Alison's Insights

Making Sense of Addiction Recovery in Midlife One Slow Deep Breath at a Time

At What Cost?

For a very long time I was bound a determined to have a highly successful career.  I hoped I would also share my life with a loving husband, live in a beautiful home in the suburbs and have two cars in the garage.  But, it was the career I believed would identify me.

So I pushed. I fought. I never gave up when situations were tough.  Nothing could stop me and the tremendous pressure I put on myself to achieve that career only fueled my fire.

At the end of the day, when I allowed myself to put my feet up, there was nothing better than a glass of wine.  And since this quiet moment of relaxation was sure to be fleeting, why ruin the alcohol “buzz” with food?

As the career escalated and the titles got bigger, so did the need for release from the stress and pressures I put on myself.  I had to continue achieving at only the highest level.

Further, there was no way I’d allow myself to make a mistake and have everything I’d worked so hard for taken away.  I’d work ridiculous hours, fervently controlling every single project and business responsibility I had.  All the while, negating the man I loved from having a partner to spend time with.  I detached from the friends and family who used to enjoy spending time with me.  I couldn’t rest unless I believed I had everything “under control.”

It was only a matter of time when I started drinking more and eating less.  I’d justify the drinking with “I need to relax” and skipping meals with, “I don’t have time.”

As the fruits of my business efforts were received, I celebrated with more alcohol, feeding my ego, not my body.

Yes, the clients were taken care of, my house was lovely and I never missed a responsibility I had to friends and family.  But in order to be everything to everyone, I obsessively believed I could only do it drunk and mannequin thin .

It wasn’t long before I spiraled out of control. My obsession to have reached my own levels of expectation rolled right into my obsession to have that next drink and skip that next meal.

I may have had it all (from my perspective) but at what cost?

Was all that pressure I put on myself to achieve a certain business title worth arriving at an alcohol treatment center with liver counts off the charts?  Was it worth entering an eating disorder treatment center so weak I was put in a wheelchair?

Well, while I can’t erase time, I can take a look at where my life is today, sober and free from unhealthy eating patterns.  Everything else has fallen into place as it was meant to.

I finally realized there is no price tag on life…never.

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