Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Simple tutorial for pumpkin cookies

Okay, so you've used my recipe to make your fabulous dough and you're ready to have some fun. Pumpkin cookies are simple, but they look kind of fancy when you add some dimension to them, so I'll show you how to do that. Please remember that this tutorial is for beginners. :)

The first thing you'll need to do is roll out your dough and cut your shapes. Ideally, you want all your cookies to be the same thickness, right? Here's how I do it. I use this rolling pin, which you can purchase at Karen's Cookies. It will come with two sets of rings for two different thicknesses. I typically use the 1/4 inch ring.

It took me a little while to get used to using a rolling pin with no handles, but I'll never go back to the other kind now.

While your shapes are baking, you'll need to make royal icing. Here's a link to a Google search for recipes. (like I said, I'll never share my R.I. recipe with anyone. It's what makes Kimbo's cookies extra fabulous:) Basically, you'll need to know two consistencies for your icing and here's the best way to remember them. Toothpaste and body wash. Use icing that's thick like toothpaste for outlining, and then thin it down a little so it's more along the lines of body wash for flooding your cookies. (flooding is when you fill in spaces between outlines.)

After your pumpkin cookies have cooled, flip them over (remember my tip for decorating the backs?) and outline them like this:

Using a #3 tip, add your lines for dimension like this:

You'll need to wait just a few minutes to let the icing set. Then you'll flood every other section like this(I use the same number tip for the flooding in this case):

Now you'll need to let that icing set. I usually give them about half an hour. Here's a picture where you can see the "puffiness" of the icing that will give your cookie some pizzazz.

Kind of like puffy paint:) After about a half an hour, flood the rest of the cookie.

Then you can decorate it any way you want or just add a little brown at the top for the stem. You could use a little disco dust to give them some sparkle.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like to see other tutorials. Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Recipe for Kimbo's Cookies

Here's the second of this month's tips for those of you who want to try your hand at making decorated cookies. I'm sharing my cookie recipe, but I'll never share my royal icing recipe. It's what makes Kimbo's Cookies truly spectacular, and I have to keep SOME things to myself, right? :)

Here we go. It's super simple.

Kimbo's Cookies

Cream together:

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup butter or margarine (I use Golden Soft)
1/2 Tbl. vanilla (real is best)
1/2 Tbl. butter flavoring

Stir in:

3 1/2 cups flour

Chill until firm - at least 3 hours. I always bake at 325 instead of the typical 350, and I don't set a timer. I take them out when the tops are "dry" to the touch. It's just a thing with me. It works best for my purposes, but if you're more comfortable using a timer, I'd set it for about 6 minutes and then check the tops. I've found that the "until the edges are golden brown" guideline leaves the cookies too hard. I like them on the soft side.

There you go! Let me know if you have any questions. :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Free download of Crystal Clean today


Today and tomorrow, you'll be able to download my memoir, Crystal Clean, for free. What's better than free?

You might be asking yourself why I would give my book away. The answer is simple, really. Publicity. The first two hours of this promotion resulted in 72 downloads of my memoir. That's 72 people who probably wouldn't have read it if not for this promotion. Assuming they like it, that's 72 people who are likely to tell a friend about it.

It will be interesting to see what the numbers look like next week. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's all happening

It's all's all  happening

Happy one-month birthday, Crystal Clean. I'm very proud of my memoir and the response from readers. I don't know which I feared most: how people would react to my writing or the story itself. So far, the only tears I've shed have been tears of joy.

Some upcoming events:

October 1st - There will be an article about me, my book and my business, Kimbo's Cookies. Ashley Brown interviewed me for the Independent News and I can't wait to read it.

October 30th - I will take a much needed 7 day vacation to prepare for the...

November 15th - Kimbo's Cookies will be featured in the December issue of Women's Day magazine. The issue will be available Nov. 15th.

