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.