Confronting Cross-Addiction

By: Lauren Stahl

Lauren Stahl lives in South Beach, Fla. She grew up in Westchester, N.Y., a suburb outside of NYC and attended Tufts University where she studied economics and entrepreneurial leadership. After graduating from college in 2009, she moved to NYC and began working on Wall Street. It was not long before her eating disorder, drug, and alcohol addiction took her on a downward spiral. She entered treatment in September 2012 and continues to build a life of early recovery. She hosts a website, where each day she discusses a new ‘Ask’ about recovery.

Beyond resisting Lauren

Jul 08, 2013

 I lived for years resisting.

I didn't want to accept that I was a gay woman. I didn't want to accept that I was an alcoholic – an addict, with an eating disorder, too. It was all too hard to accept.

My lack of acceptance of these problems led to me not accepting myself. And that led me to feeling hopeless, powerless, and unworthy. My addictions fed off of these bad feelings. So where did my resistance get me? Absolutely nowhere.

This week I have embraced something new: Acceptance.

When I came down to Miami almost 10 months ago, I told my treatment team that I was on the fast track. I just needed to break the cycle and I would be back to NYC in no time. Halloween was coming up and I couldn’t miss the big party. I had birthday parties to attend; holiday parties to make an appearance at, too. The fear of missing out gripped me.

During treatment, however, something shifted. A little piece of me had willingness and knew that a better life was possible, and it began to flourish. I began to accept the intensity of my eating disorder and other addictions. I realized how much of a twisted reality I lived in for so many years.

Now almost 10 months clean and sober, acceptance is happening on a whole new level. And with that acceptance has come a willingness to start over. My ego and sense of entitlement do not like this. They like to come in and tell me I “should” be accomplishing more. I “should” move back to NYC and start working back in the business world and making more money. I “should” lose weight and start perfecting my body: That is exactly how I will find a partner.

The reality is, all of these “shoulds” take me right back to where my disease wants me: feeling unworthy, vulnerable, and with a sense of self that's rooted in self-hatred. That is not Lauren anymore and I have to consciously bring myself back to reality or else I end up living in my disease. This requires acceptance and no longer resisting who and what I am in every sense.

My sponsor says, “Don’t pick up the first think.” I love this and repeat it to myself constantly.

The reality is I am powerless over my eating disorder; my addictive thoughts. They come up continually. I can wake up in the morning and my eating disorder will tell me my stomach is fat and all of a sudden that will lead to the thought of restricting my breakfast or compulsively exercising.

I have to fight hard in these moments. The pull toward instant gratification is still there. I work to shift my focus to what I do have power over, and that is doing the next right thing. That can mean properly nourishing myself, reaching out to a friend, going to a meeting, listening to music, and the list goes on.

It gets easier. So I guess that means I will keep doing what I’m doing. And all of that starts with acceptance.



jen R.  2275 days ago

ACCEPTANCE=Actually Changing Completely Embracing Principles Truly Activates New Choices Everyday.

jen R.  2275 days ago

Self-Acceptance has been something I continue working on every day. Thanks for the great article/blog!!

April Pfrogner  2289 days ago

Great article! I'm posting it on my facebook! I think many people will relate to this!

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