Relapse.

My name is …….. and I am an alcoholic. Those words serve as an acknowledgement that one has a problem, has owned up to it and is ready to start working on changing destructive behaviours.

One of my favourite shows on TV is A&E’s Intervention. On the show, people with severe psychological disorders shows the world what it is like to be addicted to destructive behaviours/substances. At the beginning of the show, the person profiled states their name and announces their addiction. One of the powerful things to see is a person so steeped in their addiction and denial that they cannot even say those simple words – I am an/a/addicted to… Because saying those words means acknowledging one’s addictions, and having to address the issue. Until you can truly acknowledge your addiction, you cannot address the problem.

Acknowledgement underway, an addict goes  treatment and eventually gets released from that controlled environment back into the chaos and uncertainty that is the real world. More often that not an addict will relapse. The relapse may be just for one day or much longer than that. But when and if they return to treatment the second time, it is their hope that they can learn from their mistakes and become tougher for the next time they reenter society and face temptations.

Like an addict, 3 months ago I acknowledged that I had a problem that needed to be fixed. I cut out junk food, watched what I ate and began working out. And then I got tested. My mother and sister came to visit and in the excitement of their presence, I seemed to forget the strict standards I was holding myself to. I relapsed. I went from avoiding all the things which are so bad for me to bingeing on them, I stopped working out with my trainer and stopped going to the gym All in all, my entire journey to health and well-being got side tracked.

While in treatment an addict is given tools that will help them face and overcome their addictions when next they come face to face with temptation. In my defense for the relapse, I have always known that I do not possess all the tools to ensure that I beat my addictions but I honestly believed I would be okay. Unfortunately, the depths to which I have sunk in the last couple of days have amazed me tremendously. I now know that I need better education and a trainer who will not allow me to completely rely on him/her but give me the tools to achieve my goals myself. Before this relapse I was more worried about what I was giving up instead of focusing on all the good I was going to gain in giving up food that is bad for me. I received my copy of Gillian McKeith’s “You are what you eat” 2 days ago and while I am still in the first chapter, I am already learning about the destructive effects of overly processed and chemical laden foods on out body. To my utmost delight, I was able to confirm some of those negative effects today. After eating some cookie sandwiches filled with sugar laden peanut butter, I could feel my mood change. Like an addict who relapses but feels guilty after that first hit or drink, I felt exactly the same way while eating the cookie. It did not taste as good as I remembered it and I wanted to hide in shame for the dirty deed I had just committed. Nevertheless, as shameful as the act was, it served to reinforce in my mind that clean eating will never leave me feeling that way I did today. I know it may be hard to convince everyone that my experience was very real but all that matters is that I saw the light. This past week was nothing but a speed bump that is in the past and I  am marching onwards to better health and fitness.

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