Body Shaming: When Will It End?

Body Snark Free Zone Sign

Body Snark Free Zone Sign (Photo credit: The Lingerie Addict)

Ok, so this isn’t a post about alcoholism or addiction in the sense of drugs and booze, but this is a post related to the addiction with body image of which most of us are probably unaware.  I watched a video of images a young girl (or any female for that matter) are subjected to in the course of a day.  The video was time warped into about a minute, but I got the idea.  Apparently, if a woman isn’t either a size zero walking on a runway or built like Marilyn Monroe from yesteryear she really isn’t a woman at all.

That’s bullshit.

The most disturbing part of all this is when I read the comments on articles or Facebook posts, it is women attacking other women! WTF Ladies! Get your heads out of your fat, skinny or otherwise perfect asses and wake the hell up!

The media is destroying us with commercials, unhealthy diets  and ridiculous clothing.  When that doesn’t work we resort to plastic surgery.  There are so many items for women to make themselves “look perfect.”

  • make-up
  • skin tightener
  • bras that make boobs look bigger
  • panties that make butts look bigger
  • girdles and cinches that make waists look smaller
  • high heels
  • hair dye
  • plastic surgery

Those are just a handful of items.

I have small boobs.  I HATE my boobs.  But the thought of actually having objects inserted into my breasts to make them appear bigger so I can feel like “I fit in” is disturbing on a myriad of levels.  I have actually entertained the thought a number of times because even watching the news in the morning can fuck up my whole day.

Then I turn the news off and drive to work.  When I get to work, I walk by the magazine rack: more images of air-brushed, photo-shopped women with heaving bosoms and blinding, perfect smiles.

Then I am at my desk.  I have to go online to do some research for my job.  Commence pop-up ads of “have a flat stomach in ten days” and “diet without exercise” and women with “curvy shapes.”

Fuck you.

And my email homepage?  Fuggedaboutit.  I was on there today and the top news articles were about actresses and other famous (or moderately famous) women ‘baring bikini bods’ or ‘rocking their curves’ or ‘so and so wows in skimpy dress.’

So this is what I, a 40 year old woman, go through on a daily basis.  I cannot fathom what young women and girls go through today; what my daughters go through today.  It’s disturbing to know that women cannot ‘just be.’  We can’t just be beautiful because we are who we are.  We (me included) point out the flaws when someone compliments us: Thanks, but…

Or we point out the flaws in other women because their beauty makes us uncomfortable and we ‘don’t measure up.’

 When did the media decide body shaming is a great idea and when did we, as the human race, buy into their crap?

I don’t know and quite frankly, I don’t think anyone knows.

What do you think?

Why Methadone Was Not An Option… For Me

Turkey

Turkey (Photo credit: wattpublishing)

I started drinking at an early age.  It became a way for me to stomach myself each time I looked in the mirror or engaged with other humans.  I never thought it would come full circle and the thing that gave me ‘people power’ would take that power away along with any perceived power over every other person, place or thing in my life.

Getting clean and sober was not an easy task for me by any stretch of the imagination (is it easy for any of us?).  I made a decision to go cold turkey.  I locked myself in my basement apartment for roughly a week only going outside to walk down to the Walgreen’s to get cigarettes (I also drank gallons of water).  I was dizzy, sweating, cold, hot, felt nauseous, had wicked stomach knots and the shakes just to name a few symptoms of opiate withdrawal.  I became a skeletal recluse for those seven or so days and it was the best thing I ever did for myself.

Now, I’m not saying going ‘cold turkey’ is the best way – and I didn’t go cold turkey – but for some, it is the best way.  I weaned myself until there was nothing left but me, my coffee cup and lots of cigarette butts.  I pretty much glued my ass to this chair in said basement and just eked it out.  It was fucking hell, lemme tell ya.  I mean, at the height of my addiction, I was consuming about 1000 mg of Percocet a day along with one or two Fentanyl pops and not to mention all the 80 mg Oxy’s I was crushing and snorting.  Yeah, I probably should have been dead a few times.

