Without going into too much detail, I'll say this: my compulsive overeating behaviors, my difficulty in intimate relationships, my general unhappiness and other emotions, thoughts and behaviors are all connected to one another. And they're all connected to certain core beliefs I hold to be true. Needless to say, these core beliefs are negative, and they were developed early on in life. They are hard to break away from, but I'm trying every day.
In other news, other things are gelling too. For example, I'm beginning to realize why OA recommends that participants refrain from eating any of their trigger foods, even if they can eat them in moderation (which, let's face it, no one in OA actually can). It's because eating those trigger foods triggers something in my crazy brain that tells me I can't - and don't want to - stop eating whatever it is. Today, I had tacos for lunch (I slept too late to make myself something before work), and I got a real taste (no pun intended) of what this whole not-eating-trigger-foods-at-all thing is all about.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, all Mexican food is on my list of triggers. But what I should also say is that tacos are number one on the sub-list of Mexican food triggers. I one heard a sage OA member say to us newcomers that every food we thought we could never live without belonged on our list of prohibited triggers, and once again, I get it now: I love tacos more than I love life itself. I love tacos more than I will probably ever love my firstborn child. I love tacos more than sunshine and rainbows and ponies.
Now, I realize that my love for tacos is not actually love, at least not in a healthy sense. It is a love-hate relationship, really - I love the taste, I love the feeling of euphoria that washes over me when I take that first bite. But I do not love being fat. I do not love feeling out of control, like sixty tacos wouldn't even be enough. And most of all, I do not love the fact that I am a slave to food like tacos.
What I am trying to say with all this rambling is that I ate some tacos for lunch today, and felt that wild, uncontrolled feeling. It made me want to come home tonight and binge on whatever I could find - the sugary cereal my sister likes, American cheese slices fresh from the deli, sour cream and onion chips - and just drown in the feeling. I don't really think that follows logic, because drowning in a "wild, uncontrolled feeling" is not something any sane person would actually want to do. But it's all I know - it's what I've used to cope since I can remember. And it's safe and warm in my cocoon of food-addicted misery.
In order to tie this post together - because, let's face it, that's the theme of the evening - I will recount a memory from my childhood. These "drowning" behaviors have to come from somewhere, right? And I think I see where they originated. I can remember being 10 or 11, maybe a little older, and being very excited to discover a package of Matt's chocolate chip cookies on our pantry shelf. Our pantry is actually the landing between the kitchen and the basement, and I grabbed those cookies like they held the key to eternal salvation and started going to town, all while sitting on the basement steps. My mom must have heard the pitter-patter of little feet, because she opened the kitchen door and discovered me stuffing my face with cookies in secret. It was one of the most shameful feelings I've ever, ever had - I was caught red-handed, and my mom had gotten a look into my disease. I doubt she's ever forgotten this scenario either.
People have said to me recently, when I've shared with them that I'm beginning a lifelong process of recovery from food addiction, that they've seen me eat and I "don't really eat that much" or that I "don't eat bad stuff" all that often. The kicker is that these friends and family members have been deceived; it's been my deliberate plan not to let them see what I'm really like when my addiction rages out of control. That's why I've hidden food in desk drawers for years. That's why I've ordered large pizzas and devoured them in bed alone, quickly recycling the box so that no one discovers me. I don't want anyone to know how dark it is in here. Some people see it, but it's a hard thing to witness. And it's been going on for what seems like forever.