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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Meatless Mondays in LA? Pass the Steak, Honey

So the Los Angeles city council has asked residents to go meatless on Monday because the council is filled with silly people.  Let’s look at the linked article a little closer:

Los Angeles city leaders have voted [to – sic] endorse “Meatless Mondays.”

The City Council that had earlier declared war on trans fats and fast-food restaurants voted 14-0 on Friday to adopt a resolution urging residents to pledge they won’t eat meat on the first day of the week.

Well how nice – of course adopting a resolution urging someone to do anything amounts to nothing…  They’re “asking nicely” so far.  But then there’s this gem:

The Los Angeles Daily News says it doesn’t make Monday meat consumption illegal and police won’t be checking what you brought to work for lunch.

Well, how quaint – at least they let us know that the cops won’t be checking our lunches yet.  I suppose that’s reason to cheer here in America, eh?  The fact they even had to include that sentence should be alarming.

The resolution is simply designed to make residents healthier and reduce the impact on the environment.

So if the cops aren’t going to be checking lunches (this is written tongue in cheek of course), how is the proposal going to “make” residents do anything?  There’s something fishy going on here.  Here’s how this works – small moves, baby steps if you will.  These kooks propose a “harmless” (and toothless) meatless day.  The idea is to raise support at first.  90% of the ideas get flushed down the drain and are never brought up again, but some catch on and become malignant.  They fester, spread and grow, consuming people’s freedom in the process.  Now I’d have to guess that meatless Mondays won’t ever gain much traction but if these buffoons aren’t fended off early, before long you’ve got some yahoo trying to ban meat in a local government cafeteria – and that’s the tipping point.  After that the politicians (all Democrats in this instance, of course) jump onto the bandwagon and start trying to implement this horseshit in the free market, like Bloomberg did in New York with salt and soda.

Fortunately I live in an excellently quaint small town that simply stays out of the resident’s business. But I do love to imagine what I would do should I live in a city that had a council that tried to work its way into my life in such a manner… First, Monday would become grill night.  I would probably throw a block party at some point, but I would celebrate the city council’s idiocy with a different grilled meat every Monday.  Why grilled? Because nothing makes a block smell better than grilling meat. I run in a small neighborhood in Flint on Thursday nights and nothing makes me want to stop dead in my tracks more than the awesome aroma emanating a grill.

Get your grill on LA.  Then wait and see if the cops show up at your door step.  That should be funny.

Think I’m crazy?  Watch the video…  1 minute and 45 seconds in.  Then skip to 2:50.  Then 4:30…  Baby steps folks, those wackos – if they’re anything – they are patient.

On implementing this hoo-ha in schools:  “Are you hearing loads of complaints from the parents, are the kids themselves enjoying it?  And in pretty much all the cases that we’ve looked at, people are enjoying it.”  If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in New York I’d like to sell you…  To decode that second sentence – We only looked at certain cases that agreed with what we were doing and in all of those, people are enjoying it.  Notice he also didn’t say anything in that sentence about complaints?  I guarantee they’d be hearing from me.  This is an age-old tactic, of course.  Hitler used it.  Infect the kids and even turn them on the parents…

From there, Sir Paul goes on to explain a situation where a kid corrects a man for eating bacon on a Monday.  And as he explains it, the man stops as if he’d done something wrong…  Oh how silly this all is.  I wouldn’t be reacting the way Sir Paul suggested in his quaint little story.

The truth is a plant-based diet is good for some people – even ultra athletes can survive on plants alone – but surviving and living are two very different things in my book.  As far as I’m concerned, you can have it…  No thanks.