I read so many horror stories about people who use methadone or Suboxone to wean off opiates.  It makes no sense to me as an addict.  Seriously.  Why would I want to stop using one drug only to become addicted to another?  It made zero sense to me.  I did go to an outpatient center, they asked me how long I was off pills and I told them.  Now, I was off for about a week or so when I called this place.  They actually suggested these two drugs to me.  I was like, “NO EFFING WAY.” I didn’t go through hell in my basement for that time only to revisit a different level of hell.  Thanks, but no thanks.

I belong to a few groups on Facebook centered around recovery and hope.  This is where social media is truly awesome.  We get to share ideas, thoughts and a lot of memes.  I have been reading about methadone and Suboxone use in opiate withdrawal.  It seems like a double-edged sword.  On one hand, an addict is getting off the hard shit or fist fulls of pills.  On the other hand, they are creating a brand new addiction that is equally gruesome.

I read a lot of statements that go something like, “I have been clean for three months, well, really two days because I was on Suboxone all that time.  I feel like crap and I want to use.” Seriously?!

Please understand… I judge no one.  I am no better than anyone, period.  I just don’t understand.  So I guess in a sense, I am asking: if anyone using either of these for opiate withdrawal or using something else for opiate withdrawal could explain to me why this is a choice, that would be great.

Yes, the basement was hell.  I may even write about it one day in a memoir because I feel like people should know how fucking awful opiate withdrawal really is.

Looking back, I am glad I did it that way.  I may not have survived if I became addicted to something else.

Being Me…

Dance Floor

Dance Floor (Photo credit: enric archivell)

Okay, so I’m an alcoholic.  I was probably born one, but didn’t catch on until my late twenties.  Further, I didn’t do anything about it until my early thirties. I tripped, stumbled, blacked out… did all the crazy things that alcoholics do and then some.

The one thing that got me tripped up all my life was… me.  I am so damn hard on myself!  I can go down my list of “nots” and really spiral into a dark, lifeless hole.

I am not pretty enough; smart enough; talented enough; GOOD enough. It seeps in like a cool November breeze and before I know it I am sitting there shivering with rage.  I cry, curse at myself. Hell, when I was a teenager, I even used to hit myself if you can imagine that one.  I just hated myself so much.  I hated me, I hated my mother for giving birth to me and I hated God for allowing my birth.  Surely, it was a mistake.  Why on Earth would He put someone as pathetic and ugly as me on the planet?

Yeah, ugly.  I suffered with my self-image for a long time and still do… sometimes.  I was picked on all through school as a child and then a pre-teen and a teenager.  I was even made fun of as an adult. I resorted to violence to fend off the teasing when I was younger.  When I was older, I just drank more.  Surely the alcohol would numb my self-loathing.

I guess I felt, “hey, if I can’t be pretty, I’ll be a brute.”  Even though I weighed maybe seventy pounds soaking wet when I was thirteen.  At five feet seven, that right there my friends is a ‘bean pole,’ as I was called.

There were much worse names.

I was picked on in junior high school because I didn’t “fill out” like all the other girls.  I was so flat chested, I didn’t even wear a bra.  One time, some boys were walking down the hallway behind my friend and me and they grabbed at our backs to snap our bra straps.  I found out later they did that to prove I didn’t have a bra on because I didn’t have breasts. They laughed their asses off that day.  I ran in the bathroom and cried.

I felt worthless.  I felt ashamed.  I felt soooo ugly.

So yeah, I became violent. I started getting in fights with other girls and I started beating up boys.  Beating up boys!  Not so much beating them into a bloody pulp, but I got the best of them for sure.

Now, you would think that after all these years, and all my years sober and all the step work I have done and all the resentments I have talked about with my sponsor and all the shit I have let go, that this would be the big one I wanted to let go, because, after all, who the hell wants to hold onto a big pile of shit?

I just don’t know how to let it the hell go!  I am so mad still (sometimes.) I am not mad all the time, but sometimes I just get mad.  Sometimes, I look in the mirror and still see that skinny, flat-chested girl who used to get picked on. The girl who boys didn’t like.  The girl who boys didn’t ask to go to dances and when she was at dances, they certainly didn’t want to dance with. The girl who never got put on the “list of girls.”

