A Small Victory

I am celebrating a small victory today.

Last night, I was out with friends I haven't seen in a long while. When we used to get together, we drank legendary quantities of alcohol and ate extremely well. In fact, it's a point of pride for the reputation of the place we all worked at together (and they still do). Last night, we were all headed out to a very amazing upscale barbecue place with great beers on tap.

Now, I've been on a recent “cleanse” if you will. And trust me, it's necessary.  Shortly before separating from my ex, I was very nearly anorexic. I ate maybe 1000 calories a day - and that's only if someone forced me to. At one point, I weighed in nearly sixty pounds lighter than I was merely three months earlier.

After she split, I went on a nationwide tour and ate and drank literally every night. The binging was insane. I ate and drank and ate and drank and ate... Workouts were sporadic; barely enough to keep what I was ingesting burned up. I gained back some weight which was necessary, and some more which really wasn't.

But worse, I'd lost my focus. Mentally, physically and emotionally, I was lost.

In recent months, I've pulled fitness back into my life, but the eating poorly and drinking have still been a huge part of my routine. So, a few weeks ago, I made a pact with myself: no more booze, eat right, exercise and write every single day. The goal is to get my head, body and heart in line and get my life straightened out. It's as much about the health and wellbeing as it is about establishing discipline.

It's been going pretty well, I think.

Tonight however, I contemplated a “cheat” day. I thought about it all afternoon. I could have some beers and really delicious rich food tonight. I've been good for a while now. I deserve to unwind with my friends in the manner we are accustomed to. Plus I'll totally work out extra hard tomorrow and get right back on the wagon.

...And so on. All the lies you tell yourself when you want something.

By the time we got to dinner, I thought nothing of ordering a beer when the server came by. And as soon as I did, I felt it well up inside me: the creeping feeling of betraying myself. I knew I was giving in to something I shouldn't be. I was bailing on my plan. I was betraying my oath to myself. This wasn't about sobriety, it was about keeping a promise to myself.

I excused myself, got up, and cancelled my beer order with the server. I didn't make any big deal of it. I just got up and did it. I also peed, but I'm not sure that serves the narrative I'm telling here. I felt relieved and proud. A small victory, to be sure… But one to be counted.

Counting the small victories is every bit as important as the big ones. Moreso, in fact, because the small ones are the easiest to let go of and discount if you don't succeed at them. And before I went to bed last night, I got to add another red “X” on the calendar I'm using to keep track of how many days I make my goal. I got to keep the chain unbroken.

It's not the only game in the playoffs of life, but I did win that small victory. Can't wait to get up and play again tomorrow.