Monthly Archives: July 2007

Bournemouth Roundup

I want to say thank you to all the Greysheeters that came to the Bournemouth Roundup and made it what it was: a nourishing, teaching, bonding, abstinence-building experience par excellence. Out of about a dozen attendees, there were two newcomers who had never been to a meeting before. One of them got a sponsor, and had her first abstinent meal (lunch) right there and then.  Wish her all the best.

The speakers shared their experience of using the tools, such as the telephone, prayer and meditation, meetings, and service. Each one of them radiated an authenticity as they spoke about what their own experience was, and I felt very connected. The last share, Anya’s first step, was so intensely personal it felt as though she’d shown us a glimpse into her most intimate vulnerabilities and I felt so honoured and privileged to be allowed to hear this – and it made me see that I had not been using the tool of rigorous honesty, which is really the bedrock foundation of the programme, to its full extent. I was moved and touched to tears with her share, and at the same time, challenged to look back into my own “stuff”, the skeletons that are still buried back there. To face just how powerless I was, how very unmanageable my life had become. To really work the steps. I can’t wait to participate in the upcoming phone AWOL and become rigorously honest.

What this Roundup, especially that last share, taught me is that in this fellowship, my stuff is not going to exclude me. I have done things, and my personality is such, that I deserve exclusion and being pointed at and being spit at. It’s true, I’m no good person. But I am so encouraged by seeing others share that they also have done wrong, and then seeing the fellowship’s reaction: welcoming them as one of their own. That was the most powerful message I’ve taken away from this day… that I can be who I am, ugly as that may be, in this fellowship. I just have to learn now how to identify the things I’ve buried, because I’m often not even aware of them myself. But the fellowship has the tools.

Learning and growing

I’m having a lot of learning and growing experiences lately. I can’t share on all of them on here, but my HP is growing me by leaps and bounds by severely challenging me… it’s not necessarily easy but I try to keep asking “What can I learn from this?”. With this mindset that I try to maintain (imperfectly) I’ve been reaching out to other Greysheeters and I have to say I am absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude for this community and the individuals in it. There is such support, such constructive help, such experience and commitment. So much giving. I’m just so, so grateful to be part of this community.

Body let me down

It was only last week that I posted about sensible exercise. Now I’m so frustrated with my body, I could cry.

See, a good specific goal to work towards – actually mentioned by several people who responded – would have been for me to sign up for a race later in the year. Running is the one kind of exercise that works for me (needs no equipment, no teacher, no schedule, you can just do it, and I enjoy the sweat/out-of-breathness/effort!), so I was really attracted to that idea and would absolutely love to do that.

Now my body’s not cooperating. After only a few days of running – not even at big efforts, I’m talking about 10 minutes every other day!! – my right knee is already aching. This is an old injury that has been keeping me from getting into running before. Basically, whenever I try to get into running, this pain will come and gradually get so bad that it wakes me up at night and impairs my driving… it’s not at that point yet, but I know the pain, it’s familiar. This is what will happen if I keep going.

My immediate impulse was/is to just keep on running – not because I think it’ll go away, but to punish this frigging body for letting me down like that. Or to toughen it out, to prove to myself that I’m tougher than that. Right now it doesn’t even hurt all that much. I have to tell on this thinking because it’s not sane.

So my impulse would be to just carry on, tell nobody. Now I’ve told. But it leaves me back at square 1. MAN I am so angry at this body.

But I don’t feed it, except with Greysheet food – no matter what.

Exercise & extremism

I’m having a luxury problem.

I am trying to find a way to get myself to consistently exercise for purely health/fitness/feelgood reasons! Through abstinence, I am learning my preferences, strengths and weaknesses, and this is something where I’m learning to work with those, rather than against them.

When I was eating, I would exercise compulsively to “get it off”. When I was not eating (anorexic phase), I would still exercise compulsively to “get it off”. I have never, ever been moderate about things and this is no exception – I would either overexercise or NOT exercise at all. I’ve never done it healthily, or for health reasons.

