Back before I sprained my ankle and tore some ligaments in a ridiculous display of un-coordination, I was doing the bridge to 10k app. Honestly, I’ve never been a runner (Which is probably why I fell off the step). It’s just not something I’ve enjoyed, but I loved being able to conquer the milestones, running up and down my step as my phone told me to, for up to 50 minutes at a time was hard work and yet so incredibly exhilarating.
Since then I haven’t been able to run. My ankle damage was significant enough that it’s going to take a good long time to heal. Instead, Boatman bought me an exercise bike. It reduces the pressure on my joints, but allows me to work up a good sweat.
Now If you ask me why I subject myself to this vigourous daily excerice routine, I’ll tell you the truth. I love it. I love how it makes me feel strong and toned and athletic. I’m addicted to the endorphins, and pushing myself to new levels. I need it for the extra energy to get through the day.
What I won’t tell you though, is that part of it is about control.
I need to have the control.
Control over my weight, over my body, and over my size.
I never missed the irony; on the days when running was hard and exhausting, I would push myself, quoting Scripture, “I beat my body to make it my slave,’ all the while knowing that I was not mastering my body.
It was mastering me.
Those feelings of inferiority and fear, always lurking beneath this confident exterior.
I’ve written about it before.
But I haven’t told you everything.
There were some days, when the beating I endured was worse. Some days when I pushed myself to extraordinary heights because of guilt, and not just guilt from food.
Guilt from wine.
I love wine.
I love how it tastes, and how refreshing it is on a hot day, and how it is something just for me that my kids can’t steal. Sweet, refreshing beautiful wine.
But it was taking over.
I wouldn’t call myself an alcoholic I don’t think. If an alcoholic is a person who drinks all day and can’t survive sober, than that is certainly not me.
But if it is a person who craves it every day, and finds it hard to go without, then maybe I am? If it’s a person who finds it impossibly hard to stop at just one glass, then I also tick that box.
Now for the record, I hate being drunk. Really hate it. I don’t drink to get drunk at all. I drink because I enjoy it, and because it is my treat. I don’t eat a lot of chocolate or ice-cream or anything like that. I have wine.
I’m also completely aware of what the bible says about alcohol. It’s ok to drink, but it’s not ok to be ruled by it, and I have let it rule me. I have let it make decisions that I have felt unable to make without it.
And that’s a problem.
Too further confound the issue, whenever I would drink, I would feel fat the next day. Bloated and ugly and gross.The result was that I would flog my body, pretending I was taking control, determined not to have a drink today, only to feel like a fat, horrible failure, and pour a drink come 5 o clock.
It was a vicious, horrible cycle and it had to stop.
I’ve known this for a while now.
Two weeks ago, on a friday night, I posted this picture on Instagram.
It was Diet Coke in a wine glass. A deviation from the usual model in my happy hour shots.
And I got this comment from Eden. Eden who has battled this affection for a long, hard time, and has been so beautifully open about it.
That comment, was the kick up my butt. Because I realised, in that moment, that it’s not just about me fighting a secret battle; I was living on online life that glorified it and possibly made it harder for those struggling with the same demons. And regardless of how hard anything is for me, if my actions are putting a stumbling block in another’s path, then it needs to stop.
So what does this mean?
It means that in the last two weeks, I have taken responsibility for the wine I consume. We no longer have alcohol in the house unless it’s date night, and then it’s just one bottle. I don’t open it until the kids are in bed, and Boatman has returned with our dinner.
And I stop. When I’ve had enough I stop.
Last friday, I had one glass.
It’s not been as tough as I thought, but it hasn’t been easy. It’s been more a mind change than anything. Instead of thinking ‘I need a drink,” I actively focus my thoughts elsewhere, or find a different way to unwind.
Dancing in the kitchen is very helpful. 🙂
I don’t want to be ruled by this, as I don’t want to be ruled by my body image. I want to be in control of my mind. I want to have the last say.
Tuesday morning, someone emailed me to review free wine. Six bottles they were going to send me. Six bottles for me to drink at my leisure, and write about.
I said no.
No for me, and no for my readers. Because I’m probably the last person anyone ever expected to be confessing to this, and I am, so who knows among you, who is struggling? And I will not make that battle harder for you.
I’m growing up, I’m standing firm, and I’m choosing to be the boss.
I will beat my body to make it my slave, but I will not be its.