When I was in ballet school, I had a teacher who was a recovered alcoholic. He told me how when he was a famous dancer in a very well known company he had traveled all over the world on tour. He told me that he did not see the world. Instead, he sat in the bar of every hotel they stayed in and drank himself into oblivion while his fellow dancers went sightseeing. He has no memory of all the countries he has been to except for the insides of hotel bars and even those blurred into blackouts.
This man was a mentor to me when I was in training and we are still in touch all these years later. His success story is that he has stayed sober, married, had two children and become artistic director of a dance company of former addicts. I remember his story because it is so poignant for me. At the time I thought it was heartbreaking that he was such a drunk that he missed out on seeing the world because his life was controlled by alcoholism. I could see in him all the life he had missed out and even though I was deep in the clutches of ED, I did not know that the same would be true of me one day.
Cue this weekend. My company sent me to Montreal. I had never been before and had planned on going sightseeing. I put together an itinerary of famous landmarks, museums and art galleries. Rather, I ended up in my hotel room ordering room service and purging every night. On my last day I shared a cab ride to the airport with a dashing Frenchman. “Did you go out last night and enjoy the city?” he asked.
“No,” I replied searching for a lie that would sound plausible. “I had too much work to do.”
“What a great pity for you.”
What a great pity indeed.