Editor's Blog


Stop Destructive Patterns

November 1, 2009
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Living on caffeine, nicotine and something else?

Isn’t it easier to look back and see things so much clearer? I look back at my days as a contractor and things are clearer than ever that I had problems to overcome.

I was living on caffeine to get me up and running in the morning, and I needed even more to keep me running during the mid-afternoon crash. And I needed still more to get me through the long nights of work.

Add to that, I was a non-stop eating machine. At first, when I was young, I could sort of get away with it. But all the bad habits were being put into place at a tender age. One of the stupidest things I did was skip meals because I was too busy!

This was especially so when I’d run service calls during the crazy crush of the heating season. I’d be out there late into the night. The fun part is I’d catch up with my brother, Richie, at one of the million great diners there are in the greater New York area and we’d proceed to eat just about everything on the menu.

Do you know how big the menu is at a diner?

Didn’t matter if it was midnight … and all-too-often it was.

I don’t know about Richie, but I later came to see that what I was really eating was my stress. Plus, I was going to make sure I didn’t get gypped from not eating much all day because I DESERVED IT.

That was 40 pounds ago.

My knees and back were already aching at the tender age of 30, and it was only because I was the boss’s kid (FYI, you’re always “the boss’s kid” no matter how old you get to be in a family business) that I would expend the energy to drag my fat body out of the basement and into my truck to get the meters, tools and parts I needed to do the job right. Then, I’d fall asleep exhausted at 2 a.m. many times and begin the whole destructive cycle again at 5 the next morning.

I realized something had to change, and I wished it was the world that did the changing, but I also know it had to be me.

It was only when I was ready to address my addictions to work, to overeating, to caffeine and more that my life took a turn for the better. The willingness to take personal responsibility for what did and didn’t happen as it related to me was what got me to the real source of my troubles, and that was stress as well as feeling less than successful on any given day at any given moment.

Oh yes, I too was too proud to ask for help! And that go-it-alone attitude kept me in the death spiral of losing weight only to pack it back on and more and more stress than anyone should have to deal with.

OK, what do you need to get through your grueling day: coffee, cigarettes, overeating or something even more destructive?

Don’t despair whatever it is. There is help and you can take the first and most important step to change this cycle. Accept responsibility, stop blaming the world for what you don’t have or what is going wrong, and then seek out professionals and groups designed to provide the specific type of support you need.

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