Here is my problem with exercise: I am addicted.

My “food issues” love exercise because I can eat more without gaining weight. My mania loves exercise because exercise is – well – manic. My alcoholism loves exercise because you can’t be a drunk if you can run that far and fast before 6 am. Even my depression loves exercise because the sports I like – swimming, cycling, running, weight training – I do alone.

I have promised my therapist that I will not exercise more than four times a week (scuba diving does not count. It’s just floating). But it’s not easy when everyone around you says, “Well, if you gotta have an addiction it might as well be exercise” or “Boy, I wish I had that addiction” or “At least you have a healthy addiction.”

What is a “healthy” addiction?

It has been nearly 11 years since I had a drink or a drug but I still struggle with my exercise addiction. Actually, I’m lying. I don’t struggle with my exercise addiction. My therapist struggles with my exercise addiction. That’s the problem. Despite years of sobriety, my addict brain can still convince me that this addiction is better than that addiction. Sure, I look a heckuva lot better than a crack addict, but we are both addicts. Any addiction – to drugs, alcohol, food or behaviors – is toxic to me, my depression and bipolar.

I can easily – and have – been addicted to my work. If I am not careful, I could become addicted to that TV show House. Why am I torqued about this right now? Because every night about this time – 9:30 – I start thinking about tomorrow’s workout. If it is Wednesday night I start planning for Thursday 7 am boot camp. Some people decide what they are going to wear tomorrow. I decide what I am going to work out – abs, glutes, biceps…

I like to think that today I have a handle on my exercise addiction. Back in the days when I did triathlon and ran marathons I worked out six, sometimes seven days a week. Sometimes twice a day. I spent outrageous sums of money on bikes and shoes and a ridiculous amount of time training. Just like a meth addict, I surrounded myself with other exercise addicts. Except we were the healthy addicts. Yea, right.

Despite sitting here writing this right now, I AM going to the 7 am boot camp tomorrow. It will be my third workout this week – so I still have one left for Friday. I will just have to make it through the weekend without any. Oh man, it’s a holiday weekend – a three-day weekend! You can’t expect me to go the whole weekend without any. Just a little, just to have some fun on the weekend, won’t hurt. Just so long as I don’t do too much…

Sound familiar?