Emotional Bingeing

Even though I have stopped bingeing on food, I sometimes continue to binge on negative emotions.   Facing and fixing this fact is my current project, and unfortunately, I don’t think it will ever be completed.  Since I have “put down the food,” I have noticed my tendency to overreact to people, places and things.  I guess the harsh reality is that, aside from bingeing, I never learned any coping skills in my life.  Take the food away, and, emotionally, I am like a 12-year-old child  – – right where I was when my food addiction really started to take hold.  So now I have to start from scratch learning how to deal with “life on life’s terms” for the first time in my entire life!  (And I’m going to be 45 this year!!  How bad is THAT?!)  At times it seems overwhelming, but when I compare it to the constant feelings I had of self-loathing and guilt and shame throughout all those years in my disease, I know that this is a much better (and happier) way to live.

One of the biggest surprises to me has been how angry I can get.  I don’t think I have a full-blown anger management issue going on (at least not YET, anyway!), but I had never thought of myself as an angry person at ALL until after I did The Steps last year.  I really believed that I was always easy-going and that if I ever DID get offended by anything, it was only with good reason.

That is SO not the case!

Now that I am not eating over my feelings, I can see that, on any given day, there are potentially HUNDREDS of things that could offend me!  Whether it be the way someone looks at me, or the fact that my day doesn’t turn out the way I planned, around every corner is an opportunity for me to have hurt feelings.

If the 12 Steps ended with this revelation, we’d all be in trouble.  For myself, I would be trapped in a sea of negative emotions, day after day, and eventually I would turn back to food for comfort.  But fortunately, in program we are taught what to do about all these negative feelings that are beginning to surface, now that our drug of choice is not there to to push them down.  What I try to do with these emotions (which are valid feelings) now is to think about them before reacting to them.  This is a completely new concept for me.  In the past, someone or something would provoke me and I would engage.  Now (usually, but not always) I take a step back and think about the best way to handle the situation.  Sometimes I get into it, but at least it feels like a choice rather than an impulse.  I feel more in control of my actions.  This is not to say that I am perfectly at peace all the time, but my anxiety level has come way down, and when I feel my anger rising, if I can step back from the situation, even if only for a few seconds, I am beginning to see that I am starting to have the ability to control that, as well.  My best reactions, however, are those I ask my Higher Power to help me with.  Every time I remember too invite Him into the discussion, I always, always, ALWAYS have better results.

Now if I could just keep this in mind 24/7, my life would be great!


May 1, 2012 This post was written by Categories: My Battle With Character Defects Tagged with:
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