Since I was little, I knew I was different. I didn’t act like other kids; didn’t play like other kids or think aloud like other kids. When I found something I liked (whether to eat, read, watch, etc) I did it until I got bored and exhausted at the thought of it.
I have been clean and sober since May 26, 2006. It was a rough road before that day of enlightenment, and the road after the sun shone on me was pretty dark at first. I essentially locked myself in my basement apartment only leaving to go get cigarettes and bottles of water.
As the days turned to weeks, weeks to months and months to years, I didn’t really think of any of my actions as being relative to addiction. Sure, the drugs and alcohol were definitely a part of it. My lack of self-control and my glaring sense of low self-worth paved the way to the drugs and alcohol that I let destroy my life.
Now, nine years into a clean and sober life, I had a realization about myself. And it involved mini pretzels.
In the office I have worked for over seven of my sober years, there is a set of chairs and a small, black table across from my desk. Often times, we here at the office will put a snack on the table. It might be a box of cookies, a tin of wafers or a giant plastic tub of mini pretzels.
These pretzels have been hell for me since they arrived. The tub was stuffed to the gills when it arrived and now it sits half full because someone in this office kept opening the tub and taking handfuls of pretzels out. They would put them neatly on a tissue from the tissue box and then eat them one after the other.
That someone was me. That someone was me every day up until today. And as I drove home from work last night cursing myself (because I ate so many mini pretzels; because I gained some weight in the last three weeks; because if I don’t stop eating, I’ll never fit into my wedding dress in two weeks) I had an epiphany.
Everything I do, I do in excess. There is no such thing as moderation in my life when I am left to my own devices. Whether it is food, coffee, cigarettes, spending money… it does not matter. I will do it until I can no longer do it (whatever it is).
I will do these things until I am physically sick, or mentally anguished or utterly disgusted through and through.
Then I get down on myself (like, really down) because I think “hey, you’re a giant piece of shit, you know. I mean, look at you! You ate all those pretzels! You drank all that green tea! Look how many cigarettes you smoked today! You’re a fat, disgusting worthless piece of shit.” And then I’ll say ‘fuck it’ and eat more pretzels, smoke more cigarettes, drink more green tea. I’ll pull out my credit cards and see how much money I have to spend and if I have some, I’ll spend it.
And that pisses me off to no end.
I had my days of feeling worthless and low when I was drinking and drugging over nine years ago. Those days of slovenliness were over for me!
Or were they?
Because there was something else I noticed last night while I sat on the couch at home while my cat meowed from the kitchen regarding his dinner. I am extremely disorganized.
Disorganization for me is a way to keep the chaos in my life because somewhere deep down inside (I think I have almost found that dark part of me) I STILL feel I don’t deserve good things. I don’t deserve to be in shape. I don’t deserve a nice home or any of these things I have worked so hard for (busted my ass for) throughout my sobriety.
I just realized all this last night!
How could I think this? How could I, a woman who has managed continuous sobriety for over NINE YEARS, have such a hard time getting rid of piles of papers or putting down the mini pretzels? How could I find it difficult not to spend money that I don’t have to spend in the first place?!
I’ll tell you how… because somewhere inside, that little girl is still in there and she is angry or upset over something. There is something I have not touched on and I know that if I touch on it, it will be painful. Initially, it will be excruciatingly painful. It will suck and it will hurt and I will be angry and crying…
But I know in the end, it will be glorious and I will be able to laugh at the giant vat of mini pretzels and say, ‘not today’ every day until I don’t even think about the mini pretzels. And then I’ll clean up all those papers, and I’ll stop spending money on stupid shit, and I’ll finish everything I start.
Thank you for reading.