A morality tale from the reverend Jim High Anmighty
I had to laugh. Sorting out my study last week I came across an old notebook and thought “that’s good I can use that for my music notes”. There were some pages that needed ripping out but when I looked at them I could see they were pages from a diary going back to 2011. I was attempting at that time to train for a second London marathon and the pages were my activity and health log. I read a few entries and my heart sank whilst I simultaneously smiled.
Here’s an entry from January 2011 :”Couldn’t do the run as planned. calf still playing up. Bad weekend,saw ______ and _______ for dinner and drank way too much. Sunday felt awful and had usual fry up to soak up the hangover. Weight 14st. far too heavy. must cutback on alcohol.”
I didn’t end up doing the marathon that year and I didn’t make the changes. I have diaries from other years, same story. I record my blood pressure on an app. So many times I have left comments such as ” BP and weight both up. Heavy week too much booze and food. MUST cut down,” and so it goes on. That cycle of drinking, eating, needing to change, next big event more over eating excessive drinking always trying to rein in the rampaging monsters.
Luckily at times I did rein them in for days at a time but only days. Without that reining in, even for short periods, I dread to think where I would be now. Seeing those entries and knowing that was the pattern of my life seems now like so much wasted opportunity but it also looks like denial. The evidence was in front of me. I was not in control and I hated it. OK it’s taken me a long time to get here but at last my diary entries have changed. I can now put in my Blood Pressure app.” BP in normal range, steady weight loss since September, had a few runs, weekends now longer blighted by hangovers and fry ups.”
There’s a lovely irony in being someone who has spent their life trying to help others change and develop only to discover that I was in my very own self repeating hamster wheel of stasis in relation to food and drink. But then I remind myself that my life is not just about my problemmatic relationship to food and particularly alcohol. I have made changes in other areas of my life. There has been development. I improved my relationships, became hopefully a better parent, worked hard to be a better educator and more recently counsellor. I also like to think I’ve improved my guitar playing and biggest improvement of all moved up a league in table tennis (and yes, sad to say, that IS important to me!).
On balance history had repeated itself in a couple of key areas. Yes, and they were big areas. Those, thankfully are finally being addressed and I’m not going to be too hard on myself because they are but two aspects of my life. Having been stuck for so long with the food and drink cycle has definitely helped me be more empathic with those I encounter who struggle with the same issues. I see people at the extremes sometimes of alcohol use disorder, drinking that risks work, relationship and life itself. I count myself lucky that my drinking never went to those extremes, but it could have done. Those who have broken the cycle are in a great position to speak with empathy, understanding and authority. I’m at the beginning of breaking the cycle and look up to the people who really have done it.
That brings me neatly to my final point. I want to repeat something I’ve said before. Fellow bloggers with your insight, experiences and comments, you have made a difference. The support is probably the crucial factor in me finally making the changes that were so long overdue. Thanks.
Now I have a favour to ask. A fellow blogger, Lia, (No More) has just got back into doing her blog after a two year absence and intends giving up the booze on Monday 18th November. Here is a link to her blog; Lia’s Blog
It’s called No More and it would be wonderful if we could give her the support that I and so many others have enjoyed and which undoubtedly helps. She will really appreciate it. I asked her if Icould provide the link, give her a mention and she was morethan happy for me to do so. So please give her bog a visit and wish her well. Thanks.
In the end I suppose history doesn’t have to repeat itself not once we realise that we are ultimately the authors of our own histories.
Here endeth the sermon for today.