Monday, November 19, 2007

Interrupting the Binge--The Nap

Tis the season to eat like crazy. I understand that starting October 31, eating season begins. Most of humankind gains a few to a thousand pounds by January 2. In the northern climes it's Fatten Up to Melt the Snow. Beyond Blue tells us not to be so hard on ourselves, leaves off saying, remember, if you screw up (over-eat) tomorrow's another day.

I think it's time for me to introduce the One Minute at a Time concept. Although it seems to me that One Minute at a Time should be in every addicts lexicon (it is in MY office), it's One Day at a Time that is far more popular, probably because it works. *

One Day at a Time probably works because the western mind thinks in terms of the Day, the 24-hour cycle of a day. The eastern mind thinks of the Moment. I suppose that growing up in the sixtie's (Be Here Now) has had more of a profound effect upon me than I care to admit. But being ruled by a 24-hour clock seems such a slave mentality.

Taking things a minute at a time means not having to wait until tomorrow to start over. You can start anywhere, anytime, about anything. Say you're about to grab that cookie (drink, smoke, powder). You sit down cross-legged and focus on your mantra and voila! No more craving.

Joke right? Indeed. Joke. Who do you know who does that? Who do I know who does that? The best of the 12-steppers will tell you to call your sponsor or to pray (I guess sitting cross-legged and meditating is like praying). Or read your affirmations (thoughts that make sobriety worthwhile). Or go to a meeting, even a board meeting, I suppose. Call a friend.

Those unaffiliated with 12-steps will do retail therapy. A couple of months ago I was thrown for a loop about something and my daughter-in-law, the one in California, grabbed me by the elbow and said, We're going to Marshall's. You'll feel better, Ma.

And I did. Like having a built-in sponsor.

But we were talking about stopping the binge, and one day at a time, not coping with an immediate crisis. Still, retail therapy fit in this post right there, didn't it?

To me this is about changing the way your brain is "feeling." If it's in a place that it hates and it's been wired to go for some kind of substance to self-correct, then we're directed to the source of satisfaction: the cookie jar or the liquor cabinet or in our case, Marshall's.

Nieman's (needless mark-ups around here) would okay, too. The job is to change your sensorium, the way you feel. Showers are good, and someone told me that merely letting hot water stream over your hands while washing dishes is awesome. And it is.

Thus exercise works, too, does it not? Ask a jogger.

But let's say we're not so ambitious, and our knees hurt, and face it, who wants to go running.

Let us consider the nap. The NAP is perhaps the most under-rated, yet effective way to stop a binge, and it need not be a cat nap (short) or a sexual nap (preferably long). It can just be a NAP. And you can reach for the sack in a minute, seriously, crawl right under that afghan and close those baby blues, refresh your rhodopsin and reboot your head. And it costs NOTHING.

Americans hate naps. They do, they really do. No siestas here, baby. So dysfunctional, sleeping when you could be doing something eminently productive. Oh yes, and let's make sure we drink so much coffee that a nap is impossible. Remind me to rant on this one day.

Yet it is calorie-free, the nap, and so delicious. It is a Shut down and Restart the ol' computer.

Start over as soon as you begin to lose it, if you ask me. It's another form of Be Here Now, but more like, Be Asleep Here Now.

(You're right, I just want those yoga gurus on the Internet to love this blog).

Let's not go with "tomorrow's another day."

Yawn.

copyright 2007, therapydoc

* I shouldn't have to say it, but this is all (almost all) tongue in cheek and should not substitute for real treatment for a substance abuse disorder which is fairly complicated and includes a myriad of interventions, and you're right, yes, I should post on them, and okay, no promises, I will in the coming months.

10 comments:

Barbara (aka Layla) said...

One Minute at A Time got me through a horrible addiction...it really does make a HUGE difference. 24 hours can seem like eternity when you are trying to deny yourself or going through withdrawls and the "I'll be "good" tomorrow" thing can go on for ever.

Love your blog, found you via Dawn :)

Carole said...

I second what Barbara said. Great advice that I can really use right now.
~Carole

come running said...

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www.dreamsofwho.blogspot.com

Janette said...

I find naps quite refreshing. LOL sometimes its the only sleep I get. Yes, they do a great reboot on the mind.

I always have to tell my western mind to give me a break and let me take a nap.

therapydoc said...

They beat it out of us when we're little, punishing the kids who fall sleep in class. It's not right.

Midwife with a Knife said...

The one minute at a time philosophy is great. It helps keep a little slip from becomming a disaster, I think. So what if I ate pop-tarts a la mode for lunch today (ok, I didn't... it was a grilled cheese sandwich), that doesn't mean I can't make a better choice for dinner. It sort of takes away the some of the power of a mistake to destroy good habits. And let's face it, eventually, we all make mistakes (like pop-tarts a la mode).

Regarding naps: I have ulcerative colitis, and one of my most annoying symptoms is fatigue. I also happen to have a couch in my office. I can never decide whether I should feel guilty or not when I give in to the exhaustion and take a nap. I usually feel guilty but do it anyway (and I feel better when I wake up, most of the time!). It also helps me be more productive during the time I'm not napping.

therapydoc said...

Oh yes. The sofa calls, one must answer, or it could get insulted.

April_optimist said...

Hey, I'm with you about naps! It's a great way to disrupt an unproductive thought pattern. Starting to panic? Take a short nap. Don't even always have to fall asleep--just close my eyes and tell myself I'm going to nap and the state changes. Naps are GOOD things.

Barbara K. said...

A nutritionist once told me that hunger passes after 10 minutes, if you can just sit it out. I like the one minute idea better.

A.Decker said...

Be here now, and take a nap. I'm there! And I may not be a guru, but you did refer to me as a yogi one time, so you're blog's got the yogi love, at least ;)