I have no idea what to expect when this article comes out. Women's Day has a monthly circulation of almost 4 million readers. I'm hoping for a giant leap for my cookie business. I'm also a little nervous about how big that leap will be. How do you prepare for something this big? Do I make a zillion undecorated cookies in advance? How do I know what shapes to make? Do I have enough supplies? How much will I need? Should I get bionic implants sometime in late October, or would a lobotomy suffice?

Many questions and few answers. There's just no way of knowing what will happen - which is part of the excitement. What I am planning on doing is offering pre-issue discounts for my existing customers and supporters. I'll keep everyone posted about this, so you might want to "like" my Kimbo's Cookies Face Book page as well as start following this blog. That way you'll know when to place your orders to ensure a spot on the schedule. You'll also receive notifications about my book and when it might go on sale.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A little anniversary for me

It's been a week since my book CRYSTAL CLEAN was published and I'm thrilled with the response so far. There are three reviews which you can read by clicking on the link above.

Here's an excerpt from one review:

"Crystal Clean" has this impact on a reader. It is gut-wrenching, soul-baring intensity from beginning to end. But this is not a "poor-me" story, even though Kim details how she hit bottom not once, but several times. It's her way of letting us know that "this" is no longer "me" - it's what she was in spite of being in denial most of the time. And what she was isn't pretty.

Kim's writing style is clear, lucid, revealing, and on a par with the best of skilled non-fiction authors - Thor Heyerdahl, Thomas Thompson, even James Michener or my favorite, Jan de Hartog..."

I've also listed in as a KDP select, which means it's available to borrow.

My business, Kimbo's Cookies, will be featured in the December issue of Women's Day magazine and will be available on November 15th.

I'm so grateful for everything I'm experiencing these days. All of which has only been possible by my recovery.

Please consider supporting me by following this blog. You can also find me on Twitter as Kim Wollenburg.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy release day!


I'm thrilled to announce that my memoir, CRYSTAL CLEAN: a mother's struggle with meth addiction and recovery is now available for download on Amazon. It's also available on KDP select for borrowing. This has been a long, difficult journey for me and I'm proud of what I've accomplished. I hope you'll read my book and consider reviewing it. 

Thank you, everyone, for all of your support!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Re-post: Dopamine, Meth and You

This is one of my top two most popular posts. (Click here to read.) It does an excellent job of explaining what meth does to the human brain in both the short and long term. It's very reader-friendly and I've had a lot of people tell me how valuable it was to them and their friends and families.

If you're looking for a way to talk with someone you care about (parents? friends?) or simply someone who wants to understand why meth does what it does and why it's so difficult for people to recover from this particular addiction, give this article a read. It will be well worth your time.

If you're so inclined, please take a minute to check out my KickStarter project. I hope you'll consider becoming a part of this by contributing toward getting my memoir published. You can read an introduction to my book here.

Take care of each other and, especially, yourself.

~ K

Sunday, June 24, 2012

In Your Dreams...

Platform. That's the buzz-word in publishing these days. Especially with non-fiction. Do you have a platform? Is your platform big enough? You need to work on building your platform.Any time I had contact with an agent or editor about my memoir, CRYSTAL CLEAN, I was asked these questions.

In short, platform refers to a ready-made audience for your work. Agents and publishers expect authors to have hundreds of FaceBook "friends," thousands of Twitter followers and an active blog with a substantial list of subscribers to promote their work . Without these things, the quality of one's writing almost doesn't matter. In other words, an author is expected to create hype for something that doesn't yet exist.

I've had three agents who were interested in my book and I signed with one of them, but in the end, it all came down to my lack of platform. But I still believe in my book. I'm proud of it and I think I have something to say that can help people whether they're in the throes of addiction or someone who loves an addict. That's why I'm going to e-publish the book myself. Because I believe in it.

Here's the good news: YOU can help me make my dream come true! I've started a project on KickStarter. There are rewards for donations starting at the $10 amount. Rewards include everything from getting your name in the Thank You section of the book, to free down loads, copies of the manuscript and an invitation to the book kick-off party. The money raised with go toward hiring someone to do cover art for the book and having it professionally formatted for all e-readers. Any remaining money raised will go toward speaking engagements and possibly publishing physical copies of the memoir.

