Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I heard something at my AA meeting this morning that sort of caught me off guard and therefore went straight to my solar plexus - translate:  the truth hurts.  But it also informs, so here it is.

Interestingly enough, it was my sponsor and dear friend Lisa (who continues to defy the odds and the medical profession with her insistance on not succumbing to Stage 4 lung cancer for over 3 years now) who said the words that rang all too true in my ears.  There had been a speaker at the meeting who told their story (of drinking, and then getting and living sober).  Typically after the speaker is finished, there is general sharing from the group for the remaining 30 minutes or so.

The speaker had told about his numerous aborted attempts to stop drinking both in and out of AA.  Now he is on solid ground and seems to "have it", but he talked about how he'd get a few days, weeks or months sober and then the relapse would happen, seemingly out of the blue.  Or was it "out of the blue"?

It's often said that a relapse usually happens long before the actual picking up of the substance.  Maybe it's complacency, or stinking thinking, or a resentment about someone or something that is gnawing at the recovering person.  Also could be thoughts of, "I think I have this licked now...", or just getting tired of doing what it takes to find and maintain sobriety.

Anyway, many people who shared after the speaker told his story seemed to focus on that aspect of relapse and deciding to pick up after a period of time.  And then my sponsor talked about how while she was in the revolving door of early sobriety where she was relapsing frequently, she always noticed how once she decided she was going to drink - either immediately or a few hours later, her entire mood shifted and she'd be starting to feel lighter and happier even before she ingested any booze.  Anticipatory buzz?  Just knowing that it was coming sent the addiction switch from OFF to ON.

Well.  I could relate to that as I thought about my countless attempts at stopping drinking before I finally stuck and stayed in AA.  But more than that, I could identify with this from the perspective of trying to rein in my overeating and bingeing.  Just yesterday (the day after I was feeling pretty optimistic about my process), I was at work, feeling annoyed by myriad things at work that were, well, annoying - and I "decided" that when I got home, I was going to have one napkin full (a good sized handful) of BIG Cheezits that my son bought.  And do you know that once I decided that, my frustrations, annoyances, and irritability sort of melted away and I became the rock star nurse for the rest of the time I was there - funny, visiting the various classrooms to hang out and "work" the rooms with joie de vivre and enthusiasm? 

UGH.  It was my anticipatory buzz - and even though I contemplated NOT eating the Cheezits, (because before they were "on board" I still had the choice to not eat them as opposed to after the first bite when the choice was gone because the flip was switched), I DECIDED to eat them, knowing full well that would likely be the beginning of an eatin' evening.  And it was.

Hearing the discussion at the meeting along with Lisa's remarks about lighting up just at the plan of the later drinking hit me right between the eyes.  Yet another window into addiction in general, and my food addiction in particular.  More keeps being revealed.  Good news and bad news.  But I'm not going anywhere and I'm not quitting.

Thanks for letting me share.


  1. Ohhhhhh...

  2. So true! I find that if I cut it off (the "voices") right away, I mean RIGHT AWAY...not giving it any time to grab hold of my decision making capabilities, then and only then do I have a chance at NOT giving in to the honey buns, twinkies or whatever.

    Good Post Leslie - eye opener really.

  3. So interesting, so insightful, and, from my own perspective, so true!! Thanks for the light bulb moment.

  4. What a psychological post! Very very interesting! I'll have to test this idea on my self.

    :-) Marion

  5. It's so hard once you decide that you want to eat something to NOT eat it. That was why living next to a chinese restaurant and across the street from convenience stores for years kept me in the pounds. Craving chocolate...30 seconds later I've got it. Chicken fingers, Peking Raviolis (friend of course) 5-10 minutes. I will never choose to live near either again! You need to throw me back on your Blog List, my friend! I miss your feedback!

  6. That makes plenty of sense and I 've never thought of it. I think some of the time that's the case for me and other times I;m in the desperate despair state. Helping us, you are.

  7. Interesting, on so many levels. Thank you for sharing this, Leslie.

  8. Lots to think about here, addictive personality or not. Thanks for sharing!

  9. and thank you for sharing.
    for me
    this morning
    what tremendously resonated was the fact the truth hurts and also informs.

    I needed to hear that.


  10. Oh that is so good! I totally need to think about this!!

    Keep focused!

  11. Ugh. Anticipatory buzz. Know it well. Sometimes the idea to stop at Aldi's for treats after work pops into my head. If it's THAT kind of day, the thought cheers me up and my mood improves immediately! I certainly didn't CHOOSE for that to be an aspect of my personality. But it is, and I have to deal with it.

  12. I just found your blog today thru Lynn's and was thrilled to pieces that you are a recovering alcoholic (too) with weight or eating issues (can't really think of the proper term right now, sorry). I have lots of reading to do here but I totally appreciate the light bulb moment of anticipatory buzz, I could almost feel it when you were talking about it. This is a great post! Thanks for sharing!