On this Podcast, we go inside addiction to talk about the labels of addiction. Liv was an alcoholic and in her first two years of recovery, she was ill, mentally and physically exhausted and carrying a 300-pound body. Each day was punctuated by uncontrollable food binges with calorie-and fat-laden foods that provided only momentary relief but were followed by long-lasting self-loathing.
She couldn’t accept this as a recovery that she wanted. It didn’t represent a life of freedom to her. She certainly wasn’t thriving, she was existing, just doing it without the anaesthesia of four bottles of wine a day. She started exploring others’ relationship with food and how they recover. She interviewed more than 70 people and read many books on food, disordered eating, and holistic wellness. She even trained as a health coach. Liv is now 6 years sober and has lost 60 pounds.
”You might pretend to be functioning, but you’re still using in the backgroundLiv Pennelle
Liv believes addiction is a coping mechanism stemming from complex trauma. In her teens she started to drink, smoke weed and later on using speed. Like so many others she pretended to be high functioning whilst using alcohol and drugs to try and cope with things – a false promise that substances can’t deliver. As she graduated her drinking and using had progressed into an addiction and she found herself doing things she wouldn’t normally do.
”It was awful - I had no memory of the night before, I checked if I was covered in bruises, I checked through my phone to see what I had done the night beforeLiv Pennelle
She had lost her job, several friends and her family wasn’t really talking to her anymore. She was totally isolated and the age of 32 she couldn’t take anymore. After a huge binge drink up she reached out for help and attended an AA meeting.
”At the time I needed that structure, I needed any structure to help me in my recoveryLiv Pennelle
Even though she doesn’t necessarily agree with the spiritual concept of AA nor does she believe she’s powerless today, she was in-fact powerless over alcohol when she first went to AA and she needed the structure of the meetings in her early recovery.