I believe this is an important project. I hope you'll consider helping me build my platform and, hopefully, by contributing to help me get my memoir published. If you have any questions please ask away!

Thank you all so much for your continuing support!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

CRYSTAL CLEAN - The KickStarter project

My memoir, CRYSTAL CLEAN: It took me three years to write and another year working with an editor to get it polished. I landed a New York literary agent and thought my dreams were coming to fruition. Then I lost the agent. Then I lost confidence in the project.

Then I met Jacob.

Jacob, if you don't already know, is my personal trainer. I met him in Dec. '11 and my life hasn't been the same since. Let me introduce you to Jacob. He's a young man with a seemingly ever expanding family and no hair. He's maddeningly upbeat and he likes to dance, doing a goofy little white-boy-shuffle that's as obnoxious as it is endearing. His energy is contagious and, oh yes...he's right about everything. If you don't believe me, just ask him.

He's also the most inspiring person I've ever met. He's a rabbi, priest, therapist and most trusted confidante all rolled into one very centered and supportive soul. "We're going to change your whole life," he told me when I started working with him. "The weight loss will only be a small part of that."

I'm beginning to understand. I can either continue to sit back and hope life will come to me, or I can start to take control, shape my world and actually live the life I've only previously dreamed of. To that end, I've decided to e-publish my memoir.

I thought I needed to be accepted into the golden circle of traditional publishing for my book to have meaning. I thought that they were the only ones qualified to judge my work and that if I were anointed, it would mean I had something to say and was good enough to be the one to say it. What it came down to was this: I lack platform. My agent didn't think there was enough awareness of who I am to garner interest for my story. In OTHER words: Who am I and why should anyone give a rat's ass about what I have to say? This is a valid point. If no one knows about me, how is a publisher supposed to sell my book?

Okay, so how does one obtain a platform? Being famous = platform. Notoriety = platform. Creating buzz = platform. Obviously, my only hope is in the latter.

Maybe New York is right. Maybe no one cares enough to read about some unknown woman in Idaho and the story of her addiction to and recovery from meth. But maybe they're not and all I need is to find a way to get the word out to readers. That's what I'm hoping you'll help me with, if you believe in what I'm doing.

I've started a project on KickStarter which you can read about here. I hope you'll consider helping me, but more importantly you can help me by spreading the word about my story and my book. If you can, take a few minutes to browse through some past blog posts to see if this is something you'd feel good about standing behind. If so, you can help me by spreading the word via FaceBook, Twitter, blogs and even in your local community. I'll be available for speaking engagements once the book is released.

Let people know about me and my project, CRYSTAL CLEAN. There are rewards for donations. Feel free to write to me or leave a comment if you have questions. Thank you, in advance!

To say that this is a little scary for me would be grossly understating reality. I'm so apprehensive about this, my legs are jiggling like jack-hammers under my desk as I write this post. But all my doubts and hesitations about going forward with publishing aren't as strong as my belief in the book and how important I think it will be for people to read.

Like I said, I'm beginning to understand what Jacob's trying to drill into my thick skull. I'm changing my life and a big part of that involves me putting myself out there because if I don't try, I'll never know what I'm capable of. I'm betting on big things.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dorky or not, here I come.

I'm having a tough time, lately. No, I'm not talking about all the miss-spelled words in some of my recent Face Book posts. I'm having a hard time with this whole losing-weight-getting-fit-getting-my-ass-in-shape gig. The reasons are lengthy, boring and redundant and frankly, I don't want to whine today. I want to show you my birthday present to myself.

I'm having trouble envisioning the future me at my goal weight. Actually, I don't see it at all. All I see when I look in the mirror is failure - a lifetime of self-doubt. Jacobtrainer says I need to see what I'll look like when I reach my goal. He has me close my eyes, imagine my future self on a beach and tell him what I see. All I see is an empty beach. I can't see myself at all. (The fact that the beach is actually an island and there are no other people on it is probably indicative of other issues I have, but let's not go there, shall we?)

