I have always loved celebrating yearly events – birthdays, holidays, weddings and anniversaries. They are a perfect opportunity to reflect on life, on reaching a certain point again and taking stock of where we have been since the last occasion and where we may be for the next one.
They also are a time to reflect on the choices we’ve made that have brought us to where we are. It is especially with this thought in mind that I am so looking forward to today, February 8th. This day will mark the 25th year of my being clean and sober and making the choice to start down the road to self-love and self-care.
Just two days before, February 6th, 1988, had almost been the end. I was living in San Francisco at the time, and my house was a couple of miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. Throughout the day – while binge eating, drinking, doing drugs uncontrollably or sitting in therapy – I fantasized about jumping off of it.
I was tired of all the false promises I made to myself over and over and over again. I was tired of telling myself every day, “Today is the day I will stop overeating, stop drinking and using drugs, stop smoking, stop lying to myself, stop cheating myself.” But every day I broke these promises because my addictions were too strong. They were buried deep in my psyche, a dangerous coping mechanism to overcome feeling defective.
The part of me that wanted to die was the binger, the druggie, the drinker and smoker. The one who wasn’t worthy. The one who had a problem she just couldn’t fix.
There was another part of me, though: my spirit. My essence. That part of me that wanted to live. On February 8th, I decided to walk into my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and it just clicked. That day I woke up to my truth, and everything in my world shifted.
Today, February 8th is my day to remember that I made the choice to live for myself; we can all make that choice. Even when we feel powerless, be it over our addictions or our relationships or our jobs or our finances, there are always choices to be made, choices that will help us. And sometimes those choices mean we need to reach out to others – we don’t have to be alone as we go through tough life transformations. I had an incredible network of support groups and friends who were ready, willing, and able to share their love. When I decided to let them, they stepped right in to lovingly hold me as I worked through the underlying causes of my self-abuse. Their help allowed me to leave my anger behind and enter into self-love.
Today, I will celebrate with a long workout after meditating and writing down personal reflections in my journal. Tonight I will prepare and eat a healthful, delicious meal with my wife (for life) of 15 years, Kathleen and friends. I will use it as a day to reconnect with and appreciate the incredible act of self-love that took me from contemplating suicide to living a fulfilling, joyous life I simply adore.
I encourage you to remember these days in your life and to set aside time to recognize your accomplishments, connect with your intentions, and generally rejoice in the wonder that is you and this life of yours. It could be the day you got your dream job, the day you took a risk and moved to a brand-new city, the day you opened yourself up to the love of a partner, a child, or a pet. Particularly in this long final run of winter into spring, we could all use a little time to recognize the milestones in our life and remember that choices that took us where we’ve been, will bring us where we’re going, and that make us who we are.
Weight Release & Body Image Coach Laura Fenamore is on a mission to guide women around the world to love what they see in the mirror, one pinky at a time, so they can unlock the secrets to a healthy weight and start loving their lives as soon as possible. Learn more about her programs, invite her to speak or contribute to your program or conference, or place pre-orders for her book today at OnePinky.com.