Addiction is a part of my daily vocabulary. When I was in graduate school, I remember saying I never wanted to work with addicts or teenagers, but I just didn’t think I had the patience and I knew they would trigger me a lot. Well, the vast majority of my work in counseling and in the jail is centered around addiction and teenagers. Once again, never say never. It just doesn’t work out well.
I don’t love my jobs because I get to talk about drug addiction, alcoholism, sex addiction, and food addiction all the time. I love my jobs because I get to help people find freedom from these things. I get to educated parents, spouses, and loved ones on the true nature of addiction rather than cultural myths and stigmas.
All of the work in the realm of addiction forces me to look at my own dependencies, as it should if I am worth my salt as a therapist. The addiction that I still wrestle with is food. No matter how healthy I eat during the week and how many fruits and veggies I stock my fridge with, there is usually at least one evening I week that I just give up and stuff my face with whatever salty, crunchy, fatty item I can find. For me, that is usually Pirate’s Booty. Pirate’s Booty is the gloriously dangerous stuff you can buy in bulk at Costco that boasts being high in Vitamin D and gluten free. It’s is basically puffed rice covered in powdered cheese. And it is delicious. Anyone who knows me knows I am not allowed to buy it because once I start, I can’t stop myself from eating it. Last year, I wrote a blog post about how I downed an entire family size bag of Pirates Booty after being humiliated in a Costco.
I justify my love affair with Pirate’s Booty because it is basically cheese-flavored air with the perfect amount of crunch. For someone who loves to cook really good food, it never ceases to amaze me that all I usually want is artificially flavored puffed rice. It’s addictive (this is actually proven by a formula researched by food companies to make a food easy to mindlessly consume). It feel innocent at the time. And it is so dangerous for someone like me who is always at war with her body.
But, like all other substance and behavioral addictions, the problem isn’t the Pirate’s Booty. It’s my desire for comfort, control, and escapism. It’s my check-out drug.
I had a small victory this week because my roommate has a family-sized bag of Pirate’s Booty on her shelf in the pantry and I haven’t demolished it. I came very close. I did reach in and eat a good handful the other day, but I stopped myself because I realized what I was doing. I had a stressful day, I was putting off work that needed to be done, and I just wanted to sit on the couch and stuff my face while watching hours of Netflix.
This realization doesn’t always stop me from doing what’s not good for me, but it did this time. I guess I can take my own advice here and celebrate a small victory. It is so easy to get focused on the large, overwhelming, time-consuming goals and forget the little victories along the way. Wars on won in battles. And that’s what I tend to forget.