Emotions of Abstinence

In my 20 months in OA, I have begun to see patterns emerge regarding my abstinence and binge thoughts and cravings. I have made 30 days three times in program. Each time, a binge soon followed which led to full on relapse.
Each relapse is discouraging and frustrating, but I have recently began to view relapses as lessons. Each relapse teaches me something about my disease and how it manifests in my life. Each relapse also teaches me about HP and how it manifests in my life. As I slowly unravel the ‘causes and conditions’ of my relapses, I see that my relapses generally emerge from a place of fear, anger and sadness.
Below the fear, anger and sadness, deeper emotions boil and bubble. Emotions from a life lived in disease. Emotions that are unprocessed and mostly unfelt because of a life lived in disease. So now I lean on HP to guide and support me as I decipher that emotional miasma, that stagnant pool of self-hate which drowns me in food whenever success comes my way.
It is an emotional amalgamation built on lies. Specifically, the lie that I am unworthy of a healthy body and life of joy and serenity. The lie of unworthiness spawns sadness. Below the sadness, the inferiority dwells reinforcing the lie of unworthiness. Guilt, shame and inadequacy also swim with the sadness, creating a painful shadow of myself that I saw as the true me. Because I saw the shadow as my true self, I lived in the pain without question for my entire life.
Now I am 36 and questioning the lie of unworthiness and resulting sadness. Through working the steps, using the tools and fully engaging with therapy, I fully understand that I AM WORTHY. Just as I am. No requirements, no conditions; simply being me I am worthy as a member of humanity, as a child of Creation.
Yet intellectually understanding my worth has not translated into emotional, spiritual and psychological understanding of worth. I believe now that I am not integrating my belief of worth into my whole being because of all the negative unprocessed emotions I have about being worthy, being healthy, being happy.
The light of abstinence shines on my shadow self and reveals to me that I am much more than my self-image. The first time I realized I was more than the shallow self-image of an unworthy person, fear and anger overwhelmed me. Yet, I didn’t recognize the fear and anger – I was too busy numbing the fear and anger with food.
So, here I am, many relapses later, made ready by HP to look at the fear and anger. The fear and anger that I now see and name. The fear and anger spawned by being 36 years old and recognizing that my self-image was a lie. The lie caused me to hate myself, it caused me to suffer in the silent prison of compulsive eating and body obsession. The lie that destroyed relationships, finances and many positive opportunities in my life.
I am afraid. I feel weak, insignificant, discouraged and confused. I feel anxious and insecure because I have never before been joyous, happy and free. I don’t know what that looks like. I don’t know what it feels like. I don’t know anything about it except for the glimpses I have during abstinence and when HP lifts my defects.
Because I don’t know anything about being joyous, happy and free, I am pissed. I am pissed that I am 36 and learning as a child would learn that I am worthy. I am angry, hostile and generally frustrated that I am afraid. Who feels fear over being happy? Who feels fear about being free? Who feels fear about being joyous? I do. I also feel jealous of those who are joyous, happy and free. In and out of the rooms. I am an equal opportunity jealousy emitter.
All the fear, anger and sadness overwhelm me when I don’t face them. When I don’t name them. Writing this has calmed me. Rereading it, I can see that my emotional reactions are probably pretty normal for someone in my situation. Normal people are afraid of what they don’t know or understand. Normal people are angry when they perceive wrongs. Normal people feel. And that is ok.
I am not wrong or unworthy for feeling. I am human. I am a child of Creation. I have permission to feel, to process, to rage, to cry, to scream with anger. It is okay for me to shout out my anger. It is okay for me to cry out my sadness. It is okay for me to talk about my fear. By allowing emotions to flow instead of forcing them into that stagnant pool, I take another step on my journey of one day at a time. I become whole and integrated. I become who I am instead of my shadow self.
By the grace of Higher Power, I am willing to do the footwork. By the grace of Higher Power, I trust and have faith that HP’s plan for me is one I could never foresee. By the grace of Higher Power, I give the mess of my life to HP and allow the joy and pain to exist. Relax, breathe and communicate. I am not alone because I always have HP and fellowship.

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