Times are tough for everyone, myself included! The question is, when the going gets rough and you lose what much or what little you have, how do you react?
A. Do you reach for a bottle of wine or a case of beer and drink away your woes?
B. Do you binge eat on junk food as a coping mechanism?
Here’s my story in a nutshell. I used to be that binge drinker. There was a time in my life, not too long ago, that whenever shit hit the fan, I drank. And I drank a lot! Even when things in my life went well, I still drank. I would sneak away into my room at least once a week — Fridays were my designated drinking day — and drink a bottle of wine. Sometimes I mixed my alcohol. The result was always the same: I woke up the next morning feeling exhausted, sometimes nauseous and sometimes with a headache. My day after my drinking binge was already over before it even began. Then came the guilt trip I would lay on myself. Yet, I didn’t have the willpower to stop myself. And, whenever I stopped drinking, I took to chocolate. I would go for long stretches without eating it, but then I would purchase a chocolate bar or two and one of those bars wouldn’t last a half an hour. After a while, I recognized a pattern in my life.
I’m not going to pull the self-righteous fit pro here and say that alcohol and chocolate is bad and that you should avoid both. Neither one in itself is bad. How we use them is what makes them either bad or good. In my case, alcohol became a bad thing simply because I was never able to exercise self control. I could also say that my tendency to overindulge was a bad thing.
I gave up drinking when I came to Eaglesham, not only because I am a fit pro and feel the need to lead by example (yes I do need to lead by example), but also because I needed to heal from this vice and move forward in a healthier direction.
Shortly after I arrived, I walked over to Dolly’s, the only restaurant and store in Eaglesham and walked into the liquor store there (believe it or not, Eaglesham has a liquor store but no grocery store). I spent a few minutes looking at all the bottles of wine, the varieties of which Dolly’s surprisingly carry. I needed to challenge myself to stare at ‘my pleasure’ if you will and not crave it. And I won the challenge! I walked out, my hands empty and more money in my pocket.
But then, two weeks later, the crisis with Covid-19 forced me to shut down my fitness classes and find a way to offer them online. It all happened within the space of 24 hours. It was the middle of March. I was in the midst of my menstrual cycle, my shoulders and my neck hurt. I couldn’t afford a massage, couldn’t have a bath and couldn’t exercise. This sudden fall-out left my head spinning, so I thought, fuck it! I’m going to drink wine. And that night, I drank nearly a full bottle of wine. The next morning, I woke up tired, yet my neck pain was gone.
Now, shit has really hit the fan. I am without an income while in the process of building my fitness career online. I’ve hit a road block trying to apply for the wage subsidy online and my bank account is depleting. It’s been three weeks since I’ve had wine and, for a fleeting moment, I had the urge to buy a bottle. But then I told myself, No! Alcohol might provide a temporary relief from my stress, but it won’t solve the problem and it certainly won’t deliver me from this storm I’m in.
My Dad once told me that when the going gets rough, the tough get going. I like to think of myself as a survivor and I need to believe that I will persevere. As hard as things are, this is the best time to knuckle down, get my fit biz up and running and become a solution to the problem, or at least a source of comfort and inspiration in these dark times.
You know what else? Despite the stress, the anxiety and the heartache, I still feel so much more energetic without alcohol. I am also much more focused.