Anyway, rather than continue to be negative, I've found a way to see into my future. WA-LA! I made this for myself and hung it on the wall right outside my bedroom so I can see it dozens of times each day. If you look really close, you can see my future, too.

And yeah...I spent a LOT of time on this poster.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Bring me four fried chickens and a Coke."

The rabbit food pyramid


"So what kind of diet are you on?"
 A:  I'm not on a diet.

"What does your trainer let you eat?"
 A:  LET me eat?

"No, I mean, what do you eat now that you're, uh...doing this...whatever you're doing?"
A:  As much as I possibly can.

"You mean, like that food pyramid up there?"
A:  Not exactly.

As much as I possibly can. That's the best answer I can come up with. Short, sweet, to the point and most certainly accurate. I have a handy-dandy booklet that my trainer gave me in which I write down everything I eat. I keep track of calories, protein, carbs and fat. My caloric intake allowance is 1600 per day. Right now, all he/we are concerned with are my calories. (Which makes me wonder what's going to happen down the road, but I try not to think about it.)

My handy-dandy food log

I don't worry about high carb, low carb, low fat, fat free, no sugar, high protein trends that a lot of people seem focus on almost exclusively. I could eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream and one Snickers bar, and still have 89 calories to spare! I could have 4 1/2 Caramel Kreme Crunch donuts from Krispy Kreme and still be 25 calories shy of my daily allowance. I could have a double cheese burger, a medium fry and a small frosty from Wendy's and still have room for two or three mints.

(Right now, my eating disordered mind is suggesting that I stop writing, go purchase all of the above and have it for dinner. The voice tells me that it would be fine if I simply abstain from eating again until Saturday. This is the voice that got me where I am, though, and it's probably NOT going to happen. Stupid voice.)


I could have 53 1/3 large carrots, or 160 large celery stalks, or about 7 cups of chicken, or 7 1/2 frosted cherry Pop Tarts or 20 1/2 hard boiled eggs or 2 1/4 lbs of bacon or a whole box of Peanut Butter Captain Crunch cereal or... whoa, whoa,WHOA! Who in their right mind is going to eat 160 stalks of celery?

As much as I can might be a bit of an over-statement.

I make my food choices based on what I want to eat. Then I look at the numbers and figure out how to make it  happen. For instance, I love Mexican food. For some reason, I always feel like I'm "cheating" when I eat it. So I played around and came up with a recipe for chicken enchiladas that has 177 calories, 19 grams of carbs., 16.5 grams of protein and just 5.5 grams of fat. Less fat and calories? Omit the low fat cheese. Wa-la! I shred a bunch of lettuce and toss it with a little low-fat ranch dressing (2 Tbls., to be exact, for another 80 calories.) If I'm really hungry or if I just need to engage in hard-core eating behavior, I'll have 2 servings of the enchiladas and the whole meal is still under 450 calories. Tons of protein, very filling and it shuts off the stupid voice inside my head. Nice.

I still struggle with food and it's hard for me to write everything down. It's hard because the food log holds me accountable, and that totally bites. Especially when I have days like this:

Never said I was perfect, did I?


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Bug in a Boy Suit, My Perfect Person, the Best Human I've Ever Known

Yep. That's him. My son, Andy. That's one of his senior year pictures, and the title of this post has been my tag-line for him since he was a baby. I've given him tons of nicknames in the twenty-one years he's been around: palooka-butt, monster, bother-boy, stealer-of-things-that-are-not-yours (like my Rolling Stone and Glamor magazines) and others. For some reason, "bug" seems to be universal for him. He's been called that by teachers for years. His data book at his developmental therapy program is labeled "Andy Bug." To me, he IS a perfect person and he certainly is the best human I've ever known. But it's not because he has Down syndrome. It's just because that's what he is to me.

