Weeding the Roots

dandelion2_previewThis weekend my husband and I went to a wedding in Cleveland with a bunch of friends.

We had a truly fabulous time (we laughed so much this weekend that our sides hurt!), and after we got home on Sunday afternoon, we decided to take advantage of the sunshine and warm-ish weather and get to work tending to the dandelions that sprouted up in the past week.

We worked as a team, him using the little digging gadget to get to the root of each ugly weed, and me trailing behind with a bag to collect the dead weeds.

Now, I admittedly don’t have a green thumb and have never really gotten into gardening. Even though my parents are both really into it and can usually be found on a weekend afternoon in the garden, I never joined them as a kid, and honestly don’t know much about it.

My husband grew up in El Salvador; people have lots of plants in their homes, but not really gardens like we do here. And there’s no weeding necessary.

So naturally, it would make sense that two red-thumbed people would buy property with almost an acre of land needing tending! (HA) Anyway, he’s learned a bit over the past few years and I’ve remained uninterested … until this weekend.

As I watched him bending and scooping up the dandelions at the root (with expert precision, mind you!) I noticed a couple patches of dandelions where the heads appeared to have come off the weed, but the root was still there.

Curious, I asked why some didn’t have heads, and he said he’d probably mowed over them, but it never got to the root. Hence, the weed continued to grow, even without the yellow flowering head.

Our conversation got me thinking about recovery, and how in many ways, it is like a weed that ruins your front lawn.

If tended to — as in, the root is ripped out (the problem “exposed”), the weed likely will not grow back; there’s nothing for it to latch on to, no reason to come back. Perhaps the grass will remain clean, scar-free.

But if left untended — as in, mowed over but not actually dug out … or worse, just left alone with no weed spray or anything … it will continue to grow and permeate the soil, ruining an otherwise beautiful green carpet.

It’s a simplistic analogy, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me.

Right now, when it comes to chewing and spitting, I’ve been over eight weeks sober. I’ve gotten to the “root” of the problem, if you will — which was not trusting myself that I am, in fact, in control here. Once I was able to see that, and believe it, I’ve been sober.

However, the weeds of overeating are still there and I still struggle with that; in fact, I binged a little Friday night and Sunday night, too.

(I realize my idea of a “binge” is not what most people I know/talk to consider a binge, but any time I mindlessly eat and eat in excess where it’s not enjoyable, I consider that a binge, even if it’s 300-400 calories, it doesn’t matter; it’s still excess of what my body needs … but rather filled the gap of what my brain wanted in the moment).

Anyway, that weed is still there, and it’s something I need to still work on, but I consider it a work in progress.

Surely our lawn and garden wouldn’t belong on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens today … but if well-tended and well-loved in time … you just never know!

How about you? What are the weeds in your life right now? Do you think you can extract the roots? Or are you not completely ready to let go?

8 thoughts on “Weeding the Roots

  1. It’s a great analogy. I was thinking the same yesterday when I read this, also about eating disorder, its root system, and gardening, but not making the connection that you made.

    So much of the treatment for eating disorders seems to be superficial, just dealing with the parts of the problem that are easy to see. If only more sufferers could be so well-tended and well-loved with an understanding of what happens below ground, like your lawn — and, indeed, like you yourself.

  2. This IS a perfect anaology! I’m still struggling with bingeing but I’m slowly getting to the roots 😉 Also, not sure if this counts as a weed, but I really need to let go of my scales (body scale and food scale). I think both are contributing to the “growth” of the other bad habits.

  3. I’m always so scard about jinxing myself…but I think I have a binge eating disorder that I’ve been exhaustively trying to alleviate. I am realizing that the roots of it are really just anxiety and insecurity.

    It’s been a slow process, but things like races, a new job, a new career, good friends (old and new), acceptance of who I am and what I look like have all helped me fight the binge-monster.

    I’m now realizing that when I get anxious it’s a red light to sit down and deal with the problem – through yoga, exercise, reading, painting or even simply drinking a big glass of water. I am so prone to turn my mind off of the problem – which is when I can eat and eat to fill the void. As long as I don’t turn my mind off and engage it differently.

    I loved this analogy btw!!!!

  4. As someone completely frustrated with weeds in her yard (literally and figuratively!), I can completely identify with this. 🙂

    One thing that is frustrating to me is that so many of my friends/family still don’t realize how much of this is NOT about food – that is only a symptom, or side effect, I guess. I’ve gone months without binging/purging and months without binging, but did I fix the root of the problem? No, since I apparently fall back into the same pattern at some point.

    I try to remind myself, like you, that I can’t have a “weedless yard” over night. It takes time for them to grow, so it’ll take time to get rid of them. It’s still very frustrating! But when I think about the “good patches” and focus on them, I think it’s coming along. It’ll get there. 🙂

  5. Glad the analogy resonated so well, ladies!! Exactly, Holly, a weedless garden doesn’t happen overnight.

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