A “Literary Analysis” Of My Own Negative Self-Talk

Deep in the trenches of my daily food fight, there are times when I cannot seem to shake the self-pity that used to be my constant companion.  When I was bingeing, it was always there.  To the point that I had actually gotten used to it.  To the point that I couldn’t even see it.  And if you can’t see the problem, how can you possibly fix it?  Thankfully, it only comes for short visits now, and when it arrives, it registers in my consciousness as a negative experience that I want to end sooner rather than later.

This uncomfortable state usually starts with something as simple as walking past a mirror.  I notice my reflection.  My mood instantaneously changes from good to bad.  The following negative self-chatter, based on years and years of practice, pops into my mind:

“That’s what I look like right now?!  Are you KIDDING me?!  DisGUSting!  I have been abstinent for over THREE YEARS, and I STILL look that big?!  What’s the use?!  Every single day, I use those damn measuring cups and spoons, every day I only eat the foods I’m ‘supposed to,’ I haven’t eaten bread, pasta, chips or (gasp!) CHOCOLATE since 2010, I go to at least 3 meetings a week, I speak when asked to speak,… and THIS is the pay-off for all my hard work?!  I can’t believe I haven’t pigged-out sooner!  Why do I even bother?!”

As you can see, I am a trained professional when it comes to self-abuse.

There is so much going on here, on so many different levels.  Let’s take a quick look at some them for a moment, shall we?

What strikes me first about that whole tirade is the perspective.  I am talking like I am the victim.  There is absolutely no acknowledgement of the fact that following a 12-Step Program is a choice.  No one is forcing me to do all this so-called “work.”  I am doing it because I made the decision that NOT doing it was far more painful.

Next, look a little more closely at my feeling of surprise – I am shocked by the fact that I look bigger than I feel.  This is a miracle in and of itself.  Most of my life, I walked around like I weighed many hundreds of pounds, like a freak and a disgrace, even when I was down to 160 pounds!  And even at that time, I specifically remember walking by a mirror and thinking, “Who is that thin person?  Oh, wait!  That’s me!”  I would feel good for a few minutes, but then I would slip back into feeling ugly and gross.  Nowadays, I feel good about myself most of the time, EXCEPT when I am in front of a mirror.  Maybe not the best way to live, but a HUGE improvement, don’t you think?

Also, where the heck is the gratitude?!  I have maintained a 75 pound weight loss for almost 3 years now!  That has never happened in my entire life!  And I am happier, healthier, more compassionate, more caring, and more clear-minded than I have ever been!  Most importantly, as a result of all the time and effort I have put into this program, I now have a relationship with a Higher Power that comforts me, gives me a sense of purpose to my life, and helps me to want to be a positive example to others.  Isn’t that way more valuable than the number on a scale?  And all this in just three short years!!  That is NOTHING compared to the decades of misery and damage that may food addiction caused!

So nowadays, when this negative feeling hits, I recognize it for what it really is: an old, nasty, deeply-engrained pattern of negative thinking that gets activated by things that hurt me in the past.  Am I always able to eliminate it from my mind immediately?  Hell, no!  Sometimes it lingers for days, and at those times I feel resentful and depressed (but at least I am finally feeling!).  But at the same time, I am actively trying to replace those old tapes with something like the following:

“It may be difficult to see how far you have to go, but what about how far you’ve come?  You need to start switching the focus.  You are a child of God.  He loves you just the way you are.  You do not have to prove anything to Him, to yourself, or to anyone else ever again.  Even if you decide to stop following this plan right now, He will STILL love you, but you know that you just feel better, happier, and healthier when you do this, so why not try to keep going.  You deserve to feel good about yourself.”‘

What a difference in tone!  This voice is not degrading or insulting.  Neither is it condescending or demanding.  It is confident and loving.  And that question at the end?  There is no question mark at the end of it.  Know why?  Because this Higher Me has an attitude that I will make the right decision.  It already “knows ” what the healthy choice is and that that is the path The Real Me wants to follow.  So it isn’t really a question at all, but rather, a statement of purpose.

And did you notice that the negative voice talks in the first person (“I”) but the positive voice speaks in the second (“you”)?  I did not write it that way on purpose, that is just the way it is.  My theory as to why?  First, because addiction is a subtle foe, and “it knows” that using that point of view sounds more intimate and, therefore, more like “true” beliefs that I have about myself.  Second, because I have finally been able to develop my “Higher Self” to such a point that it actually has it’s OWN voice!  It is a different entity, if you will, than the one doing all the trash talking.  It even “sounds” different!  I believe it was always there, and that it is either part of, or the same thing as, my Higher Power, but the point is, now I can actually HEAR it!  And the best part of all?  It is starting to have real, meaningful influence in my thought-life!  In the past, the “dark side” was the only show in town.  But not any more!!

I have finally arrived at the light at the end of the tunnel!


July 12, 2013 This post was written by Categories: My Battle With Character Defects 1 comment

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