The Agony of Addiction, and What Broke the Cycle for Me

What tragic news we learned over the weekend that Matthew Perry was found dead after an apparent drowning in his hot tub at his home in California.

This beloved star from Friends — or on my radar from 17 Again with Zac Efron — brought the world so much joy and laughter on screen, yet in his private life, struggled tremendously with addiction.

Matthew Perry arrives at the 2022 GQ Men of the Year Party on Thursday, Nov.17, 2022, at the West Hollywood Edition in West Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

My heart is absolutely breaking for his family and loved ones left behind.

Whenever there is news like this of stars who have battled addiction issues, it hits differently – at a place deep in my soul. Because though anorexia is not technically classified as an addiction, I fully believe that addiction and eating disorders are two sides to the same coin.

And as such, the news cuts deep, having perhaps experienced a glimpse at the agony surrounding that utter dependence on a destructive lifestyle.

When I was at the deepest and lowest point of my battle with anorexia — we’re talking, my hair had fallen out, I had completely isolated myself – shutting everyone out, merely existing on the adrenaline rush of “getting away with” throwing away food, sneaking exercise, shaving off bites and ounces of food I had to consume, watching the numbers on the scale plummet down to 80 – 79.5 – 78.0 lbs — and all the while keeping up the deception of it all — it was my drug. It had a choke hold on me, and I was letting it. I had completely surrendered to the disease — or rather, the addiction — that was actively and slowly ending my life.

But I didn’t care. I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see past the protruding bones and feeling of superior emptiness that I was, literally obsessed with.

And if there was one thing I could say to that hurting young girl, I would tell myself: God’s not finished with me yet. This is not it for you. There is so much life just waiting to be lived on the other side of the eating disorder. There is joy, there is rest, there is friendship and laughter, there is peace and a quiet mind, there are hopes and goals and dreams to chase and life to be lived, and my husband to meet, and fun to be had, but I’ve got to leave the eating disorder to behind in order to get there.

You get so entrenched in this cycle of the eating disorder or addiction that you literally begin to despair, and eventually settle upon the perceived “fact” that this is all your life will ever be. There’s no way out, no light at the end of the tunnel…heck, you don’t even know which way is up. You just exist from one frantic thought to the next.

It. Gets. Better.

God never gave up on me, even when I was close to.

That’s the hope. That’s the real, down-to-the-quick, end-of-the-rope, rock bottom faith that I’ve built my life on.

His forgiveness, His mercy, His grace, His love, His courage, His protection, His strength and power saved me from my utter weakness.

And that is what I pray for all those caught in the cycle of eating disorders and addiction.

God rescued me, but I had to let Him. I had to stop pushing Him away, and let Him break down the impenetrable wall — nay, the fortress — I had erected around my heart.

His love is life.

And that’s the cornerstone upon which recovery is built.

11 responses to “The Agony of Addiction, and What Broke the Cycle for Me”

  1. I love this post. I, too, have some unwanted thoughts that I “let” impact my life. And I, too, always tell myself that God’s not done with me yet and that it isn’t “it” for me yet. God will make a way. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great post, thank you for your honesty and vulnerability.

    It doesn’t matter, in my opinion, what is “classified” as an addiction or even if we term it an addiction or just a “compulsive” behaviour; if it is destructive to our everyday life, then it’s a big problem that needs to be fixed.

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