sober lifestyle

Qualification

Basically my biography 😬

The reading assignment this week for “Concepts of Psychopathology & Wellness” is two thick chapters — nearly 75 total pages — but I’ve learned not to stress too much about finishing the homework for this class.

I mean, I know it’s a thing for psych students to start self-diagnosing every disorder they study (it’s called Medical Student’s Disease), but for me, this is not about the power of suggestion. This shit is seriously my life story. I could’ve stood up in front of my cohort and spoken with confidence about the last five weeks’ worth of “Abnormal Behavior” readings without having cracked the book.

Many of my classmates have actual professional experience in counseling, in addition to their relevant bachelor’s degrees. So, in some ways, being in grad school for psychology at Delaware Valley University reminds me of my undergrad era at Northwestern, where I was surrounded by kids toting binders full of newspaper clips and highlight reels from TV and radio reporting internships, while I’d just checked “JOURNALISM” on my application because I loved to write.

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sober lifestyle

Appearance

Another lovely day at the unemployment office.

I’d just snapped the above picture and punched the button in the side of my earbuds to silence the music, thinking, “I just want to listen to nature,” when a familiar voice filled the momentary void.

“Jen, is that you? Girl, you’re looking skinny!”

There it was: The sweet yet shattering sound of my sickness. I know it so well.

Turns out the speaker was an old friend from two gym memberships ago. I hadn’t seen her smiling face in years, and she was pausing her run to pay me a compliment.

It’s not her fault I still struggle to accept one.

Let me just be clear from the jump: This post isn’t about blaming others for my own deep-seated issues.

It’s actually about progress in the weakest part of my recovery “game.” It’s also about messages — the ones we send others, and the ones we tell ourselves. It’s about stopping that cycle of skewed interpretations, where we assign meaning to what someone else says based on our fear, insecurity and need for external validation, instead of our own unshakable personal truth.

I guess, then, it’s really about shaking out what’s true.

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sober lifestyle

Inspiration

I’m a recovery junkie, craving anything and everything having to do with beating addiction. No amount of “you are not alone” seems to be enough.

That might explain why I’m now writing two or three blog posts per week on this subject, and on top of attending a regular Thursday 12-step meeting, I’m filling most of my free time devouring the inspirational stories of fellow addicts.

Including “Approved AA Literature,” I’ve read 24 “Quit Lit” books in the past 427 days. Some of them multiple times.

Can’t count the actual number of sober podcasts I’ve played on my phone while working out in my basement or walking in the park, but I have a solid rotation of four or five “shows” that I subscribe and look forward to every week.

I owe so much of my progress to these authors and speakers. I’ve never met them, but they feel like friends, and I owe them all a huge debt of gratitude.

Thus the list I’m going to post below. Not that anyone mentioned will ever know how much they’ve done for me, but for anyone reading this who’s struggling with addiction — or just an unhealthy relationship with alcohol/drugs/food/love — I feel like my heroes can help you, too.

Enough with the intro. Let’s get to that list.

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sober lifestyle, Uncategorized

Nutrition

Standing in the checkout line at my local 7-Eleven, clutching a 20-ounce Diet Sunkist in each hand — still can’t stop at just one! — my eyes fixed on the familiar row of baked goods displayed near the registers. Saran-wrapped snickerdoodle cookies and Reese’s peanut butter brownies stared back at me, in all their impulse-buy glory, and a couple of thoughts suddenly sprung to mind.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in this place sober!

I’m so [bleep]ing glad I don’t do THAT anymore!

“THAT” refers to bingeing on junk while drunk, and it’s part of the reason I ballooned up to an unthinkable 176 pounds — thank you, gastroenterologist office, for informing me of that number against my wishes! — before I finally got so disgusted with my gutter-bound existence that I quit drinking on July 7, 2019 — a full 125 days ago.

Back in the bad old days, sweets from the 7-Eleven were my go-to nightcap on more occasions than I can count. I mean, there’s only so much about those occasions I remember, so… You see, tequila started flowing at my house before noon on most Saturdays and Sundays near the end. So while sober Jen held herself to a reasonably strict gluten-free, Paleo-ish diet all week long and never even kept other types of food in the house, those booze-soaked weekends regularly devolved into one big orgy of Swedish Fish, Ben & Jerry’s and whatever ill-advised refined carbs I found up front at the cash wrap and said “🤬 it!” and tossed up onto the counter with all my other bad ideas.

My husband always protested, reminding me of all the other times this DevilDogs-may-care attitude led to my feeling like death for an entire week, BECAUSE HELLO, I HAVE A WHEAT ALLERGY (AND OTHER DIGESTIVE ISSUES WE WON’T DISCUSS)!!! I always ended up with a belly full of gelatinous goo, regardless. Continue reading “Nutrition”