Bad boyfriends, broken hearts

I ate a pint of Ben & Jerry’s tonight, and let’s just say that it capped a long day of trying desperately with food to fill a void I was feeling. Granted, I was off my eating routine, having gone to brunch with my family, but when I got home, I was very aware that Wolfie had an ice pick to my brain stem and was applying pressure.

“What are you feeling right now? What hole are you trying to fill?” I asked myself. But I couldn’t fully pull out of it. It felt too close. I was too far inside the noise in my head to really step out of the spin cycle and ground myself again.

Obviously, I need to work at this. And so, instead, I ate whatever I wanted (peanut butter, ice cream, cheese enchiladas…) instead of drinking. This isn’t a good medium- or long-term strategy, especially because, as a person who has struggled with food issues all her life, including binge-eating disorder in grad school, turning to food only compounds the issues for me. Sitting here right now with the clarity of evening, I can see that in some ways, replacing drinking with eating could eventually make the compulsion to drink worse. No bueno.

I like Anne’s idea of bubble baths. Can’t hurt to try. 🙂

But as I was walking my dog tonight, I remembered a NY Times article that really resonated with me, especially with a day like today in my rear view mirror.

“For me, heroin [me: red wine] provided a sense of comfort, safety and love that I couldn’t get from other people (the key agent of addiction in these regions is the same for many pleasurable experiences: dopamine). Once I’d experienced the relief  heroin [red wine] gave me, I felt as though I couldn’t survive without it.”

I’m not sure about ending the argument that addiction is progressive… but comparing it to heartbreak sure felt right. Even the subhead of my blog refers to my relationship with red wine as a love affair that was over.
“Recognizing addiction as a learning disorder can also help end the argument over whether addiction should be treated as a progressive illness, as experts contend, or as a moral problem, a belief that is reflected in our continuing criminalization of certain drugs. You’ve just learned a maladaptive way of coping.
Moreover, if addiction resides in the parts of the brain involved in love, then recovery is more like getting over a breakup than it is like facing a lifelong illness. Healing a broken heart is difficult and often involves relapses into obsessive behavior, but it’s not brain damage.”
If I compare how I’ve been feeling today with getting over a broken heart (even if he was a bad boyfriend), at least it feels similar to something I’ve done before — and I made it through.
Tomorrow, no ice cream.
Rachel.
Day 14.

6 thoughts on “Bad boyfriends, broken hearts

  1. I’m having trouble with getting to the article, but I love the comparison to a broken relationship. It hurts like that, and the struggle to not go back is as palpable. Ann Dowsett-Johnson uses the same analogy in her introduction to ‘Drink.’ Glad you got through, glad you did what you had to, glad you have self-awareness going that will help to keep you safe through the process. Sobriety sometimes feels like a teeter-totter, doesn’t it? Dipping from one extreme to another, trying to find the just-right balance? You’re doing it! p.s. I will never judge you if ice cream goes back on the list of treats/self-care. *smile*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, a teeter-totter. It’s that nagging ex maybe I’ll just text him and see how it’s going feeling. That oh so casual (but ha!, not!) desire to just give him a little tap tap tap… Or worse, invite him over. Either way, it only ends with me feeling alcohol. Can’t think of a more apt comparison. In fact, wine was usually there too!

      So…I let time pass and I grit my teeth and get through it. *stay here* and *gratitude* today.

      Like

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