Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Because You're Worth It
Last night, during a commercial of Dancing With The Stars, I tuned in to The Biggest Loser and got hooked.
The contestants have been at the Biggest Loser ranch for 17 weeks, and Michael had lost an astonishing 192 lbs.
This isn't what gripped me, though. What made my jaw hit the floor was that Michael was struggling. He was fast approaching the record for the most weight lost on the show, ever, and despite this incredible achievement he was down on himself. He couldn't see his own success; all he could talk about was that even after losing almost 200 lbs, he was still overweight. "Who leaves The Biggest Loser ranch still obese?" he said, through tears, to his trainer, Bob.
He was anxious, depressed, angry, and despite the support of his trainer and friends he couldn't wrap his mind around his own achievement. He looked ready to give up.
I recognize that, I thought. He's got a bad case of the Fuck Its.
A good friend of mine in recovery - he's something like twenty years sober - tells the same story every time the subject of relapse comes up. He describes a time when he was about ten years sober, and he had gotten away from meetings, drifted away from his support network. One night he found himself at a bar, with a soda, watching some men across the room polish off huge frosty beers. He says that he didn't think to himself: I bet I can drink in safety now. What he thought, he says, was: what difference would it make?
He had forgotten about the difference - the difference inside him. The difference his support network made to his well being, his success.
He didn't drink that night. Thankfully, he recognized his disease talking to him, and he got himself to a meeting, got back into the fold.
Measure success in small increments of time - a minute, an hour or a day. When you've lost your anesthesia - whether it's food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, gambling - an hour can feel like a really long time. An alcoholic who wants to drink, but doesn't, is a miracle. An overweight person who wants that piece of cake more than anything but eats a salad instead, is a miracle. You are full of little miracles.
Sometimes the only thing between you and disaster is finding the courage to believe that you're worth it.
Who brought Michael out of his self-doubt? He did. They showed him a video of his journey. There, on the screen, was the 526 lb. Michael, speaking to the now 334 lb Michael, and telling him not to give up.
Sometimes I wish I had a video of myself at the end of my drinking, to remind me of the pain I was in, the pain I caused, to be able to see with my own eyes what I had become. Then I realized: I have that. I have my recovery friends, my support network, who are there to remind me what it was like at the end. To show me how far I've come. But most importantly? They show me that I'm worth it on the days I'm not sure myself.