Run Recovery – No Pain, With All Of The Gain

I happened on something very surprising over the last month or so.  Something that I’d taken for granted.  Something that allows me to recover from a long run in hours rather than days…

I have gotten myself into a crazy little pattern, I’m trail running every other Sunday and it just so happens that on the same Sunday I bowl in the evening (I bowl in a long league – September to April, every other Sunday).  I’ve gone to bowling the last two times sore and tired from the run.  Four weeks ago I just ran, napped and went bowling.  I was miserable.  Two weeks ago I tried something different.  After my run I came home and went out for a ride – just a short little five miler with Mrs. Bgddy and felt immensely better but still had a tough time with stiffness in my hips.

Yesterday, I hit the running recovery jackpot by chance.  I’ve been running more lately so the recovery time has been getting better slowly anyway, but yesterday I increased from six to nine miles and on a mountain bike trail to boot – an increase of 33%  and technically a no-no (they say a 10% increase at a time)… I’m in good enough shape to bend the rules from time to time though.  To coincide with my anniversary, I decided I wanted to do one mile per year, so after my run Mrs. Bgddy and I went for an 11 mile ride on the fat-tire bikes.  The first mile was rough, and the second and third weren’t much better – but by the fourth and fifth I started noticing that I was loosening up quite a bit.  By the eighth and ninth miles I felt like a new man and in the 10th and 11th I was felt better than I did before I went running in the first place – and my bowling scores showed it – I ended up with a first game 182, a second game 206 and then tanked my third game because I was exhausted – I ended with a 154.  Two weeks ago my scores weren’t all that bad but they were absolutely worse and then four weeks ago it was like I’d never thrown a bowling ball.

I’ve been riding after my long runs for two years now – generally I ride 12 miles down to the running club, run and then ride 18 miles back home (I ride the long way home)…  In all that time I never once realized that riding after the run helped my recovery from the run – it hardly makes sense, especially considering that my ride home was farther and usually quite a bit faster than my ride to the running club, but after yesterday I have to say that my experience shows a conclusive result:  I heal up faster if I ride after I run, there’s no doubt about it.

Sobering Up – Young: The Pros and Cons

Fresh out of inpatient addiction treatment with only a few months under my belt and at the ripe old age of 22, I had an old-timer take the time out of his day to tell me, “Son, I spilled more than you ever drank, what are you doing here”?

Most young kids would feel uncomfortable, even rethink their desire to remain sober based on an older fella uttering such raving idiocy. Not me, I knew that I belonged in the sober community.  I had enough and now that I finally managed to get out from under alcohol’s thumb, there was no way I was going back.  “If you hadn’t spilled so much you’d have sobered up a lot sooner, ya old fart”, I retorted, “they call that alcohol abuse where I come from”.  He never spoke cross to me again.  In fact, he actually never spoke to me again come to think of it, but that’s a good thing…  (Honest to God, this actually happened to me – it is not some made up BS story for artistic flourish that so many employ today to make their story that much more awesome).

He had an interesting point though. I sobered up during a boom of young alcoholics who, for one reason or another, were compelled at an early age to put a plug in the jug. This was mainly brought on by the police no longer letting drunk drivers go unscathed.  Call it a crack-down.  In addition, judicial activism played a role as well.  Judges started sentencing habitual drinkers (and now first time offenders) to treatment centers (outpatient and inpatient), AA meetings and probation – if I had to guess, to keep the jail population down.  This has its pluses and minuses as well, but I won’t be delving into that subject for this post, hopefully we can just agree that it happens.  I have no feelings either way on the matter, though it is safe to say that this activism saved my bacon and for that I’m grateful.

