Monthly Archives: October 2013

Bounty Hunter

What if Boba Fett never got paid? What if he brought Han Solo all the way back to Jabba’s palace in that slab of carbonite, maneuvered him through the hallways, and approached his client for his money, only to be greeted with indifference? What if his demand for pay was met with a reminder that no reward was necessary for doing what was right, and he’d better not make a fuss or he could find himself in trouble? How likely would he be to hunt down his next target if this became a regular occurrence?

In recovery, I’m like Boba Fett trying to change careers. Used to putting in bursts of effort for a tangible reward, I have to adapt to steadier effort without immediate gratification. Life, as a whole, is infinitely better, but to my primitive brain chemistry it’s lacking that straightforward “do this, get that” sequence that is so much a part of addiction. I still seek that instinctively, especially when I have just put effort into something. The bounty hunter in me wants her pay.

For example, I’m feeling virtuous today, and that’s not good. I’m feeling virtuous because I have successfully improved my self-care in the last couple of days: meds are back on track, food is being managed better, and I’ve even exercised. All desirable things, and there’s nothing wrong with me being pleased about them. Feeling virtuous, however, tends to lead to trouble, and I want to intercept that feeling before it goes where it tends to go.

Virtue is a bad idea when it comes to my recovery. It’s not only that it can lead to complacency or false pride; its real danger to me is the way it encourages a split view of myself. I wrote about this in Carrots of Good Intentions: the fact that when I assign virtue to behaviors it makes them other, and there is always an element of anticipating the return of the “real” version of myself. Eating healthfully, exercising, doing laundry, opening the mail or any other behavior I have trouble doing consistently gets tagged with this idea of “virtue” as opposed to just being something I do because it needs to be done.

Too much laundry.

Too much laundry.

So a part of me, rather than moving forward with plans for more good living, is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. At the same time, that bounty hunter inside me wants to be paid, a process that is likely to speed the return of the less healthful behaviors. Payment used to be in the form of drugs: I got through this family outing, so now I get to lie down and take pills. Or food: I got through the work day, so I deserve drive-through on the way home. If both of those are sidelined, the reward takes the form of something else that shuts me down or of skipping chores.

I know I’m not the only one who has felt the insanity of this thought process. I opened the mail, so as my reward I’m going to let it pile up for a week now. I lost two pounds; time for pizza! I exercised yesterday, so today I’m not giving my body a single thought. Self-sabotage and self-destructiveness, disguised as treats.

Many self-help resources recommend finding ways to reward ourselves in harmless ways. Celebrate weight loss with a new dress, not ice cream. Buy ourselves books, pamper ourselves with spa treatments. Doing nice things for ourselves is great, and as we develop healthy self-esteem it will become part of our lives. But the problem with using such things as rewards remains the same: we depend too much on them. For an addict like me, my need for them will also increase and what started out as a harmless type of reward seldom stays that way.

How do we, as people seeking to achieve and maintain change, deal with our internal bounty hunter? How do we convince Boba Fett that from now on he’s working for the greater good? How do we convince our primitive selves that life is worth living for deeper rewards; that we can reach the end of a productive day and not need to mark the accomplishment with anything that will harm us?

It’s not just about needing to grow up and leave behind our childish or selfish desires. Changing a life process, a rhythm, creates a deep feeling of disorientation. If you are like me, you may have felt it at the end of a day or after finishing a task: an aimlessness, a vague discomfort. An almost physical distillation of “now what?” that grows until you consciously or unconsciously do something to restore the status quo.

I have no easy answer to this, but I know I will grapple with it often until I do make some progress. My greatest weapon so far is being conscious of it, and writing this helps me see my bounty hunter clearly. Apparently my subconscious has chosen to dress her like Boba Fett’s hot sister: she doesn’t have that helmet, but a lot of the outfit is similar. Grimy from a long journey, eyes uncompromising, she has little patience with explanations. I suppose I’ll invite her to tea, order a guest chamber prepared and hope for the best.

Check, But Not Mate

I have no true talent for chess. I know the rules, and I am intelligent enough to think several moves ahead, but I lack the special strategic gifts that some have. My grasp of the game is not intuitive, so I have to use brute mental force to focus on the many possibilities. It’s fatiguing, and I tend to play less well as the end game approaches.