A lot of people say, “Darlene, get the hell over it.  That was a long time ago.  You’re beautiful!”

Yes, there are times that I feel beautiful. But there are other times, usually when I am watching television or I am on the beach or at a big concert or something, that I just get way lost in the hoopla of what is defined as beauty today.

For the record, I don’t watch much television and I rarely go to the beach. I listen to a lot of music, do a lot of writing and I do my readings everyday because a small part of me knows it is all in my head.  A small part of me sometimes sees something beautiful in me.

I never think of drinking over this.  Hell, I can’t remember the last time a drink entered my mind.  Thankfully, I have a lot of women in my life and a pretty good support system.  Thankfully, I have the rooms and the literature I read.

Thankfully, most times I recognize it is all in my head.

Day 8 – Control

Self Control (film)

Self Control (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“You cannot always control circumstances, but you can control your own thoughts.” ~ Charles Popplestown

Wouldn’t I just love to control everything, everyone and every circumstance so that I may never be upset, angry or hurt.  The truth is, I have no control over anything except my thinking, and that is where the trouble comes into play.

For years, I tried to control the behavior of others to manipulate my mood.  I would tell them how to behave so that I may be happy.  This is a temporary fix to a deep problem.

Honestly, the sheer effort it takes to control other people and their behaviors is exhausting.  Putting people where we think they belong, helping them act the way they should act and relying on others to make us happy is unfair to us and them.

Do you find that trying to control everything is exhausting?  

Day 5 – Celebrating Freedom

Freedom

Freedom (Photo credit: Josef Grunig)

How awesome is it to celebrate freedom from the slavery of drugs and alcohol?  Once a drudgery of self-loathing and hatred, when I put down the drink and the drug, I found a new way of life and discovered freedom to the core.

There were no more lost moments of clarity.  Nights once spent in a drunken stupor were a thing of the past.  My nights turned into eating at diners after meetings with other like-minded people in search of a common goal.  I discovered that drinking and drugging were not a staple when it came to fun.

Fun and entertainment came in new and enlightening ways without drugs and alcohol.  As I started to work my program, the chain-links of self snapped one by one, creating a gate I could swing open into a new world.

One by one, I snapped a link one day at a time.

Amazing.

Day 4 – Keeping Score

Hopscotch

Hopscotch (Photo credit: Jan Tik)

When I was little I played games like most kids.  Hopscotch, Tag and Freedom were some of my favorites.  As I got older, I joined a few organized sports like softball and basketball.  I was athletic and while I didn’t particularly enjoy losing, I did it gracefully… sometimes.

Somewhere along the way I learned the awful habit of comparing myself to others.  My looks, my education, my material belongings… all of this and more was never good enough, never small enough, never big enough, never pretty enough; it was never enough and there began my dark spiral into the “not’s” as I call them.

Comparisons are like keeping score and I came up short (the loser) every damn time.

Something I’ve learned in sobriety is to compare myself to myself.  Everything about me I need to compare only to myself because, being a good alcoholic, it is easy for me to tailspin into a dark hole of self-doubt and woe-is-me.

“She’s prettier.” “Her boobs are bigger.” “Oh my gosh!  Look how cute her feet are!  I wish I had feet like that!” I mean, it goes on and on and on!  Ugh… I can go from 100 to 0 in less that thirty seconds when I start keeping score in my head.

Keeping score wears on my self-esteem, it shows on my face and most important it drains me.  Luckily, I love to read self-help books, go to meetings and talk with other women.  I have learned when I start to keep score and am learning how to stop.

  • Say the Serenity Prayer.
  • Realize that everyone is beautiful in their own way (including me).
  • I am better than I was a year ago.
  • I am on my own journey, and it is amazing.
  • Focus on my attributes.

These are some of the ways I deal with my “not’s.”  I’m human, so some days are easier than others.

Progress, not perfection.

