Hi everyone. I want to talk a little bit about that last post I wrote (“My perspective on dieting and booze“).
When I re-read that post (every other day since I posted it) I cringe as I viscerally react to my own know-it-all voice. And in many ways I regret posting it. It’s didactic. It lacks any humanity. It’s just a preacher doing her preaching.
When I wrote it, it felt like a drunken or stoned (pick your poison) moment of enlightenment. An offloading of ideas that had been percolating forever and needed to be put down and published before I forgot anything.
Basically, I threw up all my interconnected theories that had been looping for two years.
So today, after re-reading that damn post for the hundredth time, I’m asking myself what did I really think I would accomplish?
A secret part of me thought: revolution.
Shockingly, that didn’t happen. Lol.
My whole life – at school and then at work – I’ve been reminded that being “right” isn’t an action or a reward.
I haven’t ever been celebrated for speaking truth to power, or even reviled. Just overlooked and pushed aside. I’ve learned over and over again that my style is really off-putting, and people don’t want to be taught. They want to believe they had the good idea, or that they are at minimum an equal contributor to good results. I’ve edited my work communication style drastically, especially since getting sober. I’m at least a little bit more self-aware. I may have even realized that I’m not actually “right” a lot of the time.
But my last post just shows you how deep that urge to preach runs.
I do believe (not just suspect) that the steep rise in alcoholism among women is paradoxically connected to being raised in our era of diet, health and wellness marketing.
I do believe that we can all have an a-ha moment about how we wreck our metabolisms by restricting food without burning our running shoes and bags of kale. We can decide that our bodies can be healthy without being thin – without losing all of our self-care and beauty regimens. We can find peace without radical change.
And really, when we quit drinking, weren’t we trying to reclaim a little peace?
I think – with my history of dieting and self-help-book reading – that I was also addicted to self-improvement. That feeling of hope and elation at the start of a new food plan is enthralling. And I didn’t want to let that shit go because what would I have left? Just living? No working at it? That felt scarier than cycling through times of control and times of food “freedom”. The nothingness. But that nothingness is the real freedom. That’s the revolutionary “act”.
When I hear women worry about weight gain after they quit drinking, I panic on their behalf. I feel their fear and I know that it’s all a part of the brainwashing: we are not ok as we are. And it can ruin their progress with quitting drinking because at the end of their sobriety story looms the next chapter of dieting and restriction – to get back to who they really are, to prove that quitting drinking was “worth it”. And unlike quitting drinking, dieting is a losing proposition (long term). It can rightfully feel truly hopeless to anyone in the early stages of sobriety.
So, please forgive me for ranting. I’m not proud of my methods (yet), but I still believe there is something big and revelatory here that I guess I intend to repeat until someone else says “I get it.”
I suppose I will bore people. It will annoy others. But there’s got to be more women out there who are open to the possibility that they can live a life entirely without fear of fat and weight gain, eating whatever they want.
So, I’ll persist. But I’ll also try to get back to just chronicling my own process because honestly – I am not cured. Ha. Duh. And this blog helps me make leaps forward sometimes.
Thanks for reading.