Today marks one year sober for me.
I never thought that would be a big deal. I never thought I had a drinking problem. I was more of a problem drinker. You know the type…drinks when they have problems…drinks when the problems are solved. Weekend warrior. Binge Drinker. Whatever you want to call it, it wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t a means to cope with my emotions. I was never an alcoholic, but that’s not an excuse for my behavior. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.
I never really made a conscious decision to stop drinking. Well, sort of, and I’ll get to that in a minute. It’s odd that the more my life started to crumble the less I wanted to drink. It just sorted faded out as a part of my former life. I have The Big Man Upstairs to thank for that. (By the way-I stopped drinking and the weight dripped off of me like water. Alcohol makes you fat folks.)
This weekend marks another pause in my life from a year ago as well. I closed on my house a year ago this weekend. I had tickets to see Kevin Hart and went out with someone I really cared about to celebrate. We had a great time. I no longer have contact with this person and that really, really hurts. That was the last time I had drinks. I was dreadfully hungover for an extended period of time after only a couple of drinks (and I was pretty buzzed after only a couple of drinks). My conclusion is that a medication I had started to take (and still do) must interact with the alcohol. I very rarely was drinking at that point anyway, and that was the last straw. It wasn’t worth it to be sick.
There’s several memories tied to this weekend in May. I lost my dream of home ownership, but I could be done with the house and move on. I had a fantastic time with someone I really cared about and now am not on speaking terms with. We were actually very close to a shooting in the parking lot of that Kevin Hart show and got blocked in by the crime scene investigation for a while before we could leave.
When I look at where I am today vs a year ago it just seems surreal. That was the point I thought my life was maybe going to settle some. So, so much has changed since that point. There have been moments in the last year, especially in last 6 months, when I didn’t know up from down or right from left. There was more than once when I didn’t get out of bed for multiple days except to walk the dog, and if I hadn’t had to that, I wouldn’t. But, I’m still here. I’m still figuring it out day by day. And never once in the last year did I try and wash my problems away with a bottle.
There is something about telling another person your sins that make them real and helps you to move on. That’s why the Catholics like confession I guess. That’s why one of the 12 steps is to admit your wrong doings and make amends whenever possible. Well, I have some confessions to make.
1. I eat WAY too much peanut butter. This is not a new love affair for me. It’s a life long love that only grows stronger. But in the last 3 months, I would venture to say it is really getting to be something I might openly admit to having an addiction to. I love PB so much I named my childhood cat after this my beloved snack food. And my hippie parents never batted an eye. Dad loves the stuff too 😉 Now, lets get something straight. I am a peanut butter snob. I really love natural, fresh ground peanut butter. Nothing but peanuts in my peanut butter please!
2. I really don’t like cooking. I especially don’t like cooking that involves a lot of work. I tend to eat the same things over and over just because they are easy and I know I can make them without setting the kitchen on fire.
3. I REALLY don’t drink enough water. This used to be the easiest thing every for me. I had no trouble getting in 8-10 glasses a day and 12-15 on exercise days. Now I barely get in the 8 on exercise days. I’m not sure what happened, but I have to improve the H2O intake for sure.
This brings me to the public commitment part of today’s programming. I’m here to say that I am committing to drinking 8 glasses of water a day for the next week. I will. I will finish off at least 2 before lunch and at least 2 more before I leave work.
I’ve confessed and committed. Your turn. What do you need to tell the world you’re working on?
This whole process of becoming a healthier me is just that…a process. There is such a learning curve to it. You would think that after loosing 60 pounds before my wedding in 2004 I would understand the concepts necessary to loose weight and maintain that. But in reality, it’s not that simple. How many of us have been there, done that only to find ourselves back where we started eventually? It makes it very frustrating. Why should I even bother to try if I’m just going to gain it all back eventually? Then there are the self defeating arguments we all tell ourselves: I’ve been overweight my whole life, I can’t change now/ I have big bones/ It’s in my genes to be overweight/ It’s too hard to cook differently for me then for the rest of my family/ I work too much to eat healthy and so on and so on.
