Binging – when the feeling from doing something exceeds the reason for doing something. KH
I am in recovery, I don’t’ smoke, drink alcohol, rely on relationships for self worth, or use intoxicants in any form. At least not traditional intoxicants. I have become more and more aware of my inclination to binge.
The concept of “binging” has taken on a lighter more humorous meaning as when we say “I was binge watching This is Us all day Saturday. It refers to a relatively harmless indulgence in a neutral pastime. But when this passtime becomes all the time or a time of avoidance, then the activity is not so funny.
I can binge on just about anything – I can become consumed with the importance of mopping up crumbs or tidying the house – not one thing can be out of place and the “things” that are seen as out of place become more and more minute. I can tell I am tipping over the edge when my criteria for neatness is imposed on others, and/ or when this finicky behavior becomes my overwhelming focus. I no longer listen to what someone is saying as my attention becomes consumed with a small thread on the carpet or speck on a table. I have stepped over the boundary of usefulness and into the real of obsession.
I have binged on solitude. The known factors of being alone, no need to get into a conversation when you are unsure of where the comments will lead, no concerns about being in someone’s company too long or not long enough (aversion or craving). I avoid minefields of hearing something that I can be worried about without having a solution, or of revealing something I am not ready to face. I can sometimes wrap this desire for solitude into “Down time” or “internal study” but sometimes I am isolating. I am afraid of my feelings and don’t know how to share or I am afraid of someone else’s feelings and don’t know how to receive.
I have binged both on food and on the feeling of being empty. Food isn’t food it is a feeling fought, a feeling stuffed, or trying to feel a feeling I am familiar with rather than the one I am having (fear, low self esteem, boredom, lethargy, and so on.) Sometimes it is the food; the taste the texture or the specialness of it, but more often it is the feelings. Feeling fought or feelings sought.
And yes, I sometimes binge on television shows. I want something predictable so seldom is it something unknown, unseen, or new. It is more often something I have a relationship with, I know, funny word, but it could be a memory or a character, the plot line or the location. I leave this moment and dive into someone else’s reality. For Just One More.
Just One More: that is the kicker, that is the sign. Whether it is cleanliness, solitude, food or entertainment, shopping, or exercise, or even continuing education classes or videos-as long as I am reaching for the sake of reaching I have left the primary purpose: nourishment, fun, self care, or training; I am now consumed by the consumption.
Holidays can trigger this reaction. I buy MORE, I eat MORE, I cook MORE, I clean MORE, and all to cover an internal state of restlessness. Putting this out there let’s me own it, Lets me see it, lets me make a choice. Can I buy, eat, cook, clean decorate, rest, study, BE enough. And let the binging go?