Dear Bulimia

girlBulimia came to me when I needed it the most. It was the release I needed from my fears. It took me by the hand and said “we can keep this a secret.” How does one decide they will eat an overabundance of food then stick their finger down their throat? None of that sounded appealing, but yet it became a part of me. I remember watching a movie and the girl was bulimic. In the end the girl died, but all I saw was a girl who used bulimia to control her weight and then release her guilt. So, there we go, that’s how my mind rearranged things to make sense. I started to “eat my feelings” and then purge them after almost every meal. This all started at the age of 12.

The food was like me telling myself I could do whatever I wanted, and it filled me with good feelings. It started to fill the hole that I was somehow born with. But the purge, OH THE PURGE, that was the control. I controlled what I was doing, I could eat as much as I wanted and I could get rid of it too. In with the good, out with the bad. Each night after dinner I’d slip straight  to the bathroom, purge, then brush my teeth.

Bingeing in front of others never happened. I’d wait until my parents went to bed and I’d eat and eat. I could eat pans of brownies and boxes of cookies. The longer I did this the sicker I got. From the age of 12 to 15 this continued. By the age of 15, and after I started my other demons; smoking, drinking and drugging  – I told my parents. I told them because I knew I needed help. I only knew I needed help because my parents were good parents, and I lived in a home where these type of strange behaviors didn’t take place. My bulimia and I stayed friends for almost 12 years, until I finally said good-bye.

“Recovery is not where we arrive, but rather a state of being”…….JeanIrvin

 

My Fear of Everything

The fire was a true thought, something that had never happened, yet I made it a big monster in my head. I remember this clearly on a night my parents went out and I stayed home with my grandma. I remember my mom saying “good-bye” and me wanting to scream “no don’t go, what if there’s a fire!” But nothing would come out, I just said “good-bye.” I was very young, maybe six or seven when this happened. I laid on my bed and planned the escape route and how I would get my dogs and my grandma out safely if a fire started. From a very early age my dark imagination took me places that I didn’t understand. I probably should’ve been named “Negative Nelly” because it was rare that good thoughts passed through my head.

I often worried and had anxiety, but learned very early to mask that with a smiley face. I became a daydreamer, this got me through my days at school. I had troubling focusing and sitting through class but no one would have known that. The teacher’s really loved me because I didn’t make a sound and was always pleasant. I was a good little athlete, participated in the Junior Olympics and I was on the school’s jump rope team which was always in first place. Anything I did, I did well. But, my desire to be liked consumed me and I probably tried way harder than I should have to make friends with certain kids. That was my biggest fear, not being liked. If I wasn’t liked then what good was I?

Fifth grade brought my first encounter with being shunned by other kids. It wasn’t really bullying, but rather I was all out blacklisted from my entire class? I didn’t want to go to school, I went from having friends to none of those “friends” talking to me. No one would have known unless my mom had figured it out. I never would’ve told anyone. I didn’t even know why they were doing this. By fifth grade I had already bubble wrapped my feelings to be shared only with myself and my diary. It wasn’t until my mom asked me to make a list of the girls I wanted to invite to my 10th birthday party, and most of the girls who were my “friends” were not on that list.

My fear grew into just plain fear of people and anything else. It’s taken many years to realize my fear was of people, places, and things!! All of it, like a scared little mouse. I feared making my own decisions because surely they’d be the wrong ones. I rarely said “you can do this.” My self talk was my worst enemy. Anxiety caused me to have a physical reaction to my way of thinking and I would shut down completely. This only got worse as I got older. The remorse I felt when these episodes would happen was great. These episodes caused me to walk off jobs and never go back, run away from home, skip school, and ultimately find my escape into the world of addiction.

“Recovery is not where we arrive, but rather a state of being”…….JeanIrvin

 

 

 

The First Time

bottle.jpgThe first time I ever took a drink, on my own, was at 9 years old. Oddly enough the drink was a result of “playing church”…… It’s really the only humorous part of my story. I was adopted into a Catholic family and church was never an option on a Sunday. I went, I listened, but I never really understood what was happening. I even had a beloved uncle who was a priest, but no one really explained “church” or “God” to me. I remember getting my first communion. I was on stage, people were clapping, my mom made a beautiful sash and I felt important. I also really, really, loved the sip of wine I could now take every Sunday. I looked forward to that sip. It didn’t do anything to me, it wasn’t enough, but I liked the taste. I did not know that it held the power to tear down my walls and allow me to participate in the big scary world.

Back to “playing church”, my parents were out for the evening, my grandma (who lived with us) was home but she must have been in her room. I decided to pretend I was having communion, so like any good little budding alcoholic, I took a piece of wonder bread out of the cabinet and patted it down and formed it into a circle. My mind told me that if it looks like a host that we have in church during communion, then it’s fine. It was also fine to take a glass of wine out of the refrigerator. Those two elements in hand, it was okay for me to proceed to recite what I had memorized in church. It was okay for me to eat that “bread” and “drink” that wine. What I didn’t know was having more than the usual sip would leave a warm and fuzzy feeling in my belly. What I did know, was that I liked how it felt.

“Recovery is not where we arrive, but rather a state of being”…….JeanIrvin

Lets Get Real

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So lets get real and to the point. I’m a recovering drug addict,  alcoholic and bulimic. I’m also a married 43 year old woman who has two sons, volunteers, works full-time and wakes up clean and sober everyday. Before clean and sober happened (as well as release from other addictions), I was in a place that I did not know could exist. A darkness that I was incapable of dreaming up for myself. From the age of five I recoiled at the world and when I found my new best friends (alcohol, drugs, bulimia) I had a way out, a way to escape. I’m going to share myself, all parts (of which many are not pretty)  because by doing so maybe together we can recover from our demons. For me there is only one way to recover, and that is NOW.

“Recovery is not where we arrive, but rather a state of being”…….JeanIrvin