Monthly Archives: November 2007

Thought & Action

The sentence, “Any excessive indulgence opens me up to feeling I can do it all, have it all, control it all – ego-whip the world with my will.” – this is what jumped out at me when I read this.  That is so true.  The moment I give something up – food, soda, gum… something else will come up all the more insistently.  “Oh but you’re not doing THIS any more, why not do THAT instead.”

What I have to learn is how to live WITHOUT the fix, wherever the fix comes from.  God needs to fill that fix-hole.

Easier said than done, of course.  And I have to take the action myself.  That’s so true – I remember, when I was eating, WHILE on a binge was the time that I was the most committed to quitting.  Even as I was eating!  I’d just finish this binge but after that there would be NO WAY I would eat like that again.  It was *during* binges that I would be the most resolved to quit.  But I have learned that no amount of commitment or resolve actually does the job.  I have to put the food down and not pick it up again.  Feelings, commitments, resolve – all doesn’t matter.  I can be as uncommitted to quitting as I want, as long as I don’t pick up, I will succeed.

Not sure if that makes any sense.  I’m just trying to say that feelings & emotions are totally unrelated to my success.  I have to surrender and do the action of NOT doing my thing.

Seasonal eating

I’m not sure what this week’s topic is, but one of the recent topics discussed was all the gorging festivals of the season.  Somehow, winter is the traditional time to overeat.  I have heard many rationalisations for this – that it’s because we wear lots of clothes and it doesn’t seem to matter as much (nobody’s going to see me in a bikini anytime soon), or that it’s because the body needs more or heavier food to cope with winter (which, in our day & age, is a rather thin excuse).

For normal eaters, this may indeed be the time to eat heavy or more than normal.  These are the people who say in summer, oh, it’s too hot to eat. (huh? – incomprehensible concept for me).  Some people may really be seasonal in their eating.

I know that I’m not.  I will overeat in summer and in winter – possibly on different sugar stuffs, but I will overeat nonetheless.  I don’t lose my appetite when it’s hot any more than I do when it’s cold, when I’m sad, when I’m happy, when I’m sick… I just don’t lose my appetite any more than I could lose my shadow!

Because normal eaters tend to be seasonal in their eating, however, we have those eating-based festivities in winter.  It’s the season to eat for them, and it’s the season to build abstinent muscle for me.  In this country, we don’t really do Halloween or Thanksgiving, which really means that only Christmas is an issue.  I am going to attend several Christmas events (for charity, as that’s my work) and I am humbly grateful that my biggest worry about them is not what I will eat there, how I can eat more than everyone else without them noticing, or how I can get out of there quickly after the function so I can drop by a grocery store to continue the binge.  Instead, my biggest worry about those functions is that they cost me money I don’t have, but I’ll cope with that.

I go to those functions with my scale and will eat whatever is abstinent, because after all I’m paying; I have no problem bringing out my scale in public in front of high-profile individuals any more than in front of homeless people.  It’s part of me, it’s what I do, and I would be MUCH more ashamed of myself if I sat there weighing 200 lbs. and stuffing my face.  The scale?  Not even an issue!

I am privileged that I get to do this.  And I do it no matter what!

I am grateful

The other day in a private email I made the comment that “thankfully, we don’t do Thanksgiving in this country” – which made my sponsor quite concerned about my gratefulness.  I was really joking, but I do take the point and it’s true that giving thanks, being grateful, is the key ingredient for me to remain abstinent.  Because, as I said to my sponsee the other day, if I don’t get anything worth having, why do I choose abstinence?

Well the truth is, I gain a LOT of things that are worth having.  Abstinence is the bedrock on which I can build a full, enjoyable and useful life.  Let’s see if I can summarize my list to 10 major points:

  1. Mental freedom from obsession
  2. I know what enough food is
  3. If I get hungry, I know there’s another (great!) meal coming soon
  4. I love the food I eat
  5. My sponsor, who guides me
  6. My job, which I can concentrate upon because I’m not thinking about food
  7. My postgrad course, which I can concentrate upon because I’m not thinking about food
  8. My church family, people who love me
  9. My healthy body
  10. That I can focus OUTward and gain the beautiful ability to help someone else

So yes, I am grateful.  Beyond words, really.