Day 1 – Reacting to Conditions

Sunday

Sunday (Photo credit: ex.libris)

I have this great book called, “365 Excuse Me…” which is a daily thought book.  There is a quote for each day of the year and a short blurb about the quote.  I do not read this book every day, but when I do, turn through the pages until I find something that suits me.

I had a great heart to heart with my daughter Sunday night, and after picking the book up, happened to flip to the page that said this:

“As long as we’re reacting to conditions, something will always be wrong.”

How awesome is that?!

Basically, that quote means we cannot change anything that goes on around us.  We can only change how we think, which changes how we feel.  We can choose how we react to a particular situation!  Way freaking cool, man!

It took me years to figure this out!

Quick example:  I am in traffic and someone cuts me off.  I can either yell expletives and flip him off, thereby ruining most of my morning, or I can say to myself, “Gee, I guess he is in a hurry.” Shrug it off and just go about my route to wherever.

I have no control over what the guy did!  I only have control over my reaction to what happened.  Period.

Are you able to control your reaction to outside events? 

Kensington Blues – A Hardcore Photo Blog

El fly-by

El fly-by (Photo credit: Tim McFarlane)

So a friend of mine told me about this blog called Kensington Blues.  I thought, “hey, I’m from Philly, knew a lot of ‘Kenso’s’ growing up after junior high school, this should be interesting.”

Interesting was an understatement after I saw the photos of addicts on the streets of Kensington.  I forced myself to look into their eyes of quiet desperation.  My eyes darted over the real-life backdrops of littered streets, graffiti covered buildings and the devastating picture of Nichol who looks no older than fourteen.

Heartbreaking.

The truth is no one wants a life on the street, selling their ass to get high or peddling for change to get another fix.  Life just goes that way for some.  I can’t explain it and I know in my heart that any of those women could have been me.  That stark reality is forever at the forefront of my mind when I see a bottle of booze or happen to be within earshot of someone talking about drugs.

It is a life to which no one aspires.  Sometimes it creeps in like a slow, ugly plague.  Other times, it punches you in the throat when you’re thrown out of the house at eighteen or molested by a trusted adult.

Us addicts and alcoholics spent many minutes on our knees, begging God for salvation or death, whichever should come first.

Please, take a look at the blog.  The life of an addict isn’t always some fancy story surrounded by a dysfunctional family in a three bedroom rancher portrayed on ‘Intervention.’  It can be much darker and sadistic.

See for yourself.

Relapse – A Painful Truth

Relapse is a harsh reality in the world of recovery.  There are a million reasons people give for relapse but the number one I hear everywhere I go is this:  RESENTMENT.  Someone who follows my blog sent me a fascinating, short video about relapse.  If you’re interested, watch it.  Profound, it sticks to the point.

Video Infographic by Clarity Way

The disheartening truth is that addicts and alcoholics relapse long before they pick up again.  A switch goes off and the obsession kicks back into the brain.  The obsession leads to the compulsion to drink or drug.  Once the compulsion is acted upon, it is off to the races.

Please, watch the video, visit the website if you wish, and leave your thoughts in the comment section!  I’d love to hear from you.

Have a blessed day.

Happy Summer Solstice!

The sun behind the Heel Stone at Stonehenge, s...

The sun behind the Heel Stone at Stonehenge, shortly after sunrise on the summer solstice.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes!  Happy Summer Solstice everyone… today is the 21st day of June 2013.  Being so, I decided I have been way too damn negative and I need to amp up my positive vibes!

While it is extremely easy for us to get into a slump it is just as easy to step out of that dark hole and count the blessings God bestows upon us each day!

Therefore, since it is the first day of summer, I am calling this “New Attitude Day.” No matter how down we get on ourselves sometimes, or how crappy we feel, there is always… always something to be grateful for.  It could be something monumental or something as simple as having toothpaste.  You get the idea…

Today is a gorgeous day here on the East Coast… filled with warm sunshine, cool breezes, chirping birds, a bright blue sky and tons of other things – all reminding me that there is a God…

Amazing things happen when we lose the “poor me” attitude and get grateful!

What are you grateful for today?

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