I recently celebrated my two-year sobriety anniversary. I’m one of those rare cases who had already substantially reduced my partying ways long before finally opting to give up everything cold turkey on June 6, 2010. My drug use was down to very occasional, and by that point I could have probably passed for a responsible drinker in most social situations. But, I was still drinking every day. Sometimes at home. Often alone. So, although I had a handle on the downward spiral that had been the prior decade of my life, I wasn’t exactly what one might call healthy. I also had a tremendous amount of guilt and shame tied up with all the bad decisions I had been making (or many times NOT making, as I unfortunately spent a lot of my twenties blacked-out). Long story short: I was not proud of who I was. Something needed to change.
After I got a hold on my sobriety, I realized my former method of “dating” could no longer work, either. The problem was, I didn’t date. A few bad relationships in a row, coupled with a devastating break-up in my early twenties (and some other unrelated stuff we probably won’t get into until much later), left me with the desire to avoid any legitimate potential for true heartbreak. I was also definetly of the mindset that “I wouldn’t want to be part of any club who would have me,” and as a result, filled my evenings with one night stands, fuck buddies or people I knew deep down would leave me way before things ever got too serious. As hollow and empty as these sort of ‘relationships’ prove to be when you are using or intoxicated, you better believe they’re even worse when you’re sober and vulnerable. Therefore, with the exception of a few very awkward and uncomfortable casual-sex attempts after my sobriety date, I’ve also been deliberately celibate for the past two years. Yep. A deliberate celibate….we do exist. (Although I fully admit, I only intend this as a temporary solution!)
Why am I telling you such intimate details of my personal life? I think it’s important to understand everything I’ve already given up, every step I’ve already taken towards trying to heal and love myself, to recognize how troubling my relationship with food and the mirror truly is. I’ve conquered drugs, drinking, cigarettes, and promiscuity, but this is entirely different. Cutting something out of your life completely isn’t really a viable option when you have no choice but to face it an average of three times a day for the rest of your life. Of course, my eating disorder is even a precursor to all my other addictions. The first time I distinctly remember negative feelings related to my body image was in third grade. After a health test, some of the girls in my class where sharing their weight scores with each other. This was totally innocent in its nature, but I remember it being the first time I realized there was a marked difference between myself and my friends. They were mostly in the 60-70 pounds range. I myself was 80-something-rather. There was actually one other girl who weighed as much as I did; later in high school, rumors were abundant that she was anorexic. I sometimes wonder if she remembers that day in the cafeteria as vividly as I do.
I guess this would be a good time to mention that I am painfully aware that all my dilemmas are very ‘First world” sort of problems. I should take solace in this, and sometimes I do, but mostly my awareness makes me feel even more guilty and annoyed that I’ve wasted so much of my short life being preoccupied with such silliness. But regardless of what I know on a logical level, it doesn’t change the fact that these problems are a very real and a very prominent part of my existence.
I had lunch with a close friend today. She called me and told me to be ready and meet her some place like, “right now!” When I got there, she said “You seem upset. Is everything okay?” I played it off like it was just anxiety over my recent lay-off. How do you tell someone that you are simply frazzled because you had to consciously force yourself to leave the house wearing the quickest thing you could throw on when the reflection in the mirror was telling you that you didn’t DESERVE to go out in public today since you recently gained five pounds? These are the sort of things the voices in my head tell me on a regular basis, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let them continue for the rest of my life. Hopefully this blog will help me quiet them. At this point, I’ve got nothing to lose.
If you’re interested in following my journey, or you have some of your own memories to share, please stay tuned.