Us and Them

I’m been clean for 5 days now.
And sober.
Yes. I’m an addict. And for the umpteenth time in a row I have committed to kicking my addiction as a new year’s resolution.
It’s slowly killing me. It’s damaging my health. It zaps my energy. It clouds my thinking. It makes me feel shitty.
But only after the short term high it gives me.
I’m addicted to food. Junk food.
I love chips. Chocolate. Deep fried things. Cookies.
Salty things.
Sweet things.
Sweet and salty things.
It’s brutal. Really, really brutal.
I’ve discovered over the past 18 months or so that when I eat a paleo diet, otherwise known as the caveman diet (consisting only of meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds) that I feel a million times better.
I think more clearly. I have more energy. My MS symptoms get better (including my balance and ability to walk). I feel stronger. I work more efficiently. And I lose weight.
But yet I always fall off the wagon. I always relapse.
I tell myself all the reasons why this is so ridiculous.
“People are starving all over the world and yet I’m over eating.”
“There is a food security crisis, including in our own backyards.”
“My body is God’s temple. I should treat it as that.”
“I’m wasting money on crap when so many people around me are so very poor.”
“I have a daughter who needs me and a wife who loves me.”
“I’ll feel and look so much better if I lose some weight.”
But unfortunately, none of it works for long. I’m afraid that in 2 or 3 weeks from now I’ll start to rationalize eating that bag of chips or chocolate bar and before long be right back at it again.

I have friends who are addicted to street drugs and alcohol. Lots of friends. I go to too many funerals for those who succumb to their addictions on the streets. I’ve been to 100’s of them. I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t remember many of them as I’ve been to so many.
Sometimes I hear my friends who have chemical addictions say the same things I say about my own addictions.
“I’m going to quit before it kills me”. They do very well for a week, or a month, or even a year. Sometimes they even go to rehab. But more often then not they find their way back to the thing that they love, which is also the thing that will kill them. Addiction is truly a love/hate relationship. And addiction kills.
But once in a while it sticks. Every now and then someone pronounces that they are quitting.
And they do. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why this time it sticks. It isn’t a result of some miraculous healing from God. It just sticks. Maybe they’ve tried 15 times before to quit and gone to rehab a dozen times, but they try yet again and for some reason, it works. Addiction is in fact a curable disease.
I won’t dare to say that my problems are anywhere near as big as some of that stuff. They’re not. But my addiction is very much killing me slowly. Just like theirs. Just like ‘them’.
And I’m trying yet again to quit. With the hope that this time it will stick. I’m inspired by my friends on the street who keep trying.
Not just the ones that make it but by those who don’t as well.
They have hope.
They try.
And try again.
And try again and again and again.
And when they’re ready, I’ll be right there to help them get into rehab yet again if they want my help.
And most of them don’t have anywhere near the level of family and communal support that I do.
So I’m going to try again.
Maybe this time it’ll stick.
I’ll just have to wait and see.
And try. And hope. And pray

3 thoughts on “Us and Them”

  1. Thanks for your vulnerability . . . it takes courage to own your own weaknesses and encourages others to do so as well. May you find the courage to say 'no', a day, an hour, at a time. May 2014 be a year of progressively improving health.

  2. Dion, thanks for writing this! I'm an addict too. I've got a family history of diabetes, and yet the first thing I go to when I'm hungry is cookies, sugary tea and ice cream! I'm not really into New Years resolutions, but I do want to strive to live well. I'll let you know if I find any good recipes for caveman treats!
    – Sharon Hann

  3. Buddy you are sucking my brain. I too struggle with my food addiction. Smoking was so much easier. But I stand with you. Keep up the great work.

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