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Where else can you get a really good look at a train wreck of emotional dysfunction
and not be right in the middle of the thing?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My 90-Day Transformation

"I am simply out of time."
This is my new mantra.  I have wasted years in ethylated stasis, and I can't keep turning on the thread of maladaptive behavior and expect my life to change (although I do play the lottery, so...).  I am going on a family trip for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary in August in exactly 90 days, and it would really mean a lot for me to be in shape for it.  I'd like to be able to wear a bathing suit and go swimming, which I've always loved.
And so I present my three W's:
1. Weight

I don't know how much success I can expect.  I doubt I have enough time to achieve my previously-identified goal (which was supposed to happen last summer!).  But if nothing else, I can be significantly less fat by then.  I'm not doing anything crazy or any fad diets as I've done before.  I'm just trying to be sensible by "eat[ing] less and tak[ing] a bit of exercise" through cardio mixed with light strength training.  I do obsess about loose skin, but there isn't a lot I can do about it at this point.  It's not as if I don't have other reasons to lose weight besides vanity.

Right now, my physical stats are weight (254#), waist (52"), chest (50") and biceps (13") with a BMI of 35.4 (making me definitively "obese").
2. Wealth

This is actually intimately connected to my weight and especially my sobriety.  If I'm following my diet, then I'm following my budget where it comes to food.  And if I'm following my "diet" (as my dad calls it), I'm not spending $50 a day on beer and cigarettes and movies and binge eating.  I'm not really sure how much I can actually pay down in 90 days.  I'm more concerned with not losing ground.  Even if my debt stays the same, as long as it doesn't increase, I'll call it a win.

Right now, my outstanding debt is $16,367.47 (not including the money I owe on my car payments).
3. Writing

This is a more ambiguous goal, but the most important thing to me in my life.  My goal for 90 days is to have all of my writing notes, boxes of ideas I've been scribbling down for 30 years organized and scanned onto my computer.  I want to have started back seriously writing the young adult fantasy adventure that has the most promise and commercial potential.
Feeding the Cycle
Back when I was sexually active, I used to hook up with random guys and then obsess about HIV for months, even though I've always practiced safer sex.  (To someone with O.C.D., a 1% chance—or even less—might as well be 100% by our way of thinking.)  One of my earliest therapists believed I got some kind of psychological reward out of the whole deal, because otherwise why would I keep doing it?  I think she's was right.  I think a part of me was seeking the sense of renewal and rebirth I felt when I got back a negative HIV test...as if everything in life was full of hope and potential.

I think I've fallen into a similar pattern with my drinking.  I can't deny the sanguine feeling I get when I clear out all my empty beer bottles by taking them to recycling and throw out my makeshift ashtray and leftover cigarettes and clean the area around my computer workstation of any trace of my last bender(s).

I need to stop chasing these false and counterproductive good feelings.  I need to retrain my thinking to stop chasing transient pleasure, even though my need for it is as intense as the "jonesing" for a drug, and to focus my personal time on furthering my personal goals.  I should be asking myself "Is this getting me closer to my dreams?" rather than "Am I happy?"  This doesn't just include the drinking...it encompasses the budget-killing eating out every night because I need a little pick me up...and the doubly budget-killing chair massages after work for sensual (though non-sexual) enjoyment...and paying for movies and TV shows because I only want what I can't have when I have a thousand free movies and TV shows available for instant gratification...and all the other things I spend money on for no good reason.

You won't have to read very far back in this blog to see that my past behavior patterns don't bode well for anything other than a crash and burn of yet another "grand plan."  But there is nothing better for me to do.  Please wish me luck...