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Guest Post: Dean Robertson on Addiction, Chasing the High

I contacted Dean Robertson about half a year ago, and ever since have been so grateful for her help in editing my manuscript and navigating the publishing world. I appreciate not only her advice and wisdom with book publishing and editing, but also her honesty with the struggles she has overcome herself.

I am a recovering alcoholic, drug addict, compulsive overeater, and bulimic. Before I stopped drinking and drugging at the age of 40, my favorite legal drug was a mug of room temperature Guinness stout with a chaser of vodka from a bottle my favorite bartender kept in the freezer for me. My favorite illegal drug was marijuana. I never snorted cocaine, smoked crack, or dropped acid—mostly because the opportunity never presented itself at a moment when I was drunk enough to say ‘yes.’ My favorite legal drugs, other than alcohol, were prescription medications. I believe the unattractive term for me is “pill head.”

dean1

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Discipline, Drugs, and Disorder

I was recently challenged with the notion that eating disorders are not as intense or similar to drug addiction or alcoholism. I’ve also been challenged about how much eating disorders are a discipline–not a disorder–issue.

And then we have misconceptions about what eating disorders “look” like: only when are you scarily thin should you get help. When you are overweight, you just need to “eat less and exercise more.” Not exactly.

There’s a lot to fight against with eating disorders, and perhaps that is what makes them so difficult for sufferers to admit what they are going through. I do appreciate the questions I receive from those who simply have not had an eating disorder because it means they are either trying to understand, or that they are at least helping me to understand their confusion and skepticism. But it can be frustrating when people quickly dismiss the illness lightly when you are not hooked up to an IV or fainting at work.

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Don’t You Let Go: A Lord of the Rings Lesson on Addiction/Struggle

I can’t help but think of Lord of the Rings when I think of the relationship we have with an eating disorder–or for anyone with any addiction, for that matter.

I was never a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, but I’ve enjoyed the books and the movies. It’s fascinating for me to see the way the characters become entranced by the ring–some more strongly than others if they become vulnerable to its power–and how similar dabbling in eating-disordered habits allows people to become consumed with their own ring of supposed “power.” Funny, too, how the circular nature of a ring is not unlike a metaphor for the cyclical pattern of addiction–especially with eating disorders.

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