Monthly Archives: February 2006

London Roundup

The London Roundup was for me a time of receiving and of learning. It also made me very homesick for the States – spending time with Americans tends to do that to me. I love and am at ease with Americans, and I’m uncomfortable with Europeans. The Roundup was no different in that respect.

The weekend was a time of receiving – gifts, time, people.

And a time of learning, both outside and within the meetings, both practical things and getting-to-know-myself things:

  • the session on dating abstinently had so much practical info, which was great.
  • the session on family relationships opened my eyes to the fact that my background is not at all unique.
  • outside sessions, I was blown away by the kindness of certain Greysheeters, people who have what I want and are what I want to be.
  • a very difficult decision involving another Greysheeter: I had to ask for what I needed, going against my VERY strong inclination to people-please. There was no way I could please this person by stating my need, in fact I was very afraid it would hurt them, but I had to state it as graciously as I possibly could and then not overexplain myself. A lesson in character.
  • also in asking for what I needed, at the hostel I stayed at I had booked one night too many and had to ask to cancel the last night. That was no problem, but they didn’t want to give the money back but instead give me a free night stay to be used within three months. I didn’t want that. I asked graciously, several times, and eventually did get the money. Keeping it pleasant all the way. The fact that this worked was very encouraging.

I’m extremely thankful for the time in London, for the work that went into it – thanks to the organisers who did a FABULOUS job!! – and all the people who came and made it what it was. I won’t see many of you for a long time… but there will be another abstinent time. Thank you for doing what I do all around the world!

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Coping with rejection

I just received an email telling me I was rejected for the job I interviewed for this week. Considering that I didn’t really want that job that badly anyway, my own emotional reaction to this is surprisingly painful.

It’s not about this job, you see. It’s about being adequate. I’ve never had trouble finding a job before! I do have a temp job now that I need to be grateful for, and it is certainly a fine job that will continue indefinitely, but I really do want the stability and benefits of a perm job – along with the money that comes with it, and the recognition. Why do I need others to recognize my value? Because professionally, it IS others who determine my value, and it really erodes my confidence to be rejected as surely and as repeatedly as this (none of my NUMEROUS applications have gone anywhere).

But, on the positive side, I still have a job that pays my food and the bills, and WAY more importantly, I have sanity today because I do Greysheet no matter what.

Gratitude, really

Okay,

my last email sounded ungrateful. I’m not ungrateful at all, so in keeping with the 10th Step, let me make my amends and “amend” my email with a gratitude list. I’m not as imaginative as a certain other member who regularly posts 100 points of gratitude, but I’m going to set myself a target of 20.

So I’m grateful for:

  1. Abstinence
  2. Mind not on food
  3. I don’t HAVE TO exercise today
  4. I don’t need to figure out amounts/percentages/carbs/fats today
  5. My food is generally delicious
  6. Dinner is coming!
  7. Coffee
  8. I get to leave work in one hour
  9. Steady income even though I’m temping
  10.  Went to an interview yesterday and wasn’t told “no” – they’ll get backto me on Monday
  11. Might have a new job soon!
  12. I don’t have to take the first job that comes along
  13. I’m settling into church
  14. Great leaders and people in church
  15. AA meeting tomorrow
  16. My bicycle: transport and exercise in one!
  17. Greysheeters I can reach out to, by phone and email
  18. Greysheet meeting in 3 days
  19. London Roundup in 9 days!
  20. Abstinence

Thank you for letting me share. Thank you for giving me the tools of this program so freely. Thank you all for making up this beautiful community. I am fully part of it and I don’t eat, no matter what!

Grateful – yet when will this week end?

Susanne, a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater. I weigh and measure 3 meals a day off the CGS, write them down, and commit them to my sponsor every day without exception. I don’t eat anything uncommitted, no matter what, and because I make this my #1 priority for today, I have a life second to none.

Yes, second to NONE. Even if –

  • I’m still ravenous between meals
  • lunch was revolting, if I do say so myself, but I ate it anyway
  • my period is now 2 1/2 weeks overdue
  • my job interview yesterday could have been better
  • I feel stuck at my temp job with no perm prospects

The joy in my life is quite independent of these things. They’re outside, and my life is second to none *inside* now. Before abstinence, my outsides would look pretty well, and my insides were dying. Now my insides are joyously free, whereas my outsides are, er, stuck for the moment. An exchange I take gladly.

However, I just want this week to be over.

Why do I eat?

I’m baffled today, and I wonder if anyone has any ESH on this.

I’ve been abstinent over 10 months now, and beginning to work the steps. I’m feeling stuck… my task is to find out why I ate. But, could it be that I didn’t need a reason? I don’t ever recall eating “over” something, like some people report here. Or perhaps I was just so good at denying it that I can’t even tell now? I ate because I couldn’t stop, and I started because the food called to me. I felt powerless when it called, my thoughts would circle around it for hours until I was so worn down that I went and ate it. I don’t recall outside circumstances affecting that at all – happy, sad, bored, at parties, alone… I just ate.

Could I be an overeater without a reason? Without a reason other than physical addiction, I mean?

Another thing I’ve noticed, looking back, is that my memory is very sketchy. Growing up in a dysfunctional family, I have learned to “blot out” bad experiences as they happen and forget about them even AS I LIVE THROUGH THEM, numbing myself to the experience – and then later on I simply have no memory of them. There are many instances when my family or friends would tell me of a traumatic experience I’m supposed to have had, and I have absolutely no memory of it, not even of FORGETTING it. No matter how many photos I look at, how much detail I’m given – nothing.