Too bad, because I love the idea of chess. I love that it’s easy to learn but impossible to master. I love the refined, studious feeling of it. I love the elegant pieces and the pleasing symmetry of the board. I love the quiet intensity, so out of place now in our overstimulated culture.

Last night I began thinking about chess after I wrote my little update about needing to pick up my meds, tighten up my recovery, etc…I had compared integrative recovery to keeping multiple plates spinning in the air, and I think it awakened my metaphor maker. That’s good. That’s very good. If I’m spontaneously coming up with metaphors and analogies, even lame ones, it means I am moving toward getting some creativity back.

So, back to chess (metaphor maker online, focus maintainer not so much.) During a chess game, the word “check” is a danger signal. It means the king is threatened and we must take action. If no action is possible, the opponent would say “check and mate,” or simply “checkmate.”

Being put in check sucks, because you have to stop whatever your current plans are and address it. Your elegant plan to trap your opponent has to wait. If another piece of yours is threatened, you may have to let it go because you have to protect your king instead.

Dual diagnosis recovery, or integrative recovery as I seem to call it more often these days, lends itself to this parallel because I am sometimes in check. My current situation is an example: I got a clear message about something that needs attention right now. Failing to address it isn’t an option if I want to stay in the game, so whatever plans I had must go on hold.

Also as in chess, making the necessary move doesn’t always end the problem. Next turn I might hear the word “Check” again, and my plans still have to wait. The new threat might come from the same piece, or from a different one. When responding to each check, I have to make a move that does not place me in check from a different source.

This analogy captures the process for me better than the spinning plates does, I think. Take the current situation, for instance. Let’s say that the first “check” came from my eating disorder. I’m going to call that one the  opponent’s (black, by chess tradition) knight because it’s so tricky. I got rattled retreating from that and made unwise moves, and then heard a “check” again. Now I’m in immediate peril relating to my bipolar disorder. I’ll assign the black bishops to that one: each limited to one color, but deadly even from a distance.

I must respond, but the rules of chess say I’m not allowed to make any move that places me back in check. So, as I fight the threat of the bishop, I must still beware of the knight. I can’t evade the mental illness by putting myself at risk from the eating disorder. And, as I scamper around the board in response to threats from these two types of pieces, I must at all costs not forget the presence of the tall, ominous rooks, whose power sweeps over both distance and color. I’ll let them represent the drug addiction. (Ah, but who or what is the black queen? I’ll let you ponder that one.)

All right, now I’m enjoying myself. I can give my psyche a playful treat by designing my “recovery chess” pieces in my head. What should the opponent’s knights look like? Do I make the two bishops look the same, or look like hypomania and depression? Shall the black pawns be named after my top character defects? And what about the white pieces on my side; what shall I name them and how shall they appear? I foresee some archetypal fun!

Seriously, though, if you’ve played chess, you know that when you have lost the advantage, one check can lead to an ongoing chase as you are forced into move after move that only seems to be prolonging the inevitable. To have a chance, you have to get out of check long enough to go on the offensive again. I think that’s true for recovery too. For me, I think it’s better yet not to get into check in the first place. It’s better to think ahead, to play wisely, to be proactive.

So how do I become a better chess player? If I pursue the parallel between real chess and recovery chess, I see that I can get better with practice, but talent at chess isn’t something that can be learned by sheer will. It’s intuitive and mysterious. In the same way, some of what I need to learn and do in recovery goes deeper than logic or skill. That’s why I need a power greater than myself.

Still Here

I am still here.

I’ve started several articles in the last few days and finished none.

I’ve continued to be humbled by the expected but still ass-kicking return of food obsession.
I feel like crap physically, so much so that I skipped my dancing class last night.
I have to go to my support group in two days and I fear getting on that scale because mine tells me I have gained weight this week.
I am late refilling my meds and have gone two days without them now.

I’ve started several articles but finished none.
Yes, I said that already, but it bears repeating because it really bugs me.

So, I want to just check in, tell my readers that I haven’t disappeared completely, and use the old standby of “if all else fails, tell the truth.” I really hate not being able to write, or writing but then seeing that what I’ve written feels forced or inauthentic.

It won’t be the first or last time that I’ve hit a tough spot, and I want it represented so that people can identify with it. Then, later, when I’m doing better, we can all have another reminder that these things pass.

