Obsession is the hallmark of addiction. Whether it’s food, drugs, or sex, my brain becomes fixated on feelings of pleasure that the substance or behavior elicits. It’s a process that normal people will never comprehend. The anticipation and the build-up become stimulating and irresistible; it’s a part of the high. Just thinking about food or alcohol would rouse tiny butterflies in my stomach. Blood would barrel to my head as I became instantaneously dominated by an overwhelming sense of excitement and emotion. Yes, emotion. My absence of genuine feelings in other aspects of my life was a consequence of my preoccupation with my drugs of choice. Food and alcohol superficially satisfied my emotional needs by evoking comfort, joy, and instant gratification. My desires were insatiable, and I practiced indulgence on a daily basis.
I couldn’t just eat one chip. I couldn’t just have one drink and I couldn’t just run one mile. Everything I participated in was performed in excess. I couldn’t stop. My brain perceived pleasure with no interference. It never registered satisfaction. It never signaled fulfillment. It was quite the opposite; it compelled me to keep going. It convinced me not to stop. My craving for over-indulgence wasn’t necessarily a choice. I didn’t choose for my brain to send me these conflicting signals. I didn’t choose this diseased brain. I wanted a normal brain; I wanted a brain that would tell me when to stop.
The only people that think addiction is not a disease are those that are normal. Do you know how many times I’ve heard people say, “It’s a choice, you chose to drink.” The reality is: It doesn’t even matter. Whether it is a disease or not, it is suffering. This suffering requires some degree of treatment just like a cancer patient requires some level of care.
Behind the smile is chaos and compulsion. In this picture, my body is flawless. There is not an ounce of body fat on my petite frame. I appear physically and mentally strong. Behind the facade is a girl suffering from an eating disorder. I avoided food for days. Then, when I did put food into my mouth, I physically couldn’t stop. I usually ended up eating so much that I needed to puke, or at least that’s what I told myself. My body was a sparkly and shiny veneer. It was an illusion. Inside, I was breaking. I felt out of control as I jumped from one high to the next.