Monday, October 28, 2013
When I was a teenager, I had a good friend named Margaret. She was one of the scrappiest girls I ever met which was probably what attracted me to her. I was very afflicted by the disorder of "people pleasing" at that time in my life, and to be around someone who would say anything to anyone at anytime, no matter how much it annoyed or angered them, was kind of fascinating to me. Anyway, the first time I visited Margaret's home, her mother was drunk. In the middle of the day. Margaret explained to me that her father was also a drunk, and that for years her mother had argued with her father to stop drinking. They had six kids, and she needed and wanted a sober husband and father for their family. She did not win any of those endless arguments. The father kept drinking. The kids, as they approached or became teenagers, began drinking. Margaret's mother announced to the family one day, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" and she began drinking. Her drinking quickly escalated from revenge drinking, to heavy drinking, to full blown alcoholism. Margaret married an alcoholic who dabbled in heroin and, unable to get clean and sober, he eventually killed himself. Both of Margaret's parents were dead of alcohol related causes before they were 60. Alcohol took a horrible toll, and affected all members of the family, and the next generation of the family. I tell you this sad tale because it occurred to me yesterday, after I ate a ridiculously heavy meal, that I have adopted a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" attitude with my husband, in my family, but it does not involve alcohol. Gratefully, both my husband and I have been clean and sober for many years. No, I have tired of the food wars and have surrendered to my husband's stubborn insistence on eating whatever tastes good, with no thought to nutrition. I tell him he eats like a 12 year old....at a slumber party...training for a triathlon. We have two sons at home and they enthusiastically join in - one is 21 and has the forgiving metabolism of a 21 year old male who has a full time job that keeps him on the move. The other is a rapidly growing 9 year old who just wrapped up a football season and is moving into basketball. Then there is me. I am 54 with a history of disorderly eating, a bad thyroid that does not respond well to medication (despite numerous blood tests and medication adjustments over the past two years). I exercise but certainly not enough to eat the amount and type of foods we have been indulging in. In short, it is ridiculous. I don't intend to sit my husband down and have a talk with him. I don't intend to lecture my sons on proper nutrition. I don't intend to ask any of them for support. Words are words and words don't work in this situation. Action is the only recourse I have. Although it is akin to "getting sober while living in a bar", I have successfully done this before - eaten sensibly while surrounded by excess. I can lead by example or I can collapse in defeat. My choice. My CHOICES - many, many choices that require I be uncomfortable while re-building my strength in this area. I am not posting this blog because I am a good example to anyone, or because I have anything to report in terms of successful weight loss, or because I am hoping someone has some ideas for solving this, or even because I feel ashamed and feel the need to 'fess up to other Sparklers. The only reason I am posting this is to come clean with myself and basically call myself out on my bad attitude, and stay connected to people I like feeling connected to. Plus, I did not get clean and sober all those years ago, and stay clean and sober for all these years, so that I could wake up feeling ashamed and discouraged about myself day after day. This $h!t needs to stop and it starts and stops with me.