From Nov. 29 2015

After almost three years sober I have a lot of gratitude practice. In my head and in reality I get on my knees every day or I look up at the big sky and give heartfelt thanks. And I mean it: my sobriety has given my life breath, and I know enough to know that it’s polite to say thank you for the greatest gift I’ve even been given.

It’s cold here now, the woods are staring to get bare. The leaves have fallen and gone from vibrant to brown in a matter of weeks. Me too- I feel myself shriveling a little, shrinking in, but gaining a little weight. I’m trying not to worry about that. I looked in the mirror this morning, my face a little swollen, my belly a little more belly-y and thought about what a great diversionary tactic that is: worry about this outside shit so I don’t have to go inside where things can get real real quick.

One of my favorite things to talk about is feeding the right part of you: if all your attention goes in to the part that is always saying how ugly and awful and worthless you are then that fucker gets fat quick. But why isn’t my kind part ever hungry? Probably because it just sits there on the couch watching TV every day, waiting to get out, waiting to get to work, expending no energy at all while I’m out tirelessly running around with that other part that secretly hates me but won’t leave me alone.

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t always getting the runaround from my own self. In junior high school I had a pair of embroidered Gasoline jeans that were a bit too long but looked pretty great until I remembered that my butt was too big. I colored my hair red with temporary hair color mousse and shopped at all the places I was supposed to but it rarely quieted that voice. I used to dream I had the perfect outfit to wear to school and I would wake up so relieved only to remember it was just a dream and I was stuck in this reality where all my clothes were wrong, I never looked right, and no one really liked me anyway.

You would think after all these years I would have wised up and stopped paying attention to what that dang voice is saying, but there I was just this morning ears perked right up. And so I started the litany of self improvement plans.

“Yep, tomorrow is Monday. Perfect time to get back to my old routine. I’ll just do what I want today, then tomorrow I’ll start eating right again. I’ll run every day, do yoga every day. I will feel comfortable in my own skin because I won’t be swollen, or pudgy. And then I can feel OK about myself. I’ll stop drinking coffee. I won’t have dairy. Or bread. Or sugar. Then I’ll be controlling all these things and I’ll be good enough.”

God. I feel so sorry for that part of me that just cannot give all that up. It’s that same part of me that thought giving up drinking was going to solve all of my problems: if I’m sober then I’ll be OK.

Another of my favorite things to talk about is facing your problems. Here they are, relentlessly chasing you and you just keep running and running. It seems like I’ve kind of been looking back and throwing band aids at them instead of stopping and seeing what’s really going on.