I got a message from a customer today, who told me I was always beautiful inside, even when I was overweight. As much as I appreciated the sentiment, I absolutely disagreed. There were many years where I was a shitty person.
I was reckless, elitist, closed off, judgmental, angry, manipulative, and cold. Granted all of those things are simply a cover for fear, insecurity, and self loathing. Regardless, at the end of the day, my behaviors were not that of a beautiful person
You can only expect to me measured by what you DO, not what you think or say you’ll be. The person you choose to show to the world IS you, UNLESS YOU CHANGE IT.
When I was in my 20s I got a DUI, and everything that comes with that. Classes, fines, etc all came with it. One thing we had to do was go to meetings like AA or other things. I went to maybe 3 AA meetings and I knew that was not the place for me.
I still had to go to meetings somewhere so I found SMART Recovery in San Diego and figured I’d ride out the rest of my court ordered meetings there, intending to roll my eyes for the next 6 months.
What I found was something really cool. A really non judgmental, non religious, place for ALL types of addiction and addictive behaviors. Alcohol, drugs, sex, food, gambling, all of it. They didn’t preach or tell us we had a disease. No one was condemned for not being 100% sober.
All of the lessons were focused on what I could do to change my thinking, my situation, or my beliefs. It was focused on the fact that I was in control of this issue. It was my responsibility 100%. No victims. Anyone who knows me knows that’s how I live my life, so as you can imagine, it was a great fit.
It was just support and tools, some really great tools. One of the biggest lessons I learned there was to talk about what I liked about being sober and use that as a trigger. I actually had to really think about it. One of the words that kept coming to mind was CLARITY. I liked having clarity.
I’m easy clouded, confused or unsure. Keeping my mind clear kept that to a minimum. I had bracelet made that says clarity, and if you ever see me wearing it, I’m probably not feeling very strong, and I need a reminder.
I use that tool now to teach people about their weight loss. I have them discuss what they LIKE about being fit, having energy, feeling good, instead of what they don’t like about their current situation. When they graduate a class with me I send them a “trigger” gift, to help them remember what they want in life. I learned a lot in those classes.
Very few know how intense my drinking was before, but most people know I still drink now, and it’s nothing like that. I don’t claim to be sober all the time and I have periodically dropped in on classes over the years since then. Sometimes weeks in a row, sometimes just once or twice a year. I like to remind myself that it takes attention and effort to stay on a path of clarity.
As part of my new journey (from my post last week) I went to one tonight out here in Austin. It was a great meeting. Really comfortable and warm. Just like I remembered.
Once again I left with some great tools, for myself and for my clients, but I left with something more this time. A larger lesson: I think maybe that lady’s message the other day could have been a little bit true. In a room full of people who have done a lot of bad things, and were currently doing some of them, all I could see was beauty, and all I could feel was love.
A group of total strangers, completely committed to each other, in the most imperfect and vulnerable states. What is more beautiful that that?
If you are struggling please know that you are not alone and you can get better. You are in control and it absolutely starts with you. YOU CAN DO THIS and I love you even if you’re not feeling very lovable <3