That being said, what sentence have I written so far that needs addressing the most?

Correct! I let myself run out of my bipolar meds…what the hell was I thinking? I’ve been consumed with the struggle to learn to apply my recovery to food in a new way, but that doesn’t mean I can let things like this slip! That’s the kind of trend I could end up analyzing in an admissions interview somewhere.

Integrative/dual diagnosis recovery can feel like trying to keep many spinning plates in the air. It’s scary to know that a lot depends on not letting any of them fall, and those old self-defeating voices love to tell me that it’s inevitable for one to come crashing down eventually. I find myself in situations like this, realizing that a plate is in danger of falling and I have to make a quick adjustment, and I might feel overwhelmed, fearful, ashamed or even resentful. Or just tired. There’s a strong desire to just let it all go and let gravity take over.

Just for today, I’m not going to do that. I called the pharmacy and they will have my meds tomorrow. I will go to the group on Thursday and not hide from the reality of my current struggle with eating. I’ll go to my meetings and stay in touch with my recovery.

Thanks for listening, friends. I wish I could say something really cool and inspirational right about now, because you deserve it. See you soon.

 

Detox Diva

Ever been in a detox unit? It’s an interesting place. Designed to hold a person during those first physically and mentally hellish days of withdrawal, detox units come in many levels of comfort and care. Effort is made to transition the patient to treatment after discharge, but the main purpose of the unit is to keep us physically safe during early withdrawal. Some drugs, such as alcohol and tranquilizers, leave a person in danger of seizures that can be fatal, and antiseizure meds are required. Others, such as opiates, have a withdrawal process that won’t kill but is likely to make you wish it would.

When I first went to detox in 2009, I learned that I get very emotional during the process. Sometime late in day 2, I went on a crying jag that disrupted the whole ward with its volume and vehemence. I really couldn’t say what emotions were attached to the sobbing; it felt more like a physical phenomenon. Something just grabbed hold of me and shook the tears out until it was done.

On the third day I started singing. Looking back at it, I can see that the upheavals in my brain chemistry must have pushed me into a manic state, but I didn’t understand my bipolar disorder very well at the time. It was midnight, and I couldn’t sleep, so I was sitting in the common room and writing a letter. Suddenly singing just seemed like a good idea, and thus began my days-long stint on detox Broadway. I sang the rest of the night–show tunes, ballads, rock, it didn’t matter. It was just important to keep singing.

The staff probably decided to leave me be, since I wasn’t waking anyone up in that room. Bless them, and let’s give a thought to those who work in places like this. They have to deal with a lot of upset people, see a lot of suffering, and feel a lot of frustration. Because addiction is so hard to beat, they see so much repeat business that it must be hard to be optimistic.

Letting me sing worked during the night, but the next day I began to get gentle reminders that although it was nice that I was feeling better, it really wasn’t appropriate to be belting out “Mexico” during group study. Especially the line about tequila. “One Toke Over the Line” was also considered a poor choice.

It wasn’t just the singing, either. I had no filter whatsoever; I was coming up with “clever” comebacks to everything said around me. At lunchtime, I plunked myself cheerfully into my chair, complained that the atmosphere was too dismal and demanded that my fellow patients tell some jokes. If you’ve ever been through withdrawal, you can imagine how well that went over.

I danced in the hallways between groups. I gave life advice to the student nurses who took our vital signs every few hours. I wrote and mailed long letters whose contents I don’t remember. When my husband visited, I spent an hour giving him an extremely detailed and passionate retelling of a book  I had been reading.

You may be thinking that my manic state was pretty obvious to a medical observer, so why weren’t they giving me anything to address it? They were–I was already on a high dose of Depakote when I came in. This was what still came through it. The doctor felt that since this was likely to be temporary, straining my already overloaded liver with a higher dose or a new med wouldn’t be worth it as long as I was acting out in nonviolent ways.

So the poor staff and patients were stuck with me. It’s a somewhat embarrassing memory, since my behavior was so inconsiderate of others. I’m the type of person who is usually on time for classes, doesn’t interrupt, and generally tries not to be a disruption. When I came down–and I did, believe me–I had that “what the hell did I do last night?” feeling.

