Martha, home alone

January 30, 2009 at 2:25 pm 2 comments

Yesterday was one of those extremely rare days when everybody was out and I had the house to myself for a few hours. As any experienced bulimic will know, that would be the perfect chance for a binge — all by myself, with no one to bother me, interrupt me, make me feel guilty, etc. etc. I could just be myself and binge.

I like just the first part of that last sentence: “I could just be myself.” Just being myself has absolutely nothing to do with food, let alone bingeing. Being myself means I jumped up and down, clapped my hands with glee, and tried to figure out what I wanted to do the most.

Of course! I could rehearse for the upcoming concert, experiment with my voice and know that no one would hear me (to criticize or laugh or beg me to be quiet). Since I had enough time, I figured I’d warm up like I never do. Lazy as I am about doing exercises, I thought it would be fun to dance a bit — that would loosen me up and get the breathing flowing.

So I typed in youtube and then a few Abba songs, which had been refreshed in my memory through the film “Mamma Mia”. Over and over again I listened to “Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight” and “Dancing Queen” — singing along, hopping around (I call it dancing, but it doesn’t matter), feeling light and free as a bird.

I’m not saying this is the best plan. And maybe you prefer some other kind of music — more sophisticated, funky, whatever. I just thought I’d mention it as an idea — maybe to spark off other ideas. I don’t even want to try to remember how many times I binged and afterwards had the revelation: “Oh, I could have done THIS or THAT!! If only I’d thought of it in time!”

When you binge, you are doing something for yourself in a very twisted way. There are other options. It’s not about “being good” or “resisting temptation” or “final recovery” or even “being reasonable”. It’s just about taking a break and doing something for yourself that actually makes you feel good — while you’re doing it AND afterwards!

Oh, when I think about the dizzy spells, the headaches, the smell, the cost, the embarrassment, the shame, the paranoia, the helplessness, the disgust…I’m grateful to be able to dance today. Or to sing. Or to go out into the sun room and take a nap, just listening to the radio in the background and petting my cat who lays on the floor next to the couch. Or to write a letter. Call a friend. Read a book. Listen to a CD. Go for a walk. There are so many alternatives to bingeing!!! I bet you can find some to make you feel really good. And as an extra benefit, you don’t binge!


Entry filed under: binge avoidance, free time. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

To err is human Out on the town and acting as if

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. aliza  |  February 1, 2009 at 7:54 am

    I’ve never heard anyone mention the smell; i am glad you did. It is one of the grossest aspects of this, but i’ve not once heard anyone mention this and it is helping me somehow. I can put this on my list of things I DO NOT WANT in my life- I started the binge-purge cycle less than a week ago only 2 weeks short of celebrate my one year abstienence anniversary in OA-and it is amazing how quickly things can go downhill. I worked so hard for my recovery, and then pulled it all down on myself by ending up on the restricting end, which always leads to binging. Purging is a violent assault on the body-i’ve often thought that if i did the brutal violence to myself that i do to myself, it would be considered, and rightfully so, to be assault and battery. I would never do this to anyone, and yet can’t stop. I am so miserable. HOW DID YOU STOP? I want to be able to be in a peaceful place where i am not frantic and semi-hysterical constantly. I am in so much physical pain from purging-I actually managed to sprain my neck in the past from purging and wound up on vicodin-i believe i have re-sprained it, the stomach pain, canker sores in my mouth, etc etc. Any advice as to how to stop this vicious cycle would be HUGELY appreciated. thank you.

    • 2. diaryofarecoveredbulimic  |  February 1, 2009 at 10:01 am

      You stopped for nearly a year, which means it is possible. The restricting is one of the main problems. When I stopped, I was so sick and tired of it and decided I’d had enough. Really, truly, had enough. And I was willing to do whatever was necessary to recover: I started therapy, worked at living my life the way I wanted it to be, and I decided being skinny was not my main priority. I accepted the fact that I needed to eat — that I needed enough to eat, so as to avoid bingeing. When I don’t eat enough, of course a binge will come. I’m starving!!! That’s just the normal intelligence of my body wanting to survive.

      Since I’m kind of chaotic and not exactly methodical, I just observed other people and what they ate and figured out what a normal portion would be. I decided to eat three meals a day come hell or high water, and for months ate that way — regardless of how I felt. (I didn’t feel much at the beginning anyway.) I ate slowly, decided to allow myself to enjoy it. I knew that I wanted to live. I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to make something out of my life.

      In the beginning, I decided ahead of time to ignore and/or accept a weight gain. I’d been underweight and knew I needed more to be healthy, but didn’t know how much. (Oh, that control aspect!) So I let go and decided to give my body time to recuperate and find its ideal weight. I got some exercise, but didn’t overdo it. (I probably could have gotten into exaggerated physical fittness, but I’m too lazy!)

      I didn’t say at the beginning: “The is it. This has to be the final recovery.” I just took it one day at a time and was grateful for each day. Days, weeks, months and years add up, and I honestly don’t know how many years passed before I dared to say: “This is the final recovery.” That’s not really important. Important is right now. I tended to put a lot of pressure on myself. At one point, I had a few months of recovery, then slipped back in, but tried to pretend it wasn’t happening. Then I felt guilty because I was letting everyone down, disappointing them… well now I understand. It wasn’t “Them” I let down or disappoint, it was “Me”.

      This is not sound dietary advice, but I simply started with one large or two small slices of bread with butter & jam and a cup of coffee for breakfast. Lunch was a cooked meal on a plate — of normal size, not heaped on. Supper was generally a sandwich, or heated up left-overs — one portion. I never took more. It took a long time before I felt satisfied or hungry and learned to modify the amounts depending on my appetite. I let go of calories. Instead, I imagined my stomach — the size of it and what would fit comfortably. That is all I went on. My main goal was to feel good — before and after a meal. Thus I tried to avoid too much. Sometimes I would eat a bite or two more. I sat with it, felt how uncomfortable it was, and learned to stop when I was satisfied. I left stuff on my plate, threw away leftovers. I became very selfish about it — putting my well-being way up at the top of the list. I am not a wasteful person, but I decided NOT to act like a garbage can. When I thought about the incredible volume of food I’d puked into the toilets around the world over 13 years, some scraps off my plate really didn’t make a dent.

      Another aspect was the honesty. I no longer pretended to let food serve as comfort, time-filler, void-filler or whatever. It was reduced to a means of fuel to keep me going. That was it’s main purpose. It was allowed to taste good and offer pleasure as I ate it, but that was it. I put food in its place, so to speak.

      So, this has turned into a rather long answer, but I hope you can use some of it. If I missed something or you have a specific question, just write again. Recovery is about taking action. It’s not about getting it right the first time around. It’s about asking questions again and again, until we get it straight — for the time being. It’s up and down and up and down. But it is truly possible to recvover.


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