Everyone develops some sort of coping mechanism. So did I. As for, I’m sure, many others, I became an addict. Mom herself was an addict too. She used loads of pain killers (Treo, for those of you who’re in Sweden) on a daily basis, and I’m sure she had other habits none of us knew about. Dad, well, he had other habits he taught me without realizing it.
While mom was the way she was, dad was the way he was. We may have loved each other very, very much, but he is in no way innocent in any of this. He’s the one who taught me to use sugar to surpress my emotions. I was brought up on foods stuffed with sugar, and with my lack of ability to regulate my emotions, I learned to use sugar – and food, to somehow feel better.
As I grew older, this grew completely out of control and it got worse over time. I have craved sugar on levels you can’t even imagine. My main sugar drugs are ice cream and chocolate, and I’ve stuffed myself with these things in amounts you wouldn’t think possible. And all of it, for perhaps couple of minutes of peace. And of course, the peace of mind was very temporary – and false. And that’s when I’d start all over again.
When it comes to food, I’m that sort of person who can’t really stop eating even if I’m full. I can’t make more food than the meal I’m going to eat, because it won’t last very long.
These two addictions combined has of course affected my health and my weight. I’ve been overweight pretty much my entire life. About five years ago, I did find the one thing that’s helped me to control my sugar addiction and the way I eat food – LCHF (low carb high fat). I began eating LCHF, and since then I don’t need sugar – I stay away from it except perhaps four times a year (my birthday, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and perhaps once more) when I allow myself something little sugar-y.
I’ve also adapted my eating habits, and the way I eat now is what I believe works the best for me – at least at this moment in time. And if you’re interested – I eat food as breakfast (which usually happens couple of hours after I get up, because I walk my dog before I eat), and then I fill the need for energy for the rest of the day with tea mixed with egg and butter. I’ve done this for some five or so months now, and it seems to be working really well. In doing so, I avoid the fatique that comes from eating food some eight, ten hours into the day.
Other than sugar and food, I’m a heavy smoker. I’ve been smoking since I was about fifteen. It’s not one of the things I’m most proud of, I’d prefer it if I’d never started – but I did. And I understand why I did it, so I’ll cast no blame on myself for that. Since I do have that addiction mentality, it is however extremely difficult for me to quit. I’ve tried oh, so many times – I’ve even been vaping through some periods, but I always come back to cigarettes. And perhaps a year and a half ago, I began using the swedish phenomena “snus” – nicotine in a little bag that’s put under one’s upper lip. I began using this because I planned to quit smoking, and ending up doing both instead. #facepalm
When I was a teenager, I used to party a lot, including the drinking part. Of course, getting drunk was part of the whole thing. I hung out with lots of punk rockers at that time, and the way they party is – well.. you don’t really want to be the only sober person there. I got drunk several days a week, and it usually involved some sort of emotional meld-down. Not to mention, one night stands. Sex was another outlet through which I channelled my hunger for confirmation and imagined affection (which was of course non-existent, as I most likely only represented free pussy to anyone who wanted it).
Another outlet for my addictive mind is shopping. I’ll give myself cred for not shopping extensively when I can’t afford it (which I rarely can, in all honesty). But if I can afford to get some shopping done, I thrive. Oh, I love shopping. It makes me feel so good – and for so many reasons.
I’ll give myself cred for one more thing when it comes to shopping – I rarely shop stuff just because. When I shop, I usually shop things that I really, really need. I’m retired from work due to my bipolar disorder, which means I don’t have a lot of money. On the rare occasion, I may get my hands on some money, and that’s when I’ll shop for things that I really, really need. New tea kettle, fill up my supply of tea, fabric to sew new clothes, new shoes or whatever it is that I need just then.
In my experience, addiction comes from your mental health issues. In my own case, I’m quite sure that my addictions are closely connected to my quite extreme hunger for confirmation and approval. If you read my book the Self which wasn’t mine, you’ll know that I get periods of time where this hunger overwhelms me and drives me into a state of mind which is absolutely horrific to be in. I think that my addictions are part of that, and to my relief, I have worked myself through a lot of that. It’s been years since my last episode of that behaviour (and – if you haven’t read the book, I really recommend you do, this is described quite clearly in it), and I am immensely grateful for that.
Another thing that may sound odd, is that I’ve been (and still is, in one sense) addicted to the Internet. Being online is a great way to distract yourself from your own thoughts. I spend most of my time in front of my computer – where I do more things than just surf for the purpose of surfing, but still. I watch tv series/movies, I blog (obviously), I search for sewing patterns and fabrics and other stuff that I need, et cetera.
Being an addict isn’t very flattering. I’m not proud of any of my addictions. What I will give myself is that in general, I do believe I have most of them under control (except the nicotine). I know where my weak points are, and how to make the best out of what I’ve got. And since I really do believe that all of these things, my mental health (bipolar disorder), my addictions et cetera, are consequences of the narcissistic abuse I was subjected to as a child, I also believe that I can turn most of it around to my advantage. It does take a whole shitload of work, and then some, but I believe it can be done, and that I have come quite far on that path.
So yes, I do take the liberty to pat myself on the shoulder here.
But I must admit; sometimes, I’m very sad that my life turned out the way it did. It could have been so very different. So much easier, had mom not been in my life. I try not to, but I can still be both angry and bitter with my dad who didn’t do more to remove mom from me. But I suppose he did the best he could, in his own little way, with what little knowledge he had. He didn’t know anything of the things that I know today. I found out about narcissism several years after he passed. I wish he’d known, I’d have loved to discuss it with him. And perhaps our relationship would’ve been different as well. Perhaps he would’ve changed his attitude had he known what I known. Too late to ponder, though.
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