Monthly Archives: January 2007

This simple program

Abstinence is my lifesaver. It’s the skeleton around which I get to flesh out a full life. It’s not a straightjacket. I don’t push the boundaries. They are there to protect me.

Just wanted to say that I’ve really appreciated the posts from oldtimers recently that have outlined, once again, the simplicity of this program – it’s simple, but it’s absolutely no-compromise. I love that, it keeps me sane! I weigh out my meals to the exact allowable weight. Then I sit down and eat them. Then I wait at least four hours for the next meal, and I use this in-between time to live a life. And drink water, black tea or coffee, or any other abstinent beverages. It’s so simple, the food is so abundant, choices are plenty… what more could I ask for? I get SO much more variety and choices now than I ever did outside of Greysheet, because I would imprison myself in one diet or another, with binges cycling in between to ensure my weight wasn’t moving (or if it was, then only upward). Why on EARTH would I want to push the boundaries that are keeping me safe?

Answer is, I don’t. I have such freedom within Greysheet. I can choose anything I want on it! I don’t care whether it’s “light” or “heavy” (in fact, I love eating heavy!), because my weight is my sponsor’s problem, not mine. I only have to keep my eyes on my own plate and make sure I eat exactly what I have committed, in the exact amounts I have committed… if I do that, then I have got Greysheet abstinence. That’s all.

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Abstinent & happy

I’ve been facing lots of good and challenging issues lately. My money situation is bad as it has turned out I’m earning even less than I thought I would (amounting to $300/month less!!) and with commuting costing me as much as it does, I barely have enough money to cover rent and food. Everything else is out of the question for now.

I am, however, prioritising the Greysheet Roundup in February – I will go, no matter what.

If it wasn’t for the fact that this job is turning into more and more of a calling, and the fact that I consider it a real privilege to work there, I would be out looking for alternatives already. But as it is, I get to use eight hours every weekday to help out people who I am growing to love more and more (learning disabled people), and the more I learn about their situation the more my heart goes out to them… I get to help them in ways that challenge me, with my skills and strengths perfectly suited to this job. I could not have asked for a better job.

I do fight with greediness. I want more money. But I have worked unhappily in many, many jobs before and I have to affirm (to myself, especially) that no amount of money can weigh up the DESIRE to go to work, the DESIRE to be there, the feeling of looking forward to what the day will bring when I get out of bed in the morning.

Another thing I’m immensely grateful for is that when I do get a break, I’m allowed to go online and read posts to the Greynet. Richard G has announced the other day that there will be downloadable shares from a live Greysheet meeting, with new ones being put up regularly. This amazing service supports my abstinence as I can listen to those shares on the train journey and feel connected and strengthened.

Life may not be 100% roses, but I’ve got to tell you, I feel very VERY lucky these days. Abstinence is my bedrock.

A full life

I mainly just want to claim my seat, because I’ve been reading messages but haven’t managed to send anything in days. This is because life is full now! My new job, a permanent one, actually requires me to think. It’s challenging getting to grips with things, having to plan ahead etc. – as a temp, that’s one thing you never need to do!

My days are now so different. I get up at 4:40am, take the train in to work (taking my bicycle on the train because it’s about 4 miles from the station to work), and get home at about 7:00pm. Then, most evenings I have social/church engagements starting at 7:30pm, to 10:30 or so. What this means is that on Satudays, I do food prep in a big way. During the week, if my food wasn’t in place, there is NO WAY I would be able to live life.

I thank God every day for abstinence. It’s only with that backbone that I can organise my life enough to be able to do this. Because I am abstinent, I can make it work – a day at a time.

Day 90

My name is Susanne and I’m a compulsive overeater. Today I get to be abstinent as I weigh my 3 meals off the CGS, write them down, commit them to my sponsor, and eat those meals with nothing in between but approved drinks, no matter what. Because I have made this my #1 priority for the past 90 days, and continue to do so today, I have been given a wonderful and contented relationship with my food.

This time around was my third Day 1. The first was when I lived in NYC and managed to get abstinent for all of 18 days before I decided that I wasn’t all that bad. What followed was a long stretch in food hell. One year later, living in Maryland, I was finally ready to surrender. I had tried more diets.  I had binged my brains out. I weighed 180 lbs. I found the Greysheet I had, thank God, kept as a sort of “souvenir” and got abstinent. I had no phone numbers or contacts, and there was nobody in my area, but I remembered the website and the Greynet. I got on there, asked for a sponsor, grabbed the first person who replied, and was abstinent.

Miracle of miracles – I was given such freedom! For nine months, I was abstinent in MD as an outpost, staying in contact via the Greynet, phone calls, phone bridge meetings, my sponsor, and by sponsoring others. I even went to Chicago (a most outstanding event!). Life was throwing me all kinds of curve balls but I was able to deal with it because my food was in order. My weight had gone down to perhaps 135 lbs. – near goal.

Then I moved to England. Not by choice but because I couldn’t remain in the USA (which is a country I passionately love) as my job had ended and I was unable to find another one that would sponsor me a work visa, which costs a company about $4,000 in legal fees. Again, however, God provided me with wonderful people around me, my church, and today I am happy here.

Back then, January 2005, my sponsor who I had from the beginning, was unable to take my call at a different time and our regular time slot was impossible for me to make. So, with her blessing, I looked for a new sponsor within the UK. With the loss of my previous sponsor, my contentment in abstinence ended. Different sponsors have different ways of doing things, and while I learned very valuable things from each of the people I asked, I had trouble finding somebody who I clicked with and who had what I wanted. Eventually I found a wonderful sponsor in the USA who I called daily, and who was there for me. There are millions of reasons but no excuses for my relapse – if anything, I was being more involved in AA and Greysheet, going to a meeting weekly when before there wasn’t one – but I was drifting. Holding on, but drifting. Eventually, I drifted away.

What follows was a summer of more diets, and while I only gained 7 lbs. in those four or five months, my head descended into the obsession that had so miraculously been lifted. My disease is such that I my life itself won’t fall apart immediately if I’m not abstinent. I am highly functional. But food drowns out everything, my head becomes my enemy, I have no peace. Through the summer, I never had sugars, grains and starches (I know better than that) and yet I was out of control. The disease came back creepingly, gradually.

In October, I found myself face down after bingeing two evenings in a row. I had tried to hard to keep my eyes closed and explain them away. They didn’t go away, they were getting worse, and sugars/grains/starches began to call out to me. Defenses were crumbling. I had binged on sugar free sweets and suffered the intestinal consequences. Nothing helped. Then I finally surrendered – I made a call.

So I have been abstinent again since then. It was tough, facing all the people who hadn’t seen me weigh over the summer, but this time I didn’t discuss whether I should do it or not – I simply did. I contacted my first sponsor, and though she didn’t have any spaces, she did refer me to a sponsee’s sponsee of hers, with who I have a very good connection now. I am abstinent now, and while I can only speak for today, I believe that I have finally taken Step 1 fully. There are no illusions, no compromises – I am abstinent today, no matter what. Thank you for walking this road with me.

Commuting

Having started a new job this week, my commute now (door-to-door) is about 1.5 hours each way. I cycle to the train station, take my bicycle with me on the train, then go from the station to work.

This has a few implications I hadn’t thought of. Because I have commitments every evening except Mondays, I need to prepare not only lunch but dinner as well – and when I get home at night it’s very late and food prep seems to take forever. Also, those meals are less than inspirational.