It’s been five months since I’ve been working from home, alone, and I’m tired. I spent the first three months hitting bottom, trying different diets, getting a few binge-free days together, falling off the wagon, getting back on, falling back off again.
Finally, 40 days ago the miracle happened and I got my abstinence (what we call the food equivalent of “sobriety”in twelve-step programs). It’s been a rough road: exhaustion on deep levels, loneliness, sitting through uncomfortable feelings – all while showing up every day to an intense work life. I need a vacation.
Which brings me to today’s topic: I miss being married.
My ex-husband – let’s call him Mike – and I vacationed every year. He paid for and planned our trips and, because of him, I got to see places I never would have visited. Being anxiety riddled and eating disordered kept me trapped in the house most of my life.
Mike and I traveled well; we had the same early-to-bed-early-to-rise body clocks; liked the same foods; enjoyed the same activities. The marriage was flawed for other reasons; vacations weren’t one of them.
And now I have the last week in August off and I am feeling the strain of singlehood. I’m exploring my options:
- I can visit my cousin Johnny in Palm Springs.
- I can take a trip with my mom, making this the third vacation we’ve spent together in as many years.
- I can spend $3,000 on a “detox retreat” recommended by Goop.
- I can sit on my ass in the same apartment in which I live my daily life, feeling sorry for myself.
Planning a solo vacation put me into total meltdown mode. I ended up in tears, calling my friend David from the Bladder Control aisle of CVS.
Sometimes being single sucks.
Being married made life easier in certain aspects, vacations being just one of them. I think Madonna summed up singlehood best when she said, “Sometimes it would be nice to be able to ask, ‘I don’t know, what do YOU think we should do?'”
I know I have a lot to appreciate in my life and today I don’t feel appreciating any of it. I don’t feel like looking on the bright side, keeping a stiff upper lip, seeking out the silver linings.
I sunk into a pity party and stayed there until I went to bed.
But here is the beauty of all this: I didn’t eat over this. In fact, the reason that I don’t have a lot of high-quality friends is because of my stupid disease. I’ve been very isolated over the past two years binging and recovering from binging.
Now I’m up and running and realizing the wreckage of the disease is not going to get cleaned up all at once. It reminds me of the story in the Big Book, where a farmer comes out of the basement after a hurricane, looks around at the mess that used to be his farm, and says, “Ain’t it grand the wind stopped blowin’?”
Well, fortunately I don’t have a farm, I have a vacation to deal with.
I also realize that the hysteria surrounding this vacation – one week out of my whole life – is coming from my disease. “See,” it’s saying to me. “You can’t handle real life without me. You’ll be lonely. You need me. I am here to help you.”
Thank God I didn’t eat over this. Because there is no hope when I’m in the food but there is hope in just staying in recovery, taking it one day at a time and letting life unfold, knowing all will be well.
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