It was a long time coming, something I knew in the back of my mind was inevitable, but even knowing that it was time, I promised myself “Only for one year…”
I had to trick myself into believing that I could stop if I wanted because it wasn’t that I knew one day I’d get healthy, it was more like I also knew my drinking days were numbered.
That was what broke my will, and that was certainly the most eye-opening moment. But the truth is the whole thing was getting harder and harder to keep up and one morning I couldn’t kid myself any longer; I felt broken.
Bright Line Eating arrived at the perfect juncture. Right after a food-filled four day trip to NYC, right before Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and all the parties between. That was in October 2016.
It was by all accounts the most inopportune time to give up the thing that made those anxiety-filled events anywhere from bearable to enjoyable, which was drowning in food and its boozy friend.
I didn’t plan to get sober right then, the plan was to eat according to “the plan” and resume drinking in a year when I knew I had food under control.
Luckily, I breezed through all the holiday incidentals, not only while losing weight but it was the first time in my life that I had a glimpse of freedom from the food monkey on my back.
There’re a few things about my personality you might understand. First, I’m an extremist. I could find and execute a perfect, most often extreme strategy. The more extreme, the more reasons to fail or never start or keep searching for the exact right time (the perfect time). I don’t dip my toe in, I don’t do anything half-assed. Second, I’m a planner. If I don’t do it according to schedule and check all the boxes along the way, then it can get intense. (I am also a die-hard foodie, more about that later)
There were years leading up to getting sober, when I was imagining this potential new life I’d have to claim and all its trappings and consequence, these two things— extremism, and perfectionism— are what held me captive. One of the best excuses I remember thinking was how expensive it would be to have to replace my wardrobe. Meanwhile, non-stop eating at restaurants, in the drive-thru, the cases of wine and beer consumed monthly was always padded into the budget.
I had a plan, and the plan wasn’t meant to ever actually succeed. I had a least a thousand other plans and false starts. It just happened that that was the moment I decided to take one step in a direction I’d been avoiding for so long. Unplanned, untimely, imperfect; set up to fail again kind of an event. It was exactly the opposite of how I did anything.
Today I am not here to write this to tell you how starting to quit drinking or jump into Bright Line Eating with two feet without fear. That fall of 2016 Bright Line Eating was actually one of the better accidents of my winding recovery path. Something about how much making it through that impossible string of stressful events actually made me, how it prepared me not just for my inevitable complete decision on booze but also for the many big things that came after
- Realize there is no perfect time. There’s just not; your life will never stop moving forward and there will always be an elusive right time. Thinking there’s some magical date where a change like this will be easier or more convenient is a trap that keeps us from taking action.
- Starting doesn’t mean forever. It just means starting. Even if you can’t imagine yourself quitting sugar and flour for good or never drinking again, that doesn’t mean you don’t start taking steps toward it.
- It doesn’t have to be extreme. This was exactly what kept me from making real change, I eventually did become a person who stopped my addictions like food, smoking, and drinking which is done bit by bit and moment by moment, typically one day at a time. The beautiful byproduct of recovery is I became someone who meditates, craves time in nature and got her finances in order, but that was only because I started with one thing— and stuck to it. The rest fell into place.
- You don’t have to know how the story ends. These things unfold and reveal themselves. You literally only have to think about the thing in front of you.
- It will feel impossible. The way you start to see it, the way it starts to become not impossible, is taking steps toward it.
- It’s not impossible. The thing that people in recovery have in common is that they tried to quit over and over, they tried every diet and they didn’t stop until they just did. There are a lot of things complicated about recovery; this part isn’t. Bright Line Eating isn’t something only some people can do, it’s something you can do.
- Holy moly it’s worth it. On the other side of a shitty relationship with your body, with food, with alcohol is the thing you want. The problem with your addiction isn’t a curse, it’s an invitation. The work you do to figure this thing out is the point of all of it; this is the path laid out before you, and it is filled with the things people spend their whole lives looking for.
One of the things people ask me the most is, “How do I start?” I get this the most in public. A few things. First, you’ve already started. If you’re reading this blog, that’s nothing, and it’s not an accident. It’s courage. Second, Bright Line Eating is a formula if you’re looking to start, Bootcamp is the place to start. And it’s a safe, good place where people who never thought they could start, do.
I think that’s it.
I’m sure in the upcoming posts I will end up telling you those things because they’re real and important.
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