The Cons

Getting sober young, as I did, does have its difficulties.  First of all, the sober community is mainly older folks (or it was just before I sobered up). Being 22 in that community, without the proper attitude, is not simple.  As I loosely illustrated in the opening paragraphs, I had the right attitude – I didn’t care who thought what about my being wet behind the ears, I needed for the anguish caused by an insidious disease to stop, and I wasn’t about to wait until some old fart decided I was old enough to quit.  This is one key reason behind why I made it, by the way.  Moving along, one of the greatest things Twelve Step programs offer is fellowship.  People with a common problem sharing their experience, strength and hope in order that they might help another with the affliction recover – but this goes for more than just “meetings”…  I surround myself with sober people.  I run with them and spend most of my free time with them.  If you happen upon a group of older recovering folks, finding people who you want to hang out with can be a scary proposition.  Ask, and ye shall receive (Matthew 7:7) they say.  Ask those old folks where you can meet sober folks your age.  If they’ve been around long enough, they’ll know where to direct you (or a good contact who does) and will be more than happy to let you know which is the good crowd to hang with…  As in life, there are winners and losers in sobriety – start off with the winners.  Some people may complain that it is unfair to label people like this.  There are a bunch of ridiculous notions tied to helping those who have no desire to be helped or who constantly put themselves in a position to fail.  Save yourself first, then worry about others once you have something tangible to offer.

Another difficulty, and a real problem, in getting sober young is that many of us feel we shouldn’t be having the problems associated with old farts so young.  This line of thought, left unchecked, is the undoing of many young alcoholics early in their recovery – some of whom will wind up dead well before their natural time because of it.  There is no easy way around this, a young person in recovery simply must make bones with it – either you want a life or you want to live the rest of your time in misery.  Hey, you never know – maybe you can be the first ever to figure out the one thing, the one ingredient that nobody else (in the history of alcohol) has ever added to the mix, to have a decent life as a drunk.  If you can’t banish that kind of thinking from your melon, you’re sunk.  You can’t figure it out, you won’t figure it out, you will be miserable, one way or another, if you continue to drink – or you’ll be dead…that’s the only way I know.  All thoughts of hopeful drinking must be dealt with swiftly – they must be discarded, negated in the mind, before they have a chance to fester.  Period.

Finally, there are a slew of questions and misunderstandings that have to do with our future if we decide to quit drinking.  There are many ways to handle these.  It is important that they are kept in check:  “What will I do for fun”?  “Will I be able to meet someone”?  “Life is going to suck if I can’t go to parties anymore”.  “I’m going to be old and boring before my time”.  I could go on forever.  There are rational ways to counter these irrationalities as they pop up:

Remember that the thoughts are irrational.  How much fun can you have in a cell?  You’ll get a chance to meet Bubba, eventually if you keep it up, and maybe you’ll even get the chance to spoon him in your cell…  You get the idea.  The point is it is far more irrational to believe that you can drink successfully than to believe you can’t.

The Pros

We get to the good stuff, the pros of choosing a sober lifestyle young.  There are far too many to list, I could probably write a whole book on that subject alone and never get to a point where I could feel it was complete – there are that many benefits to a young, sober life.  Think about it, just for a second – if you’ve read this far, you know damned good and well that drinking holds a drunk back – what can a kid do with a life free from the terrible decisions related to being a drunk?  What can a kid do with all of the money that won’t be spent on alcohol (and the ensuing problems that come with it)?  How good can life get when you’re not being held back by addiction?  Think of it this way:  It’s the difference between running a triathlon freely, or with a 50 pound weight shackled to your neck.  The bike and run would certainly be uncomfortable but you could train to get used to it, but you’d never see the bike…  You’d drown on the swim.  I have a favorite response to the question, “How are you doing”?  “Keeping busy and staying out of trouble”.  Often people respond, “well that’s no fun” (to the “staying out of trouble” part), and I always assure them that yes, indeed, it is fun.  When you’ve seen enough trouble for one lifetime before you’ve even been old enough to drink for just more than one year in the first place, trouble looses its luster.

In addition, if you choose to follow a 12 Step program of recovery at a young age, if you take part in a fellowship of recovering/recovered people, you’ll have an advantage over a vast majority of the population.  You will have hundreds of mentors at your disposal who want nothing more than for you to have the best, most enjoyable life possible.  If you work toward this, if you show initiative and a desire to work through the issues that once confounded you, they will freely give you the most sacred of secrets:  How they did it.  You’ll have your whole life ahead of you to use their experience, strength and hope to your betterment.  Of course, far be it from me to point out that somebody will want to raise your taxes because you turned a disadvantage to an advantage without their help, but whatever – it’s worth that demonization.

