Thursday, 28 April 2011

My Fitness Story... - Side Effects

When today's poster first got in touch with me, I hadn't yet published this story. When she outlined her experience, I was struck by the similarities in the two situations and how much of a coincidence - because there was no way they could have known about the other person's experience. When she sent her story through, I realised that despite the similarities, the two stories are actually quite different but nonetheless, relevant to the nature of this series of posts. 

Like the previous poster, today's guest contributor has decided to remain anonymous. You will see from the story she tells that weight loss was the side effect of taking drugs, rather than the main motivation for taking them. She tells her story powerfully about the negative impact it had on her life and also how she overcame it. It is a personal experience of weight loss, which is what My Fitness Story... is all about. Please read it with an open mind, as I hand you over to her to begin her tale.

The first time I took cocaine was April 2005. It was my friends’ 21st birthday, we were going out with and her much older boyfriend and his mate, and they had got a couple of grams for the four of us to share. Up until that point, the strongest drug I’d ever taken was marijuana, and was not just anti-drug, but actually petrified of what drugs could do to me. But for some reason, something just ‘clicked’ and I decided that now was the time.  I don’t remember much of that night apart from spending all night snogging my friends, her boyfriend going home in a strop and then having sex with her in the taxi home and getting a free fare.

Skip forward a couple of months and I met my then boyfriend. He was heavily into the drugs scene and took just about any powder or pills he could get his hands on.  I started indulging in drugs every weekend, and didn’t even notice I’d lost weight until my favourite jeans literally fell off me. I’d never been slim before, hovering at about a size 16 since I left school, and it was a new thrill. I spent a lot of time admiring my new figure in the mirror. The drug taking got worse and I can’t begin to imagine what my workmates at the time thought of me, when I dragged into work after a heavy night doing lines of coke, still shaking and looking wide-eyed.

My life got more and more complicated, and after an abortion and splitting from my boyfriend, when a friend offered me a chance to move in with her and her boyfriend, I jumped at the chance. They were equally as embroiled with drugs and we’d have hedonistic parties, or spend all evening getting ready to go out, taking line after line of coke as we went. As my appetite for cocaine increased, my appetite for food curled up and died. I’d live on black coffee and actually remember congratulating myself one day as I’d only had one solid meal in the last week. To be honest, at this point, I couldn’t have afforded to eat anyway as I’d spend the month existing until payday (to which we referred as ‘Coke Day’), when I’d pay my rent, buy as much coke as I could afford, my monthly train ticket and spend the rest on clothes. For the first time in my life, buying clothes was a thrill as I’d be buying a smaller size each time I went shopping. In no time, my size 10 trousers were hanging off of me. I’m 5’4” and have a very large chest, broad shoulders and have always had hips, but looking back, I think I’d gone too far.

The last time I took cocaine was New Years Eve, 2005. In eight short months I’d gone from a healthy, reliable, kind human being, to a person fuelled by drugs, obsessed with image and who’d step over her sick grandmother to get the next line. Something in my brain seemed to click, in the same way that it had when it all started, and I knew I’d never take cocaine again. About a month later, I met my husband. It was love at first sight and we were married 6 months later. He’d already been there and done that, and had no intention of touching drugs. His attitude and together-headedness is what kept me resolute in my avoidance of drugs, though there were times at the beginning that I could have happily indulged. I think my wedding pictures are the healthiest and happiest I’ve ever looked, and even though I was a size 14, I look at them and wish for that figure, not the size 10 one.

Five years later, I’m bigger than I’ve ever been. I’m extremely unhappy with my weight; I don’t look in mirrors, hate buying clothes, and worry that I’m going to be an embarrassment to my daughter when she starts school. But I know that, this time, I need to do it right. I may have been slim, but I was never healthy. I’ve still never known what it’s like to put in a good, hard slog to lose weight, but this is what I need to do now. It’ll be hard, but at least I know I’ll never be that person again. Because, actually, I hated that person.

Huge thanks to my guest poster for recounting her experience so bravely and honestly. I think it took huge amounts of courage to recognise how drugs were blighting her life and just to stop outright. I wish her the very best of luck with losing weight the right way. I'm sure she is and will be an inspiration to her daughter, whatever she does. 

As usual, please do comment to show your support or share similar experiences below. If you would like to share your fitness story, then please contact me on Twitter or email me on the address on the About Me page. Posts can be partly or fully anonymous, or if you are happy to be named, I will link back to your blog. All contributions are really appreciated so do get in touch, even if you feel yours is not a worthwhile story. If it's a personal experience, it is. And I mean that even if you have failed at something, because it is still YOUR fitness story and you learned from it.

Thanks for supporting My Fitness Story... and do come back for another guest post next week.
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