Monday, September 18, 2006

No dress rehearsals

I am trying to be mindful, to be present, REALLY present in every moment of every day. It feels so good to be alive, to be healthy, to be working on fitness and to be actively achieving recovery from this dreadful illness. I am thankful to be at peace on the inside so that I can at last deal with the outside symptom of my years of misusing food.

One of my favorite sayings is "This is your life. It is not a dress rehearsal." We only get one life, just one. I think somewhere in the back of my mind I always thought I'd get a do-over somehow. I spent years and years and years saying to myself that tomorrow, things would get better. Tomorrow I'd make good choices. Tomorrow I'd feel like working on my behaviors, on my weight, my health.

Tomorrow never comes. This is it, this day, right now, this minute.For many years after becoming sober in 1982, I chaired beginners' meetings at my home group in AA. I did it long enough that I saw the same folks come back again and again over a period of years. They weren't ready at the first meeting, had to get a paper signed or whatever, but then a year or so later they'd turn up again.

Maybe the job was gone or the wife or the house. Still not ready, maybe, and off again, out into the world, to try it one more time. Over the years, a number of my "beginners" were buried before they ever drew a sober breath. I think of this now, because when I worked with those folks it was patently obvious that the thing I could not give them was the "want to."

I could tell them how to work the steps, assure them of the Higher Power waiting at the end, give them aid at every turn, encouragement, prayer, hope for their recovery. But if they did not bring with them the desire, the longing for, the unrelenting willingness to NOT drink, all efforts were wasted.

Another thing became clear over the years. With each slip or relapse or binge, a little piece of that belief that THIS CAN WORK died in them. They would eventually become immune to the concept of recovery. Except that it is harder to do, quitting our killer eating habits is very much like recovering from alcoholism. We are all too precious to sacrifice to this disease. LIFE is too magnificent to lose it to an eating disorder.

"If not now, when?" is one of the most helpful mantras I can use for myself when faced with decisions about food. When do I start if not now? When do I stick with my plan if not this minute? Tomorrow NEVER comes and I lose my life ~ my entire life ~ by waiting until the next meal, the next day, the next week to begin.

Nike had it right: Just do it. Do it now, this minute, today. Do it.

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Blogger Dagny said...

Hi BAB---A "mantra" I have used for years in many other aspects of my life is to ask myself the question, "What needs to be done now?" The key is to answer with complete honesty and then DO IT. Being honest with ourselves about what needs to be done can be very tough to do! When it came to my food addiction, I could answer the question for myself but I could not do what needed to be done. Until the day I realized that surgery was my only option. I did it, believing that I was forcing myself to do something difficult "for my own good." I'm grateful every day that it all turned out so well for me.

I wish for everyone to find the path they can walk in joy every day of their lives.


September 18, 2006 9:12 PM  
Blogger alea said...

Thanks for that post. It's too easy to forget that you've got only one try, isn't it? It's good to be reminded that life's no dress rehearsal once in a while...

Take care

September 19, 2006 12:07 AM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

Wow. I love that saying, I had never heard it before. I know a few people who could stand to hear those words :) (*cough* my youngest brother *cough*). Everyone could, really.

I read this post right after I came from reading this one and I thought it was a nice coincidence, so I linked to this post in a comment there.

I really love your stories and I can truly appreciate when you compare overeating and drug abuse, especially alcoholism, it hits close to home for me.

Anywho, I got chills reading this. Sorry, are you blushing yet? I'll shut up :)

September 19, 2006 1:37 AM  
Anonymous redheadgirl said...

Thank you for your inspiring post. I think you can do anything you want. Overcoming alcoholism is truly a feat.

I'm in the beginning phases of shedding what I refer to as "my candy coated shell". I'm determined to get to my yummy chocolate center again. It's going to be slow, I know. But my excuses have run out. I'm 45, both Littles are in school full time, I have no formal job and I want to be around for a long time. So? It's begun. I will continue reading as you do inspire me. Not to put pressure on or anything, but misery loves company if you know what I mean! Great blog. Glad you came my way.

September 19, 2006 10:09 AM  
Blogger Spider63 said...

One day at a time.

September 19, 2006 9:03 PM  
Blogger angelfish24 said...

I do like the just do it phrase. I have the shirt, matter of fact and work out in it! I know what you mean by tomorrow I will do it. And every Monday I would start again or every tomorrow. With that mentality I just yo yo'd for years. This is the first time I've actually examined why I got heavy and why I choose to remain that way. Also, to examine why I emotional eat and catch it before I do damage. It has helped a lot and finally the switch has clicked as they say. So now, just got to keep up the motivation which is very hard at times for all of us I think. Thanks for your insightful posts.

September 19, 2006 11:08 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

I've been reading your posts and I wanted to say thanks. I keep trying to do the right thing and take the right roads to do better. But I keep forgetting about being honest and this is a good reminder to try harder.

September 20, 2006 6:00 AM  
Blogger Miss Michele said...

You have such an exquisite way of telling it like it is. I come to your blog everyday to get that shot in the arm I need. Thank you for your honesty and sharing it with me. I certainly am glad to have you as blog sistah!


September 27, 2006 4:42 AM  

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