Weighty Matters

Just another WordPress.com site

Addictions, Relapse and the Never Ending Struggle

on February 9, 2014

Many of us were shocked by the news of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s sudden death. I didn’t know he was a heroin addict. I’m always sad when I hear that someone, anyone, dies because of their addiction. Aaron Sorkin made a great point. Hoffman didn’t die because of an overdose. He died because of the drug – period. A friend of mine who is a cop and rather hard line, posted to Facebook that this was not a tragedy. I politely disagreed. I think whenever someone has an addiction, it’s tragic. When that addiction results in their death, even more so.

Toda on This Week (ABC Sunday News Program), they had a segment about the growing use of heroin. I was surprised to hear that it is actually less expensive to buy heroin on the street than it is to illegally obtain prescription drugs like oxycodone. Oxycodone addiction is no joke either and one of the speakers spoke of it as almost a gateway drug to heroin. Some people start on oxycodone when it is prescribed as a painkiller for an injury, surgery, etc. When they get hooked but can then no longer get their doctors to prescribe them more because the condition has resolved, some seek out street heroin.

There was another commentator on the show who looked like the least likely heroin addict ever. Clean cut, perfect suit and tie, Harvard grad, eminently successful. He’s been in recovery from his addiction for years and baldly stated that he knows he could at some point relapse and be back into his addiction. They interviewed someone else who said the same thing. The doctor-expert pointed out that every addict or alcoholic he’s ever spoken to never describes themselves as recovered. They say “recovering”.

I don’t think of one substance as being more powerful or more addictive than another. I don’t care if the addiction is to cigarettes, alcohol, pot, painkillers, heroin, cocaine, or food. They’re all equal. When one is addicted, it becomes a never-ending struggle, with them for the rest of their lives.

That’s how I feel about food. I know that to someone who doesn’t get that food or the behavior of compulsive eating is as much of an addiction as any drug this can sound silly, but it’s deadly serious to me. I jumped off the wagon last night at a friend’s birthday party. One of the fabulous local bakers supplied cupcakes and cake for the party. The frosting was to die for. I would have been okay if I’d had one cupcake because I’d been terrific with my food plan, adequately exercised, and planned for it. I got sucked in by the delicious, buttercream frosting. I ate frosting off of another slice of cake and an additional cupcake. Hands down, that is 100% addictive eating behavior.

Less than half an hour later I felt sick to my stomach from the sugar rush and I was emotionally distraught at my relapse behavior. Granted, an overdose of cake frosting was not going to kill me on the spot, like an o.d. of heroin, but what if I was a diabetic? It could have sent me into a danger state. Constantly repeating the behavior absolutely could eventually kill me if it leads to a prolonged period of relapse and eating, spiraling into weight gain and so on.

I woke up this morning determined to get straight. I ate half a banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter for breakfast and got on my bicycle. I pedaled for more than two hours and achieved my personal distance best of 21.34 miles! A few hours later and I feel like my body is still burning calories.

I have a lot to do around the house today and am concentrating on eating light and healthy while I work. It’s truly important when I slip to get back on track as soon as possible. The longer one stays in relapse, the harder it is to get straight again.

Recovering means staying on track one day, one meal at a time. I know I’m repeating myself and have talked about this in previous blogs, but it’s the reminder that I need to give myself today, right now.

2 responses to “Addictions, Relapse and the Never Ending Struggle

  1. Hope says:

    That is a long bike ride! I’m impressed! I don’t know if I could bike that far these days.

  2. Skye says:

    A good friend of mine is an alcoholic (recovering) and she says that there is a whole list of substances she cannot take, even in a medical situation, due to being an addict. Even though her addiction was to alcohol, apparently any other chemical could jump her right back into an addiction. She works in a veterinarian office and is aware that she handles drugs that can be used for humans as well. She says that she has to always be vigilant. All of this was news to me because I had thought that once you “beat” your addiction you were in the clear.

    I think this message is something that needs to be widely disseminated.

    So yes, I understand that your food addiction is for life. It takes a lot of strength and commitment to keep beating it, every day, because you can only beat it one day at a time. Good for you for not then beating yourself up for a misstep. And for stepping right back up and making healthy choices today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s