I was walking home from the grocery store yesterday and I passed a Thai place that had a sandwich board out front. The board was advertising their happy hour and for the first time in WHO KNOWS how long, I thought, “I could use a drink!”
It made me shake my head and ask myself, why?
I deduced that it was the grocery store excursion. Anorexia makes grocery shopping An Event. An event that I have been avoiding at all costs – my poor husband. I was feeling particularly kick-ass yesterday with regard to my eating disorder and I decided to do the difficult thing. Challenge myself. Go to the store. Make dinner.
So, I went to the library and checked out a documentary. I went to the bank. I went to the thrift store. And then I went to the grocery store.
I procured everything I needed for a meal that my husband would enjoy and feel satiated by and a meal that I would feel comfortable eating. I gathered fresh vegetables and herbs and my heart began to pitter-patter, but in a good way.
I used to decompress in the kitchen. I used to think about what exciting new ingredient I wanted to cook with, or I’d find a recipe that fit my mood and set out to numerous places to get the necessary ingredients; Asian markets, spice stores, you name it! It was fun and relaxing and the end result was something to share – something to bring people together.
Currently, not so much the case. However, I couldn’t ignore the butterflies in my stomach. They were happy. They were stirring with anticipation and suddenly I felt strong. I left the grocery store feeling excited, challenged and NORMAL. That’s when I saw the happy hour advertisement.
The idea of drinking crossed my mind because I felt so normal. It’s like the US Weekly spread ‘Stars! They’re Just Like Us!’ – They walk to the park! They eat churros! Stars! They’re just like us!
‘Normal people! They’re Just Like Me!’ They go to the grocery store! They get drinks after work!
In that split second I felt how I did early on in my sobriety: a little bit lost. It was gone in an instant, and the actual urge to drink never appeared, thankfully. I’ll always equate cooking dinner with drinking a glass of wine and I think that was part of the thought, too.
Once I made it home I kept up my momentum and created the ultimate stress-free cooking environment. I cleaned the kitchen, I put on some music and started prepping. I gave myself 1,000 pep talks. I high-fived myself, my fridge, the oven and the fancy bottle of olive oil that I was actually using. Normal people! They make dinner! My husband came home and we had a great discussion about all of my high-fives and it felt awesome. I served us two normal-sized portions and I did the impossible. I ate dinner. I ate dinner and I didn’t beat myself up (too much).
It’s a fucking process, isn’t it?