Saturday, July 07, 2012
I bet I'm not the only Sparker with multiple addictions, eh? Food and spending, my primary "issues", have been twin challenges my entire adult life. I suspect they have the same root - something like "nothing is ever enough" - but they operate differently in my life.
Food you cannot do without. "Stuff," on the other hand, is obviously not necessary.
In years past, when I was "successfully" "dieting" (note the creative and so expressive use of quotation marks) I would always go on spending sprees. I did not realize at the time that the spending was a way to indulge the "appetite" as much as the eating.
Long story short, spending has an end where one's income runs out, even though one can "budget" pretty much the same as one can "diet". I did a bankruptcy over a decade ago and that sorta "solved" the problem of credit-addiction. But since then I have been acutely aware of the "urges" to acquire stuff just as I have been more aware of "urges" and cravings for food.
It's what's at the heart of the addictions I am after with my Spark program, I think. Lately, when I am trying to wait out the food cravings, I have been working on mindfully exploring what the urges ARE, what they are "made of" cognitively, emotionally, spiritually.
I have a background in the 12 Step programs from being an Overeaters Anonymous member and also a Substance Abuse counselor from 'way back. Today I had one of those epiphanies I get when I am Sparking a lot that the urge to eat food/acquire stuff is the same as impatience with any slower process, as frustration when something doesn't go my way and with unwillingness to spill out coffee from a too-full cup so the stuff doesn't squirt all over when I put the lid on ...
Don't know if that last bit makes any sense to anyone, but it recalls a little friendly lecture I got from an old AA guy when I was just 24 ... that unwillingness to spill out the too-full cup is "an addiction to self", he said. "Little-s-self" he specified, rather than the "Capital-S-Self" that is the spiritual core of an individual (he was a really, really deep thinker!).
I did not grasp it then, at least not on that deeper level. It is making itself clearer as I get older ('way older!). I don't like the appetites of what has gotta be "little-me" running my life! I have goals and longer-term hopes and plans that are de-railed when I let that hungry "little me" gobble up whatever it wants! "IT" is not mySELF. I don't want to be hooked on "its" appetites!
If that wise, old AA brother was right (and I know in my heart that he was) the "I" that I am coming more and more to identify as mySELF is where the drive for health and wellness of my body is coming from. Clearly the goals of that deeper and wiser drive apply equally well to the acquisition of stuff as it does to food.
"Little-me" doesn't like mindfulness - it's like a little kid in the grocery store pestering mommy to buy candy and ice cream and toys, whining, "but I really, really WANT that!"
Stand firm, Mommy! "Little-me" has NO IDEA WHAT IS GOOD OR BAD! All it knows is WANT-WANT-WANT!