Once my co-worker and I were talking about the types of people that are on my program. As I’m sure you guys know, drug and alcohol addiction doesn’t discriminate. So we see men, women, black, white, Hispanic, old, young, rich, poor, people who quit school in 7th grade, people with Master’s Degrees and everyone in between.
We have had people from extremely privileged backgrounds to those that grew up with nothing. People whose parents were in and out of their lives due to their own addictions and incarcerations and people who grew up in nuclear families who were spoiled rotten.
You name the “type” and for the most part we have seen it. Our program holds people extremely accountable for their behavior and there are consequences to those who don’t comply with the expectations that are put in front of them.
I told my co-worker that sometimes I feel more sorry for the people who have had it “good” or “easy” in their lives than those who have had nothing. The people we see that grew up with nothing - well, they don’t expect anything. A lot of their lives they have been shit on by other people; by the justice system, teachers, people in authority - and so our demands of them - they don’t always choose to do the right thing, but they aren’t surprised by the expectations or the consequences when they make the wrong choice.
But those people who grew up “special”. Whose parents let them get away with everything, who had it “easy”, who were catered to by others, who had the money to hire top notch attorneys when they got in trouble, or even as kids had the police take them home to their parents rather than arrest them? Boy oh boy, are they in for a shock. For some of them it’s the first time in their adult lives that they have been told “NO!” That they are expected to comply with demands and - GASP - given consequences when they don’t comply. Some of those people - they are just utterly at a loss when that happens - they have never once had to face up - truly face up - to their choices.
Today my friend was telling me about how she has never been in a romantic relationship where she hasn’t had to WORK to make it work. I told her that I can’t imagine that. She laughed and said that she cannot conceive of a relationship where it is just easy to be with your partner and not have to constantly and consciously work on keeping the relationship together.
After she left, I was thinking - maybe that’s part of my problem!! Maybe that’s why this is so hard. Like the clients that have always had it easy, I am SHOCKED that I have to WORK to make it work so to speak!
I have always had it relatively easy. Now that’s not to say that my life has been perfect - no, it hasn’t - but compared to what some people endure? I’ve had it easy.
I grew up not having to worry about being loved and fed and sheltered. I didn’t have to worry about my safety or getting abused. Other things in life came easy to me - at the risk of sounding arrogant - I excelled in school without putting much work in. I could probably have been a straight A student if I had worked a little harder, but I could get 90's with barely cracking a book in high school. So I didn’t work too hard. I had friends who would study and work incredibly hard on their homework and had to put in a ton of effort to get by - I didn’t get it.
Even though I was fat, I was pretty popular. I made friends easily. True there were a lot of people couldn’t stand me - I was loud and outspoken and obnoxious - but that’s the exact reason some people were drawn to me.
I met Marc - he was not my first boyfriend, but he was my first SERIOUS boyfriend. And it was and always has been easy to make our relationship work - we’ve had our ups and downs, but we don’t need to work on our relationship - we just connect – easily, comfortably, passionately without effort.
Out of college I was able to find jobs that support my lifestyle well. I make good money, and have great benefits. It’s not like I bathe in money, but since my tastes aren’t outrageous, I live very comfortably.
So maybe that’s why this weight thing is so freaking hard. I expect to have it EASY as I have always had it. Now losing the weight certainly wasn’t easy but really, I had it a lot easier than most. I didn’t have the physical problems that some people with obesity have, and I had the time and resources to devote to losing the weight that not everyone has.
So maybe I am just a spoiled brat. Maybe - like some clients I know - I just can’t accept - can’t internalize - that I am free and clear to make the choices - as long as I’m willing to face the consequences. That if I want to maintain my weight loss I have to WORK for it - that it won’t be handed to me.
Well, that sucks, don’t it?!?!