Wednesday, January 31, 2024


 I'm frustrated with myself this week - frustrated and annoyed. I saw my Primary Care Physician, an overall positive visit, but my blood work had a couple of less than stellar results, results that would undoubtedly improve were I to drop the proverbial 10% of my current weight. Insert big sigh.

I am a tracker, so can look back and see that it was Sept 2020, when I moved from running to walking that my weight started to creep up (creep, recede, leap, and climb). A famous marathoner, Meb Keflezighi, once remarked that he'd have to run six-minute miles to burn the calories from one banana. While I don't even claim to breathe the same air as Meb, I am proof-positive that the body gets accustomed to a particular amount of activity. Were I just starting out, walking three miles would be great. It's still great, but my metabolism wonders what happened to the 10 mile trail runs.

As others my age have said, it's not so much fitting in to my jeans as it is about health and wellness. The kicker is that I've long been secretly and quietly judgmental about those with lifestyle ailments. (I'm still mad that my mom didn't quit smoking when my dad died from tobacco-related cancer.) Judgy, and here I am, with three pudgy fingers pointing back at me.

What does this have to do with recovery? I don't have active alcoholism in my life today, but I do carry around this brain, this brain that sometimes justifies and rationalizes and looks for an out. Staying conscious of my internal machinations keeps me honest. Oh, self, isn't it interesting that you are now suffering from the same choices that you might denigrate in others? Hmmm. How do I right-size myself while acknowledging my humanity, a worker among workers, person among persons?  And how do I keep an eye open for various ways my "ism" tries to find a way in? Spending? Food? Gambling?  Relationships? Over-doing or dishonesty in any form? I've seen too many people open the door of dis-ease, even just a crack, with eventual disastrous results. Stay awake, stay aware.

I read in Alanon literature that self-acceptance is key to change. I can't change anything when my energy is invested in fighting it (whatever "it" may be). So, a deep inhale of "this is where I am today," on a quest of what a friend says, is a mere 5% improvement. 5% is doable, whether that it related to the length of today's walk or tackling a particular character aspect that is troubling. Progress, not perfection, one day at a time.

And always, balance matters. I realized, feeling a little crunchy over the weekend, that I've gone at least two weeks with only appointments on the docket. Of course, an ice storm stifled plans, but I need to remember that I do need people, social people, friends. This is a path I've walked before, so one would think I'd be more aware. One would think - ha! Again, progress not perfection, with progress being that today I notice sooner and can follow the thought trail to the core discomfort. HALT? Yeah, usually, in one form or another. Where can I make a 5% shift today, this week?

Do you harbor any judgements that prove to be a mirror to yourself? How do you move from judgement of self to self-acceptance using the 5% guide? How do the HALTs show up in your life today, and what do you do when you recognize it?

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Thinking of a new year's inventory or small group discussion? Check out my workbook "I've Been Sober a Long Time - Now What?" with 78 pages of topics, member's views, and processing questions. (See the Jan 13, 2023 post for a sample.) Available in PDF format ($12.95) for those of you outside the US (or who prefer that format) or hardcopy ($19.95 mailed to you). Email me at with questions.  You can order from the WEB VERSION of this page, payment link on top right. Note that the workbook is also available at Portland Area Intergroup at 825 NE 20th 

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