One of my fabulous readers, J, sent me (on firstname.lastname@example.org) an extraordinary article which I have to share with you all.
It's written by Kelly Coffey, a personal trainer who used to weigh over 300 pounds (21 stone!) and it's the story of a talk she gave to a group of seventeen year old girls which had them all in tears. Ten years on, she still gets e-mails from some of them telling her she changed their lives.
Kelly's speech was about the importance of looking after your body in college, and she was just wrapping up when some smartarse asked her a question.
She was asked what the point was of looking after yourself when we're all going to die anyway.
It sounds like a stupid question, doesn't it? But don't many of us feel like that after decades of drinking too much? I certainly did.
I had a feeling of we're all doomed anyway, so I might as well enjoy myself while I still can. And I carried on... not enjoying myself, but getting progressively more miserable.
Well Kelly's answer to this girl's question totally summarised the difference between my life now, sober, and my life when I was drinking a bottle of wine a day. She says it's all about the first minute.
Kelly said "Even if you sleep late, eventually every day begins, and in the first minute of each day you have to face yourself. Day after day, until you die, you will wake up and remember what you’ve done.
Memories of what you did the night before will bubble to the surface. Those memories will come with feelings. If you binged on ice cream or box wine or cocaine, that will be one of your first thoughts, and it will come with a weight of shame, maybe even self-hate.
Those feelings may be subtle when you’re young and you think you have all the time in the world to turn things around. But unless you practice treating yourself well, soon you’ll be in your 50s and you’ll wake up and the pain of that first minute will be so intense that the day ahead will feel like a prison sentence.
I’ve spent years harming myself and years healing myself. I’ve had thousands of first minutes that were torture and thousands that were good, and I can tell you that nothing has more of an impact on how we feel about just being alive."
And that is so true.
Towards the end of my drinking years, my first minutes were characterised, at best, by a feeling of ennui. What's it all for anyway? At worst my first minutes were filled with shame, dread and fear.
Now, almost every first minute (everyone has some bad days) is filled with hope, expectation and exhilaration. I start the day like my terrier, bounding out of bed, wagging my tail, desperate to get on with the excitements of a new day.
I'm not kidding or exaggerating.
And that, more than anything else, is what has changed my life.
For the Kelly's full article, which is well worth the read, click here.
Love SM x