Thursday, December 02, 2010

let yourself run on empty.

A few months ago, one of my favourite bloggers – schmutzie, decided that she was going to embrace sobriety and give up alcohol. I thought she was brave for sharing that so publicly. I thought she was brave for giving up her crutch.

I use food as a crutch. And booze. Buying stuff too.

Yet, I am not grotesquely overweight. I do not get drunk on a regular basis. I do not have a bunch of extra money burning a hole in my pocket. Each one of these behaviours in a silo is not so bad. Mix them together and they become the perfect numbing cocktail. When I asked my therapist what she thought about my crutches, she asked me (isn’t that what a good therapist always does?) what I was trying to avoid feeling? Filling myself with food, getting a little buzz from a glass of wine and the feeling of excitement in purchasing something are all just ways to keep myself from feeling something. I think I knew that, but didn’t want to address it. Pass the cookies and yeah, of course I’ll take a top up on my vino while I peruse the Christmas flyers.

What would be so bad about letting myself feel empty, or at the very least, not full? Was drinking a glass or two of wine every night really helping me relax? Did buying myself a new pair of pinking sheers (they were on sale) give me a rush that lasted longer than the time it takes to walk to my car? I justified all of it with the thinking that “my life is damn hard – I’m just doing what I need to do to get through the day”. But that inner monologue is shortsighted. That type of thinking is keeping me stuck in a cycle where I continue repeating the same behaviours and beating myself up for never achieving a different result.

I decided to give up my crutches and let myself limp. Last week I joined Weight Watchers. I stopped drinking. I put my credit card away. I’m still here to talk about it. And I’ve shed a few pounds.

It turns out that it isn’t so bad letting yourself feel sad about the things in your life that bum you out. Going to bed with a full tummy doesn’t help you sleep better. Buying a self-help book that I probably won’t read (but sure is pretty) doesn’t make me a better person. Crying is good for you. Feeling hungry reminds you that you are alive. Denying yourself a quick fix by spending money is empowering.

Being empty provides clarity.


  1. I'm still finding that line for myself. Congrats on joining the WW! It helped me shed NEARLY 15 pounds since I joined 6 months ago.

  2. Thanks Amber - I'm finding that being accountable for what I put in my mouth really makes me think differently about what I'm eating.

    Inner voice: "Do you really want to write down that you ate 6 cookies?"

  3. Anonymous11:55 a.m.

    I'm still working on "You don't have to do everything perfectly; if you make a little slip, you don't have to make it into a big slip..."

  4. Anonymous11:59 a.m.

    This is some deep shit Kat :-)


  5. Anonymous12:53 p.m.

    This post has spoken to me in unimaginable ways. Thank you.:-) I'm going to re-read it again now.

  6. Wow, do we have a lot in common. I call it "filling the hole"..gotta fill the hole with something, anything...

    I too am taking some steps, some harder than others. I lost 6 lbs this *week*... not too hard when you don't eat and drink yourself into submission for a few days.

    I cut up my CC a few months ago, but still find work arounds here and there. That in itself has to stop. It all has to stop.