sober lifestyle


I’ve started to get a “Twilight Zone”-esque vibe from this blog, where every time I write about being happy about something, it immediately goes all to 💩.

It’s like the classic episode — aren’t they all classic episodes? — where the husband-wife grifter team finds that old instant camera, and when they take a picture in the moment, it shows them what’s going to happen in the future. And most of what the camera foretells, with the (temporary) exception of predicting winners at the horse track, ain’t good.

You thought my 90s references were bad. This TZ episode aired in 1960.

No sooner did I start gushing about my newfound love of running, to the point that I was impulse-blogging from the running trail in a state of exercise-induced euphoria, that my hamstring decided to snap. Just one week after the aforementioned blog outburst, I drove all the way over to Yardley on a beautiful Sunday morning, gulping my usual turbo-charged pre-workout drink as I mentally prepped for a 6-miler, and when I got to the canal path and my feet went to push off toward Washington Crossing…


Two weeks later, that hamstring still strenuously objects every time I move. 😩

I can’t really express to you how demoralizing this is, coming at a time when I’m stressed about the job search and I’m in finals for grad school and Thanksgiving is here and my pre-menopausal hormones are raging AND I don’t drink. It feels like there’s nowhere for all the anxious/afraid/irritable energy to go.

So, you can probably see where this story is inevitably leading:

(Minus the beer part, of course!)

It’s bad enough that I’m physically unable to work/sweat out my issues on the trail or yoga mat, but I also have these brand new, breathtakingly gorgeous custom Nike running shoes — I designed them, but my in-laws picked up the tab as an early Christmas gift— staring at me from the shoe rack in my entryway.

Their bright, cheerful rainbow of colors taunts me (kind of like that evil blinking slot machine tortured the old man in another ancient “Twilight Zone” episode), reminding me that I’m a lazy, unemployed lump who’s losing all the fitness gains she worked hard for — and was so proud of — over the past two months…and whose ass is expanding more and more every day.

Can you spot the 🐺?

Of course, there is another voice inside me. It’s a counterpoint. A dissenter. It’s mature, wise, logical. It sounds just like Rod Serling! LOL, JK.

I can hear this voice because I don’t drink anymore and I’m learning amazing things in school about human nature and human functioning. In our class covering Choice Theory, we talked about this crazy thing the body does when a person’s behavior patterns aren’t working anymore…

It says, “NOPE!” And the person can either choose different behaviors or continue to ram their depleted body into the ground. It’s that simple. Listen to the SOS, or suffer. Adapt, or die.

See: Addiction, recovery from.

Quitting drinking was a choice I had to make when I reached “rock bottom” and the universe forced my hand. Staying sober is very much an active undertaking, but it also requires a lot of letting go and giving it up. You have to know when to push and when to back off, and there’s no rushing the process.

It’s a matter of balance, which for me has always been a loaded term. I mean, I’m pretty good at the doing side of the equation (would that be the “yin” or the “yang”?), and yet, the most difficult thing in the world for me to do is nothing.

If you’ve ever had a blown hammy, you know: It does not get better unless you let it be. You have to rest and give that MF-er all the time it needs to heal. Push it too soon, and you’re back to Square One.

If you suspect I might have re-learned the aforementioned lesson the hard way, multiple times in the past 14 days…you would be right.

The low point was being out on the canal last Friday morning and not only re-triggering the injury but losing my car key, and having to limp around scouring the leaf-covered ground for a little black plastic fob while crying on the phone to my husband back home.

Every message I’m getting, from the shooting pain in my leg to the firing neurons in my brain, is that I have to rest. Regardless of how much I think I need perpetual motion to survive all the stress, I clearly won’t ever thrive unless I balance the hyperactivity with restorative stillness. I need a break, a holiday, from the relentless routine that got me into this mess.

I need to say, 🤬 the voice that tells me I don’t deserve to eat unless I “earned” it with exercise, and 🤬 the voice that calls me lazy when I spend a few hours — maybe an entire weekend 😱! — sitting down. I need to remind myself that this is only temporary, and whatever I “lose” during the healing process can be regained.

Maybe this time, I’ll be smarter in planning my comeback so I don’t set myself up for another painful takedown.

I’m learning so many fascinating things in my psychology program, and absent the fog of alcohol, my brain has never been more receptive to new knowledge. Now’s the time to finally get those age-old lessons through my thick, stubborn skull…

Overdoing anything is like running down a dead-end street. You’re going to hit “the wall” one way or another.

ALSO: Beware of anyone who tries to force more food at you on Thanksgiving. 😂

For the uninitiated, this ⬆️ is a parody of that ⬇️


1 thought on “Holiday”

  1. Jen,
    Love the kicks! So sorry about your hamstring but you may want to consider some PT ? I could refer you to someone if you like in Yardley. And focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t. So grab some weights and work the upper body for the time being.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    In health,

    Liked by 1 person

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