Grieving My Addictions
When we grieve, we are essentially going through the process of letting a relationship go.
When my father died, I told everyone I missed him, but the truth is, I missed the living relationship I had with him.
I knew he was not well and his quality of life was diminishing, but I was not ready to say goodbye to our living relationship. I struggled to accept that I wouldn’t hear more words of encouragement from one of my biggest cheerleaders.
It took time, but I did, and I’m OK.
It never dawned on me that I went through the same thing when I put the drink down and started eating again.
For over three decades I used alcohol to relieve me and I managed uncomfortable emotions by managing food. I felt in control and “settled” while in a relationship with these unhealthy partners.
Unbeknownst to me, when I got sober and started eating again, I had to grieve those unhealthy relationships. I had to grieve my life as an alcoholic and an anorexic.
It makes sense why early recovery was so challenging. I had to go through all of the grieving stages.
I denied it. I couldn’t comprehend the idea I’d never be able to drink alcohol again or look for a number on a scale to validate my self-worth.
I got angry. I pouted thinking, “Why Me? Why do I have to go through all this?”
I bargained with myself by saying, “OK, if I go through with this and it doesn’t work, I can go back to the life I lived before.”
I got depressed and walked around like Winnie the Pooh’s friend Eeyore, saying things like, “Oh well, guess I’ll never have fun again. I’ll just be a miserable housewife and a complete bore in social situations.”
And then, with a lot of support from those who’d walked in my shoes, I came into accepting these unhealthy relationships were killing me whereas this new lifestyle was alive and right in front of me.
Yes, I grieved my addictions, but in doing so, I became grateful for everything I needed to do to get though it.
And just like I hold my father’s memory very close to my heart, I hold my sobriety and healthy lifestyle there too.