First, you should read the post below this one. This one makes more sense that way, and frankly, it’s the one below that I need some feedback on, ok? Thanks.
I keep thinking about treating the cause versus treating the symptom. For me, the cause is something deep in my psyche, something mental, emotional, spiritual, and possibly physical. (I can’t dissect my brain to check that last one, so I’m guessing.) The symptoms are the maladaptive coping mechanisms (drinking, bingeing, whatever else my brain comes up with later on) that I use to keep from dealing with said cause. I think that’s part of why, when I stop bingeing, I start drinking. When I stop drinking, I start bingeing. Back and forth, back and forth.
The thing I liked about Intuitive Eating (per below) was the way it sort of neatly (and unexpectedly) short-circuited that crazy voice. Suddenly it didn’t take a Herculean act of will to keep from bingeing. Suddenly it just . . . stopped. And it was ok. I’m hoping that my version of Sort-of-Intuitve Drinking will do the same thing for the alcohol voice.
My mom studied Archetypes. It’s kind of like Jungian psychology. But in the Archetypal field of study, the idea is that everyone has 12 dominant archetypes that they manifest in their behavior. (One of them is the Addict. Hmmm, I wonder if that one is one of mine? *SERIOUS EYEROLL*) One of mine is the Warrior. I go to battle over EVERYTHING. Even when it’s ill-advised. I have to be sort of careful about it because otherwise I start getting pissed off over stupid, inconsequential things.
But it’s that part of me that is so invested in treating the cause, and not the symptom. It’s that part of me that rises up my spine and says, “I WILL NOT BE BEATEN BY THIS “OTHER” THING. I WILL WIN. I WILL KILL IT OUTRIGHT.” It’s a serious voice. I’ve been told by the (few) people I’ve talked to about this in real life, that when I talk about beating this, about being at some point recoverED instead of recoverING, that my whole demeanor changes. My voice gets lower. My chin drops. My gaze hardens. My shoulders drop and I stand up straighter. I’m not conscious of any of that, although I can feel the steel in my spine: that unbending resolve, that absolute, unquestioning, unquestionABLE, determination to WIN.
And now, as I write about shutting down the various behaviors that hide the cause, I know what the end result will be. I know that in the end I will have to face something that I haven’t wanted to face. Something that I am so afraid of that I have chosen to engage in self-destructive behaviors rather than face it. I have no idea what it is. I’ve done all kinds of psychological searching and soul-searching, and of course SOME part of me knows what it is, because hi, it’s PART OF ME. But I haven’t been able to drag it out into the light.
It’s funny: I have this mental image of the root cause as a rat in a house. The rooms of the house (where the rat hides) are all the behaviors the root cause uses to disguise itself. And as soon as I slam one door to keep it out of a room (like bingeing), it runs into a different room (like drinking). So I force it out of that room and slam the door. And it finds a different room. And I force it out and slam the door. And it finds a different room. And so on. But eventually, all the doors will be closed and that rat will be trapped in the wide open living room with no place else to go. And I’m sure that in the true nature of things I am afraid to deal with, it will suddenly grow in size and scare me to death, and I’ll be tempted to reopen one of those doors and let the rat live in that little room, because at least I’ll know where it is that way.
But I also know from bitter experience that the sound of the rat in that room, the rotting smell of whatever it’s eating, will evenutally permeate the whole house, and there will be no peace for me. So I’ll face the rat in the living room, when it grows taller than me and threatens to eat me or give me bubonic plague (or worse, PNEUMONIC plague), or whatever it is that I’m so afraid of, and I will fight it down and kill it.
But I hope it doesn’t reflect badly on me to say that even as I slam doors and continue the process of trapping that rat, I dread the day I slam the last door. I dread actually facing whatever it is that I’m terrified of, and I am in no hurry for that day to get here.
But I keep slamming doors.