Mood music: “Starve” by the Henry Rollins Band:
4 a.m.: Wake up in a hotel room, grab some coffee and start typing away on the computer. Congratulate yourself for nearly two years of abstinence from binge eating and eight months of sobriety.
6:15 a.m.: Stop working — which is hard to do because you have OCD and don’t like to stop working — and call the sponsor. Tell her your plan of eating for the day and make sure to ask how she’s doing. That can be tricky, because when you’re an addict it’s all about you.
6:30 a.m.: Eat your abstinent breakfast
7:30 a.m.: Talk with the guy you sponsor. Control your temper as the call goes five minutes beyond its alloted time, thus knocking the day’s schedule off course.
7:45-8:15 a.m.: Take a quick shower, shave the head and get dressed. Get your ass down to the conference you traveled 14 hours to get to.
8:15-9 a.m.: Walk past the breakfast food they put out at these conferences, because to you it’s all poison. Have more coffee.
9 a.m.-noon: Take notes during various talks, then start your writing. Write as many stories as you can even though you only have to write one. get it posted and remember to send it out on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
The day has been pretty good so far. You’re doing what you love, and you are keeping the abstinence and sobriety together.
2 p.m.: You realize you didn’t eat lunch. This is fucking bad if you’re a recovering food-binging addict. The danger that you’ll say “screw it” and sacrifice lunch altogether in favor of a giant dinner is high. Doing it that way will almost certainly break your abstinence.
2:05 p.m.: Find a salad, thus keeping the abstinence intact.
2:30 p.m.: Write another story from the conference and get over the fact that you’re not networking as much as you’d like because your OCD is making you produce.
3:45ish: Fatigue sets in. So does the urge to drink some wine. After all, you’re not at home and nobody’s going to know. And hell, your main addiction is binge eating and drinking wine isn’t binge eating.
4:30 p.m.: After wrestling with this one in your head for 45 minutes, you remember that you gave up alcohol because getting drunk leads to binge eating. But if you binge just this once, you could always keep it to yourself. Addicts are excellent liars.
You head to the place where snacks are sold. You stare in and suddenly turn and walk the other way. Sure, you can lie, but the guilt will eat you alive. And besides, you worked too hard to get clean.
5 p.m.: You remember that while OCD drives a lot of your writing, you also do it because you love it. So you go do some blogging and you feel better.
6:30 p.m.: After an abstinent dinner — another salad — you call the wife and kids and get caught up on their day.
6:50 p.m.: Go outside and have a cigar. That too is an addiction and you indulge more on the road than when you’re on the normal routine. But avoiding the food and alcohol must be the priorities for now, so you allow yourself the tobacco. In your heart, though, you know the cigars will have to go — sooner or later.
7-10 p.m.: You meet up with associates from your industry over drinks and food. You’ve eaten already and you don’t drink, so you order coffee and, later, club soda.
11 p.m.: You collapse into your hotel bed, thanking God for another clean day.
The demon is always seconds away from ripping your day out from under you.
But not today.