Look, I'm his mother, so of course I think these things about him. The fact that they're true is beside the point. The point is that I never started giving him these nick names in order to excuse his disability or explain him away. My son has an extra chromosome. Period. He is not an angel sent from above to teach anyone anything. He is not a martyr, he is not any deity's precious gift. I was not chosen to be his mother because of any special attributes I may or may not have. He is not a punishment, curse or blessing any more than any other child.

Somewhere along the line, probably during my mitosis, there was a mis-copy. Not a mistake. A mis-copy. What this means is that when I was conceived and all my cells were splitting and making up all the zillions of parts of what would become me, at least one of the cells that became one of my eggs got an extra chromosome attached to it. That egg became half of Andy. That's it. And twenty-one years later, this is what he looks like.

There's no halo. He doesn't have wings and he's not surrounded by golden light. He's just a guy with an extra "y" and to try and make his existence into something more than that is demeaning to him. There's nothing "wrong" with him and there's no need to try and find a way to justify his existence.There's no more glory in Down syndrome than there is in having attached ear lobes or being able to roll your tongue.

There's been an awful lot of discussion lately about people like my son and this is just something I needed to say.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Waka Waka...ZUMBA!!

About a month ago, I started adding cardio to my training schedule. Jacob (aka Yoda aka my trainer) had been bugging nagging telling encouraging me to do this since I began training with him in December, but I refused thought I knew better hadn't done it. Part of it is that, frankly, I'm lazy. The other part is that in the back of my mind, I think I figured that since training three hours a week was about 1000 times more than what I'd done previously, it would be enough. It turns out that was true...for the first five days.

In my last post, I mentioned that half of my progress was made during the previous three weeks - about exactly the amount of time I'd been faithfully doing my cardio. Another reason I resisted following Jacob's orders advice is because I hate machines. Specifically, the treadmill, elliptical and stair-demon. But when my results became stagnant, I had no choice. So I joined the YMCA.

I hadn't really considered a gym membership before, because I knew I couldn't afford one,but for some reason, I stopped at the Y on my way home one day and asked about financial aid. The Y is wonderful about making sure that anyone who wants to become a member is able to do so. If you want to join, but don't think you can afford it, go talk to them. They'll make it work for you. (and to those of you who make donations so that people like me have this opportunity...THANK YOU!!!)

So I do classes there almost every day, and I've started swimming again, too. Fun, fun, fun! My favorite thing to do is Zumba. If you're unfamiliar with it, check out the video below. Every Saturday and Sunday, my son and I go to a Zumba class and I take two or three more during the week in addition to other classes I've discovered there.

There are two Zumba events coming up in April here in Boise, both to benefit Autism awareness. The first is April 13th from 7 - 9pm. The second one is called Light It Up Blue Autism Zumbathon, April 28th, 6:30 - 8:30 pm.  Anyone want to be my date?

By the way, this is EXACTLY  how I look when I'm doing Zumba. Exactly.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Walking on Sunshine

Some stats from today:

As of December 1st, I've lost -

24.6 lbs of fat
22.5 inches
6 % of my body fat

About half of that has been in the past three weeks!

I've also gained nearly 4 lbs of lean mass, a little more confidence, and I'm starting to find my voice. Nice.

I also jumped rope 300 times today. I totally rule.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Here We Go Again

I love inspirational stories and people. Reading about the success of others gives me hope when I'm feeling like I just can't do it anymore...whatever "it" is. Being an inspiration is something I'm still not comfortable with. When people tell me that my story has inspired them, it touches my heart. I wrote my book and sporadically post on this blog primarily because I don't know how else to release what's inside me, but it's also with the hope that my words might help someone else feel not so alone.

But what happens when your inspiration isn't being very inspirational? When people reach their goals, do they no longer err? Which is to say, are they no longer human? I think that when I read about people who've succeeded where I'm still trying, I assume they've become immortal, somehow. Such as: an addict with ten years clean must be fixed. No more cravings, no more using dreams, no more demons. Or: a fat chick who's achieved her goal weight must be perfect. No more cravings, no more eating dreams, no more demons. All of which leads me to assume that I'm broken beyond repair.
I have five years of sobriety, but I still have cravings and using dreams, and although I'm nowhere near my goal weight, I still struggle with my eating disorder in so many ways.