To wrap this post up, going back to the verbal back and forth that I detailed in the first two paragraphs, the reason that the old fart gave me a hard time about sobering up young is simple;  He was jealous.  He wasted most of his adult life digging his hole.  By the time he stopped digging, he had a long way to climb to get out and a short time to enjoy the fresh air.  I stopped digging miles before he did.  I was just as desperate to get out of the whole I’d dug, but unlike the old fart, once I emerged I had most of my life left to live, free.

That last “pro” cancels out all of the “cons” put together and tied up with a nice pretty bow.

It’s Official – 20 years of continuous sobriety

About 4 and a half hours ago the reason for my celebration over the last 18 days became official. 20 Years, clean and sober.

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A lot has changed over the last 20 years. All of it good. Gone are the days of worrying if this would be the night I finally landed in prison. Gone are the days of risking my life (and that of others) to get my car home. Gone are the blackouts, the excuses, the lies and the moral depravity. Gone are the shortcomings that I held onto – that kept me drunk. Gone are the hangovers. Gone are the lost jobs, lost friends. Best of all, gone are the lonely days and nights. I haven’t heard, in 20 years, a sentence that starts out, “you’re such a good person, but…” Or, “we love you, but…”

The only “but” in my life is the significantly toned one that I sit on.

In the place of the things that are gone are things like humility (believe me, it’s in there somewhere), honesty, honor, decency and integrity… I haven’t gotten so much as a speeding ticket in years. Though I still have my fleas, they won’t land me in the unemployment line, jail, prison or divorce court.

I have a fantastic fantastic life that I look forward to, rather than a toxic existence that had people running for cover. The People of the State of Michigan can rest easy yet again – for at least another 24 hours.

A birthday 8-10 mile trail run is on tap for today, followed by a short bike ride and bowling this evening. There will be no work today, of any kind.

If you know an alcoholic, send them here… On Monday I’ll be working on a recovery page for my blog, a one stop shop for my recovery based posts – and for the love of God, let them know: Life doesn’t have to be like that, anymore. A decision, a commitment and a little bit of uncomfortable work, and the pain will start turning to happiness. It’s not easy, but it’s worth every second.

On a final note, I met with my mentor Friday night. He looked at me and said, “So, 20 years huh? Yeah, that’s a pretty good start”. He’s got over 31 years. Everyone’s a comedian.

Let The Party (Parties?) Begin!!!

“Today I will marry my best friend…”

That’s how our wedding invitation started. It was absolutely right on. Mrs. BgddyJim is my best friend. We met at a sober young people’s dinner/dance in Jun of ’95. Oh man was she hot. Long brown hair, pretty smile and a fantastic, tight a$$… And when she looked at me her eyes and smile said, “Holy shit batman, you’re AWESOME”! Much is made of what is pretty and what isn’t, and I really don’t intend to add anything to that discussion, but I can add this: there is nothing sexier than a woman who looks at you like Zeus himself just walked in the room. Add to that the fact that she’s beautiful… Good God, I didn’t have a chance.

We went on our first date on August 19th and were engaged 4 months and 6 days later. Our engagement lasted for a year and a half, most of which we lived together to make sure it would work. Like most men, I don’t tell my wife often enough, but the sun truly does rise and set in her in my world. That year and a half reinforced that fact.

My wife has an awesome weekend planned for my 20th anniversary. It started last night and will go on for three days. I decided to take the day off yesterday to take Mrs. BgddyJim to see the new Bond flick (freaking awesome) After that we took the kids down to take my dad out for dinner. That was followed by a coffee and desert party with some friends. We’re having still more friends over for dinner this evening.

