Day 11 of The Alcohol Experiment: a big thank you to our bodies and brains.
I consider myself a grateful person. From little things to, you know, being alive and all, I try to exist in a place of gratitude. Which is why Day 11 of The Alcohol Experiment was such an eye-opener for me. While I often find myself thinking how lucky I am to be alive, rarely do I applaud the body and brain that has played a major role in keeping me that way for 37 years. In fact, I’ve often done the opposite. So today’s exercise of writing a thank you letter to my body was incredibly powerful for me. Never one to shy away from the cheese factor, I went for it on this one and I feel like my perspective is forever changed. And for that, I am grateful down to my bones.
Here is my letter:
I know I have given you a hard time over the years, and spent a lot of time treating you poorly and putting you down. I wanted to take this moment to apologize, and to say thank you. After all I’ve done to you – two broken bones; two marathons; two pregnancies; one c-section; and the constant, decades-long assault of junk food and alcohol – your resilience is miraculous. Thank you for being there for me unconditionally, in good health and in bad, in fitness and in sloth.
I know I have spent too much time over the years criticizing you and wishing you were different. In my teenage years, I wished for clear skin and bigger boobs. Now, I never take my clear skin for granted, and after having two kids I very much appreciate having a small-size chest! I have felt embarrassed by stretch marks and varicose veins. But I know these things aren’t the end of the world and anyone who would judge me for them is not worth my time. Perhaps more than anything, I have wished to be thin. I have wished to be thin as I inhaled simple carbs and Swedish Fish. I have wished to be thin as I polished off glass after glass of wine. So many years of wishing for something that was never going to be a reality because of the way I was treating you.
For some of that time, I didn’t know any better. I grew up clueless about nutrition because no one ever taught me. I grew up watching all the adults in my life enjoying alcohol. I grew up trying to please everybody and needing a way to relieve the stress and feel good – and that was through food, and then through booze and food.
Fortunately for us both, I have had it. Believe me, I am as tired of putting you down as you are of being put down. We are in this together, for life. I promise to stop the negative self-talk (it may take awhile but I will get there!). I promise to continue this journey of digging deep to get to the root of my alcohol and junk food cravings and repair the lifelong damage that has caused my dependence on them. I promise to stay committed to exercise. I promise to keep learning, to stay present, to stay in a place of gratitude.
This journey will not be perfect. I will take some steps back, some steps sideways. But I finally appreciate you now more than I ever have, and I know I am not going to lose that. Because it feels too good to love you.
So, onward. As partners, not adversaries. It feels a lot better that way, doesn’t it?
And here is my body’s much more concise response:
Kindness suits you. Stick with it girl. I got your back (and every other part of you).
I would love to hear from others who did this exercise. This was a total game-changer for me. Anyone else?
[The Alcohol Experiment is a free, interactive 30-day program designed by Annie Grace, author of This Naked Mind. For more information: www.alcoholexperiment.com.]