When I first quit drinking over two and a half years ago (it will be three years on May 22nd) (Hold your applause! Calm yourselves, seriously! This isn’t an AA meeting!), I was under the impression that I was a fairly healthy person living an adequately healthy life, but my plan was to step it up and be an incredibly healthy person. Despite the fact that I am someone who is the indoor type, who loves nothing more than to lie on the couch watching Real Housewives and who can’t think of anything less appealing than a hike, I was going to be the opposite. I was going to instantly be a person who wouldn’t turn her nose up at a kale smoothie. A person who goes for a walk “just because” and a person with perfect bone structure and skinny knees. I was going to rock a miniskirt and have an enviable resting pulse rate.
I know these types of unrealistic expectations are true for a lot of us. Addicts don’t have the monopoly on black and white thinking.
Not long after I put the wine down I realized that I was slowly putting on a few pounds. It turned out that when the booze was out of my life in order to manage my stress I was turning to other things, other not-so-healthy things like sugar. I’d sit on the couch at night all anxiety and clenched jaws wondering how normal people relax. I felt keyed up and uncomfortable and very much in need of Xanax but I knew I couldn’t go there. So I ate dessert. By Halloween of that year I was mainlining candy like it was my job. The kids had to hide their bags from me lest they find only a few linty candy corns and a gummy skeleton. “Where are my mini Snickers mom? I counted twelve of them yesterday!” Elby cried to me one night after dinner. “I think Matilda stole them.”
“No honey. She didn’t.” It would have been easy to let Mattie be the fall guy but, you know, I was working this program of recovery that required rigorous honesty dammit. “I ate them.” Elby stared at me like I just told her she was adopted. It was then I knew that my candy eating was out of control and that I was going to need a different plan -one that didn’t involve trying to do a 180 within twenty four hours.
It turns out that the best way to make changes is slowly, reasonably. I had to give myself goals that I could attain and give myself a break when I messed up. I had to just sit there with fear or uncomfortable feelings at time and wait (an eternity sometimes) for them to pass. They always pass. Before I knew it I felt better, happier and healthier. Although I still have fat knees. Here are a few of my golden suggestions!
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I want to thank Brita for sponsoring this post and reminding me to drink my water!
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