I’ve got some yard work to take care of and after that I’ll be heading out for a fat-tire bike ride. Speaking of which, I’m thinking about picking up a new ride in the spring. Nothing crazy, either a Wahoo or a Marlin (both Treks of course), but both would be vast upgrades over my ’08 3700. After my ride last weekend I really have a desire| to put in more mountain biking miles next season – a lot more – and I can see that the 3700 is going to hold me back. In addition, my bottom bracket and crank are starting to show significant signs of wear. Either I drop $200-$250 on repairs and wind up with a fixed bike that will still limit me, or pony up another $300-$400 and I can get a 29’er with a much better shock and disc brakes.

For tomorrow, I’ve got trail running with my buddy English Pete (8 – 10 miles) followed by watching a bit of football, another fat tire bike ride (to loosen up my legs) and a much needed nap. The Finale will be celebrating my anniversary with all of my bowling friends (most of whom are recovering/recovered as well).

My wife is quarterbacking the whole weekend.

Now here’s the deal folks. My wife and I fight and argue just like all husbands and wives do – heck, like all best friends do. When it really counts though (and it never really counts when we’re in the middle of one of those arguments), I have a fabulous woman for a wife. As fabulous as she is, if I didn’t recognize it – if I chose to concentrate on the bad rather than the good, I would miss out on the best part of the (second) best thing that ever happened to me.

Putting my marriage second may seem a little off to those who don’t know any better, but without the reason for all of this celebrating, my sobriety, my marriage wouldn’t be possible in the first place.

Endomondo… Finally a GPS Tracker Fixes the Battery Drain Issue!

I just downloaded an update to my Endomondo Pro that finally addresses the battery drain issue with a Low Power Mode for endurance efforts. It boasts the same GPS accuracy while using less power.

For those of us who are smartphone GPS trackers, this is a big deal.

It is unfortunate that they waited till November for the release because I won’t be testing this one until next season (I think), but I’m really happy that someone is finally addressing the issue.

Remembering The Last Drunk…

Beyond the important things, Good Orderly Direction and “working steps”, I’ve used a trick that was passed down to me by an old timer to remember why I quit drinking in the first place.

Over time, especially decades, the vividness of the mayhem, destruction and the heat that a drunk creates can fade. The fear that once held the drunk in check in the beginning can dull… This is a main fear of all long-timers, for a drink [drunk] is usually not far behind.

The trick I use is to remember the last time I got drunk. The details aren’t so important. The location doesn’t matter so much (Cardona’s – downtown Brighton), what you drank doesn’t matter either (16 bottles of Bud – ran out of cash). Hell, some people even go so far as to remember what they wore (jeans, t-shirt, leather jacket-black…I remember it being unseasonably warm though I could be mistaken, gimme a break it was almost 20 years ago). None of that really matters though. What counts is how I drank, how I felt during and after, and most importantly, why I got drunk. I drank to escape and to fit in. I obviously missed the irony – the more I drank, the fewer people I actually fit in with. In addition, I was what is called a “two fisted” drinker. A case between the legs and one in each hand was when I was happiest. No matter what, every time I’ve ever thought about a drink over the last two decades, I always think about the how and the what…and the end.

Look at it this way, which would be easier to say “no” to:

1. Man, it’s hot out, I just got the grass cut, and I’m a little thirsty, a beer sure would taste good right about now…

or

2. Man, it’s hot out, I just got the grass cut and I’m thirsty enough to drink the snake river – a case of Buds to chase down a fifth of Jack, so I can get absolutely shitfaced and hopefully wake up in jail spooning a guy named Bubba sure would be awesome right now…

See what I mean? That’s a no brainer, baby. I can say no to the second option every single time – and sadly, with the exception of spooning Bubba, the second one is a lot closer to reality. “A beer” is not even an appetizer. Drinking one beer is like lining up one Reese’s peanut butter cup (mini), one potato chip and one pistachio and eating just one little nibble off of each… Good luck with that.