How can I possibly be an inspiration to other people when I'm completely fallible?

Then I started thinking - something I've been working on lately - and trying to knock what I hope is some sense into myself. It doesn't make sense that there's some magical brass ring and I'm the only one in the universe who will never have access to it. What does make sense is that people just don't talk about the flip side of reaching a goal. And maybe they're right. After all, we all know about the difficulties in life. What we want to hear about are the successes, the joys, the heroes, and we like our heroes to shine. I totally agree. My inspiration for weight loss looks like this:

                                                                   Not this:

But if there's one thing I am, it's human and frankly, if I only wrote on the days things were going great....well, you know.

Tomorrow is pinch and poke day. Every three weeks, my trainer weighs me and takes all my measurements. (I think he even makes up some measurements to take.) We go into a back room - my choice - and he whips out a bunch of medieval instruments that look like some steam-punk author's wet dream, and goes to work on me. Pinching and poking and saying things like, "Did you shave your legs today?" When the open wounds clearly indicate that I have.

I know tomorrow's results will be positive. I've been working so hard, there's no way they can't be. So why do I come completely undone the couple of days before this happens? Why do I go on tilt and let my eating disorder and old thinking patterns spiral out of control? It doesn't make sense. It's like running a race where just as you round the bend and can see the finish line, you pull out a gun and shoot yourself in the foot.

And that's where I think I'm onto something, although I'm not sure I'm fully in touch with it yet. It's about sabotage. It's about me sabotaging myself. Why? Well, if I knew that I wouldn't be sitting here typing snappy prose. I'd have my ass at the gym where I could be making myself feel better instead of....


I may not have it yet, but maybe I'm starting to get it.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

'Till the roof comes off, 'till the lights go out, 'till my legs give out...

I hurt everywhere today. Training yesterday was brutal. Someone asked me what Jacob (my trainer) had me do. "Nothing," I told her. "He just had me lie on the floor while he kicked the living hell out of me for about an hour."

That's kind of what it felt like, and today it definitely feels like that's what happened. It hurts walking up and down the stairs. It hurts to move my head. It hurts to type. So what am I doing today? Zumba. Who IS this person?

What happened to spending the day resting between meals? When did I trade in my bathrobe for workout clothes? When did I start taking pride in how much of my tee shirt I can soak with sweat in an hour? (by the way, it's a LOT.) The times they are a changin', and it's not easy. Not by a long shot.

Swinging 25 lb. kettle bells around in the air is hard. Pulling my trainer up and down the length of the gym is hard. Balancing on a ball like a seal...balancing on my butt with my knees to my chest while doing bicep curls...swinging a sledgehammer at a tractor tire...all of these things are hard. None even come close to how difficult change is.

I have a mental collage of my past in my head. It's full of snapshots and soundbites of every geeky, dorky, asinine thing I've ever done. It's so full, I can't really see myself. All I see is a mash-up of my past failures and regrets. All I see is a mess, and since that's the only picture I have, it's how I've always defined myself and how I've assumed the world has defined me, as well. But this doesn't jibe with what I'm doing now. I need a new collage, but more than that, I need to get rid of the old one.

I need to let go. I need to leave my concept of who I was behind me and figure out who I want to be.

But change hurts. As unhappy as I've been for such a long time, I've grown accustom to that way of life. No challenges = no let downs. No expectations = no disappointments, and no contact with the outside world guarantees that I'll never get hurt or be embarrassed again.

Jacob tells me there's no crying in weight lifting. I'm not sure why he keeps saying this since he usually says it when I'm crying during training. For the past couple of months, I've been trying to figure out where these tears are coming from. It happens every time I find myself completely fatigued, just before pushing through the exhaustion to keep going. I get to the point where I'm physically spent and right then, the tears come. It's not that I want to stop. In part, it's fear of failure, but that's still not quite accurate. I think it's about change.

