I wrote this post in February of 2010, after writing my book Overcoming Sugar Addiction. When I first wrote my book in 2007, I thought my relationship with sugar was healed. I felt strong and empowered; resilient. A few years later, I was shocked and surprised when I found myself struggling – and really struggling – with sugar again.
I felt ashamed and wanted to hide. I did, for a bit. And then I wrote about my struggle.
Years later, when I read this post, I feel so much compassion for myself. I can feel the frustration and exhaustion underneath my words. I see a worn out woman who could use a hug and a good cry. I see how hard I pushed myself when things got hard, how much I felt like I “should always have it together,” how much I tried to tough it out. I see how hard I worked to fix myself.
I see things differently now, and I see healing differently now. As a song sings, “You don’t have to try so hard…..” And yet this post stands – for it was true when I wrote it. It is a part of my journey.
What do you do when you’re stuck in a cycle of bingeing or overeating? When you’re knee deep in sugar or food and you can’t find your way out? These questions may be your story – where you find yourself today. These questions are where I find myself, too.
These questions arrived at my own front door last week, in the form of a can of raisins.
Raisins are my all time favorite binge food. I can justify until the cows come home why I can eat them (after all, they’re not sugar, they’re natural, they’re healthy, they have fiber, heck, they’re even organic.) But when I eat raisins, I eat a whole can. And I know, when I’m eating a whole can of raisins, that I am not honoring my truth.
And that hurts. And that is what happened last week.
Last week I was recording an audio version of Overcoming Sugar Addiction. As I was reading my book, I was struck by how much I’ve learned about my relationship with sugar.
And yet I was also struck by how I haven’t been doing what I learned. I have not been using my own tools. I have not been grounding myself. I have not been nurturing myself nearly enough. I have not mourned the losses that have been staring me in the face for a year, and which came to a head last week.
I have pushed and pushed and pushed myself with work, with doing too much, with my need to feel important and worthy and special, and the result was a raisin binge and overeating.
So, I’m going back to base camp. I’m going back to grounding. I’m mourning my losses. I’m facing the fear and groundlessness that I feel right now in selling my home, in starting over financially, and in facing the unknown terror of change. I’ll do my best to do these things without food, my crutch, but I know I can’t do it alone.
That has been my major problem. I do it alone - especially when I’m doing it badly. When I’m struggling, I keep it to myself. I don’t tell anyone. I hide.
I don’t want to show my failures. As Christina Sell so brilliantly said in her book, Yoga From The Inside Out, I would much rather appear healed than actually be healed.
I am still so rigidly attached to the linear line, the upward line of success and success followed by more success. I want that giant check box to be marked, Done. Healed.
I don’t want to accept my squiggly line, my bumps and bruises. I don’t want to accept that, yes, things are falling apart. Instead I try and hide the mess, pretend things aren’t falling apart, and try and put everything back together again as quickly as possible before anyone else sees. (After all, I won’t need to tell anyone about the mess if I can clean it up fast enough. They wont know.)
So, here I am, with my mess, with things falling apart, back in grounding, back in base camp. If anything, I’ve been here before. I know the drill. And I know that it, too, is in its own way, a beginning. A thing of hope. As Pema Chodron writes, when things fall apart, they always come back together again. One more spin around the circle.