Three Days To Go…

Three days to go.  72 hours – the amount of time I wait to act on bad news (where applicable of course, some situations obviously require immediate action – the big things can generally wait a few days so I don’t act on emotion which leads to more “reasoned” action).  I’ve been looking forward to November 18, 2012 for roughly 19 years and the day is only three short days and a wake-up away.

Through my recovery I’ve celebrated every year but there have been a handful of really important ones:

November 18, 1992:  Day one, shoveling pig shit at Dawn Farm hungover as hell (I can still remember vividly the nausea and how I felt).

November 18, 1993:  One year – previous attempts at staying sober had lasted anywhere from 12 hours to 3 weeks.  This was a biggie.

November 18, 1995:  My girlfriend threw me an unbelievable surprise party for three years.  There had to be 15-20 people at her house.  One month and seven days later I got down on one knee in front of the Christmas tree and that girlfriend accepted my proposal to eventually become Mrs. BgddyJim. [I remembered the location of this party incorrectly – Mrs. Bgddy pointed out that the 3 year anniversary was at her house, the 5 year was at a restaurant and was huge – I corrected the post after it was initially published]

November 18, 1997:  Five years – The vast majority of alcoholics that quit fall back to drinking by this day.  Somewhere along the lines of 90-95%.  Dawn Farm’s success rate when I went through was 85% – almost opposite that of other trends.  There’s something to shoveling pig shit on your first day.

November 18, 2002:  Ten years.  This is when they say the clouds really start to part and you get hit with your first real rays of sunshine.

And then Sunday will come.  Though nobody is guaranteed tomorrow – and I am certainly included in “nobody”, but I’m living as if I’ll see the sun rise…  20 years.  It is just another day and on November 19th I’ll be back to living on what I’ve learned over the last twenty years but it’s still a big deal.

Every November 18th has been a big deal for me but those were the really special ones, the anniversaries that stick out.

Fitness Makes My Recovery From Addiction… Better.

Recovering from alcoholism is not always a fun task. If done well, a person will usually find that they have a truck-load of character defects to deal with. Chief among them would be the desire to stretch the truth to suit one’s situation (many people simply call that lying, others call it politics) and the ability to seamlessly tailor and buy into that stretching of the truth. There are others too numerous to list. If one is to truly gain the great enjoyment of living a sober life those defects of character must be acknowledged and rectified. There is no easy way around the task either, think of it as removing a bandage – you can do it slowly but it hurts a lot worse than if you just grit your teeth and get it done. And that’s just the first year… After that the real work starts.

The rewards that come with this choice in lifestyle are immense and usually well-earned. Most people aren’t blessed with a plan of action and a support system meant to improve life beyond their current capacity for thought. Unfortunately though, practicing this lifestyle is difficult. The sober lifestyle requires utter honesty, is stressful and sometimes even exhausting. This is where physical fitness plays a huge part.

In my case, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I have found exercise to be the one thing that can take an otherwise good recovery to the next level. I had an old-timer tell me long ago that if I stuck with it, one day I would get to a point where I just didn’t think life could get any better… And a short while later I realized that it did. I have been there many times over and it is amazing when it happens. When I’m running or riding it happens quicker and quite a bit more frequently.

When you take a person who drinks to escape, then wrecks their life to live in perpetual escape, then they remove the escape, well folks… We have a problem.

For the first two years of my recovery I rollerbladed – a lot . Between 8 and 16 miles a few days a week and up to 40 miles on Saturdays (I could average 16 mph on the eight mile loop easily… My fastest time was 24 minutes and some change… 40 miles didn’t take as long as you’d think). I didn’t know why I loved it so much back then, I was too new to recovery to be able to put everything together in my head. Of course, I really didn’t care either, but the exercise was akin to getting my escape back, only in a healthy way.

