Weight Loss and Alcoholism: an email from a C Diet Participant
Losing weight is a struggle. Sometimes, life itself can be a struggle. How we react to that struggle, the actions that we take, or even the reactions that we make, determines those conditions that will break us, or… if we choose, those same conditions that serve to make us.
The following is an email received from a C Diet participant. Here, in their own words, is how this C Diet participant overcame a personal struggle, a struggle that not only served to make them a better version of themselves, but served to also help someone, a loved one:
“I’ve been struggling with how to put this into words, but I think this is the best way to explain what brought me to the C Diet, and how much it’s helped me. You can share it if you want to, but please keep it anonymous. And thank you again. This experience has changed me, and I appreciate everything you’ve done.
You can’t control everything in your life, but you can control what you put into your mouth… Unless you’re an alcoholic. This is a lesson I learned the hard way.
My boyfriend is an alcoholic. Five years clean and sober when we met, he fell off the wagon after the sudden death of his father and the agonizing debilitation of his Alzheimer’s stricken mother. As someone with a non-addictive personality who has done my fair share of partying, I didn’t recognize the problem right away. “He’s in pain” I’d tell myself. “What’s one drink? He’s going through hell.” But of course, as his mom’s condition worsened, so did the drinking. Drinks here and there soon became bottles, as he sought an emotional escape from the guilt and pain that he was feeling. Four in the afternoon became the witching hour, and more often than not the knots in my stomach on the way home from work were an omen of how the night would be.
Unless you’ve been through it yourself, it’s hard to imagine the emotional toll a loved one’s alcoholism takes on you. Life becomes a roller coaster ride. When things are good, and the drinking is under control, everyone is happy. But when alcohol takes over again, chaos and disorder reign.
Home life quickly spiraled, with normal daily patterns such as eating dinner, keeping the house clean and tidy, having friends over or even paying bills completely disrupted. Social occasions were a minefield, as I found myself apologizing for his drunken behavior, removing us from situations because he was out of control, or declining invitations altogether as a precaution. All classic co-dependent behavior, I later discovered, but at the time I though I was doing the right thing. My life was nothing more than exasperation, loneliness, anxiety, resentment, fear and depression. A continuous episode of ‘Intervention’, without commercials and without the intervention. My only solace was food. Ice cream, cookies, crackers and cheese – they all brought me comfort watching TV on the couch each night, my boyfriend passed out next to me. You can’t control everything in your life, but you can control what you put into your mouth, right?
Months went by and the days all seemed the same. I’d put on a happy face and pretend to live, but it was all a ruse. Of course I didn’t sleep well, so I was always very tired. When I woke in the morning, my first thoughts were of what horrible thing would occur that day. How would today’s drama and manipulation play out?
One day it hit me. The stomach pain I’d never had before was an ulcer. I was gaining weight from not working out and eating poorly. My doctor wanted to put me on cholesterol medication. I was on edge every time the phone rang. I realized that none of my pleading, rationalizing or threats caused him to stop drinking, and thought about how much I’d changed while trying to cope with the stress. This was not me, just who I had become. It occurred to me that one day my boyfriend might hopefully find his way, and become a happy, productive person again. At the rate I was going, I might be too sick or dead to enjoy it. The stress was not going away, so I needed to find a better way to deal with it. To get back some piece of MY life. I realized this was one thing I could control.
When I stumbled upon the Stefan Pinto C Diet, midway through the first round, I was intrigued. I knew I wanted to feel better, and changing my eating habits was a huge step in the right direction. If Stefan could go from fat to fit, maybe he could help me too. Seeing the progress the first group was making was inspiring, and the combination of support and accountability were very appealing to me, so when I saw that he was recruiting for a second round I knew I wanted in.
The first few weeks were a challenge, as I balanced my new eating habits with the drama swirling around me. The diet became my port in the storm of my life, and I clung to it like a lifeline. I forced myself back into the gym, and soon I started seeing results. Dropping pounds and seeing my clothes fit again reinforced my determination, and gradually it stopped feeling like a ‘diet’ and more like a way of life. Most diets make you feel denied, but there was none of that, and I wasn’t obsessing about food or feeling hungry between meals.
Since starting the C Diet, I’ve lost ten pounds. My cholesterol has dropped, the cravings are gone and I’m exercising more regularly. My sleep is better, my focus is back, and I’m starting to feel present in MY life again. My relationship with food has changed dramatically, and I no longer use it as a source of comfort. There is no more hopeless and helpless.
On July 28th, my boyfriend checked into rehab. As I write this, he is 20 days sober, and is determined to beat this addiction. My hope is that this will be a healing time for both of us. I’m not naïve enough to think that in some way my reclaiming my health contributed to him reclaiming his, but I’m happy that he’s taking responsibility. Because you can’t control everything in your life, but you can control what you put into your mouth.”