That being said, I’m also grateful for the memory. For the bit of humor my craziness injected into a time of intense suffering and shame. For a flash of fun before I descended into the gray and heavy depression characteristic of recovery from opiate abuse. Even for the the way it increased my comprehension of my mental illness.

Also, we could do worse than sing when we’re suffering. And it’s a good thing to play, and joke, and dance without worrying whether we look silly. I’d like to do more of that kind of thing without having to be neurologically messed up to get there. It’s that balance thing again.

 

History Lesson

As I wrote recently in Humble Pie, I need to give more attention to my food issues again. I need to remember that, although practicing such behavior isn’t illegal, it can kill me as thoroughly as drugs can. Death, after all, is a very clearly delineated state–if I find myself there before the time is right, does it really matter whether it was a drug overdose or a heart attack? I’m still there, and I’ve still ended my life early.

So I’ve been thinking, and talking with my therapist, in an effort to reconnect with and remember some of my harshest times with my eating disorder. Many of these were before I discovered drugs, when all of my compulsions were channeled into just one addiction. I need to remember the pain I caused myself, and how I used food as a tool for both reward and punishment. Somehow, without ever losing sight of my recovery from drug abuse, I need to get back to identifying myself naturally and unashamedly as a compulsive eater.

I’m thirteen. I’m walking to the drugstore on a summer day, and when I get there I buy candy bars, sweet rolls, and ice cream. With my bag of goodies, I return to the studio apartment where my mom and I keep all our stuff. We don’t actually live there; but we need to keep most of our things there so my mom’s boyfriend’s wife won’t know we are living with him. All my books are there, so I go there often. It’s a tiny, grungy place, but once I am locked in with my books and my food it’s all right.

I’m fourteen. I’ve been fasting for days to try to lose weight. Dehydrated in the Los Angeles summer, I look longingly at the Slurpee machine but resist. I’m not very overweight, but I have enough adolescent chubbiness to get teased at school, and I hope that if I lose weight I’ll have some friends. I lose a little, but nothing changes.

I’m seventeen. I’ve grown a lot taller, and have been dieting for months, and I’m finally almost satisfied with my weight. At 5’7” I weigh 127 pounds, and I’m trying to get down to 120. I lie in my bed, tracing my fingers proudly over my jutting ribs. Often, on my way to the school bus, I vomit up the vile herbal supplement I’m living on.

I’m twenty, and the pendulum has swung the other direction. In my first two years of college, I’ve gained 70 pounds and started binge eating regularly again. I miss classes because I’ve made myself sick with food. One day I go shopping for clothes and realize to my shock that I can’t shop in regular stores any more. The men I date and I have an unwritten agreement: they overlook my weight in exchange for me letting them control the relationship.

I’m twenty-two. After graduation, I seek help and wind up in a treatment program. I get back down to 160 for a while, but my expectations for my weight are still unrealistic. Then I get engaged and gain 90 pounds in one year because I can’t admit I’ve made a mistake. After the relationship ends, I carry on with graduate school in between making the rounds of the local restaurants. Carrying books to read, I eat a meal in one place, then move to a nearby one and order another so that nobody sees how much I am eating. As the pain in my stomach grows, I wonder if I can make it home before my digestive system rebels. 

I’m twenty-six and weigh 295. I do the medical fast thing for the first time, get down to 142 and stay there for approximately 10 minutes. I begin a desperate search for a way of eating that will satisfy me and allow me to keep the weight off while still letting me use food for comfort and pleasure. As the weight creeps on again, my fear chokes me and I stop weighing myself. A family crisis obligingly distracts me, and by the time I’ve moved and gotten through it all I’ve regained more than half of what I lost.

I’m thirty-two and in chronic pain. The pills soothe me and I don’t need the food as much. In fact, I’m often not hungry. But any time I try to quit taking the painkillers, the weight piles on. Eating is never comfortable or natural. I’m always determinedly abstaining or frantically trying to act out without consequences. Once the consequences start happening, I have to eat more to dull the awareness of them. Over the next years, I reach my high weight of 320 and then lose some as my drug use increases.

Charting my weight over all of these years would show that maintenance is a foreign concept to me. Of course I am finding it challenging now! I’m battling a lifetime of beliefs that say I’m supposed to be either going up (and blaming my problems on my weight) or going down (and happily looking forward to the weight loss making my life better). I have no idea how to live in a body that stays the same; a body that’s just my body.