Then I went for a stretch without – the Dictators who manage Oakland County Metroparks, in response to sue happy losers suing for hurting themselves on the path (and idiot juries granting the sue-happy losers money), decided to require helmets and restrict speeds to 10 mph. I quit going the day after the first signs went up.

After that I took up golf, and as far as I could hit, daily practice actually was exercise (310, 340 with a tailwind), but I mustn’t kid myself too much… Then I quit cigarettes and before I knew it, started to get chubby. Then I started running, and eventually added cycling – and that, cycling, is what really got me fired up about exercise again – I love it more than I did rollerblading by an order of magnitude. The final piece of the puzzle was this blog, for which I pay deeper attention to not only what is going on around me but within as well.

Today I get my escape, it’s healthy (in every sense of the word – including that I don’t overdo it, uh too much), and unlike alcohol, the escape makes me a better person.

Fixing what was wrong with me, the things that caused me to repeatedly step in front of the locomotive and blissfully smile while rolling my eyes skyward as it ran me over yet again was the most important part of recovery. Without that, none of the other awesome things that I’ve enjoyed could have been possible. Without running and riding I have no doubt I’d still be recovering – I just wouldn’t be enjoying my life near as much as I do.

To wrap this post up, if you were paying attention, there’s a minor flaw. A fly in the ointment. If I spent the time to fix my defects of character, why the need to escape? What could I be running from?

Anymore it’s not so much about running from anything as it is about just getting away from the chaos that life is. I need the peace and quite…even if I get it at a semi-furious pace on a bike. If that isn’t good enough: We like progress, not perfection.

My One Weakness

I’m what they call lucky. I most assuredly am not, but whatever “they” want to call me to make themselves feel better, I’ll live. I had a weight problem and now I don’t. It took the better part of a decade of trial and a lot of error to get to where I am. Thousands of miles to get to a good, healthy weight. Hundreds of hours to lose the fat gained when I quit smoking. You can call that luck if you want but that would say more about you than whether or not luck was involved.

I will admit that I am absolutely fortunate. I pretty much eat whatever I want, whenever I want it. I enjoy food thoroughly and I don’t have to sacrifice anything… To a point. I rarely overeat. Maybe once or twice all year. When I’m full, I’m done and it works.

That all sounds good, but here’s my catch: Out of sight, out of mind.

I kicked a Coke habit last summer. It’s been more than a year and just the other day my wife found an old commemorative 6-pack of Coke that I bought in ’97 when the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 35 years. It had been sitting up in one of our spare bedrooms for the last 9 years or so and my daughters thought it was neat so they brought it down to show me. That 6-pack of Coke sat on our buffet table for the better part of a week before I realized that I was very close to slipping back into my Coke habit – I started wanting a Coke at dinner time and I couldn’t figure out why after all of this time… With that 6-pack out of sight I was OK, but as soon as I could see it sitting there, day after day, I soon wasn’t… And that’s my problem – I can manage to eat just enough to maintain my weight, I can give up drinking Coke (it’s a lot harder than it might sound), I can eat healthy food and like it, but you stick a 6-pack of Coke out where I can see it and I’m utterly powerless over the craving… In other words, I’m just like everybody else, I just manage to keep the monster at bay.

This shouldn’t have come as the shock it did – I have the same problem with alcohol. The wise-crack saying goes like this: You sit in a barber shop long enough, eventually you’re getting your hair cut. I don’t frequent bars, we never have alcohol in the house – I even avoid the beer aisle at the grocery/convenience/party store. I recoil from alcohol, to borrow a phrase, as I do from flames. Alas, I spent last week looking at that Coke sitting on the buffet, craving a Coke for dinner… So I picked it up and put it in the other spare bedroom next to my cycling gear (technically “under” my cycling gear) where it shall stay until I find a better out of sight place for it to hang out.

And therein lies the trick. Know thyself grasshopper, or know frustration.