Vomiting. Vomiting refers to the typically involuntary emptying of the stomach contents through the mouth. It is a natural reflex that occurs as a form of protection in the event one consumes something that is contaminated or poisonous. Vomiting is the body’s way of getting rid of it. Reconciliation needed?
When I was in active addiction I didn’t really vomit. I wretched. My body twisted and contorted in violent compulsions desperately expelling the day’s dose of contamination.
I also forced my body to stay awake for days on end, depriving it of the regenerative sleep process. I ingested chemically riddled substances into my lungs and nose; two organs not designed with the involuntary cleaning mechanisms of the digestive system. I dumped poisons into my body at all hours of the day and I rarely provided my body with nutrients. When I ate, it was out of desperation or obligation. I never followed through with a doctor’s protocol. I’d simply stop taking the medication when the symptoms had dissipated. I took my mind to the brink of insanity, severely compromised my central nervous system, lived in a constant state of dehydration, and partook in any number of highly dangerous and hazardous hijinks.
Addiction did this and other absurd abuses to my body. Addiction did this to the miraculous house evolution designed to carry my soul. And by addiction, I mean me. I did this. I abused myself – my physical self.
Initially I did it mostly out of youthful indiscretions, stubbornness and ignorance, but eventually I did it from a place of self-hatred and self-loathing. I hated who I had become, and the only course of action was to continue to manifest the self-hatred by furthering the abusive cycles.
Abstinence does not equal Recovery
Fortunately for us evolution created a masterpiece. The physical self, with its seemingly infinite ability to change and renew, will be the first to bounce back from the horrors of addiction. If we’re lucky with the help of a couple good night’s sleep, meals delivered to the body at regular intervals, a few trips to the gym, movement really … of any sort … and voilà the body begins the process of healing.
Unfortunately moving my body into a state of abstinence didn’t result in any actual reconciliation with my physical self. I still abused my body. I still sought out dangerous adventures, questionable sexual encounters and violent sports, where I again asked my body to follow my abused mind into states of violence, exhaustion and collapse. Extreme long-distance running, crash diets, over-heating under the unforgiving tropical sun, overeating, you name it. I was accustomed to abuse and punishment. I had lived there all my life, so naturally I continued to abuse and punish my body. I liked pain and I thought I deserved it. In fact, I told myself I only felt alive when I was in pain and danger.
The war was over, but nobody told me.
Ending the abuse starts with identifying the abuser. This time it wasn’t Mom or Dad, coaches, teachers, ex-girlfriends, bosses, you, the world, God, the IRS, and everyone else who won’t get with the Tony Plan. My abuser’s name is Tony. Nobody has abused me more than I have. Nobody has judged, shamed, or ridiculed me more than me.
Once I get my head around that, I must decide if I want to end the abuse. If so, I must answer some questions. Do I still hate my body? If not, can I begin to nurture and take care of it? What will it take to create a relationship of recovery with my physical self?
Recovery = Reconciliation
The google machine defines reconciliation as follows:
- the restoration of friendly relations.
“his reconciliation with your uncle” ·
reuniting · reunion · bringing (back) together (again) · conciliation ·
- the action of making one view or belief compatible with another.
“he aims to bring about a reconciliation between art and technology”
- the action of making financial accounts consistent; harmonization.
“the reconciliation process should be consistent with the business strategy”
Entering a state of recovery requires I begin reconciling 3 relationships; God, Self and Neighbor. As such I am to restore friendly relations, make accounts consistent, make action and belief compatible with … my body. More to the point, moving from the idea of my body as a physical object toward that of a flowing process of awareness and energy.
So, I decided to lay down my arms. I decided to usher in peaceful relations with my body; to get ‘right’ with my physical self. I asked my body what it needed to heal. It responded with acceptance, safety, tenderness, attention and compassion. It asked me to not hold it to ridiculous perfectionist standards. It asked me to move away from vanity to nourishment. It asked me to be gentle with it and to love it.
Today my body gets movement and maintenance instead of violence and programs designed to radically change it. My body gets positive reinforcement instead of shaming. It gets listened to instead of ignored. It gets to dance with my wife and 2-year-old daughter, to be silly and randomly play. Today it gets sleep, hydration, and gentle stimulation. It gets my love and attention.
God in Me – Reconciliation?
Many religions and spiritual traditions speak of humans as being created in God’s image. They teach that we carry God within us. If that’s true by restoring relations with myself, I am restoring relations with God, with creation, with the Universe. And if I can learn to love and accept the body creation gave me to express all of its beauty….my imperfect humanity…then surely, I can learn to love and accept you too.