Saturday, September 01, 2007

All or Nothing

"You've got to be kidding me?"

That was the open mouthed shocked expression I gave my counselor more times than I care to count while in treatment. Which she all duly noted and wrote down. I get my summary from her next week. I'm sure it will be pock marked with, "Hope continues to be surprised that she is so sick in her thinking." I typed all that with a big grin this morning because after a while my being shocked ceased to surprise anyone, including me.

One of those shocking realizations was that I tend to think in terms of all or nothing. I learned every addict is an all or nothing person. Which makes me feel a bit better. I mean, who wants to be alone in their sickness? Want an example? All or nothing thinking looks something like this: "Oh, I just ate a piece of cake. Oh shit, I didn't mean to do that. Oh, what the hell I might as well eat the whole cake now that I've blown it." The kind of thinking I excel at. It's the same kind of thing that leads a person from one sip to an all out drunken binge in what can seem like 60 seconds flat. Or how about this one: "Darn, I missed exercising today. That means my whole exercise plan is shot. I might as well not exercise until (next week, next month, next year.)" Next year is my personal favourite.

I know it's possible to stop thinking like that. I'm hoping it gets easier soon. This morning I am sitting here with quite a few less spoons than I'd like because of wonderful all or nothing thinking I indulged in yesterday. What can I say? Old habits die hard.

I had an excellent session with my after care treatment counselor yesterday. For most of an hour we sat and discussed my treatment experience. Then came the hard work. The homework. The practical application of what I learned and what she expected me to do about it before I see her in two weeks. Talking about it, or typing about it for that matter, is so much easier and less risky than actually living it. Which was her point exactly. So before the next two weeks is over I get to choose one very big elephant in the closet situation in my life and bring the elephant out into the light. She showed me how to choose the timing by making sure neither I nor the other person involved is not Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired when I start the discussion. All she wants me to do before I see her in two weeks is acknowledge out loud to the other person there is a discussion to be had. Baby steps, Hope, baby steps. Which is far removed from my all or nothing thinking which in the past would have had me not only dragging that elephant out of the closet but getting to the other end of the discussion in one long fight discussion.

After my session I went shopping. One of my after care plans is to stop being a martyr and admit I have needs. Like adequate clothes. Today we have a wedding to go to of a close family member. I was able to find something yesterday so that when I look in the mirror at myself I can smile and feel comfortable and confident. I somehow have lost enough weight in the past month to drop two sizes in clothes. And in my all or nothing thinking that must mean I either have cancer or diabetes. See, it's just so darn easy to slip into that mode! Realistically dropping two sizes is what happens when I go from being a veritable sloth to moving at a much greater speed. Not feeding my feelings helps, too.

Last night, after a long day in town, I was on a mission to go for my evening walk. It didn't matter that my body was trying to tell me that really, Hope you've done enough walking for a day. How about a shower and bed, instead? Not me. Nope. In my all or nothing mentality I had to prove to my body that I could still go for my walk. Which I did. Which meant I fell into bed before 9 pm and which also means I am starting another long day without adequate spoons to get through it. Which also hopefully means that tomorrow I will have zilch to prove to my body and will settle for something that looks a lot different than all or nothing.

Can't you just picture my all or nothing mentality being greeted by a much more reasonable viewpoint tomorrow? Can't you just hear it say
"You've got to be kidding me?"
To which I will reply
"It's been so nice knowing you, my dear. Farewell."


Anonymous said...

Hope, you had me chuckling. Boy, do I relate to "all or nothing" thinking. In fact, I just had my own "you gotta be kidding moment". Thanks for the nudge.

daisymarie said...

I have long lived in "Allornothingville". It's not necessarily a fun place to be. And it is amazing how ludicrous it can be when you sit and recognize it. Just when I think I've swept it all out, I find new ways to fall into that pattern. Sigh. Old habits lurk long!

Your journey and the way you share it is such a blessing to my soul.


Duckie said...

"Oh, I just ate a piece of cake. Oh shit, I didn't mean to do that. Oh, what the hell I might as well eat the whole cake now that I've blown it."

Oi! Ive been caught! Thats exactly how I think.. but usually it's pizza..or another form of fast food. yikes!

Heidi Renee said...

Ha! I was smiling, chuckling and just hearing those words from out of your mouth as I read this - gosh it's good to have you blogging again!

I know we talked about this and a post has been brewing in my head about this extreme thinking too. I keep telling myself there are more than two options. Not just "off" or "on", "yes" or "no" - but a range of options and choices in between.

So much more to think about - hope your wedding today in your new dress was wonderful! I'm so proud of you - and laughed out loud with the "cancer or diabetes"!!! You crack me up! Love you friend!

Poor Mad Peter said...

I use a pedometer, a very small one that clips onto a pocket or belt or wherever, so it's beside me where my hips are (and counts each hip movement as a step--damned clever, eh?). I put it on first thing and take it off just before bed. If I change clothes, it tags along with the new clothes.

Health experts suggest that we walk about 10,000 steps a day for good health. It could act as both an incentive to you And a brake on A or N. If you're about to clock, say, 16,000+ steps in that one day, then it's telling you you're maybe overdoing it (unless you're helping a friend move house, in which case...). If you're about 8000, then maybe you need to take a walk. How you keep tabs on yourself is up to you and it could be a dangerously close A/N fetish. But then again, maybe not. If it works for you, use it.

Grace, Every Day said...

You keep digging, girl. Good stuff is coming out.

Praying for you...