Looking at my eating and weight history is useful for getting in touch with Step One and getting away from the idea that my food problems are just a puzzle to solve. It helps me remember that I really am a compulsive eater: the food-related version of that mysterious being we call an addict.

The “Big Book” of AA states:
“The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death. We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.” 

All I need to do is mentally substitute “eating” and “compulsive eater” and this passage fits me just as perfectly as it does when I put in the words about drugs. I think I’ll go read some more.

 

A Time to Dance

I often have the experience of passing for normal to the untutored eye. If I’m coping well enough to be out in public, engaged in mundane errands, there aren’t any obvious signs of abnormality. Of course, once I open my mouth for anything more complex than “paper or plastic” the masquerade could crumble.

Right now, I am writing in a public place, and it’s strange for me to think that the people around me probably see me very differently from the way I see myself. My appearance, what I’m wearing, what I’m doing, all send certain messages to them, just as theirs do to me. I know I’m stating the obvious, and I also know that they might have baggage I can’t sense. But I do quite often have the feeling of being covered by a very thin cloak.

Perhaps my sense of feeling alien is increased by how much my appearance has changed. We are a visual culture, and when I was very heavy it influenced the way people viewed me. Being in a normal weight range–one that I have only briefly visited back in my twenties–changes that dynamic. Part of it is the regrettable prejudices and misconceptions about people of size, and I am sure some of it is also just a response to the changes in my own body language.

Whatever the origin, I now have another reason for feeling like an alien masquerading as an Earthling. Inside my head, I still weigh at least 130 pounds more than my outsides reflect. Combine this with the fact that I’m still filled with uncertainly about whether I’ll be able to keep the weight off, and I feel as if I should be wearing disclaimer posters wherever I go.

A couple of months ago, I walked into a therapy session and demanded to know what I look like. I’d been writing in the coffee shop before the session, and noticed a man casting glances at me over his laptop. I had seen him when he’d walked in, and yes, I’d looked. I’m used to looking, casually; just some aesthetic appreciation. But he wasn’t supposed to return it! Taken aback, I wanted to know if I was misinterpreting what I saw. The question led to me examining my uneasiness about being seen as attractive by a wider range of the population. Do I want to be attractive? What does it mean to me? Would it be okay for me to have fun with it?

Many years ago, I took a couple of ballroom dancing classes in college. I loved it so much, and for a long time I wasn’t physically capable of exploring it more. Now that getting some healthy activity is so important, it’s a great excuse to make it a priority. I signed up for a casual adult school class, and it’s met three times now. Besides being fun–and allowing me to visit my deep gratitude for being able to do it–it’s an amazing way to explore my issues about my appearance and my gender identity.

Ballroom dancing is traditional, even archaic, in its gender dynamics. In a mixed-gender couple the man leads, and a good male ballroom dancer leads firmly and unapologetically. The woman responds to cues and participates in two-way communication through touch, using traits that are anthropologically viewed as being strengths of the feminine gender. It’s also a sensual pursuit, in which a woman is encouraged to move fluidly and gracefully. In short, I’m given permission to embody a very feminine part of myself.

The class switches partners frequently, so I’ve danced with about a dozen men. After years of close contact with only one male, I’m being exposed to the pheromones of many, and even though I don’t plan to date any of them the fact remains that we’re interacting on an archetypally sexual level. I feel sensual, graceful and very feminine when I dance ballroom, even at this crude beginner stage. After what feels like decades of living from the neck up, it’s quite a change.

What I’ve just written probably has my readers either deciding I’m completely perverted or running off to sign up for a ballroom class themselves.

So there I was last Tuesday, doing the foxtrot with a nice gentleman as Frank Sinatra played on the speakers. I wore a dark blue blouse with embroidery at the collar, my hair upswept. We had the basic step down well enough to be able to appreciate the music and fall into that romantic, dreamy vibe foxtrot can give. Can you understand that I felt a little like the character from The Prince and the Pauper? That I wondered what he saw when he looked down at me? That the idea he might think he’s dancing with a pretty woman is just WEIRD?

In twelve-step programs, they say to fake it till you make it. They also say to suit up and show up. I think this class is good for me; that after years of seeing myself as an invalid it’s useful for me to get out of my comfort zone and learn to see myself in new ways. It’s a major part of integrative recovery: seeking and using new, non-destructive ways to get some pleasure out of life. So I’ll keep it up, and hope to meet some of my fellow recovery types on the dance floor someday.