The first step in the process was to accept myself for who I am but to also hold myself accountable for my own actions. I had to accept that what happens to me is my own doing. I am not a victim of circumstance, and I do not have to be a victim of anything at all…including my own negative thinking. And I had a lot of negative thinking…about my body…about my habits…about my life path…about my relationships with others…about my job…about God…about life. I had to let that go. I can’t even begin to describe how much lighter I feel having gotten rid of emotional baggage that wasn’t really real to start with. I am not an alcoholic (although I will confess that one thing I needed to learn to hold myself accountable for was the amount of drinking I was doing at one point in time), but I think there is a lot of wisdom in The 12 Step Program. that can be used by anyone who feels they need to examine the direction their life is headed. There is a spiritual (but not necessarily religious) basis to the 12 steps and that is also part of my process; getting reacquainted with my spiritual self.
When one’s self esteem begins to improve, it is only natural that self care improves as well. The next big step for me was Education. It all started with a chance encounter with the 100 Days of Real Food Blog. Its a simple concept. Learn what’s in your food. I had already gotten with the program that artificial sweeteners were bad (*gasp* no more Diet Coke!) and was working on the idea of eating food with ingredients I could pronounce, but the 100 Day Challenge takes that a little further. I will not say that I eat “all real food all the time” but this one website really challenged the way I thought about food.
Here I was thinking I was eating healthy with my Diet Coke and 100 calorie snacks and grain bread. I did Weight Watchers for years (it’s an awesome program-if you do it right- that I stand behind 2000%) so I know all about portion sizes and carbs and and drinking water and all that jazz. But the more I began to educate myself on what I was really eating, the more horrified I became at the chemicals I was ingesting. There was yellow dye in my pickles! Pickles shouldn’t need to be dyed, they are already green! There was sugar in my wheat bread! Bread shouldn’t need sugar. Slowly but surely I have been removing the processed food from my life. It’s not always the easier choice and it’s not always the cheaper choice, but it is the common sense choice to me. Would I rather have a frozen waffle with cheap “syrup” for breakfast that is made from flour that contains so few nutrients they add a couple back in to call it “enriched” and HFCS with a chemical that mimics maple flavor or would I rather have a fruit smoothie made with yogurt/soy milk/berries/banana/fresh spinach? You tell me. There are 30 ingredients in an Eggo Nutrigrain Waffle and Mrs. Butterworths Syrup. My smoothie has 5. The Nutrigrain waffle is advertised as “whole wheat” but if you read the label you will see that enriched flour is the primary ingredient (behind water). The excuses as to why anyone can’t do this have to go. It’s not that hard. I’m as far from a cook as anyone can possibly be, but I’m getting by. What’s the secret here? There isn’t one. Use your common sense and use the brain God gave you. If you buy things in packages, turn them over and read the ingredient list. Meat should contain 1 ingredient: animal flesh. Not animal flesh followed by 7 other chemicals to keep it fresh. Common sense, right? Frozen/canned/jarred fruit should contain 1 ingredient: fruit. Not fruit followed by sugar and more sugar. Fruit is sweet enough. Make your health a priority and let a little convenience go. It will mean the end of McDonald’s runs on the way home from work, but who wants to eat food that still looks the same when left out for a year. Just google McDonald’s left out for a year and check out the images to see what I mean. It just might slow your love of the Big Mac.
I have a lot to say on the clean eating topic and came across an awesome article today via another food advocate I’ve been enjoying. The Food Babe is semi local to me offers a slightly different approach to an unprocessed lifestyle. I will comment on the article she shared today in another post. I have to say, I don’t always agree with the Food Babe, but this article is a must read and I enjoy all of her perspectives, her’s and those she shares from others.
I challenge you to take a hard look at your pantry and fridge. Life doesn’t end when the Oreos run out. Trust me.