upside down. askew. crammed into a space where I do not seem to fit. the word should, ideally, be written in a language and script that I do not speak or read: Serbian, perhaps. (живот, if you’re interested.)

and it’s not the core values I have a problem with. it is translating the core values into an outer life where I struggle. since the mechanisms I used in the 46 and a bit years up until 4 November 2013 failed as badly as any sat nav and took me to the life equivalent of a refuse collector’s strike on a hot day.

keeping my side of the street clean, nowadays….

and without alcohol, it feels as if everything is up for grabs. by which I mean I can see that everything has the potential to be changed, which is, at the same time, exciting and bloody terrifying.

the big stuff – the marriage/kids/career/location stuff: unlikely that I would want to change any of it. much of it is hard won and won despite the boozing. although of course that doesn’t guarantee that it will all stay the same…

but the how-I-deal-with-everything tactics – the delivery mechanisms of my life – have all been rocked to their foundations since I got sober.

my last post was one of those, that when I re-read it the next morning, I thought, whoa, lady, what is up with you?

and I wrote it as a funny post, having thought, while I was taking my bra off on a public highway, “oh, must post about this!”

but under that humour, there was a lot of anger. of frustration at myself. and that’s a shame thing. that I have let my life get out of hand, in the domestic department. the swearing was a bit of a give-away too.

and then I read all your lovely and perceptive comments, and Paul’s great post here: and I started seeing this all or nothing behaviour with new eyes.

it’s not as simple as saying that clutter is an addictive behaviour. it is more about me considering how I treat certain aspects of my life, by compartmentalising them, as I said on the original post in reply to FFF’s comment.

several options for achieving anything. let’s say weight control, for example.

Option 1. boom or bust.

concentrate purely on that thing, to the exclusion of all others. think about it virtually non-stop. set rigid, almost impossible to achieve parameters. fail. give up. try again. repeat.

OR if you’re not actively addressing it, ignore it. don’t look at yourself in mirrors naked, cut labels out of your clothing so you don’t ‘know’ what size you are, eat at random.

Option 2. moderation.

which is touted to us all as the ideal. and just typing the word makes me angry and resentful. in food terms this could be expressed as ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’. it carries the cargoes of expectation and failure, too. it is almost as if you can do it, you don’t need to try and do it. self-defeating, failed before we even begin.

Option 3. is there one? how about equilibrium?

I say this because on the eating front I do think I have managed to find a fragile peace. it may be that the compulsive eating of my teenaged years was replaced by the (far worse) relationship with alcohol. and now that is gone the food thing has not returned in so strong a form.

after 9 months sober I am now back at what I consider to be an acceptable weight for me. and am going to go out on a limb now and give a number to that – 10 stone 5, or 145 pounds. and I could qualify that by telling you how tall I am, or how big/small boned, or what clothes size, but I won’t. it’s just a bloody number. 

Australian students promoting the use of suntan lotion?

..or the 145 London bus route from Dagenham Asda to Leytonstone? classy huh?

ok am meandering now. where I’m trying to get to is that I have found a way of staying at more or less that weight for perhaps ten years, so how have I done that and could it work for staying sober, too? or anything else I want to do or change in my life?

well, I’ve achieved that equilibrium in a number of ways. I do weigh myself pretty much every day, which isn’t the coolest of things, but is part of it. and (putting aside the years of boozing) I have chocolate, cakes etc as once a day/every so often treats. but the main thing is that I have a really active life, which means I can eat my head off to be honest, and I run a good deal.

so if equilibrium is defined as ‘the point at which opposing forces are balanced’ then perhaps one way of looking at it is to marshal the necessary forces to counter the initial impulse? and finding those forces is the secret?

because moderation has never been my strong point, so boom or bust may well be my default setting. and there are some instances where that serves me well. but I need to work out where it doesn’t, and do something different. 

now I’m scared I will take out the bit about my weight if I don’t hit publish straight away, which feels important to me to put out there, as a way of finally proving to myself that the actual number doesn’t matter…so hope some of this makes some sense! any thoughts gratefully received lovelies….