you don’t even know that it is happening.  For me it is related to the fact that I have a very fast pace when I eat.  I always have, but it is such that I do not know I am full until I have eaten too much.

In my experience, I have used all of these binges and they are all followed by self-hate and shame.  Shame is a nasty little bugger and has haunted me my entire life.  As I work with my treatment team on resolving my past traumas, my relationship with food and developing my shame resilience, my perspective is gradually shifting to a forgiving, loving and happier place.

I owe my life to everyone who is helping me along this new path to freedom.

10 Principles I Want to Live by in Recovery

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  1. Always demand respect from myself and others.
  2. Daily self-care, including loving self-talk and enjoy nourishing my body throughout the day.      
  3. Quiet meditation everyday is important to my soul’s sobriety.                                                               
  4. Always create a safe environment where I work and live.
  5. Advocate for myself when an unsafe situation arises.
  6. Give back to the community through volunteer work.
  7. Be creative and enjoy life TODAY.
  8. Remember that the past is the past.  Today I am strong and capable of protecting and caring for myself.        
  9. Love myself so that others can show me love too.
  10. Being imperfect IS perfect!!

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My favorite quotes:

“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.  We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.  We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.  We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know the word peace.  No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience will benefit others.  That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear.  We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.  Self-seeking will slip away.  Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.  Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.  We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.  We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not.  They are fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.  They will materialize if we work for them.”

AA, Pp 83-84

“Some day he will be unable to imagine life either with alcohol or without it.  Then he will know loneliness such as few do.  He will be at the jumping off place.  He will wish for the end.

‘…I must get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?’

Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that.  It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous.  There you will find release from care, boredom, and worry.  Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last.  The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship and so will you.

Among them you will make lifelong friends.  You will be bound to them with new wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey.”

AA, Pp 152-153

I have found these to be true in all areas of my life.  If it weren’t for this book and the 12 steps I would not be able to see myself and my life as clearly as I do today.  Through this process I actually have a relationship with God.  I have always had faith and believed in Him, but today I hangout with Him and know that when I see something in myself no one else sees, it is God directing me.

Today I have so many people that I can call, lean on, count on, whom I love so deeply, they have become a part of me.  Life still gets tough, but God has laid the path before me to succeed, if I am willing to do the work.  Work I must, so work I do!!