All this self help and therapeutic work is driving me a bit crazy… I’m spending a lot of time alone. Rather, since I’ve been listening to the book called “From Abandonment to Healing”, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to distinguish between my inner parent, my inner child (the infantile emotions part) and my outer child (the self-sabotaging addiction loving reactive part). I have a whole internal family to tend to and it’s exhausting. The irony is that it doesn’t even keep me from feeling lonely. Though I must say, it feels more like occasional glimpses of loneliness these days. Nothing like my previous feeling of being “alone in the universe” no matter how many friends, relationships and dramatic events I have in my life. I used to think things like “I am lonely because I am alone, I am alone because my life is boring and nobody loves me and I am unworthy of love”. Whereas now, I have miraculously started to believe that “I am choosing to be alone and it’s not as painful as I thought it would be, and I am getting to know and get along with myself and it’s actually kind of nice. Oh and I’m definitely worthy of love, and I am actually in fact loved, and maybe it would be a good idea to remember that, instead of ignoring it just to confirm my limiting beliefs”. So there’s progress on the inner work front.
But today there was a major regression on the addictions front. This evening I bought another pack of cigarettes. I made it 8 days without after my first “breakup relapse” at the beginning of the month. A promise to my therapist got me through the first week. But the second week felt too hard. Strange how when I quit with my (ex) boyfriend it felt so easy. Whereas I have been obsessing non-stop about it for the last three days. Had these cigarettes been a human being, I would be in jail right now with a restraining order on my ass because I would have borderline-personality-disorder-obsessonally stalked them until there was nothing left to stalk. I’m talking insane obsession and cravings – which I resisted and resisted, until yesterday I was literally weeping at my desk -the craving was so strong- and felt so helpless and yet somehow still managed to not act on it, but the effort felt superhuman, I didn’t know what was happening….…
Today at 6 pm at the prospect of having to go through that again, after yoga (oh, the irony of the yoga-attendee smoker) and a long day (I went to the hospital and got an ultrasound to check out a lump in my breast which thankfully turned out to be benign), I threw in the towel – “I can’t fight anymore” – and let myself be washed over by relief as I just gave up. I didn’t care anymore, I just needed the struggle to end. I had run out of self-care tools, or self-care energy, and entertained the absurd thought that smoking somehow had something to do with reclaiming by identity as a separate individual. (My inner parent knows that it’s the 15 year long habit of daily smoking that I “reclaimed”, nothing else). Today I knowingly chose the guilt/shame of smoking again over the intensity of the cravings. Guilt/shame felt easier to handle. How is this even possible? Especially with the specter of cancer looming thematically over my day. I can’t tell my inner child or genuine emotions apart from my permissive thinking these days, and all this work on myself plus being in my head all day long feels too heavy. I am not feeling strong enough to be the perfect self-parent right now.
So I’m smoking, and doing my best on all other fronts. Not reaching out to my ex despite the sudden pangs. Not drinking. But I get so frustrated at myself for switching the object of my addiction – from drinking to food to nicotine to love to exercise to work. When and HOW does it end? What is an addiction? I keep fantasizing about living a life “without a crutch”, but when I do well, I find myself identifying subtler and subtler crutches (“chocolate is a crutch”, “meditation can be an addiction”, etc.), and become a complete fascist with myself. I end up denying myself all forms of pleasure, I forget that it’s ok to feel ok. What a horrible internal parent ! No wonder my inner children act out at some point. I wish I knew how to get out of this rabbit hole. (healthy pleasures – do they exist? Where are they?) Resisting all cravings on all fronts just feels beyond my strength. I feel weak, fragile and disappointed on the one hand, but on the other, I feel soooo relieved that the internal fight has ended. And this makes me feel guilty. Maybe I need a life of balance more than a life “without a crutch”. I wish I could be more gentle to myself.