Why the author has a mild obsession with needles this morning.
Mood music for this post: “The Needle and the Damage Done,” by Neil Young:
Sean had his annual physical yesterday and came home in a subdued mood after having blood drawn and a booster shot. I felt kind of bad for him, but not for long. He has it easy compared to my experience with needles. Not that I ever like to see him scared or in pain. It kills me every time.
A lot of needles went into my arms, hands, feet and legs as a kid when I was being treated with severe Crohn’s Disease. There were weekly blood tests. There were IVs. There were three surgeries where a feeding tube was inserted through my neck and chest.
The IVs were the worst. They could never find an optimal place to leave the needle so they’d stick, stick and stick some more. The blood tests didn’t bother me. I would watch as the needle went in, while other kids would turn away and scream. I was too used to it for that.
The whole needle experience was probably a blessing in disguise.
I was born with an addictive personality and was destined to get hooked on something. I think the reason it wasn’t something like smack is because I had already had my fill of the needle. I would never be able to associate needles with feeling pleasure. The pleasure is what addicts go for.
So for me, that pleasure came from compulsive binge eating. How food became the addiction of maximum damage is easy to understand. I come from a family of comfort eaters, and I was banned from any food or drink during my childhood hospital stays. Then I had to take Prednisone, which sends the appetite into overdrive.
I should be grateful. Injecting dope through needles is one of the most deadly addictions a person can have. It leads to relationships with a lot of dark, unsavory personalities. You end up dead or in jail, unless you’re lucky to kick it.
Those things were never really an issue with the food. If anything, my addiction made me hide from people and relationships period, which left me with little opportunity to get into trouble with the law. Besides, I was too much of a chicken for that sort of thing.
I could spin this stuff in my skull over and over again. But it doesn’t matter.
I’m in recovery, I’m grateful and I have too much to do these days to regress to the older behavior.
Or so I hope.