I’ve been thinking about my recovery a lot lately, and I’m not just talking about excessive drinking.
I know that drinking excessively wasn’t really the problem. Obviously it became one, I’m not disputing that. But if I drill down further, I know that alcohol was a (really poor choice of a) solution to my problems.
The whole premise of this blog is that it’s a chronicle of recovery from my mid-thirties meltdown, which I briefly define here. What I fail to mention in that post is that there is so much more to why I drank.
One of those reasons has been my weight. I’m not sure what came first, the excessive weight or the drinking. I started putting it on in my first year of University – taking the classic “Freshman 15” much further than 15lbs. – which is also when my drinking career really started. As did my anxiety, and my low self-worth.
It really doesn’t matter which of those came first. Now, I just want to do something about it. All of it.
When I talk about “recovery” I mean a holistic mind/body/spirit recovery…and while abstinence is key, it is but one component of my overall recovery.
For the past few days, I’ve been experiencing a(nother) new feeling: I have been wanting to go to the gym. Not because there’s an event I want to lose weight for, or because summer is coming and I feel like I won’t enjoy it unless I look good in a swimsuit. I just want to take care of my body.
I’ve put off blogging about it because I wanted to give myself the chance to get over it. I wanted to dismiss it as a fleeting notion that I actually have no intention of actioning…but that just hasn’t happened. It’s been three days.
There’s been none of my usual manic fervour, no impulse purchase of workout clothes or a gym membership…only a fairly steady desire to take better care of my body.
See that ceramic ramekin above? That held a wheel of baked Camembert, and I ate the whole damn thing. For dinner.
That would’ve once been my ideal dinner (with a nice hefty red wine to go with it, mind you). Now I just feel disgusting.
This to me signals that comfort eating is no longer a comfort, and my persistent desire to improve my physical health isn’t a whim.
It’s time for phase two of my recovery: physical recovery.
This isn’t simply about weight loss, but I assume that will be a welcome side-effect of my physical recovery. I’m more interested in being able to climb a flight of stairs without being totally out of breath when I get to the top. I want to be able to shave my legs properly, which is kind of impossible right now with my big belly in the way. I want to be able to shop for clothes without breaking down in tears of humiliation.
I don’t want to miss out on life; doing sports with friends, lying on the beach, keeping up with kids (my own or others) or – if I’m lucky – dancing with Mrs. M.
I also don’t want to suffer the same fate as my biological father or my Uncle John – dead before 70, due to heavy drinking/an unhealthy lifestyle.
I’ve spent many moments wishing I was dead and now I want something different. I want to live. And I want to enjoy the life I’m living to the fullest.
This is a HUGE mindset change for me, so I’m going with it.
My fridge is currently filled with unhealthy food and I still have an alcoholic brain: I will eat it all! I drank on my way to rehab knowing that would be my last drink (so of course I drank as much as I could), and I will binge on crap before I embark on this new phase of my recovery.
But when it’s gone, phase two begins. Slowly and safely.
No crazy diets. No overly-ambitious goals.
Progress, not perfection.
And of course, I’ll be posting on Instagram because food and fitness are Instagram’s reason to exist. Or at least my reason to use it.
I’m excited. Not over-the-top excited, just really looking forward to adding a new element to my recovery.
Until then, I will try and get excited about my salted caramel cake…but it’s already lost its appeal.