Thursday, December 21, 2023

"... Well something's lost, but something's gained In living every day ..." / "Rule #24: When you eat real food, you don't need rules" / Winter Solstice 2023

As someone who struggled with an eating disorder from age 10 to age 37, this book serves as a gentle reminder that my nearly two decades of war with food are long over because instinctively I began to eat in the way that is suggested by Michael Pollan's 83 general rules.  

Rule 83:  Break the Rules Once in a While

Enjoy every sandwich.
(Warren Zevon)

Then there is Rule #52:  Have a glass of wine with dinner.

There is one personal rule I don't ever break and that is that I don't drink alcohol in any form anymore.  I used to drink wine and had no trouble stopping after drinking a small amount, but that small amount always resulted in an unbearable craving (a sign of alcoholism) that made it virtually impossible for me to stop eating.  I didn't want to be an alcoholic and so I turned to more and more food instead of more alcohol.  Of course, food couldn't stop a craving for alcohol. It was astounding to discover that my eating disorder disappeared when I stopped drinking alcohol -- that my eating problems were actually alcoholism.  Wine is a delightful healthy food for most people throughout the world but for alcoholics like me it only led to insatiable craving for food and years of unrelieved depression that ended 36 years ago in May 1987 when I had my last drink (a champagne breakfast in a restaurant with my parents), followed by my last bout of suicidal depression.  


Winter Solstice.

The sun rose here at 8 a.m. and will set at 4:16 p.m.  

A turning point.

Celebrating the return of the light with friends near and far, while enjoying the improved quality of sleep I enjoy during most, but not all, of the long dark winter nights.  

Calendar Series:  28th Month (Return / The Turning Point)

-- am's painting from 1988

"... It stays pretty green ..."
(Joni Mitchell)


Anonymous said...

I did not know that drinking wine could lead to eating disorders for some people. That is so interesting. Roger and I have a glass of wine with dinner every night. We discovered a few years ago that the alcohol content of wine had gone up quite a bit, so we dilute our one glass of wine with water every evening.
Love seeing your paintings, am.

Sabine said...

I enjoy reading Michael Pollan's books.
On our fridge, we have these rules from one of his books:
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
And our own addition: Eat seasonal food. Eat regional food.

Have you read "How to change your mind?" by Michael Pollan? I read it on the 33 hrs flights back from NZ last year. It did change my mind, somewhat.

am said...

Always good to hear from you, Robin!

Sabine -- I haven't read How to Change your Mind but will look into it. My few experiences with psychedelics were mixed to terrifying. My psyche did not react well to marijuana. I experienced extreme paranoia.

The only completely positive experience of that sort was when I was in my early 30s and was given some psilocybin mushrooms that had been gathered locally. I ingested them during a day that I knew I could be alone and comfortable at home. It was a lovely experience and yet I felt no desire to repeat the experience. That was during the years when my eating disorder was at its worst. Maybe that psilocybin experience changed my mind for the better. It was not long after the psilocybin experience that I entered an extremely creative period in my life, left the bad marriage I had made, and began recovering from alcoholism.

Who knows???

I've put Michael Pollan's book on hold at our public library and am curious to see what he has to say.

Sabine said...

There is a follow up book, This is your mind on plants, which has an interesting section on caffeine.

37paddington said...

This is a stunning post. I think you may have cracked open something for me. I had no idea alcoholism could manifest in that way, and I think I should pick up that book. Merry Christmas, friend. Life is such a complicated school.