I'm scared a lot of the time. What if I do all this - killing myself at the gym - and it doesn't work? Scarier still, what if it does? Everything about me and my life will be different. I'm like a big lump of clay in the process of being sculpted. No wonder it's painful. I'm doing things that aren't easy, both physically and personally. Right now, I don't really have a vision of me. All I'm doing is my best to follow the plan my trainer has for me, and let go of the past. I trust him. I have since the beginning.

Maybe it's okay that I don't know or can't see exactly what I want. As long as I keep moving forward, something's bound to happen and regardless of what it is, it'll be better than what's happened before. So I'll keep going. 'Till the roof comes off...'till the lights go out...'till my legs give out...
                                                .....and even after that. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tacos and Burgers and Pizza... Oh, My!

I've been feeling down lately. I can't pinpoint a reason, which makes it worse for me, but suffice to say I've been feeling blue.

Then, two days ago, my trainer tried to kill me. We'd never worked on calfs before, but we did on Wednesday, and he had me do five thousand calf raises off of a step. (That's how many it felt like, anyway.) I was in tears when I finished. What he may not know is that I'll do anything he says, regardless of the pain. As usual, I want to be the alpha fill-in-the-blank. In this case, the alpha client.

When we first met, I told him I'd never use the "c" word in front of him. He said, "Thank you," but I'm not sure he understood which "c" word I was talking about. What I meant was that I'd never say 'can't.' (To be honest, I've got one heck of a potty mouth...a blue streak...I use colorful language freely. In other words, I could make a sailor blush. So it's entirely possible that he was thanking me for promising not to use another "c" word in front of him.) I suppose it's possible he wasn't trying to kill me. Maybe it's my fault for not crying "uncle," but I never have and I don't intend to.

After today's workout, while running errands, I was limping so badly that people were looking at me funny.I couldn't stand up straight. So I was in pain, feeling down, and to top it all off, people were staring at me, which I hate. My mind went to the place it naturally goes on days like today: I wanted comfort food.

I started going through a mental list: tacos, burritos with sour cream and extra cheese, bacon double cheese burgers (even though I don't eat red meat) pizza, macaroni and cheese...but something happened that has never happened to me before. A not so little voice spoke up almost immediately asking how I'd feel if I ate those things and the answer was immediate: I'd feel horrible. There was no internal debate, and no conscious decision to make. The knowledge was just there, and it chased away the thoughts of food. I knew I'd feel sluggish and uncomfortable if I were to eat unhealthy food and that's the reason I didn't. Not because I'm on a diet - which I don't consider myself to be - not because of guilt or embarrassment, and not because I would be a "bad girl" if I gave in. I made the choice based on how the food would make my body feel.

This was a definite first for me. Fat or thin, all my life, food has been about comfort. I've never thought of food as fuel, but rather as a way to pass the time, a punishment, a reward, a friend, a way to numb out...a drug.

Today, I didn't dwell on the semi-cravings or the instant reasoning that took them away. It all happened more as a fleeting thought. It's only now, as I reflect on this afternoon, that I realize the significance of what happened. It feels like real progress.

It feels good.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Don't compare your insides with other people's outsides."

A counselor once told me that, and I understood exactly what she was telling me, but I've never been able to fully explain it to someone else without an example. Unfortunately, I have a new one to share.

A friend of mine from my using days connected with me on Face Book a couple of years ago. We were close, he and I, and I'd thought about him often since becoming sober. When he contacted me, I had about three years clean time and, while still fragile, I was feeling pretty good about things.

He told me he was doing well, was out of prison and had started his life again. He was going to school, working, and the pictures in his online albums showed a healthy, happy man. He missed me. I missed him. He wanted to get together to catch up. I couldn't do it.

I told him how much I wanted to see him, but that I knew I wasn't ready. "I've been clean for three years. Maybe it was all fun and games for the rest of you guys, but it was HARD for me to kick, and when I think of getting together with you, all I want to do is get high."

He understood and said he'd be there for me whenever I was ready. And I knew he was genuine.

