In the “Excuses” chapter of HOW TO BE THE BEST YOU, I told you the story of beginning a weeknight toddy habit with my mother, and how I was coerced into giving it up. It was after the fact that I realized its significance.
The initial teetotaler stage was hard; it got my attention. I wondered if I could have become an alcoholic if I hadn’t cut it out. I’d never been a “dependent” personality (even during my first couple of years of disability, I was working toward independence), but it made me ponder my feelings on the matter.
In order to get to my point…Some will say that I’m a little weird…maybe alotta’ weird, with what, when, how little, and how often I eat. I may eat lunch for breakfast then, lunch at 10:30am and again at 1:00 or 2:00pm, and even breakfast for dinner—which can be between 4:00 and 6:00pm.
I eat when I’m hungry which is pretty often; but I eat small portions because I feel satiated very quickly—another reason people think I’m weird: I don’t gorge. I detest that uncomfortable feeling!
The twain meet here. My toddy had to be around 4:00 or 5:00 while preparing dinner or waiting for its delivery. Once I eat, that’s it. Nada. Unless it’s water.
The significance of continuing our toddy habit after Mother passed away was my attempt to fill a social void. Mother was gone. After years of disability many friends have fallen by the wayside; those that have endured have families of their own and businesses to run. It was my “happy hour.”
The effect of SCI affects us differently. Whether it’s a loss of movement, a loss of freedom, or a loss of spontaneity, we’re dealing with the common denominator of loss.
Know this: the feeling of powerlessness can initiate addiction.
In the moment you feel something is out of your control, what do you gravitate toward—think about, want to do, or physically need? That longing is an emotional, even physical, craving for worthiness. Subconsciously, we are trying to adjust to something that has slipped from our grasp.
Gary Zukav, The Seat of the Soul, says you can stop the cycle of addiction by feeling your pain, lack, or loss. Each time you challenge your inadequacy—own it, face up to it, readjust, seek help—you get your control back, little by little.
It doesn’t have to be SCI loss. It can be habits of gossip, jealousy, anger, sex, alcohol, drugs, pornography, shopping, gambling, loneliness…whatever. The situation you are trying to change may never change, but you can take control to change your thoughts and responses to them!
Be brave enough to ask yourself: When I…what hole of inadequacy am I trying to fill? What am I longing for?
Whatever unhealthy thing you’re doing to feel like you’re getting your power back is a smoke screen and a procrastination of truly taking back your control? Every temptation is an opportunity for a dress rehearsal for a life change OR a repeat of consequences. Make a responsible choice.
You’re worth it.