The Value of Struggle.

“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.” – Oprah Winfrey

As of this writing, I have not binged for 35 days. For a little over a month, I have not gone to the grocery store late at night, filled a shopping cart with enough sugar- and flour-foods to supply a kid’s birthday party and eaten every. single. item. By myself.

It’s been a fucking rough 35 days.

The first week entailed recovering from my last binge, an all-day affair which involved not one – but two – food deliveries from local restaurants less than a mile away because I hadn’t showered and couldn’t leave my apartment.

I was sick for days.

The second week brought the withdrawals: sugar cravings, agitation, rollercoastering emotions. By the third week I was feeling slightly better, physically, but my brain decided to socially distance itself from me, leaving me with the inability to put two coherent thoughts together. The fourth week delivered an exhaustion that drove me into bed shortly after dinner, where I stayed until the alarm rang at six o’clock the next morning.

But I didn’t binge.

Now that I am in my second month, I’m feeling only slightly better. My emotions seemed to have stepped off the rollercoaster and I have enough energy to make it through my work day and take a walk afterward. But I definitely don’t feel good. Getting off the food is rough stuff.

This is not my first “getting sober rodeo” so I knew it was going to be rough but not THIS rough. But, check this out: I am actually grateful for all the difficulty. Here’s why:

We value things that are hard. We value things we earn.

Just like everybody else, I want accomplishments to come easily. I don’t want to work hard for my success; I want accolades to arrive smoothly, quickly, pain-free and in my own time. I don’t want to pay for them and I certainly don’t want any delays in the process.

And, whether I want to admit this or not, it’s the “easy things” that I place little value upon. I tend to align value with effort: Little effort equates to little value in my mind.

Therefore, I am reluctantly glad I have to work for this recovery. I am glad for the exhaustion, the minimal weight loss, the grind of going to meetings every day, the discomfort of tolerating unpleasant emotions.

Because I value this recovery. Every day I don’t binge is triumph, a precious gift that I had to work my ass off to achieve. Which means I will respect, honor and protect it.

And maybe I won’t ever have to binge again, one day at a time.

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