Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Heavy Burden of Truth

I'm fat, family.
Not "pleasantly plump" or "curvy" or "thick". I am fat. And I did this to myself.

Long, long ago before there was a metric fuckton of meth or heroin or whatever other drugs pounding through my veins, there was a little girl sitting on the couch over indulging in food. I have some pictures under my bed that I pull out occasionally. I can see the change in between first and second grade. I went from a slim girl of six to a round girl of seven. The journey there was a complicated one. It only makes sense upon my reflection.

My father was a late in life alcoholic. By all accounts, he was a quiet man with a dry sense of humor. A good looking country boy from London Ky He was raised in poverty, born 7th of 9 children. His parents were a stern couple that dealt with a lifetime of tragedy. They were a practical sort. My grandfather refused to attend his high school graduation when my father insisted on completing rather than getting a job at Krogers.  They were the type to hold on to long standing resentments. My father joined the Navy to get away from a life that would have easily ended up in "the cemetery or the peneteniary", where is where many of his peers resided. He had hung around stick up men, pool sharks, and men with shady pasts that worked the carnivals. He wanted to see the world. On one of his ports of call, he was quickly ensnared by the raven haired beauty from New York City later known as my mother.

My father had seen first hand the destruction at the hand of alcohol. I remember him telling me stories of stabbings over card games and the death of his older brother. His parents were never drinkers but it seemed to permeate the rest of his life. In my adult years,  I never asked him why he began drinking to excess. I suppose it was for many of the reason I began sticking needles in my arm. First, it feels good. Then, it feels good not to feel anything. The major difference between us is that I didn't have a family depending on me to be present in their lives. As he slowly crawled inside the life of a semi functional alcoholic, through my childish lens I saw any chance of an idyllic family life disappear before my eyes. I suppose working constantly had forced him to hold it together for many years. It was ready to unravel.

By the time, I was seven, my father had developed fits of rage. These were directed at everyone,  except myself. I was the "baby", also possibly the "favorite". Maybe I was just too young in his eyes to be involved in his tirades. He would scream or yell or get violent. My life went from soccer games to living in a powderkeg. I was walking on my tip toes, hoping things would not explode. As things whirled around me,  I clearly remember my role in attempting to diffuse him, to appease him in any way possible so he would stop. After these events, my relief came in the form of Ruffles, Doritos, or Mountain Dew. I couldn't trust humans but I could trust the feeling I got when I ate an Oreo or two or a whole pack of Double Stuf. These are no longer excuses, these are just memories.

I created a life time of dysfunction with food. I have experienced both anorexia IE attempt of mastery over the feeling of starvation  and bulimia IE having your cake and throwing it up, too. Unhealthy diets, binges, and burying wrappers at the bottom of the trash can the way a junkie hides the evidence of their use. My dependency to anything that feels good is all encompassing. Heroin provided the ultimate escape until the solution became a much worse burden.

Now, I am 46 years old with ever present food issues. I put down the spoon and picked up the fork again. I am slowly chipping away at the darker parts of myself. Continuing on is no longer an option for me. Getting off drugs is really one step in changing your life. It isn't always the drugs causing distress. Many times, there is  some core belief blocking us from being from the happiness we deserve. People ask me what it is like to get off drugs for 18 years. The work never stops, it just shifts from one area to another. I am not unhappy, I am forever unsettled. I think addiction is the constant state of longing for something you have never known.

I hope you find the joy you deserve.
I hope you know that you are perfect in your imperfections.
I want you to know that someone loves you.
I hope you are safe.



9 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your insides. It's really helping me with mine ❤

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    1. Thanks for reading. I write for my audience as much as myself

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  2. So just to clarify for myself, you put the drugs down 18 yrs ago, aged 28, is that right? I'm just curious as I'm now 44 and right at the point now that I need to stop the drugs or I'm never gonna be stopping, ever, won't be able to and won't have the degree of choice in the matter I have now (which feels tiny as it stands). Thanks for any response, in advance. . . Jay (UK)

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    1. Yes I was a few months away from my 28th birthday. When I worked in the US rehab system in free programs, the average age of ppl was around 45.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. What a douchebag for asking a question like that

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  5. I love this "I am not unhappy, I am forever unsettled" and about the constant state of longing for something you've never known.

    Thanks Tracey yet again for your words!

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