Bless This Binge

I used a lot of things to help me survive and cope with neglect, shame, criticism, condemnation and abuse in childhood.   I used those same strategies and slightly more sophisticated versions when I became a 22 year old bride, married to a sex addict.  The binge and purge cycle held my hand thru decades of trauma.  This is my attempt to bless and thank her for helping me survive.

I have heard before that many women in abusive relationships or toxic environments gain a lot of weight.  One theory behind this is because the body weight serves as a “protective armor”  to keep her husband away, either sexually, and/or emotionally.  It acts as a metaphorical shield – protecting her delicate soul inside that sits neglected, abandoned and hurting.  Ultimately, the weight sedates the pain and creates a sense of safety.

Speaking for myself, food has always served as a form of medication.  A bag of popcorn is a quick elixer to numb the feelings I cannot tolerate, sort thru or explain.  I could wash that down with fries, a cheeseburger, maybe a favorite ice cream.   Pizza?  Why not, I’ll eat the whole thing!  Did I mention that sometimes variations of this happen all in one sitting?   Incredible, is it not?  That the human body – when eating to numb and protect can physically hold all of this at one time.

I can write about this now,  with no shame because I know where I have been and I know where I am going.  The enemy can no longer use condemnation to block me from my own freedom.

At my heaviest, I weighed 218 pounds and at my lightest I weighed 135 pounds.  Now, I am somewhere in the middle sitting in a place of balance. (And do I still love ice cream and popcorn?  Yes, I do!)  I share this to demonstrate these two extremes on the scale, represent the manic environments endured living with an abusive sex addict.  They represent binges fueled by lies acquired in childhood that I was never enough, or I am “too much”.   I work thru the lie: “I am a failure if I don’t perform well”. With each binge, I fell further and further down the rabbit hole of defeat.  I definitely did not have value if I ate ice cream, or skipped a workout or didn’t eat my green vegetables.   Round and around the wheel of shame I ran.

I’ve learned since, that even this can be re-framed.  So much of recovery for a woman is learning how to RE-FRAME HER PAIN.  If a woman can do this – she is well on her way to walking in healing.   Rather than condemnation for a behavior my body chooses from time to time.  Immanuel (God With Us), is invited into the binge, when I go there He is happy to be with me in the confusion and turmoil that I feel I must medicate.  He is not swayed by my old pattern of seeking safety.  He is not deterred by my confusion.  He knows that brain pathways take time to be re-wired!  He rests with me, He is delighted to be with me as we swallow each salty chip, He gently says – “My Daughter, you are the same beauty, from the day I formed you, to the day you’ve invited me into this place and pain.  I stay.  I am here.”  Jesus knows where I have been and He knows where I am going.

I wrote this ‘blessing’ to my binge.  Things that we have done to survive and protect ourselves – those strategies did their job… they kept us safe.   Toby Mac has a great quote: “Don’t judge people for the choices they make, when you don’t know the options they had to choose from.”   Relying on food to cope with abuse and loss protected me, but now – I am safe; spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.   I am choosing to live an addiction/compulsive free lifestyle so now it is time to learn healthy ways to move thru  pain. As Jesus told the woman in the square, “Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” -John 8:11  I believe Jesus was telling this woman, “darling, you don’t need to do this anymore – I have healed, I have made you safe – you are becoming whole – move into the new and it is okay to leave this behind now.”  How gentle and kind He must have been.

Sister, as you read this blessing, perhaps you have never thought of RE-FRAMING your coping strategies in this way before.  Maybe you are still on the loop of condemnation and performance?  (Trust me, I revisit that loop on the daily)

If you are safe, or you are working to become firm in your reality (if you are still married) – what behavior has served to seek protection and control (safety)?

Would you consider blessing what used to serve you but now is no longer of use?  

Dear Binge,

You served as a portal to unlock the secret wounds I carry.  It’s the avenue from my lips to God’s ears.  The shame, stress and worthlessness feel quieted and soothed with each crunch, each swallow and every rich flavor.  The confusion leaves my mind and I forget what I was upset about in the first place.  

What is this that I need?   What blessing does it give my body? Can it turn from curse to blessing? shame to victory?  

“God Bless this food which we are about to receive”

“May it bless my body and give me strength”

“Give us this day, our daily bread”

“Why do you spend money on food – which does not satisfy?”

Bless my mind that longs for connection.

Bless my body which was built for good taste, richness and depth.

Thank you, popcorn, chips, and all things salty for helping me cope with all those moments of frustration, irritation, anguish and injustice.

Thank you, ice cream, brownies and my secret sweet tooth for helping me sort out my thoughts and calm my nerves.

Thank you, fork, knife, plate and spoon for advocating for my point of view, for always seeing it my way and helping to quiet my inner angst.  I was so alone.

Thank you, binge for allowing me to escape, even if just for a moment.

Thank you, dear friend, when no one else would listen, when the pain felt overwhelming, and I felt like “I deserve this”, when I’m sad, you were there to help soothe and distract.

You have helped me survive, cope and you gave me something I need… feeling known and understood.

When I have you in my life, I know I get to feel momentary pleasure.  I know I get to escape, feel a sense of satisfaction and satiation that none other can provide…. at least I THOUGHT none other could provide…

 I am graduated from the loving care you provided me.  You have blessed my life so much, and for that I will forever be grateful.  You took care of me when no one else did.  You understood me when no one else could.  You validated my heart and perspective when no one else made the effort.  

I hold you in my heart as my sacred friend.  You helped her get thru the roughest.  You held her hand, you soothed her, you comforted and embraced the little girl inside.  

Now, that girl has to go.  You did such a good job – but now….  she is safe. Now she is strong.  Now she knows what she has been craving all along was to be loved.  Binge – you did your job – you held that space for as long as I needed and you did AMAZING.  Guess what dear friend?  I found someone … I found several, actually and I am learning how to BE LOVED.  I am learning that there are those among us who do listen, empathize and sit in the darkness with me – just like you did!

Now they get me thru the roughest, they hold my hand, they sooth, comfort and embrace me.   My dear Binge – I hope you are excited about my growth and now that I know where to connect –  if I keep you in my life you will hold me back.  I bless you, but I must say good-bye.  I am choosing a life of connection and true belonging. I will loosen the ties that bind us together.  You did your part, you served your purpose… 

Binge; you kept me protected and for that I am eternally grateful.  Immanuel and my community can take it from here.

Yours Truly,

Rochelle Sadie

 

 

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