Here's something most people don't know: regardless of what you've seen in movies or on TV, addicts, in my experience, are very supportive of one another when it comes to quitting. We know that what we're doing is killing us. We'll never voice it or even allow ourselves to think it, but deep down we know we're dying. We wouldn't wish our addiction on anyone...especially someone we care about.

So when he said he understood and that he loved me and respected my sobriety and my feelings, I knew he meant it. Every so often he'd call or e-mail me again saying how good he was doing He was sober and had graduated from school. He had a girlfriend and even though some of his friends still "played around," as he put it, he was doing great and meth held no interest for him anymore.

"Why is it so easy for him?" I'd wonder, scrolling through pictures of him fishing with a big group of friends, all smiling and hamming it up for the camera. "Why am I so weak?" I'd ask myself clicking through pictures of him at weddings and celebrations. "He's out there living this great life, and I'm hiding from the world because I'm scared to engage with it."

And I wanted to see him. I really did. I have a lot of love for this man. But when I would speak with him on the phone it was almost like I could taste the glass pipe and hear the click of a lighter. I'd cry after hanging up because I couldn't quit thinking about meth,. All of this made me feel weak and unsure of myself and whether or not I was really in recovery, or if I were just hiding from my addiction.

Why don't I feel the way he looks?

I found out a couple of days ago that he's been arrested again for possession with intent, and conspiracy. This is his third felony drug offense and he's currently on parole.

I have mixed emotions. My heart is breaking for him. He's a wonderful man with a good soul, and trite phrases like, "lost potential" are floating through my head. At the same time I feel like I dodged a bullet. Not that I would have used with him or that it would even have been possible, but it would have opened a door that's best left locked forever.

Sometimes I think it would be nice if we could all see each other for who we really are all the time. It might save a lot of heartache.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fixing the Hole Where the Rain Gets In... part deux

I'm 43 years old and I'm tired of battling my food issues. I'm a recovering addict - Feb. 2012 will mark my 5th year clean from a 6 year meth addiction. These past few years, though, I've felt like a fraud. I may have quit using meth, but I continued doing what I've done my whole life - turned from one addiction/distraction to another. Most recently, I turned from meth to food.

Addiction is addiction. It's all the same thing - desperately trying to fill a bottomless hole in order to avoid falling into it.

I've been to rehab. I've seen therapists and psychologists and psychiatrists for my severe depression since I was 13 years old. But I found myself at the age of 43 still trying to "numb out," only this time it was with food.

It occurred to me that if I were going to be "fixed," it would have happened by now. I am what I am. Unfortunately, being cognizant of the source(s) of my issues doesn't make everything alright. I still feel broken, and I'm tired of being broken. I'm tired of hopping from one addiction to the next trying to escape myself. I don't want to hurt myself any more than I already have.

"What I need is a permanent band-aid." That's what I told my trainer the first day I met him. "Look," I said, "I'm broken." And I went on to explain to him what I've just explained to you here. "What I need is a permanent band-aid, and this 'training thing' better be it, because I'm out of options." (Those words may sound tough, but when choked out between sobs, tears and a runny nose, trust me...they're just pathetic.)

It wasn't quite a spontaneous decision, but almost. I had a part time job at the time cleaning the gym by my house. That's when I first saw Jacob: This high-energy bald guy with a perma-grin. Which would have been cheesy enough to make me want to smack the shine off his dome, except that he seemed genuine.

And he is.

I've been training with Jacob for about four weeks. I never thought I'd say this, but going to the gym is absolutely, definitely, without a doubt my favorite thing in the world right now. I look forward to my workouts and I dread the days between them. (It doesn't hurt that Mr.Clean is easy on the eyes, either.) My body is responding and showing changes I used to fantasize about while sitting on the couch eating ice-cream and watching The Biggest Loser.

I have high hopes for this new way of life which, by the way, is what I'm calling it. No more diets. No more fads. No more eating disorder. No more self-loathing. That's the goal, anyway. It's a process.

I'm working on the no diet thing first.