I come from a family of addictive personalties. This ranges from negative addictions like alcoholism to more constructive addictions, like workaholism. This means that I am a raging propensity to over indulge in everything from diet coke, to my work schedule, to exercise (when I’m so inclined), to Fat Tire to a delicious bottle of Verdi. I could blame this genetic trait on my 50 pounds of weight gain during my twenties, but I should probably just be honest and admit that that had more to do with a lack of understanding about caloric intake and energy burned, coupled with a need to eat everything. If I find something I like, say a certain style shirt, I want to buy it in all available colors. Although, that may be better labeled as hoarding than an addiction. Nonetheless, what I am learning about myself after thirty years is that the solution to this madness is learning balance.
I can get one dinner plate and recognize that if I am still hungry after, I can always go back for more (after I drink a glass of water and let my stomach communicate with my overindulgent mind). I seem to have this mindset that if I don’t get all of the food I might need right now, there might not be any left in say, ten minutes. Again, maybe this isn’t best described as addiction, but it also requires me to learn balance.
I have this inherited tendency to need not just one of anything, but two or three. I notice that if one glass of wine does the trick for some reason I think that two would certainly be better. If I swing by the Shell station for a rare caffeine free diet, I seem to be drawn to the monster 44 oz. Hell, I can’t keep the stuff in my house because even though I know it’s terrible for me, it would be the only thing I drink until it’s gone. Maybe some of this is just human nature, we have evolved to hoard and stash as much as we can when we can, but its a killer instinct in a era where everything is available to us all of the time.
So why all the self-deprecation? Because I know that I am not the only one out there who is still learning balance. I know from the emails and texts, and the few brave souls who leave comments admitting as much, that there are many of us who struggle against our genetic make up, our inherent nature, and our own personality flaws. I believe that saying it out loud is cathartic, encouraging to others, and creates a virtual system of accountability. I wrote about some of my most personal fears and struggles in the face of an addictive personality in a previous blog post, you can read that here.
With two beautiful children and the world at my fingertips, I have all of the reason to put my best effort into being my very best. I have an example to set for my kids, and a life to build for them as well. When I catch myself in a moment of weakness I have to remind myself to step back and look for the balance in the scenario. Sometimes I get pretty down on myself when I reflect on a poor choice or I realize I over did it again. But the fact that I am learning to recognize my propensity to overindulge signals progress, growth, and maturity. I like how balance feels.