Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Addiction as a Coping Mechanism

Though Humbling to admit, I have to say that I have used various Addictions all through my Life as a Coping Mechanism when Life became too stressful. I have been through the gamut of one addiction or another starting from very early childhood and still I struggle with a few unhealthy addictions.
It isn't difficult to identify my very first addiction by looking at photos of me as a baby. 3 chins I had and arms as chubby as sausages! I delighted in eating, so my mother used to tell me and besides back in the mid 50's chubby babies were looked upon as being healthy and happy!
Fast forward to age 3. The photos of me at that age show a serious and often sad little girl sitting with her hands folded in her lap. I was a shy and fearful child who being unable to understand or verbalize my feelings, used food for comfort. Having a mother who loved to cook and bake didnt help any! I can still remember walking home from school and smelling the aroma of chocolate chip cookies or fresh baked pie wafting out of the open windows of the kitchen nook. My mouth would be watering before I even got inside the house and I couldnt wait to start eating whatever delicious treat my mother had just baked. Sitting with my cookies I felt a sense of calm and happiness. Any sad or fearful feelings went away, for the moment.
When my father came home from work we never knew what kind of mood he would be in. If he had a good day usually his mood was good as well. Yet, if he had a bad day he could be mean and loud and often critical. My father was a moody person and often belittled or used name calling when his mood was bad. I feared him during those times and would actually hide from him on occasion. My Mother often kept quiet during the abuse as I believe she feared him as well.
I love my father and have been able to forgive and have compassion toward him in recent years and today we actually have a great relationship. That being said, my childhood was greatly affected by his unpredictible behavior and cruelty. Food was always a source of comfort, especially sweets and I often used it as a way to cope with my deep feelings of fear and powerlessness. My addiction to food as a coping Mechanism was the first of many addictions to come that I used when life became too painful for me.