Tales of a wandering lesbian

Old habits

People often ask me why I don’t drink. Honestly, I think I was just a really lucky self-aware kid. As I watched most of my high school friends start drinking, going to parties, and into the woods for keggers, I started to plan. Sure I’d like more friends, sure I’d like to socialize more. But in small-town Idaho, those opportunities aren’t had at the mall. Here’s what the plan sounded like:

Plan A: I will begin drinking small amounts daily, gradually increasing until I can drink anyone under the table.

Yes, this was the plan in my 15-year old brain. Build up a tolerance so I could compete. Not so surprising, really. It’s a lot like athletics. Work-out harder and longer each time, preparing your body to do more than your competitors’. I was an athlete, so this was just like any other training routine. Fortunately, I was also already a little Type-A, so I had a Plan B. Here’s what it looked like:

Plan B: I will never drink.

Now, it’s possible that these two scenarios are a bit extreme. I’ve been known to tend toward this type of binary thinking. However, it was the realization that I was thinking in just this way that allwoed me to pause and say to myself, “self, perhaps we should give serious consideration to Plan B”.

And that is why I don’t drink. It’s also why I don’t smoke, do drugs, or engage in very many things that could lead me to that place known as “rock bottom”. Don’t get me wrong, I have my vices. I realized I had a problem with coffee when one of the judges I worked with walked into my office – where the coffee-pool kept its coffee and coffee pot – looked at me, looked at the third pot of the day, and said “you know, the definition of insanity under the DSM-IV includes mania, aggitation and other elements related to consumption of substances.” When I removed myself from the coffee-pool, daily consumption went from 3 pots a day to 1. Yeah, 2 pots a day might be excessive. Just maybe.

I didn’t totally give up coffee until the prilosec I was taking for acid reflux (due to coffee) wouldn’t work anymore. And sugar. Blessed sugar.

You know, it’s entirely possible that the sense of euphoria I felt the first time I was in Italy was due to the fact that I suspended my 2-year coffee embargo and 1-year sugar ban for the duration of the trip. The coffee made my head swim and the sugar induced a little mania. In hindsight, I was probably high for the entire trip.

When I got back, I was able to cut out most of the sugar again, but the cappuccini stuck. And now I’m back in the land of caffe and pastry. For some reason, the coffee hasn’t torn up my stomach yet, so I’m still drinking it. That means I’m pretty much dependent on it if I don’t want to be a raging jerk everyday. As long as I have 3-4 cappu a day, and a pot of tea, I’m good to go.

The sugar, however, is a problem. It started as a cookie every now and again, and a lovely pastry – or two. Then it became a pastry or two, and another snuck in the kitchen. I know it’s getting bad when I start eating sugar alone…

Yesterday, I hit a place that I’m not proud of. Nutella is the devil. I mean, really, I think there are stories in the Bible about the temptations that Nutella poses to the mortal world. I am mortal. It began as a little bit spread on a piece of bread with everyone else, maybe once a week. Yesterday, faced with the stress of the internet I snapped. While Sandra napped on the sofa I tiptoed into the kitchen to find bread and a knife. The Nutella was already purched a foot from my elbow as I typed – and it had been whispering to me. Okay, maybe I sound a little insane, but I’m fairly sure that most anyone reading this who has lived with a jar of Nutella understands what I’m saying. Or I’m projecting. Either way, it wasn’t good.

The scene rapidly devolved from slices of bread, to one giant knifefull shoved into my mouth. When you go to bed thinking about sugar, and wake up thinking about sugar, it’s time to admit you have a problem.

Fortunately, along with the Nutella, I discovered something else yesterday. Deb and Sandra have an elliptical trainer! Yes, it’s true! It’s hidden in the studio in the garden. I had no idea it was there! My daily routine in the states was to wake up, workout on the elliptical (on on the wind trainer), watch recorded SURVIVOR episodes, and then get ready for the day. Waking up in the morning with the prospect of a workout and SURVIVOR was one of the best parts of the day. So, along with sugar plums dancing in my head, the vision of working-out and watching SURVIVOR sustained me through the day and night.

This morning I entered the studio in my ridiculously short running shorts, turned on my computer and loaded SURVIVOR. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to trade my old habits for the new ones. The 45 minutes of bliss that followed left me lighter and more awake than the caffeine and sugar I’ve been relying on. Of course. I know this. But sometimes I need a little reminding. This morning was a good reminder. Don’t get me wrong, I still had my cappuccino this morning, but I left the Nutella completely alone. Baby steps.

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1 Heather Johnston { 11.18.09 at 2:33 pm }

It’s funny,but none of us girls are very big drinkers. It’s pretty bad when the doctor asks you what your alcohol consumption is and you immediately think, “Well, there was that sip at Mass on Sunday…..”

My parents used to make deals with me. If I would find out where there was a party, they would drive me to the party and read with their headlamps on until I was drunk and ready to come home. That way, I would be popular! and people would like me! and I would be cool! Needless to say, it confirmed my suspicions that I was really adopted, and I never took them up on the offer.

Then I married Carl who attended ALL of the parties in high school. He has assured me that I was really missing nothing other than a chance to ruin my grade point average, become pregnant with some random guys baby, and fall into a fire pit. Apparently, that’s what happens at those keggers.

I applaud you for knowing yourself and your limits. Besides, if you can act crazy and feel euphoric on coffee and a churro, who needs booze?

PS-Enjoying your posts so very much. HMJ

2 KFlick { 11.18.09 at 2:37 pm }

And I, your comments. Perhaps you need a blog, my dear? Or a guest column?

3 big mama { 11.18.09 at 3:40 pm }

Don’t know if you remember the little Charlie Brown glasses I bought in Italy filled with Nutella. Gave one to Grandpa and kept the other one. I dole it out in tiny bits because when it is gone, it is gone. The Nutella we buy here doesn’t taste the same!! Can’t figure out why.
By the way….did you know that you are quite an amazing person? Hilarious, but amazing.

4 Heather Johnston { 11.18.09 at 4:02 pm }

K- I have a blog. I write it faithfully, but as of yet I’ve never let anybody read it. Maybe you’ll be my first invited guest?
I would love to do a guest column for you, anytime.

Please have an adventure today. Love, H

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