Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 10 - Double D's

I'm into the double digits. Always a really important milestone in any cleanse. You really start getting a sense of the time you've put behind you. You start feeling hopeful, proud. And chances are you've accomplished some things you've been putting off.

I started cleaning my office yesterday - a job that won't be over for a while. But I bought "O Magazine" this month and it's all about "decluttering your life." Getting rid of the stuff that doesn't "enhance" your life.

Cleanses are an amazing time to declutter - with or without help from Oprah and her experts. You shouldn't be a drill sergeant with yourself, but if you've got some spring (or fall or winter or whatever) cleaning that you've been avoiding, you'd be surprised at just how rewarding those kinds of chores are when you're cleansing.

Especially if you're going through older things: sometimes a trip down memory lane is just what you need. I remember one time several years ago, I was doing a few chores on a cleanse (my initial 6-month cleanse) and I came across a little black bottle of Friexenet. I'm a big fan of Friexenet - maybe too big, that Spanish sparkling wine that comes in the black bottle. Back before I started cleaning, I used to always make sure there was a big bottle of it on the door of the fridge because, certainly I enjoyed it, but even more than that, the opaque black bottle hid how much I was drinking. I could trot down to the kitchen for something (usually another glass of wine!) while the hubby was watching TV or whatever and while I rattled around making a bit of extra noise to cover the sound, I slug back a few extra swallows of "Frizzy" as I call it. Because the bottle was black, my husband never knew how much of it I was polishing off every night ... in addition to whatever else we were drinking.

Anyway, I was on my first long cleanse, tidying up the dresser in our extra room. I lifted up the edges of some old clothes and there it was, an unopened bottle of Frizzy. The foil had been ripped off it but it had not been opened yet.

I felt this dull thud in my heart. It was as if I had found some old murder weapon I'd hidden away years before. I just stared at it for a while. I had some vague recollection that it had been part of the downward spiral of the very last weeks of my worst drinking binges. But I seemed to remember going to open the bottle, but then stopping at the last second for some reason. Maybe my husband was home and I was afraid he'd hear me. Or maybe I was just trying to practice some sad semblance of self-control.

Whatever the case, there it was. Evidence of all my old habits. The hiding. The lying. The cheating. The self-abuse. I hid bottles just about everywhere, chugging back whenever I got the chance.

But after that wave of nausea past, I suddenly felt so free. So relieved. So proud of myself. I'm not sure what I did with that bottle. If I threw it out, kept it for posterity for a while, or eventually broke into it when my cleanse was over. But it's something I've never forgotten. When I think of it now, it warms my heart. Because it was such a breakthrough for me. To see the physical evidence of the dire situation I was in - and to know it was behind me. It still makes me feel proud of myself.

If I'm ever feeling really down about something and I just can't seem to shake it, I try to remember cupboard underneath the kitchen sink in our old apartment. It was a dusty, dank place - an old building with ancient plumbing and the kind of holes and shadows that seem to hide anything. And they did. Including several of my empty wine bottles at any given time, hidden back behind cleaning supplies or buckets or stacks of rags. Every time I opened that cupboard to get out the dish soap or whatever, I would feel a shriek of fear, guilt and self-hatred. I knew I had a recycling run to do before they started to overflow, but for some reason I'd let them pile up down there, almost as if to torture myself every day.

As I said, if I'm ever feeling really down, I just think of those days. How badly I always felt, how guilty and depressed. I remember that sink and all my old secrets and hiding. And I think "No matter what, at least I'm not there anymore."

And ever since, one of my major Wildcard Rules has been to never hide bottles.

18 days to go ...

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