The other day before a recovery meeting, I was chatting with someone in my group who, like me, enjoys working out.
“I’m a recovering alcoholic and CrossFitter,” I told him with a chuckle.
It wasn’t really a joke. After more than a year away from the competitive fitness circuit that consumed my free time and dominated my consciousness for about a decade, I can see very clearly how it brought out the best parts of my Type-A achiever personality.
I can also see how it fed and enabled my darkest demons.
Now, before anybody gets their booty shorts in a bunch, let me be clear: I have absolutely nothing against that community, nor would I try to pin any of my personal issues on an exercise methodology, a gym culture — or anything outside of my own brain, for that matter. I was a sick puppy long before I walked into my very first WOD back in (I think) 2009, and it’s like they say: Wherever you go, there you are.
Or, to quote another cliché: It’s not you, CrossFit. It’s me.
And I am a person plagued with never-ending, nagging not-enoughness.
It’s getting to the point where I can say that in past tense — “was plagued” — because 202 days of sobriety has begun to ever so slightly soften the sharp edges of stringent self-appraisal that used to make me look in the mirror at lean legs, cut arms and six-pack abs and think, “Yeah, but you can do better…”
Maybe some of you can relate to this awful affliction. It’s as damaging as any physical addiction, this innate compulsion to always keep reaching for more than what you have.
You’re in the best shape of your life, and you focus on what you perceive to still be wrong with your body. You push yourself hard, physically and mentally, in an activity, but still emerge displeased because you could have gone harder.
You measure your self worth by constantly comparing yourself to others.
If it’s possible to be better, why would you ever accept where you are? If satisfaction is somewhere else, why would you ever stop and enjoy the view here in this spot? If happiness is a few more accomplishments away, you can’t be happy until…
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