“The Hideous Four Horsemen”
It’s Sunday morning and even though it’s been two days since my last binge, I can barely function.
I woke up around 10:00 am – extremely late for me – wearing the exact same clothes I wore to work on Friday. Thank God for Casual Fridays because I was able to get away with an oversized sweatshirt and yoga pants … which I now realize are inside out.
I haven’t showered since Friday morning and, thanks to my newly activated smoking addiction, I smell like an ashtray.
I binged Friday night, ironically, after my therapy appointment. Nothing can stop me from a binge.
My binges are brutal. I eat sugar and flour non-stop for hours until I am in agony and can’t breathe. But that isn’t the worst part of a binge.
The very worst part is the next day.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, in the chapter “A Vision for You” describes it best:
“…. then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous Four Horsemen – Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair. Unhappy drinkers who read this page will understand!”
Well, so would unhappy eaters.
I am intimately familiar with every single one of those Four Horsemen … and the Fifth: Physical Pain. My body simply cannot process the vast amount of junk food I’ve assaulted it with and I am sick for days.
I didn’t leave my apartment yesterday but today I have to, whether I want to or not. I have plans with a friend to attend the ballet and I can’t cancel.
So I drink three cups of strong coffee and eat two scrambled eggs in an attempt to regulate my blood sugar, as much as it can be regulated less than 48 hours after a nonstop sugar assault.
I take a long shower, scrub my face and skin, wash my hair and throw my rancid clothes into the hamper. I apply thick contouring makeup on my cheeks and under my chin to minimize the bloat. I put one of the long, shapeless dresses that now hang in my closet and then put a long shapeless vest over that.
The good feelings that start to rise from just being washed and in clean clothes vanish once I look into the mirror.
My herculean attempts to camouflage Friday’s binge have failed: My face is puffy and pale, my body heavy and soft. I now have a sad look in my eyes and I look significantly older than I did this time last year before I started binging and smoking again.
But I push down the demoralizing humiliation and take a deep breath. My disease may have stolen Saturday, but it’s not going to steal Sunday. I’m going to show up to my life today and give my program my very best effort. It’s what I do.
I begin again.
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