"Am I right in identifying it this way: the hit--as horrible as it is--is the meltdown and the immediate afterglow in which I can actually get my work done; as the hit wears off I'm left flat--that
would be withdrawal; my anxiety levels begin to build and that increases the chaos in my life --the hunt is on for the next big storm....
Oh, lord, it's good to know what's going on but I'm horrified that my actions are the actions of an addict my entire life...because I was labeled "drama queen" right from the getgo and teased mercilessly for it, which only fed it...."
I know that many of you can relate to the idea of being a drama queen (or king). The quote above came from a class member of the beta-endorphin group. I think that ...perfectly describes the pattern.
You create a big thing - using whatever stuff is at hand. It could be leaving bills 'til they are over due, not paying taxes, forgetting a key appointment, having a fight with husbands, wives or partners or children, blowing up at work, having a temper tantrum, whatever......you get a rush. You get a rush from the STORM. It is
such a great image.
The rush is a flood of beta-endorphin, and a subsequent dash of dopamine. You feel clear, mobilized, able to cope and in charge. This is drug-induced euphoria. The skilled and effective drama queen. And then the flat rolls in. And you have no tolerance for it. Something, you need something. Sweets, fights, sex, drama.
They are all activated beta-endorphin and then pushing through to trigger dopamine. This is euphoria and then rush. And then withdrawal, the flat. The problem comes over time. You build tolerance, so you need a bigger drama. Life starts to unravel and the drama becomes unmanageable. You pull it together; the pulling together is done in a flurry, another rush, more drama. Now the drama of
getting fixed, organized, settled. So the pattern is veiled. Now the drama comes with the fixing. And the sugar use builds.
When you step into the program, and work the steps, the steps themselves are designed to minimize drama. You want to teach you to cope with thoughtful planning rather than reaction and mobilization. You are creating behavioral change. Learning to "wait" for meals on step three teaches you
to learn to wait...and tolerate discomfort.
Step six rolls in. Now you have biochemical flat since the charge from sugar is out. This is the hardest part of the program. You are learning to do life without spike. You are learning to tolerate some flatness rather than creating drama, drama....
Then something funny happens. Flat starts taking on color. Flat becomes The Calm. And something in you starts to like it. And something in you starts to really like it. Eighteen months in and drama no longer holds the charge. You find yourself wanting to deescalate rather than amp up. Now the drama seems like an unnecessary wasting of energy far more suited to fun things.
Another change slips in. Rather than drama queen, your funny, creative, innovative self starts growing. You are flexible and resourceful. You deal well with crisis, you no longer cope but are proactive in problem solving. Who is this person anyway? There is nothing in the world so wonderful as a healed drama