As you probably know, Robin Williams died this week due to addiction issues. Very, very sad.
Not long before that we lost Phillip Seymour Hoffman. A couple months prior to that, we lost L'wren Scott, Mick Jagger's latest wife. And a couple months before that tragedy, Peaches Geldof, Bob Geldof's 25-year-old gorgeous daughter, kissed the dust. Not to forget that the memory of Whitney Houston's talent gone all too soon is still with many.
Every single one struggled with drug addiction. And died from that.
It is not uncommon for those, who struggle with drugs, that they also suffer from different disordered eating behaviors as well, often overlooked and ignored due to drug use. Together they form a fatal combination, heart attack waiting to happen.
A heart can only take so much stress before it gives up.
Most drugs tend to numb us out and create such a high, that we do not care for any basic biological needs anymore. For a minute, it feels as if we a above it. Flying high so close to the sun, we feel like we can almost touch it.
Until our wax wings melt. And we crash.
And with our mouths bloody, and our eyes filled with tears, we try to crawl through life, somehow survive in this skin we are in. Perhaps pretending that the blood stains on our lips, is merely smeared lipstick. We like to pretend. Pretending that we are not really sick. Convincing ourselves that we just need something to calm us down, you know, take the edge off.
When we are on drugs, we need not deal with eating disordered behaviors and hunger.
We feel like we can survive on the high of life, like we are immortal - in that moment.
Why it is so essential, that once we want to give up drugs, we start a nutrition program geared at minimizing cravings and helping our body back on track to function fully again from the hormonal damage, brain chemical hijacking and adrenal gland exhaustion, that every single addict suffers from. It is important that we do NOT freak out and relapse into drugs, if we begin to struggle with food and weight issues, which most likely will happen. You need to come clean in order to figure out which areas are hurting and how to feed your body, mind and soul.
And of course food and sugar addiction becomes the next "drug of choice" for many an addict.
Simply because our nerves are raw, and quitting drugs feel like walking in a dead body, which is, granted, not a very nice feeling. Give yourself a break, and stop judging yourself - it¨s a process, and a stepping stone closer to recovery.
Figuring out that you struggle with food after giving up drugs, is not an excuse to give up.
I originally started working with eating disorders after having worked with addicts, where it became very clear, that there were a lot of biochemical imbalances overlapping. Many an addict will find themselves literally emptying bags of sugar in their coffee in rehab. Yet none of the rehabs back then paid any attention to nutrition therapy for addictions, or even picked up on the fact that many clients left - clean of drugs, but now with an eating disorder. Not exactly recovery.
When we do not target the food issue in addictions, we do not address the underlying brain chemical issue that is now screaming to be fixed by excessive sugar consumption.
You may say, "hello health-freak, you do realize, that sugar is not exactly coke". And I'd say, "you're absolutely right". Sugar is not coke - the rat experiments often referred to, when using this argument to obsessively cut out every grain of sugar, are slightly exaggerated, to say the least.
No one is going to die or get addicted from a tsp. of sugar in their mint tea.
But if taken in large amounts throughout the day - where one's diet mainly consists of sugar, fructose or white flour, in one form or the other, there is going to be issues sooner or later. This is true especially if coming from a history of drug use. Sugar in large quantities does keep the same reward pathways in the brain active, waiting for relapse to happen at the first slight storm.
Aspartame, agave and fructose are not better options by the way.
If you need sweets and don't want to spike blood sugar nor evoke that specific brain chemical addiction pathway, your best bets are Stevia or raw honey. And by the way - honey should not be baked with or heated up ever. Heat changes the molecular structure of honey and actually turns it indigestible and evokes an insulin response once eaten, which raw honey does not. Also why studies have shown raw honey to be safe for diabetics, yet not true with regular, heated honey.
You wan't to build your recovery on bricks. Not brittle sticks that can easily break when the going gets tough.
So, where do you start?
Well, nutrition is key to balance biochemistry in addictions. Just avoid going on a one-size-fits-all-diet even if claimed as the new magical-cure-all healthnut eating style, because you are definitely not a one-size-fits-all biochemistry wise. No one is, why everyone responds quite differently to similar foods consumed - a key indicator to this is how you feel. Some of us feel great on Atkins, some of us feel great on a plant-based diet and others do better with cooked macrobiotic style, spiced foods, high fat diets etc. etc..
So stepping out of this dangerous one-size-fits-all diet book trap is important, because you can do a lot of damage by following a diet type, that does not support your biochemical type nor cater for your specific imbalances.
The first step I recommend is to get your neurotransmitter + stress hormones analyzed.
You can't take action, before you know what's going on, why lab testing is key. Everything else is guess work, really.
Step 2 is matching the lab results to a specific herbal and regenerative nutrition program to heal on a cell-level.
You want to THRIVE in recovery. Isn't that what we all want - to thrive in this skin we are in.