Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Crimes against Humanity

Forget ISIS, forget Assad, forget Putin for that matter. The dictators, despots, fundamentalists and killers that grace the front pages of our newspapers are a side-show, a distraction from the greatest scourge of our time; addiction. Recent statistics released by the journal Addiction in the 2014 Global statistics on addictive behaviours report illuminate the vast, worldwide scale of mankind’s subjugation by addictive substances and behaviours. It shows that five percent of the entire human race struggle with alcoholism (some 240 million people), and that a fifth of all human beings are addicted to tobacco. There are over a billion smokers on planet earth, each compelled by their addiction to inhale cancerous chemicals that will end their lives prematurely. In addition to this there are 180 million cannabis users. There are thought to be 150 million problem gamblers in the world and a far smaller number of people intravenously inject drugs (a mere 15 million). These are conservative estimates, and they do not show the massive collateral damage that addiction does to the families and loved ones of addicts, whose lives are wrecked and whose own behaviours are distorted beyond recognition in order to cope with addiction in their lives. The statistics do not show the suffering of entire societies in Central and South America, West Africa and South East Asia that have seen a bloody and fruitless war on drugs simply hand unaccountable power over to criminal elites. They do not show the millions of intelligent, industrious and productive people around the world who have been dragged through courts, prisons and recently in Indonesia, in front of firing squads as governments react in the only way they seem to know how to the challenge of addiction. The loss of potential to the human race of this disease is almost beyond the ability of anyone to calculate, but, like global warming, it seems to be an issue that the political classes of the world are constitutionally incapable of addressing. Our cautious, impotent and craven leaders, terrified of ill-informed howls of rage from newspaper columnists who feel qualified to hold forth on any and all moral panics, do nothing more than prohibit, punish and push away the problem. They do a very good job of mimicking the behaviours that are commonly found in homes where addiction rules the roost ‘don’t speak, don’t say, don’t challenge, don’t feel, don’t think, don’t admit’, in behaving in this way, the governments of the world aid addiction every single day. What, then, is to be done? The proponents of legalisation argue that controlling, taxing and licensing drug use is the only way to limit the harm it causes. Perhaps. There is another solution to the problem of addiction, but one which lies far beyond the skill sets of our current leaders. It requires nothing short of an existential revolution, a reformation of meaning to take place across the world. Addiction is the practice of self-annihilation; it is the consumption of a substance or the engagement in a behaviour in order to flee from one’s self. Surely, by posing the question as to why so many millions of human beings wish to escape from the only life they have or will ever know, we can work towards, not only a solution to addiction but a solution to the problem of ‘human-ness’. Life never creates a crisis without also presenting the seeds of opportunity and in addiction lies a potential springboard to the future, its victims are so numerous they present a critical mass and if, together, they can speak with one voice and tell the rest of the world their experience, the results might just be revolutionary.

Monday, 25 May 2015

I'm slowly getting back on track

Blog 24th May 2015 I’m slowly recovering after a three week long relapse which built to a crescendo last Tuesday. I still don’t know if that’s my food rock bottom, only time will tell. I’ve been experiencing every emotion under the sun over the past three weeks and eating furiously to keep them all at bay, but of course eating doesn’t help any more (not that it ever did really). I’ve been jealous “How come all those people at OA can do it and I can’t?” I’ve been angry “Life’s too short not to eat a biscuit” I’ve been pitiful “Why me? Why do I have all these addictions?” I’ve been childish, petulant and resistive “I can’t be bothered, I just don’t care, and it’s too hard” I’ve been lazy and self-loathsome “I’m not doing it, I hate myself anyway, I’m old and ugly anyway, I’m disgusting, just a big fat ugly pig.” I’ve been doubting “I’m never going to get it” I’ve been ashamed and guilty “I’ve hurt, lied and cheated so many people that I love, I’m never going to be able to resolve it.” I’ve been hopeless It’s been a dark, dank and depressing time and I have been out of control acting on my own will and turning my back on others. The self-righteous indignation is creeping back in and I remind myself of my Mother which just compounds my self-hatred even more. I’m slowly picking myself up and with help putting myself back together. ONE DAY AT A TIME I’m going to ease back into it, I’ve gone from binge to three meals a day again and the next step will be re-engaging with OA. This time when I re-engage I need to do it whole heartedly and that means listening and being willing to try another way, instead of resisting. The only way to do this is to do it. I’m praying for willingness, for a sign, for a way in. I know I need a sponsor and I also know that I am so much better when I fully engage with the programme instead of paddling in the shallow end. Even as I type this I’m frightened as it then means I have to put pressure on myself and put some action into my recovery. I can’t do this by myself. I need to leave my pride at the door, stop looking and comparing, ignoring and despising others, as this does me no good. Now I just need to take that leap of faith, what have I got to lose? Julie

Saturday, 9 May 2015

I'm going to do something about this procrastination next Monday!

Blog 8th May 2015 My eating disorder recovery has slowed to a very slow crawl. I am barely doing anything at all. I am coasting. My eating is not out of control but it’s not in control either. Every day I overeat in regards to my evening meal and at least twice last week I have eaten trigger foods. The awful thing is I don’t even care that much, talk about a slump in motivation. I didn’t go to OA this week, I could have gone if I really set my mind to it but instead I choose to lie on the sofa watching the box set of Game of Thrones (new addiction) and bemoaning a very bloated abdomen as my IBS was playing up. I was well and truly sitting squarely on the pity pot. The next day to cap it all I went to the dentist and as they say “You don’t get away with anything” All the years of regurgitating and vomiting in response to the gastric band have really taken their toll on my teeth. They are going to look like the cemetery in Dodge City soon. I can’t have a crown or a bridge on my front tooth as there is not enough bone left in my jaw so my only option (bar dentures) is an implant. This comes with the princely cost of two thousand pounds. I nearly choked on the mouthwash when young handsome, perfect-teeth dentist gleefully explained this. “I’m going to refer you to an implantologist!” he said I thought he was joking and laughed. It was no laughing matter. Coupled with that bombshell I needed a root-canal filling and a crown on my back tooth. I’m far too vain and young (cough) for dentures so I had better start saving up. That or look like one of the Clampets. If the situation continues I won’t even have to worry about an eating plan, it will be soup for life! I also visited my Aunty this week, she’s my Fathers last remaining relative and she has breast cancer. She went for a lumpectomy last week and will need radiotherapy. It’s a lot to cope with at any age let alone at 77. What I was struck by was how positive she was and how she managed to find humour and humility in what must be a scary and over-powering situation. It was inspiring. I learnt that your urine goes bright blue following a lumpectomy and that my Auntie has got an incredibly high pain threshold and has only taken 2 Paracetamols since coming out of hospital. When I think of all the drugs I took to block out emotional pain, it’s an odd comparison. I love my Aunty very much - she is witty and sparky, full of fun and can be a little bitchy at times (which to me adds to her appeal) as I find it funny and shocking at the same time. My Aunty adored my Father and misses him; I enjoy talking about him with her as she recounts stories of when they were children and the funny things he used to do. I received such a beautiful text from her when I got home, comparing me to my Father which made me feel all warm inside. Returning to the eating disorder: could someone please kick me up the arse? I know I have to get back on track, I know I have to be willing and I know I have to take action to get motivated. I cannot sit here waiting to be thin, it is not going to happen by wishing or by eating what I am eating at the moment. I will eventually take another leap of faith but the question is when? Monday perhaps? (Try doing it TODAY) W X Julie