noun: addiction; plural noun: addictions
the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.
“he committed the theft to finance his drug addiction”
- dependency, dependence, habit, problem
- devotion to, dedication to, obsession with, infatuation with, passion for, love of, mania for, enslavement to “a slavish addiction to fashion”
One little word. So much power. One word. So much weight. One word so much guilt.
It is a word that society has put in a bubble, it’s own corner, to live in shame and to condemn.
People look at those with the coke habit.
The ones who drink themselves into oblivion.
Even those who are obese who continue to frequent McDonalds.
But addiction isn’t all food, drugs, and booze.
It is emotions. It is control. Or rather lack there of. It is the lacking of what is in ones life. Of pain and heartache. A vortex of spinning so far out of control that you are left gasping for breath, never mind finding the clarity to think straight.
Bulimia, Anorexia, exercise addiction, and distortive eating are all addictions. The highs the lows, that feeling of breathtaking release. Nothing is better. Nothing is better then forgetting. Of dulling the pain, of forgetting.
I don’t think I truly ever understood it until a few years ago.
The couple years I “dabbled” when I was 13, when most girls, especially my “friends” in the skating community experimented, it wasn’t for the highs or lows. It was because we were all trying to find quick fixes to manage our weight. Find ways to navigate the awkward years. It is self denial. It is just the truth. I didn’t have any guilt over spending countless hours on the treadmill, or attempting to chew and spit my food out in a cup (which I failed miserably at) or taking cold showers (also horrible at, my sympathies to all the men out there) or any other absurd ideas I got off of ProAna and ProMia sites. It was all for the craft.
Kids at that age experimented with drugs, and alcohol, I experimented with ways to lose the awkward weight and reach my goals, that, let’s face it was never going to happen. And like with all phases I grew out of it, with little to none damage and with no one really noticing. Until a few years ago.
When shit hit the fan, in a major addiction kinda way.
I hadn’t eaten anything in over twenty-four hours. I was permanently nauseous The idea of food curdled at the base of my stomach like bad milk.
People had dropped food off, made meals, but I couldn’t physically force myself to eat. Maybe it was utter heartbreak at the senslessness. Guilt that I was alive, that the “wrong” sister had died. Taking on the woes of my family, trying not to show any grief, any emotion, Unless I was in the shower, with the water trying to drown me and the walls closing in on me in a full blown panic attack. The only release of dry racking sobs praying to whoever would listen to just kill me to.
Whatever it was, whatever reason. I couldn’t eat or drink.
And then it became the battle of the wills.
At first it was innocent. Someone had bought me a frappuccino, I drank it not tasting it, not feeling the liquid go down. Just going through the motions.
A half hour later as I was taking a shower I threw it up. That I tasted, that I felt. And it felt good. It felt exhiliarting. It was release to all of the emotions I had pent up and couldn’t get out.
And it was my own little secret my own coping mechanism. I had felt better then I had in days.
I still didn’t eat, coffee yes, but as soon as I drank it, I threw it up. I was still numb and in shock, except when I drank and purged, then it was sense of control, an exhiliaration, the only thing I felt was the acidity, the bitterness, the burning of it coming out, and for a second I had a moment of peace.
The night of the viewing several people tried to get me to eat, but I couldn’t. I didn’t even have the energy to throw up so I lied saying I had.
After that it wasn’t even work. I joked saying I was on a caffeine and indian food diet. When in truth it was only to see how much I could eat and how much I could get out.
I ate whatever crap I could get enjoying the sugar high, the silky smoothness of creamy decadence, then to go and purge, when it had turned to pungency.
People commented me on how I looked. My brother’s ex-girlfriend even had the audacity to tell me I looked like I was handling my grief just fine.
But inside I was dying.
I was addicted to my bulimia, of how it felt while eating and then vomiting it all up. for those few minutes of limbo where I wasn’t tortured just focused on getting everything up.
But afterwards, afterwards I would look in the mirror and hate myself even more. Blame myself even more. Have even more guilt.
I shouldn’t be alive. I shouldn’t be living. I can’t even do this right. I can’t be perfect. I can’t be what people want of me. I can’t even be myself. I can’t even love myself.
I had given up.
I was drowning in my grief and insecurities, in the only way I knew how. And it was killing me.
I might have looked good in the eyes of some people. When I went outside. But I knew the truth.
Looking in the mirror that I so hated. My hair was stringy, the circles under my eyes were stained a bluish black. My mouth tasted like puke constantly. I may have looked skinny and I was certainly a good forty pounds lighter, but my face and stomach had perma bloat. The cheek bones I had inherited from my Eurorussian maternal family had disappeared. I look like death and felt like it too.
But I didn’t care. I still felt like a failure, because I was still feeling.
Cue the bar scene.
Which in a small town is pretty laughable compared to New York City. Let’s face it, going to bed at 1 is not as impressive as say 4 in the morning. But it had liquor and add pot to the mix, it got the job done.
And what was better then getting shit faced? Well puking it all up when I got home at one or two in the morning. Hangover cure.
The sad part was, no one noticed. I was in my own little hell, but no one knew. Part of me felt like screaming whenever I was in a crowded room. The other part of me cowed in shame. Even if I did get better, I could never tell anyone.
How could I? I was a weakling. Everything I was doing, mindless sex, recreational drugs, binge drinking not to mention my bulimia. What am I saying especially my bulimia, I could never tell. It was my own personal hell, my own personal guilt for being alive. For being a screw up. For all of the flaws I had. For not being enough of anything.
And if people didn’t notice all of these flaws, they would if I told. And I couldn’t do that.
The ironic thing is, we are all our worst critics, we notice our own flaws but very few people ever do, even when we point them out.
In the end our addictions can either save us or destroy us, but as much as we like to think others dictate that decision.