It’s baffling… I keep thinking I’d rather let sleeping dogs lie, after all my life is great now, but my sponsor rightly reminds me that I need to build a strong defense against the first bite. Perhaps part of that is digging into things I forgot as they happened (but how?!).

Mourning the Food

Went to an AA meeting yesterday and heard exactly what I needed to hear: that this disease will not go away one day, I will not finish my recovery, and in fact, I have a life worth living NOW anyway. But, my sponsor today used the word “mourn” for the feelings, and I think that’s right on target. I’m still in the process of mourning the foods I cannot have. Gratefulness for the awesome foods I DO have certainly helps, but doesn’t completely blot out the mourning. But mourning is letting go. I choose today to let go of the substances that made me miserable, and by God – as another Greysheeter so eloquently put it – I eat like a [expletive deleted] queen today.

Eating Out & Eating In

So many have given excellent tips on the issue of eating out in public, as well as eating IN, here’s my 2 cents to add (more like $2, because it’s a LONG post!):

EATING IN PUBLIC

I used to be extremely self-conscious about how other people would react, or how my weighing would affect their perception of me. Even though I was 110% convinced this was right for me, admitting it to a civilian (i.e. “normal-eater”) was a huge fear.

My sponsor was very helpful; she told me that I didn’t need to worry about this yet. Instead, if after a year of abstinence I still felt that way, then we’d work on it. But for the moment, I didn’t have to worry about it. So I never took my scale out in public for the first six months! If I knew I was going to be out, I would take all my food with me no matter where I was going (I still do that today, but only in case there’s nothing there for me – it’s backup). To explain, I’d just say I had some issues with food (which is vague: could be allergies, anything) and I was “safer” eating my own food. When people invited me for dinner, I’d always eat my own and say it was about the social interaction anyway, not about the food. Because I did it consistently, with everyone and at every restaurant, people weren’t offended. In my church in America, it actually became a bit of a joke: invite Susanne, she’s the cheapest and least complicated dinner guest you’ll ever have!

Now, with a little over 10 months of abstinence, I have no problem taking my scale anywhere. That just happened naturally, I didn’t work on it. It happened while I was still in the States, where people had known me when I was eating and kept commenting on the positive changes in me – that really encouraged me to become more open about what I was doing. Now, in a new community, I simply introduced myself that way and it’s never been a question. People ask why, and I explain that I am in recovery from an eating disorder. Yes! Amazingly, my shame has disappeared, and my scale has turned from a sign of my pathetic weakness (which was how I saw it at first) into my badge of honor.

To be fair, the times I take my own food and eat it FAR outweigh the times I trust someone else enough to eat their food. But there are those who, when they invite me, will look at my Greysheet and together we’ll figure out what they can make for me. And then I’m there with my scale, in the kitchen, with them. This gives them the opportunity to feel like they’re really serving me, and even though it’s not exactly convenient for me, I find that it draws me closer to these friends. Plus, freshly cooked food is often better than my backup. 

EATING IN

Excellent suggestion from a Greysheeter – to talk a little about eating in. I got abstinent in a situation where I shared a fridge, but nothing else, with a roommate. Her foods were her foods, and I never even looked at them. My fresh veggies took over the fridge, and what she had really didn’t look appealing – the fact that she weighed about 350 lbs. also helped me not want any of what she was eating. Occasionally I’d see the empty boxes of things she’d eaten and feel very sorry for her, but I wasn’t confident enough to even mention to her what I was doing. I know I’d have bitten someone’s head off for even suggesting I had an eating problem when I was still active.

So her foods weren’t an option. And that’s the way I kept things: I don’t see other people’s food as mine. I haven’t lived on my own since I got abstinent, so I’ve always had to share a fridge. Now, I live with three other girls and we share a MINI fridge. They very graciously emptied an entire shelf only for me, and even so, half my vegetables hang on the outside of the backdoor in a plastic bag (don’t ask me what I’m going to do in summer, I don’t know).

Someone mentioned having to work around a scale that switches off after a certain time. I started with a scale like that, and I found it extremely irritating, so I bought a scale that operates on regular AA batteries (a huge positive, for me, because they’re available everywhere – unlike those annoying button ones) and doesn’t switch off unless I tell it to. Expensive, but oh so worth it; and exact, it weighs up to 0.05 of an ounce. That’s what I need.

I eat alone most of the time. I don’t listen to music or the radio as I prepare my food. There’s a TV show in the States, called Monk, and I’m totally like that when I prepare my food. I have to have *my* knife and *my* plates, and if I don’t get my fork and spoon I’m not happy. I can’t say I experience the preparation of food as a spiritual thing, as others say they do, for me it’s just something I concentrate on and want to get done
properly so I can eat. I go to the bathroom every time before I eat. Then I sit down and don’t get back up until I’m done – whether that’s eating with others or alone. I don’t particularly like eating with others, because it means I’ll have to interact with them, so most of the time I do eat alone. My breakfast is the best meal of all, and it’s one I almost always get to enjoy alone.

OK, can’t really think of anything else… hope this was helpful… most importantly, whatever it takes, eat abstinently and the rest will come together.