Drug addict in Amsterdam

26 Feb

This weekend, I talked to a Bulimic who has taken drugs for quite a period of time. She managed to quit. Soon afterwards, she slipped into her eating disorder.

Quitting drugs was not easy. And being addicted to them was a terrible feeling. But this, she said, this is way worse. Food has replaced drugs. And food is everywhere you go. I don’t have to go anywhere to get my stuff. It is so easy. Here it is. In the house. Always. Here I am. And whenever I need a quick fix, no problem, no need to think twice. What could hold me back? It’s so easy.

There are many similarities between drug / alcohol / substance addiction and eating disorders. Actually, I would say that every eating disorder could as well be called addiction. We are freaking addicts. The German word for anorexia, “Magersucht” even expresses this pretty clear. Literally translated it’s “thin addiction”. But there is one main difference. For us, it’s not about sobriety. It’s not about abstinence. Abstinence may be part of our problem. We can’t just stay away from food. How often have I heard “I wish people just wouldn’t have to eat!” Awesome. But I bet I would have found something else to keep my self destructive side busy. I turned out to be pretty creative in this point.

So if it’s not about sobriety (all right, I have to admit you can be sober from your destructive behaviors like starving, overeating and purging), what is it about then? It’s about balance, finding a middle path. So many people start out with anorexia and end up with bulimia. There are both extremes for them: not eating on the one hand and overeating (and purging) on the other. And both ways don’t work on the long run. Sooner or later, reality catches up.

It’s about taking this conscious breath and listening to your body for once. It has been some time since you two had a serious conversation, I know. His voice may be very quiet by now, we diminished it until it was almost not noticeable anymore… but as long as we breathe, it is there. We have to be calm, quiet, conscious and learn how to listen again. Maybe it’s even like learning an entire new language! When I started to listen to my body again, sometimes I couldn’t make the difference between being tired and exhausted and being hungry. I totally mixed it up. And after each relapse, I got them confused again. I got the whole being hungry / being full thing confused. I don’t know what went wrong when I was growing up, but honestly, since I can remember, evaluating the amount of food I should eat (or not) was always a mind thing for me. It was something in my head. I didn’t know my body was so kind to send me some signs to tell me when it is enough. I didn’t listen. As a result, he got pretty offended and stopped talking to me. Well, I really can’t blame him! After a time we both grew older and learned some important lessons (I will tell you about this later on) and in the end we came to terms with each other.

So did we make food our drug? Do we have to feel like a drug addict in Amsterdam for the rest of our lives, being surrounded  by all the food 24/7?  Well, I don’t think so. We are not addicted to food. We are addicted to our self destructive behaviors. Food is not the problem. And it is possible to make peace with it. It takes some time. It’s a long and hard way. But in the end, we will come to terms with each other.

Sometimes… we find peace in the middle of a battlefield.

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4 Responses to “Drug addict in Amsterdam”

  1. lucymes June 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    Actually, the german translation for bulimia is ” Ess-Brech- Sucht” meaning “Eating-Purging- Addiction”. An acurate term, I think.

    And I like your blog. If you don’t mind, I’ll link you on mine.

    • devigoesusa June 16, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

      Even though Germans also often use the word “Bulimie”, this is true. “Ess Brech Sucht” is quite descriptive. Using the foreign word gives people the chance to build some distance between them and the disease. Talking about it without actually naming it, without facing the ugly parts.
      Same with anorexia. The German translation is “Magersucht” – literally meaning “Skinny Addiction” or “slim addiction”. And this word is more likely to be used than “anorexie”, which a more medical term. Obviously, the German language likes to name things…

    • devigoesusa June 16, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

      Oh and sure, I’d be happy if you link my blog! I will also link yours if you like! Thanks!

  2. lucymes June 17, 2010 at 9:17 am #

    yes sure:) *smile*

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