I’ve been in the same 5-pound weight range since January. I was on this same plateau years back at a stressful job. While fear-based goals like “I’m in terrible shape, I should change that” are effective, those goals fade when the fear subsides. Success-based goals, like “increasing fitness functionality,” also subside after vague accomplishment. I need a new goal. Something more concrete… maybe: “I want to become the best version of myself that I can.”
There’s a scene toward the end of Cowboy Bebop where two characters eat and eat and eat. They’re in mourning. This weighty scene retains its relevance nearly twenty years later because it’s rooted in fundamentally realistic emotion: they act how we act. We compulsively overeat, and overindulge, when faced with overwhelming circumstances. Unfortunately, no matter how much we eat, we’ll never fill that hole. Even if we identify this vulnerable state, can we fix it?
One nicety of regular fitness is that you can easily monitor your health, like a videogame health bar, so you can adjust your routines if you notice any dips. If I don’t feel like doing a rowing or yoga set, then I know something’s up. Tracking my stats, in addition to social accountability, helps me quickly identify problem areas that could be blocking progress toward building up my physical and mental tolerances toward handling stress.
There’s this numbness I felt often growing up. Despite everything going well enough on the surface, underneath, there was a great weight pulling me down. Maybe it’s that warrior spirit fighting through the noise of this distracted generation. Maybe it’s the need of wanting to feel more alive than just going through these motions. It was this feeling that would cause me to drink the most heavily. This unbearable ennui. Now, let’s try something else. 
Fitness isn’t universal. What works for me might not work for you. Within 6 months, I should return to my former apex of rowing hour-long sets, which is not something most people would enjoy. Instead of being frustrated over not being able to do that, focus on what you can do with what you have, for your intended results. I see rowing as a tool that can help me do what I want: more universal tasks.
I hate this feeling. Some deep, overwhelmingly physical sensation, contorts my gut violently. But it’s not physical. It’s pride, humiliation, justification, disrespect, and all the things that I shouldn’t have to fight, yet it drags me down yet again. The urge to escape this feeling can’t be quenched by escapism. No matter how good whatever I’m doing might be, as soon as it’s over, I’m back to thinking about this. Can’t drink my way out.
I would go well past the point of social inebriation because I couldn’t handle the pain of reality. I needed panacea. The serene bliss of numbness outweighed any risk. I was also in a self-destructive mindset stating ‘not much is my fault,’ especially when I couldn’t address the stress and pain in my life, because I was the innocent victim, after all… The pain is still here. It’s just now I can actually fix it!
My addictions strangle me when I’m unable to cope with situations. Hearing bad news kills. Chilling, defined here as succumbing to any addiction, then feels acceptable. If you’re anything like me, we need to re-enforce our defenses, rather than ask that the constant barrage of life’s perhaps-positives and perhaps-negatives cooperate with us. It would be nicer to have a conflict-free life. That won’t happen. Let’s instead try figuring out how to build up our defenses.
Fitness is difficult for me when I have no functional goals. Health goals work for me when I actively notice looming threats like continual poor health, cardiovascular issues, or diabetic trends. Once those clear up, I lose the motivation. If the goal is something more tangible however, like being able to increase my body’s functionality in order to get more done throughout the day, then I’m all over it! Tools, then, mean nothing without use.
I’m still five years clean and five years sober, but that third counter, the addiction to weakness: that’s been going for a few days now. Writing about that helped. Let’s run through an essay about how it’s been over the few days of being in and out of that old familiar zombing drone. It wasn’t without event casualties, though I’m feeling more solid while writing this than I have in a week… or perhaps more?