I imagine that this is the feeling that someone with a psychological challenge experiences. In the movies or TV, it's always portrayed this way. That feeling like your head will explode. Maybe schizophrenia, with some voices creating so much static that you can't function. I experienced this one other time, that I can remember. Then, like now, there was a definite battle going on in my head between my old self and new self. My old self is dominant...it is the loudest...it drowns out my new self's pleas. This time it is about a protein bar. In the middle of making my dinner, I get the urge to eat a protein bar. The craving is intense and my head is swimming in noise. Do you know that feeling of helplessness, of being overwhelmed, and not in control. It's like something has taken over your mind. I can barely hear that little voice telling me I don't need it, it is time for dinner, it"s not about the food.
There is a crescendo. The moment when I know the battle is over and I just surrender to the noise. There's something in that moment...relief, maybe? Release? Pleasure? You know the feeling of that moment. I've never smoked, but I imagine it's the same as when you've gone a little too long between cigarettes and you get that first drag. Or how a drug addict must feel when their drug of choice first makes its way into their system. I've experienced this moment in some other context, I think. Like when I've had an unbearable itch and I finally give in and scratch...pure ecstasy. We've all experienced that ecstasy, not unlike the moment of relief, release, pleasure that you feel when your with that person and you've built up an exquisite tension and you have no idea where you start and they stop and you're just a bundle of nerve endings and you think that if you experience one more thing your entire being will explode....and then it does. OK, it's not quite like that.
I remember the first time I felt this intense craving. I wasn't that far into my program. I had order a barbecue chicken pizza for my son. The pizza came and oh my God! it smelled amazing. I looked up and my hands where holding the box down, trying to keep the smell from wafting up and tempting me beyond control. Finally, I just opened the box and inhaled until there was no more room in my lungs.
There is this space after the surrender when everything is still and reality brings me back to consciousness. When I'm just starting to regain myself. I haven't given in quite yet, but I know the fight is over. There is redemption in that space. It's like when you surrender to God and make your pleas for help by admitting that you don't have the strength to fight anymore and you get up the next day and start the fight all over again.
In my surrender to the protein bar, I walk over to the bag, pick it up and then I just put it back down. I'm in the quite place and my old self is busy feeling victorious, but my new self whispers that I've come too far and I'm stronger than this. It was just like when I smelled the pizza and the act of surrender gave me the strength to just close the box and survive the craving. And, that's what stays with me. Not the battle, but that I closed the box; that I put the bag down and that I am stronger than my old self.