I am feeling grateful today for realizations hitting in waves. The kind that come with emotional maturity and awareness of self. The sort that are around issues I have worked on so diligently over the years. I love those moments of “oh yeah, it’s paying off” even when they’re occasional. So lovely. Like a deep breath.

(Does it even need to be spoken that we’d never want these every day? For when they come, they are reminders, temporary but searing. Wouldn’t want to be that cerebral all the time.)

But now, yes. I’m there. In that place of mini celebration.

Years and years of delving into emotions to understand food addiction and then recently being at a friend’s house, enjoying conversation and wine. Not hungry. An array of delicious food in front of me, though. And I don’t eat just because. I don’t eat because it’s there. I don’t eat just to join in. I don’t eat food that only mildly tempts me. I don’t eat just to spare others’ feelings. I don’t eat because I don’t want to eat.

Freakin’ revolutionary. Unheard of for me even just a few years ago.

But there’s more. Another addiction worked on — shopping. Friday I go on a little mission trip for a pair of sandals in the taupe or natural category. A need. I find a pair that makes me drool and I wear them out of the store. Bravo.

The next day, there is the lovely lingering taste of retail therapy and that voice — she can be pushy, urgent even — compelling me to hit more stores in search of a little dress or tunic (another need). I go in three stores, three dressing rooms, endure three sets of pushy salespeople. Any one of these frocks would be an impulse buy, not an investment. They would be an ice cream sundae grasped at on the fly to make me feel better for five minutes.

I look the salespeople in the eye, shake my head vigorously. Not today. Walk out.

I have control. That good kind. When pushed to a brink emotionally, as I have been these last months, I can ultimately win out in the self-care category and it feels damn good.

Sometimes I indulge in delicious grazing with my friends and that is right in that moment. Sometimes I buy the most luscious of clothes and it is a perfect choice. But knowing I am consciously deciding, oh man. That is pure gold.

I acknowledge myself for doing the work. For recognizing the joy of reward. For being grateful that I am capable of it in the first place.