The Truth.

"Good writing is about telling the truth."  -Anne Lamott

Holidays are hard.  Which seems weird because my brain is filled with all these fuzzy, warm, cider-scented memories.  But in the moment, those memories only seem to increase my anxiety in comparison to the reality of the holiday season as it engulfs me.  For me, holidays are lonely, stock-full of nights being the odd-numbered wheel of the gathering/event/party wagon, too often a reminder of what my life lacks instead of all the great things it is filled with.  (<--Dear Grammar Nazis, please excuse this sentence ending with a preposition; I briefly considered rewriting it as "...instead of all the great things with which it is filled" but discarded the idea as I would then feel compelled to add that you must read that uppity-sounding sentence in a British accent or something equally nasal.)

This season is writhe with expectations: my own and those I perceive others to have.  Expectations, more often than not, end in disappointment.  Holidays are filled with family time, which can be wonderfully warm and laughter-filled...but can just as easily be uber emotional, stressed-filled, draining and yucky.

Do you know what stress leads to in my life?  Crutches.  But not this year, right?  Wrong.  I reached a breaking point this week and fell off the wagon.  For three days, I ate sugary crap.  That's right, three days.  Much like I was digestively exorcising a demon whose holy water is sugar, I consumed things I haven't touched or even thought about for months.  What the crap?  (Literally.)  I rounded off the diabetes binge with a full-caff latte.  Just cuz.  And remembered why I love that crack-drug.  Danger.  Maybe I should've gotten drunk too...just to make it a crutchy hat trick.  I have yet to let a drop of alcohol hit my tongue.  Mother-lover, I thought that would be the hardest one.

After three days of self-medicating and failing to fix the problem of seasonal stress and yuck growing inside me, I find myself here.  Although it's hard to do, I have to take my own advice and be gentle with myself.  I have to remember that "...failure is not making mistakes.  Failure is not trying something new and crashing and burning.  Failure is quitting.  Period."  So, let's go on a journey.  Let's figure this sh&* out.  Let's make it so this doesn't happen again.  Ready?  Here we go.

Why am I doing this?
I recognized habits in my life that were impeding my growth as a person and slowing my progress towards my goals.  Four months ago, I decided to do something about it.  I wanted to be healthier, more balanced, and to challenge myself to accomplish something that felt impossible.  Ultimately, I don't want to allow the days of my life to slip by me poorly-used.

How can I be successful in the continuation of this goal?
I think a piece of my recent downfall was the "all or nothing" approach.  So, when "nothing" failed, I went immediately to "all"...for three days.  My goal is not deprivation, it is changing habits around how I interact with these items and being successful at navigating stress without these items.  I reread the sugar monkey article and got a lot of ideas that I will be employing as I move forward.  I want to have a fall-back plan to avoid a repeat "all or nothing" death binge.

He ate chocolate to get his,
mine could be used to eat chocolate.
I'm giving myself 8 golden tickets:  one for each remaining month of The Clean Year.  My goal remains to be free of these substances.  However, if I reach a point like I did recently, I want an option that will allow me to move through the breaking point gracefully and without crashing and burning.  I referred to my favorite sugar monkey article to create the stipulations for my golden tickets.

> they are to be used socially, in a context that is a one-serving situation (no leftovers!)
have a buddy know what's happening, accountability is key
savor the experience 
plan for the subsequent cravings that will occur
document each use of a ticket on the blog

Again, my goal is to not use them, but I want them there in case I do.  I'm thinking a non-consumable reward could be a fun motivating factor at the end if I make it with 7-8 tickets still in hand.  And maybe a less extravagant reward if I have half or more.

I would love to know your thoughts on my plan, ideas for golden ticket rewards at the end of this, even hate mail if you feel like I've cheated you by falling of the the Clean Train.  I welcome any comments/thoughts you have!


Carrot Cake said...

Remember you have friends that you can lean on. From time to time that may seem like you're burdening them with your issues, but I know of two people who care for you that would be willing to help any time.

Come over, have dinner, hang out... you'd never know how helpful getting out of your own head can be.... especially when we're so like-minded.

Give yourself a break too. Three days out of four months is amazing - keep it up.

Tiffany - The Clean Year said...

Thank you. This means more than you know!

Anonymous said...

Think of us not as some parole board you answer to, but a group that you have brought together to share (sort of) in your experiment and to support you. Post up when you feel those twinges coming and we'll gladly give you a Rah! I'm no less impressed than before this post - you're trying and in that you've already won.
Rob (we met in passing at Verve)

Tiffany - The Clean Year said...

Thanks for the support, Rob. =) Prevention is the key, I find. I had a friend text me the other day telling me to hold him accountable to not going crazy on the mounds of Christmas treats at his work. What a smart thing he did! Knowing, he had me to answer to later (I'm very intimidating), he was able to bypass all that in favor of a half grapefruit and tea. Awesome. Thanks again for reading!