Now, I moved here 18 months ago and for more than a year, had no car. So exercise was built into my day, much as I hated it, as I had to go everywhere on my bicycle. In the long run, though, that lifestyle wasn’t sustainable with work being so far away, and I was given a car. Now I have a choice, and since getting the car I have not once made the choice to cycle rather than drive!! I can’t seem to get myself to it.

So I joined a gym, knowing that if I have a firm routine in place that’ll work.  So I’m planning to go there every workday before work, have a workout, shower, and go to work from there. I know this can work.

What I’m having trouble with now is that I have no tangible GOAL when I exercise – I’m not busting my a** off to lose weight, I only want to do it because I feel sluggish and un-energized these days and I know it’s from lack of exercise. But without a goal, it’s just a drag… it’s so intangible, I can’t measure “having more energy”…

Not sure if this luxury problem makes any sense to you. I am simply a very goal-oriented person and without that, simply to work hard because it’s “routine”, I’m finding it really difficult to get myself to MAKE those choices.

Being real

I was thinking about what reality is, what being real is. “Being real” has come to mean something similar to being negative – as in, “I’m just being real!”. But is it? What is real to me?

Option 1:

  • I commute to work 1 hour each way, costing me 2 hours of my day as well as about $500/month in gas (it’s expensive in the UK) to say nothing of insurance and maintenance costs.
  • I live in shared accommodation because I cannot afford to live on my own. 
  • I eat the cheapest food on Greysheet because I cannot afford better food.
  • I have not bought clothes, or anything nice for myself, for longer than I care to think.
  • Having just moved house in March, I am now having to move again as my landlord changed his mind about renting out the house.
  • Travelling this summer is out of the question financially.
  • The weather in the UK has been appalling for weeks.

Option 2:

  • I love my job, I do meaningful work, and I love my colleagues. No amount of money or promotion could make up for knowing that I spend 8 hours of my day helping others in the best way I can because this job engages my heart and fits my skills like a glove.
  • I get four weeks of annual leave per year.
  • I have a car and no longer have to go to work by train and bicycle in every weather, so my commuting time has come down by an hour per day and I am so much more flexible.
  • I have a roof over my head.
  • I can afford food to eat from the Greysheet.
  • I am healthy.
  • I am loved by my loved ones, and I love them.
  • I live in a beautiful place that I can explore and get to know.
  • I have abstinence and all that comes with it. (if I were to dwell on that, this list would grow exponentially!)

I have to say, for me, Option 2 is preferable and this is what “being real” is to me. I choose to focus on Option 2, in fact I have made it my very nature to dwell on it. I have power over what I dwell on. If my thoughts wander toward my problems, I either carry them onward towards a solution, or I distract them to more useful areas. Worrying, fretting, negativity, bitterness, are all choices I choose not to make today.

Thank you all for giving me this program, and thank God for enabling me to walk in it.

If you work it

I like the way we end the Serenity Prayer after meetings: “… it works if you work it and don’t eat no matter what!”

I think this really sums up why and how this program works. The program is not magic. I can’t be abstinent because my sponsor wants me to be, she can’t make me. I have to work the program myself. I have to do the work!

“Working it” to me means that my program is bigger than telling my food to my sponsor and weighing it out. That’s only the foundation. The program itself works into every part of my life because it changes ME, not just what I DO. My attitude needs to change. I need to develop gratitude, an attitude of gratitude, because if I’m not grateful for what I have been given and I take it for granted, I know I’m headed for a crash.

And I have been given so much. A loving sponsor whom I trust – in fact I trust my Higher Power to work through my sponsor – and whose suggestions I follow. If she tells me to make a call, I make a call. That’s submitting my will. I need to let go of my will in more areas than just food. I need to submit my will to God, but I learn how to submit my will through my daily interactions with my sponsor (as well as other people I choose to submit to, in the church).

How can I not be grateful? Gratelessness is so easy for me. When I focus on what I want, on me-me-me, then my gratefulness fades. I have to choose what I will focus on, and if I focus on what I HAVE, rather than what I WANT, and when I focus on OTHER people rather than on ME, suddenly I see the richness of all the gifts I’ve been given.

Today, I’m grateful.

Oh, and we end the meetings by saying “…and don’t eat no matter what!” – and I say AMEN! Bottom line of it all is I don’t eat, no matter what.