Before and After Addiction

By Andrea Wachter, LMFT

Here’s how it went:

I was teased about my body for the first time, so I went on a diet.
I felt starving and obsessed, so I binged.
I felt shame and socially awkward, so I drank.
I wanted desperately to fit in, so I smoked.
I felt totally alone, so I isolated.
I compared myself to the other prettier, skinnier girls, so I started purging.
I felt like I was never good enough, so I obsessed on my perceived flaws.

And so it went. I managed to have a life in there. I went to school. I traveled. I had jobs. But the constant soundtrack of feeling like I wasn’t okay, played on a repeat loop in my head.

Here’s how it is now:

I get hungry. I eat whatever I want, in moderation.
I feel satisfied. I stop no matter what other people are eating or saying.
I get sad sometimes. I let myself cry or sob.
I get mad at times. I feel it until it passes.
I make a mistake or do something I wish I didn’t. I immediately tell myself I don’t have to be perfect.
I go to parties sometimes and feel awkward. I tolerate the feeling, assume many others feel that way too and I leave when I am ready.
I rest a lot without an ounce of guilt and move in ways that I love.
I speak kindly to myself all the time.
I look at others and I know they’re doing the best they can with the resources and history that they have had.
I have many moments of peace.
When hard things happen I tell myself I can handle it and it will pass. And so it goes.

I always thought, when I was in the throes of addiction and depression, that if I ever recovered I would live a perfect, happily-ever-after life. But I live a real life with all kinds of feelings and experiences. I just don’t use anything over them or beat myself up about them.

I wish this for you.

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