40 and I remember why I am doing this

Its been a damn near perfect weekend (4 days off actually).  Starting with my 40th birthday and ending with some Guinness, Corned Beef and Cabbage today.

Yesterday the family spent the afternoon at Valley of Fire State Park, NV.  It is about 50 miles north of Las Vegas and for those that live here and have never been, I encourage you to go.  We spend the time driving and walking around looking at the amazing rock pieces.  Amanda got a chance to practice her growing skill at photography.  And since she is the family shutterbug, she will not let me post pics yet.  Once she has approved them all, I will post them here.

There were two reasons I really wanted to go out there.  About 4 years ago my ex wife and I went out there when I was at my unhealthiest, she took a photo of me in the drainage pipe near the Clark Memorial on the east end of the park.  I was fat, unhealthy and suicidal.  It was my darkest point, but it still took me one year, a divorce and a good look at how far I had fallen before I lost weight – and yes, I was successful.  However, I was successful for the wrong reasons.  Alcoholics in the program call it a Dry Drunk; when you put in the work, but you are one step away from your next bender – well that is where I was, anger can only carry you so far.

Since then my life has turned 180 degrees as you already know.  I am happier than I have been in a long time but yes, gained A LOT of the weight back so part of my 40 while 40 project is to  get out, lose the weight and learn a little about myself along the way.  So it was important also for me to have Amanda take my photo in the same place.

The photo is shockingly embarrassing, because we do not see the damage we are doing to ourselves without really scrutinizing.  For example, I had NO clue my calves had gotten so fat again.  No wonder I breath heavy when I walk.  It is sad, but it is also part of the goal to be a triathlete in 2014.  Hopefully this year I will run one Sprint or so as a Clydesdale, but next year I want to be competitive.

So, here are the photo’s,  I have linked them to my Flickr account because I did not want to insult you by throwing my lump of clay in your face; but like clay I am going to sculpt.  In 1 year I will post the sister pictures proudly.  Until then, you have to click to see.

Thanks for stopping in.


Hola mi nombre es mike y yo soy un alcohólico

“Yeah, but are you gettin’ it? – Armageddon it!
Ooh, really gettin’ it? – Yes, Armaggedon it!”

I truly have no idea why that song popped into my head today.  Maybe, I’m Armaggedonning it?  I don’t know it that is a verb or not.  But that is not the point.  I have not blogged in a little more than a week, baby and I and son #2, and mom I guess, are all fighting what must be the Bubonic Plague, but is probably just a cold; so I have been sidelined at the gym and in my creativity, but that has allowed me to sincerely think about things.

So, as I like to say, let me clear my attic.

I am and always will be an alcoholic.  No, I am no longer a problem drinker, but I am one really bad day away from a really good bender.  I mean, it would have to be the mother of all bad days, but still.  These days I am able to imbibe with my friends or on my own without fear, it is if the alcohol dependency has been switched off.  I am grateful to Alcoholics Anonymous and the many good men and women I met in the program that helped me stay sober while I needed.

I bring up my experience both with alcohol and AA to muster a point.  One of the ways I was able to beat my addiction to booze was because I was able to be honest with myself.  with the help of the program and working the steps, I was clean and sober for years, until I made the choice to allow myself to be OK as a drinker.  This switch is one I need to throw on my weight.  Today, now.

In the steps they speak of Half Measures availing us nothing.  It took me about a year in AA to get this.  And even now I have forgotten it.  What does it mean?  It means you cannot live in both worlds.  Those closest to me know I want to be an athlete, a TRIathlete to be specific and yes, this is a lofty but totally achievable goal.  What is wrong is that I am not living as if I want to be.

A moral inventory, fearless, is needed.  I needed it then and I need it now.  I have to be able to look at myself in the mirror and ask, who am I hurting by weighing 300 pounds and not being a triathlete?  Some may say I am only killing myself, but I disagree.  I am being unfair or even hurting those around me.  Take for example:

  • My wife–Why should she have to deal with my self-loathing? Why should I worry if she is attracted to me?  Have I prepared enough for her to be taken care of when my poor lifestyle choices kill me?
  • My kids–Growing up, it wasn’t my parents that took me fishing or camping or hiking, it was the Boy Scouts.  I want to be the dad that the kids remember taking them to do all this amazing shit, or have stories to tell their kids one day about grandpa and me hiking the tallest summits in each state.  It may be too late to fix this with one of my kids, though, and it makes me sad.
  • My Employer–Is my weight holding me back?  Am I really ABLE to give 100%?
  • My Friends–OK, you guys, I know your sick of me talking about what I want to do.  You are sick of me living in both worlds.

What do I mean living in both worlds?  i have said it twice, I should probably elaborate.  Internally, I have been living a lie for the greater part of my life;  it lead to Alcoholism, divorce and a shit load of missed opportunities, burned friends and shitty stories.  But in May 2010 I began living truthfully to myself.  I was 370+ pounds, and was dying.  i decided right there to change this.  To live a certain way and make those changes, and i did it for the better part of a year.  in that time I met, married and got pregnant with the most amazing person.  I had the best year at my job, EVER and I was out doing amazing shit.

Sometime in the last year, I began lying to myself again.  I let the ills of my world (jealousy of my friends, hatred of myself, the hatred of an ex-wife, etc) get the best of me and I started bragging on and talking about all the amazing shit I was going to do.  I began living in two worlds.  the world where I was training to be a triathlete and the other where I was eating pizza and junk.  I cannot continue to live a lie, and live in both worlds.  it can, will and is killing the things in me others love.  Slowly and in front of my eyes.

This sickness over the last week, really opened my eyes to my own deceit.  AND it confirmed in me that I want three things in my life, from a purely physical health standpoint:

  • I will become a Ironman Triathlete
  • I will lead a 99.98% Paleo lifestyle (I cannot eat Paleo pancakes, truly, they have not invented one I like yet)
  • I will live the lifestyle that my family and friends will be joyous at knowing me in

I am totally selfish and this is all for me, I get the win on all three of these.  I truly hope over the next 12 months I can get ahead of this thing, but it may take years to become a triathlete, let alone an Ironman.  I have to be brutally and completely honest.  Here are the biggest fear/lies/hurdles keeping me back (I document so I can kill them, one at a time):

  • Age–I turn 40 soon, I know it is never too late, but the truth is, sometimes it is
  • Weight–I weigh 306 pounds today, right now.  I have to be sub 250 tp even consider myself working toward a triathlon (I am in the base of my base phase?)
  • Knowledge does not equal results
  • Talking about it does not get it done
  • Willpower–Wow, I am known for taking the easy path
  • Support–I have the most amazing wife who supports me 100% in all my schemes, but I need more.  I need trust, workout buddies that show, etc.  That is not your fault, it is still mine.  I have to surround myself, again, with positive goal oriented people.

I have so much to live and to be thankful for, that I sometimes forget to say that to you and all.  I have the perfect partner in my life, 5 beautiful kids, a great job and some of the most amazing friends a person could ask for.

I can conquer this foolishness, I just have to take smaller steps (Thank you CW for that reminder, a month ago!).  I am going to focus on one day at a time, or one week at a time or hell, one moment at a time.  I can and will do this.  Truthfully, and we will talk about it here.  This is my 12 step program to kick my own ass.

So, in closing, Hi, my names Mike and I am a quitter.

Each day tell someone special that they are and why.