Humble Pie

My “vacation” from dealing with food is truly over.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy.

Have you ever felt your body sing in gratitude as it takes in nourishment? Do you ever bite into a ripe pear and feel as if you’re a tiger slowly sinking fangs into the most succulent prey? Do you have any idea how fucking creamy plain yogurt can be? Have you ever been afraid of this kind of pleasure?

I have. I’m afraid of it right now. I know that it’s healthy and normal to enjoy eating. It’s the way things should be: my body needs something, its need gets met, and it feels good. Evolution has designed us to receive positive sensations from doing something that promotes survival.

For an addict like me, though, that design has gone awry. The jolts of reward chemicals that are supposed to be nature’s healthy motivators get caught into a feedback loop that creates the eternal search for more. So feeling that jolt of pleasure is frightening for me. In the past, some of my attempts to control my eating have revolved around the “If It Tastes Good, Spit It Out” diet: the point being to make food as un-sexy as possible so that these dangerous jolts of pleasure won’t occur. Any food I particularly enjoyed or looked forward to simply got eliminated.

But I haven’t eaten for almost a year! The texture and taste of just about every food is sexy to me right now. It’s like those mindful eating exercises where you take five minutes to eat a raisin: I’m hyperaware. How do I welcome the wholesome pleasure of eating without letting it trigger my compulsions? When it comes to substances, an addict in recovery abstains. It can be hell, but it is straightforward. We know that putting a certain substance into our body means that we’re not abstaining anymore and may be in relapse.

However, we have to eat. Abstaining from eating is not an option, and people in recovery from food-related issues have to deal with this. We can abstain from certain categories of foods that have been a problem for us. We can abstain from behaviors that are associated with our compulsion. We can place boundaries around our food and eating in various ways, but the fact remains that we must encounter food on a daily basis.

Nothing horrible is happening. My weight is holding where my doctor wants it, and I haven’t eaten any foods that are out of bounds. But I’m feeling the obsession; food is on my mind. I’m looking forward to eating, I’m getting sensual pleasure from food, and I find my thoughts turning to eating when I am bored or anxious. Keeping a detailed food diary is supposed to help with this, and I’m not doing it.

My past experiences with recovery have taught me some things about this that will help me if I let them. It’s time for me to reapply the principles of the program, because I know three things beyond any doubt.

The first one is that my addictive self, let loose, will turn my world into a hamster wheel, upon which I will scamper in an eternal quest for a way to eat what I want, when I want it, without consequences. The second thing I know is that this hypothetical way doesn’t exist for me. Inevitably, my tolerance for sugar, salt, fat and escapism increases until “what I want” is to binge daily on foods that harm me.

The third thing I know–and really need to remember–is that attacking this obsession with my will is a misuse of my strength. What will work is the same mysterious thing that has worked for me elsewhere: surrender. I don’t have to do this without help. I can ask my God for the willingness to fill out that food diary, and I can give the pleasure and eagerness I feel about food over to be managed wisely. By writing about it honestly today, that’s what I am trying to do.

My pride resists this. It wants me to believe that I’ve got this, that maintaining my weight loss is “just” going to be a matter of using the things I have learned and making sensible decisions. Why do I think this way? Why, when I accept so thoroughly that the source of my staying clean is a spiritual power, do I feel that I should be able to handle the food part myself? Why would my God haul me back from the cliff’s edge only to drop my ass over a different cliff?

Am I ashamed of being a compulsive eater? Do I think being a drug addict is “cooler” and taken more seriously; that it’s more okay to need spiritual help with it? Have I unconsciously bought into cultural attitudes around me?

Well, fuck. I think there is some of that hanging around.

It has to go. My eating disorder is a deep part of me, and it deserves respectful and loving attention in my recovery. Whether outsiders see me as weak doesn’t matter: the stakes are too high. When I started Not This Song, I was on the medical diet, so my readers heard a little about that but not much about this issue as part of my daily life. That’s going to change, because I will tell you the truth about living with this just as I do about living with my other issues.

I’ll do it imperfectly. My pride will continue trying to get in the way. But bits of truth have a way of slipping through.