One year…

…one year as of today. One year of abstaining from animal foods and major trigger foods (cheese! yogurt! ice cream! nachos! cheetos!), 42 pounds gone. One year of getting back into OA, back into yoga, back into myself. One year of moving away from victimhood, self-pity and self-hatred. I can’t believe I got through an entire year of being vegan and abstaining from all of that crap. I’ve tried and failed so many times that I lost count. Nachos and frozen yogurt seriously had me by the balls for most of my adult life. I would stand in the ice cream aisle and practically cry because all I wanted to do was eat two boxes of caramel drumsticks, except that I didn’t want to eat the fucking drumsticks but I felt compelled to. The thought of Fage greek yogurt with honey would make me salivate…or popcorn with half a stick of butter. Food was the puppet master and it definitely jerked my strings. I initially felt so pathetic admitting that, fully and truly admitting it, but it’s a relief to admit it 100% today. And the thought of those binge foods today does make me recoil (as they say in the Big Book). I am still abstaining from sugar and a few other newly discovered trigger foods (Earth Balance, sigh), although that desire for sugar is still percolating a little in the back of my head. Mostly I feel good. It’s weird, and sometimes it’s scary, but it’s good.

I spoke on the 8th step last week for the first time in OA. I’ve spoken quite a few times in AA, but it was strangely powerful to do it in OA. It made it all seem much more real somehow, like I truly belonged there. Just trying to plug away on a daily basis and take the actions that send me in a good, orderly direction. Or at least keep me present and accounted for…

Went to a crazy hard Baron Baptiste Power Yoga class last weekend and it kicked my ASS. It’s the first yoga class I’ve been to in a few years. The last time I went to a yoga class I was sober from drugs and alcohol, but in a hideous binge/starve/exercise cycle that had been going on for over a year. During my annual physical, my doctor told me that both my cholesterol and my blood sugar were high and she put me on metformin, which really freaked me out. It also made me feel like crap, and I became inwardly determined to get off of that shit as soon as possible.

I was so frustrated and pulled out of my physical body during that class that I wanted to scream. I felt like stabbing everyone in the room including (and especially) myself. Most of the class was spent inwardly cursing and looking around the room at everyone who had it “easier” than I did. I was eaten up with resentment. I can vividly remember how painful, both physically and emotionally, the class was. I had been killing myself in the gym doing cardio and lifting weights. I was so stiff that I could barely bend over, and I struggled just to finish the class. I drove out to Boulder City afterwards because I wanted to suddenly see my father. Once I got to the VA, I couldn’t make myself go inside to see him. I sat there and cried, and ended up driving aimlessly out to Lake Mead, shaking and confused and having horrible low blood sugar because I had been starving myself that day. I ended up in the McDonald’s drive through, pissed off and plowing through a bag of quarter pounders and fries and ice cream.

This time, the yoga class was very different. I was terrified to go because I am still struggling with injuries and physical limitations. I was dreading being the fattest person in the room (which I was). The teacher was instantly amazing. He came over and called me by my name (???? quick draw McGraw on reading the sign in sheet) and unrolled my mat for me.  I decided that was a sign to stay and try the class even though I thought it would be way above my abilities at the moment. I almost threw up/passed out midway, but instead of getting up and leaving and being in a snit, I sat on the sidelines until I felt better and then I got back down on my mat. In the middle of some sweat-drenched downward dog from hell, I noticed that I had not looked around the room once. I even took off my glasses so I could concentrate on the poses more.  And like a miracle, I was bending over without pain. I was grabbing my feet in bow pose, which I haven’t been able to do in more than 5 years.  I realized after class that it has always been my pride that made me give up on yoga and consequently give up on myself. I get frustrated with the limitations of my still fat, still stiff 41-year-old body and my injuries, and I get a case of the fuck-its and usually storm off like an angry child. I had this moment where I realized that I was going to have to make a conscious decision to be humble, admit there are certain things I can’t do yet and do what I can. I have to accept myself for where I’m at today physically, but still push myself at the same time. No wonder I fucking hated yoga for all of these years! It brings all of my defects of character and fucked up behavior patterns right out into the blindingly bright sunlight. I can’t force my way into fixing them–only time and the process can heal them (and some of them may never be totally “fixed”), and that process is definitely a power greater than myself.

 Anyway, Happy Fucking Vegan Birthday to me! And it is happy…

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