Sometimes people will find out that I’m a recovering alcoholic, and they’ll praise my courage and my strength. I usually go along with it.
Because I like to be praised. You know. Who doesn’t?
But the fact that I quit drinking is not evidence of my strength or courage, one way or the other. It’s evidence only, really, of honesty and being straight with myself. Some alcoholics in recovery are strong and courageous people, but I’m not one of them. Because for me, getting off alcohol was really an exercise in acceptance more than anything else. I had to accept that I could never drink again, that there was no way to think my way out of it, no loop holes, no ifs ands or buts. And even that realization took me a while, too, by the way. I tried it my way several times before I finally accepted it. I got kicked out of a few bars on New Years Eves (the one day of the year I’d let myself drink during those years), forget my way home, forget how I got somewhere, and forget half the night the next morning before I could accept it. Let’s be clear: I can be a thick bastard on occasion.
But when people in meetings — back when I went to them — would say things like, “Today, I’m giving it over to God,” I’d be like, “Yeah. Give it over to God,” and it was all academic for me. They would talk about getting on their knees and all that religious crap, and I’d go along with it, but I really never did it. My thoughts on God and spirituality expanded as a result of sobriety, and whereas before I had been a fairly adamant atheist I’m now a much more tolerant agnostic with a penchant for talking about The Order of Things and the like. But get on my knees? Not a chance, pardon the expression, in hell.
I had never been physically addicted to alcohol. Or any drug, for that matter. My drinking was chaos, but it wasn’t every day. I never found myself, on a day-by-day basis (or minute-by-minute basis) having to give myself over to the care of God or The Group or Whatever in order to get through the day without a drink. I just did it. I committed to it and did all the work and tried (really tried) to expand my ideas about God for the sake of my sobriety. And I guess it worked, because it’s been almost nine years now.
But strong? No. I got lucky.
I joke about how I’m addicted to cupcakes and how I have a sugar problem. Bottom line: it’s funny. Mr. Right-Click says, “You’re only problem with cupcakes is that you don’t have enough cupcakes.” And yeah, that is totally a problem.
The truth is that I’m seriously addicted to food. To sugar, in particular. It is something that plagues me every day of my life. It’s funny, but it’s not, and then it is again, and then it’s not again. And so on.
I had to admit to Travis that I ate seven cupcakes on Saturday, and even while I was laughing about it, I was also kind of at my wit’s end, because I DO NOT WANT TO EAT SEVEN CUPCAKES IN A DAY. I want to commit to eating better, and not just totally waste my really super painful exercising and all the time I put in to try to look good. Because it really is about looking good for me — I wish it were about health, but it’s not. In fact, if it really were about health, it might be easier. If I could convince myself that eating even one more cupcake would be leading me down the path to death, I think I might have an easier time of it.
It would be more like alcohol — no ifs, ands, or buts.
I looked at the pictures of myself from Mini’s party and, people — and I’m not fishing for compliments here, people, really — it is physically painful for me. This is why you never see pictures of me from the waist down. I cannot look at them, and I’m driven to look at them. They hurt me. It is so absurdly vain and just SO STUPID, but it’s true. So I look at the pictures, and then I eat more cupcakes, and then I look at more pictures, and I eat more cupcakes. Before you know it, I don’t even remember how many cupcakes I’ve eaten, and I’m definitely not enjoying them anymore, and — wait a second, I’ve felt this way before . . . oh yeah, this is what it was like back when I was drinking.
Sugar and/or food are not something I can cut out of my life like I did with alcohol. And I’m fresh out of ideas, people.
I guess what I’m saying is: I’m on my knees. Typing, on my knees. Also: smirking. All of it. Because it’s serious, and it’s funny, all at once. I’m out of ideas. So I’m going to have to give it to God, as they say. I hope he/she/it doesn’t mind if I don’t believe in him/her/it.