Solo Act

There’s no lovelier place to enjoy the final dog days of summer than up at a cottage. I don’t have one, but my sister does, and she graciously offered it to me so I could have a week of solitude to write.  This isn’t the first occasion I’ve been up here on my own… pretty brave for a gal who used to sleep with a baseball bat next to her bed after her divorce! Each time I come here I get cozy and set up a workstation on the table overlooking the lake.

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Evenings are breathtaking up here.  And at night, it gets pitch dark, with only speckles of light flickering like birthday candles from the cottages across the lake.  However, the real glory is when you look up at the night sky, celestial jewels twinkling as far as the eye can see!

So here I sit, in seclusion, clicking away at the keys, every now and again gazing out the window at the happy cottagers zooming about in their motorboats, or skipping past on their sea-doos. But there is always one sight that intrigues me every time I come up here….  Who lives on that island smack dab in the middle of the lake?

Look at the photo again… you can see it just left of my laptop. Can’t spot it?  How about now as I zoom in from the deck, and again with an aerial view from Google Maps? They say that no man is an island, but clearly, you can buy one.

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You might be asking what this has to do with the food plan I’m following this month. Actually, isolation has everything do with addiction. All the material on 12-Step programs state that ‘addiction is a disease of isolation’, and I can attest to this firsthand.

Whenever one of my triggers sets off a cycle of bingeing, I go into isolation mode, leaving me to self-medicate with the drug of my choice in secret. I back out of social engagements, screen calls, or don’t return them, all so that I can wallow in the shame of my disease. It’s times like these, I wish I had my own island too.

The last thing I want to do is go out and be surrounded by people who I fear are judging the outside me, without knowing what’s happening with inside me. I also fear losing control around certain foods when eating in public.  Once, someone thought they could teach me a lesson in moderation by jabbing my hand with a fork as I reached out for a second helping. I became a hermit after that experience and didn’t come out for 3 months… 15 lbs. heavier.

Then there is the isolation that comes from not attending your 12-Step meetings – a clear sign of a relapse, or at least heading towards one. Members know the signs all too well, after all, they’ve been there, done that. That’s why it’s recommended to get a Sponsor – someone who REALLY knows what you’re going through, and takes a personal interest in your recovery WITHOUT judgement, or jabbing forks.

“Isolation is a process of gradually, eliminating recovery-related actions.”  

Kay Sheppard, From the First Bite, A Complete Guide to Recovery from Food Addiction

But how does one susceptible to retreating to the solitary island of self-abuse, trust not only the process of recovery (in my case, abstinence from flour, wheat, and sugar), but expose one’s innermost wounds and weaknesses to fellow addicts, as well?

Apparently, the first step is a doozy… admitting your powerlessness over your substance of choice, but once you take it, you won’t be alone.

“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.”

Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.

Isolation Piece - Sidebar - Journal

To view my Week 41 food journal, click here.

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