It is over! The darkest hour is just before dawn – truly. Yep, I guess I’m a rock bottom girl. Gotta touch ground before I can spring up. Or maybe I just like to push boundaries. How much can I get away with? Or to give it a positive spin, I’m just trying to get to know myself and my limits.
What happened this time? As you know I’ve been playing on the edge of addiction. I felt like it was OK because it was helping me to better understand food addiction, which would help me to share my recovery process with others. But recently from time to time things got so bad that I was operating in a fog and my work was starting to suffer.
So lately I’ve been saying “I’m done being a wounded healer, done being an example of a struggling raw vegan even though I know it helps a lot of people to feel like it is OK to struggle. It is OK. But I’m ready to be an example of someone who struggled and made it through to a 100% raw vegan diet, which is where I want to be, because it feels best to me”.
And the teacher came when the student was ready. Barbara Gabriel, a marriage and family therapist, and raw vegan, came to our retreat and shared with me a ground-breaking new branch of psychology called Emotional Brain Training (EBT) based on the latest research in the field of brain science. I’ve been having weekly EBT sessions with her and now am part of a weekly EBT telegroup we put together. I had been wishing I could afford some kind of counselling as there were areas of my life that were just too confusing for me and that I felt a professional therapist could help me to sort out.
Another prayer answered! I’ve been practicing EBT for 3 months now and I am gaining tremendous clarity on these issues! I haven’t been totally diligent but it doesn’t matter. Whatever work you do to re-wire your brain is enough. It is becoming quite fun, and fascinating, feeling this new power to actually get some reins hooked up to this wild beast of an organ.
I say it is starting to become fun, because although at first my food addiction rapidly improved, it then got worse. Then it got worse than ever. And I thought maybe I’d have to give up EBT because it had opened up a Pandora’s box of issues and I was questioning whether I really had time to deal with them at this point in my life. Too big. Too much.
I was enjoying the clarity, the consciousness, the awareness, the feeling my feelings, the calmness that came from this. But then I was also experiencing some very dark, very numb episodes. These were triggered by shame regarding my food addictions, even though I espouse the credo “No beating up on yourself”. I didn’t know what was happening. It was confusing. I tried to work the EBT tools during these times, with just a very little success I supposed.
But then the next day I’d feel great. And my addiction would be much lessened. And then Barbara told me that those inexplicable numb depressions were brain state 5’s, the reptilian brain state, where you are really in the worst emotional state possible. They happen to everyone but they can get more intense or happen more frequently when you are doing the EBT work. And that’s good because it is while you are in 4’s and 5’s that you can actually rewire your brain.
It is almost like EBT allowed me to really feel my lows more than I had before – because it is teaching me to really feel my feelings. Previously, I was in denial or I’d escape with food. Even though I was still going to food, I was minimizing harm (part of one of the tools), and while I was eating I was also trying to practice compassion for myself (another of the EBT tools).
Even though I felt like I was not succeeding, I feel now that I did succeed. I definitely re-wired something while in that state, without even realizing it! Only now when I have been free of addiction for days do I believe and see that I have re-wired my brain to deal better with stress, to be more conscious of what I’m feeling, and to develop better habits. I’m earning the rewards of connection.
I believe now that rather than feeling my feelings and stating my feelings and seeing how true or not they were, I would eat. I would eat to avoid a brain state 5, or to numb it. But by really going through a brain state 5 more consciously, more fully, with food or without (because actually the food did not work to numb it this time!) I actually got something I needed out of that state.
Maybe I just needed to be in it — because it was real. Maybe I just needed to know that I feel like complete crap about hiding my cooked food addiction from my kids, and about eating cooked foods while feeding them raw and admitting to myself how detestable I find myself for that. Maybe I had to have a talk with myself while in brain state 5 to get that information from myself. Yes, I think that is what happened.
One interesting thing about this work is that you put your emotions in to words, and by stating them you can see more easily what is true and what you are just making up.
I have to say I no longer expect to be done with my issues – moods and behaviors – permanently. I know I’m a work in progress, and always will be. And that’s OK. Like anything else, it is work. And it works if you work it.
Speaking of connection, I was realizing that I needed to be diligent about my prayer and gratitude practice to balance out the EBT work I was doing, which was basically learning to acknowledge negative emotions within me. And so this happened yesterday morning: I finally managed to have a great prayer on the beach. It was very connected. More connected than I’d been in a long time.
I’m sure the EBT was partially responsible for this. And it was so magical that I knew I wanted this connection all the time. And in that moment I knew that I wanted to keep the channels free of clogging food; food that clogged my small capillaries causing carpel tunnel and blurry eye-sight, and that also clogged my spiritual channels. Well, the spirit channels got clogged because my self-esteem would get too low (too gunky) to pray when I abused food.
I’m now having an amazing feeing of freedom. I had really become desperate, not even being able to imagine being free of my addictions, almost not wanting to be free. And I felt as though my spark had gone out. So I’m incredulous at the sudden and surprising freedom. I know I’m over it for now. But I need to prove that to myself by staying clean. Because now I’m feeling like I can have a little non-raw food without danger. But that could very well be an illusion.
I’m not going to say “once an addict always an addict” and label myself like that. I’m not going to make that my reason for staying on the wagon. I will instead say that I desire to eat only foods that are alive and vibrant with life force energy and sparkly brightness to my toungue! And that is completely true – not just an affirmation of my future intention — This is now! This is real! This is the way I feel!
I’m so grateful for this feeling. I’m going to live! I’m going to be able to claim my mantle and do the work I’ve been positioned to do in the world! My heart could burst with happiness!
The 21 Day Raw Cleanse Starts Tomorrow, Monday Oct 22nd! Get clean and you’ll have an easier time resisting the holiday temptations that are just around the corner!