This month is National Recovery Month, a month to celebrate, focus on or reflect on what exactly this means to people. For some, it may not mean anything because they may not have “recovered” from anything. However, I think, we all have recovered from something. Human beings are flawed, life is chaotic; therefore, life is full of challenges, obstacles and bumps in the road.
I can only speak for myself, as this month applies to me and my family in many ways. Recovery is about bringing your life back to normalcy from a life of obsession and extremes. Whether these extremes be food, alcohol, drugs, credit card debt, cult-religion, high-risk life or death adventures, crime, and many others. I am not going to discuss the scientific evidence of addiction that indicates that alcoholism or drug abuse is a disease and that it’s genetic etc, because I am not a scientist in any way shape or form. I think I maintained a nice C average in all my Science classes in college and I know for certain that I killed every single one of my fruit flies in Biology and had to re-do the lab a few times. Quite frankly that perplexes me because mid-July , my fruit table-/area looks like fruit fly experiment.
I am not sure what leads to someone become addicted or obsessed with certain areas of their life. I can only hope that through my humor, writing, exposure in social media, my experiences will help people. I can help others seek help when their life seems manageable and out of control. People who come from stable backgrounds, fantastic parents and “normal” lives, end up alcoholics or with eating disorders. As well as People who come from broken homes, abusive households , also may end up with an obsessive/addictive disorder. Or in some cases, they may not be affected at all by any disorder. That is why for me personally, I can not speak to the logic or science behind addiction because this blog would then turn into a 600 page book. I simply want to churn out a blog that touched on this subject and then leave some 800’s numbers and websites for those who may want some anonymous assistance.
From my formative years through the time I was 18, it felt as if the carpet was ripped up from underneath me every two or three years. I realized that the more uncontrolled my life felt the more I need to mask my emotions, put up walls and charge forward. I learned the rule “Survival of the Fittest”, first hand. Slowly , almost subconsciously, I realized that controlled food and exercise was a way that I could reign in a “false” sense of control over my life again. No sooner than I had put a band aid on my eating disorder, I began to realize the amazing the power of alcohol in how it quieted any distractions, and gave my life that “false” sense of control. Every insecurity, anxiety, stress-or, or incessant-cyclical-worrisome-thought was slowly quieted by the the overall feeling of total and 100% security that alcohol brought me.
Alcohol simply replaced the the same calmness I felt while measuring out my food and calculating how many miles I would have to run to burn off exactly what I ate and more. Amidst the chaos of what was round me, outside the doors, I knew there was nothing that pounds lost on the scale or a giant glass of Pinot Grigio couldn’t fix for me.
“Okay, so where is the humorous slant LJ??” Look, this is a serious topic but I have to laugh at it too. I love Drunk Girl and Drunk Uncle on Saturday Night Live. One of my favorite lines in a movie that makes me fall on the floor laughing is in “Crazy Stupid Love.” Steve Carrell, insists on getting a drink for one of his female interests, with demanding confidence because he is desperately trying to learn the rules of being a “playah” and won’t take no for an answer. During this machismo chivalristic act, the female interest, states “I’m five years sober” and he immediately, screams at the waitress. “no drinks ever, ever, never ever come back to this table with drink ever” (something like that). Does some of my sense of humor mask old pain, of course, I think that may be true for a lot of people. I think it’s okay, as long as there is seriousness when needed and the healing process is progressing. Personally, without humor , my head would explode.
So, is this my “Jerry McGuire moment”. Are people whispering, “has she lost it by putting her laundry out on the front line like this?” Is she going to jump on her Oprah sofa or start talking about how vitamins and exercise cure postpartum depression. No, I know first hand that severe postpartum depression must be handled by a professional and If I did jump on anyone’s sofa well then I’m sure that would be “frowned-upon” with severe looks of disdain and disapproval. I’m not writing this for approval or accolades. I am writing on this particular topic because I care and want to help people. I hope that someone reading this blog reaches out to take that first step to get healthy or knows someone that needs help and passes this along to someone. If I can help one person get healthy, then it doesn’t really matter what I wrote.
Is it a little strange that I work in the fitness industry , and participate in activities that I could obsess over and use to get lost in another eating disorder. Yes, and it is a little scary. I know when I’m taking everything I see,read, and hear about nutrition/exercise, personally, and then start to question every bite I take or calorie I burn, I’m in trouble. I simply can’t follow some of the more stringent advice of the leaders in my industry because that would push me into a path of sabotage. I can’t measure my food, carry my meals with me to restaurants or when I travel, or “cut out” a food group to lose a few, or “clean eat” whatever % of the time they recommend. That would be highly dangerous for ME, maybe not for someone else, but for me, I need to have a little “badunk” in my “badunkadunk” a little “jiggle” wherever lemon bars go to nestle, and I have decided what’s healthy for my body based on my experience and good old fashioned common sense!!!
With that being said, my hope is that I help others recognize that they don’t have to be a ripped, gleaming idol of fat free perfection in order to be confident and healthy. I hope, I can bring a strong sense of being healthy ; while being moderate and living life without strict prison rules of what you can or can’t eat. I do not want to paint that picture of perfection. It’s unrealistic for most people. We live in a world of extremes. Moderation is hard to come by these days. Are their areas I could tone up or shrink? (or in some areas “grow” or “percolate” a little??) maybe. But I’m not going to make that my number one goal. My goal is to use my experience to help people get healthy based on their body type, and absolutely, no-one else’s version of what they “should” look like.
With all that being said , please reach out or help someone else reach out if a disoder or “ism” has taken over your life/or someone else’s life. Also note that most employers have an Employee Assistance Program EAP, through your insurance , in which you can get five free visits for you or a spouse. It can’t hurt to ask!
National Eating Disorder Association:
Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Post Partum Depression
Suicide Prevention Center
Laurie Free has two high-spirited children, with the trial lawyer litigation skills, when it comes to basic hygiene, such as teeth. Her patient, loving husband has supported her through all career endeavors, ranging from teaching Hip Hop Fitness,
(and I flunked "swag school") to peppering him with questions such as,
"Why haven't you turned on the 'wifi-gigibyte-hot-spot, and can you find the Gravatar?"
She does not scrapbook and lifted the name from the show "Friends", when Phoebe told Monica she was "Scrappie". She "scraps" her way with gusto into every endeavor. Yesterday she announced "I want to be a Life Coach"
.. Maybe, one day it will be Scrap-booking, till then I hope you enjoy my blog!