Prayer & Accountability

I have to say this last reading had so many points I could expand on, I could probably write half a book on this section alone – so much of this relates to experiences I’ve had, myself.

Firstly, that prayer isn’t self-serving.  I read somewhere that prayer isn’t giving God instructions, but reporting for duty.  That’s certainly an overstatement, as I believe God is so much more interested in my well-being than in how well I perform “for him”, but the underlying idea is true.  I am fundamentally self-centred, and that bothers me.  My prayers are always about me, me, me – not saying “bless me, bless me” but rather “improve me, improve me”.  When I look at myself I see so many shortcomings that it’s hard not to bombard God with prayers to take them away.  And yet, to avoid being overwhelmed and for that reason not tackling any of my shortcomings at all, I am learning to ask God to point out ones that he is giving me the strength & grace to work on.

Second thing – that I can’t hand over responsibility for my final actions, or for hearing God, to others.  I have learned this painfully last summer.  I was around people who cared, loved me… but they were and are civilians and do not understand the nature of this disease.  I believe that I have been given this program by my Higher Power, that this is his way to keep me in a daily active submission and dependence.  They believed I was letting a man-made program dominate my life, making the program my higher power.  I have now learned that I cannot make civilians understand – not truly – and that I have no need to.  And even though these individuals were in authority over me (my pastor), and he still is my authority, I have also learned that the fact that he is human and fallible means that I have always, always got to check with God for myself for direction.  I cannot rely on my pastor, or in fact anybody else.  I go to them for input and guidance, but I have to own the final decision – and in order to own it, I HAVE to be sure that I have unmistakeable witness from God for it.

I really like this book.  Thanks all, enjoy your weekend & I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving (thankfully, we don’t celebrate it here in the UK!)

Back from the US

I arrived safely, and my bag with me (that’s not something I take for granted!!). As I estimated I was home at about midnight, I did have to walk – it’s 30 minutes uphill, so I got a good workout from pulling that suitcase. But even though I would have been willing to pay for a bus, they weren’t going… after all, it was late night on a Sunday.

As I thought, work is busy today, lots of stuff to catch up with. But positive news have transpired already! They have agreed to fund half of my marketing course!!! That is very, very good news. They are asking me to sign a contract saying that if I leave within a year I will have to pay it back, but that’s standard business practice, it’s OK.

But I have to get back to work! I’m going to send out an email shortly, a long one to my friends and to Greynet, and I’ll copy you in on those. There is so much to tell, those two weeks, I’m still putting my emotions, thoughts and experiences together in my head. So much. So good.

In tune with our bodies

Interesting topic, on the physical ramifications of stress.  I thought about it for a while.  Personally, I don’t tend to be tense – my shoulders, neck, jaw etc. all never seem to change.  I don’t clench up when I’m tense, in fact, I don’t really get tense.

In the face of stress and fear, I’m more like a deer in the headlights, I get limp.  Case in point: my mother was a music teacher, and I played various instruments because of that (never my own thing).  I have the natural talent, but I don’t enjoy it, which is why I no longer play anything.  But anyway, because I’m talented with it, my mother had me play in various contests and concerts, and I must have been about 12 or 13 about to go on stage when a friend remarked how incredibly calm I was in the face of going on stage to play in front of hundreds (I had just yawned, lol).  In fact I was frozen with stage fright and fear, about as stressed as you can get – but my natural response is limpness.  I’m not a fighter, never have been.  If I’m in a really scary, stressful situation, that’s when I am the calmest… or most apathetic, depending on how you look at it.

So, rather than tensing up, my muscles go limp.  I suppose, hearing some stories of people’s back/shoulder/neck pains, that’s a good thing!

And as for anger… again, I’m not a hot tempered person.  I may resent, but I never blow up or get really angry.  Instead I just get away from the situation.  I cannot relate to the reading that was talking about anger being like a hungry dog in the basement, about overreacting totally out of proportion to something.  I suppose in my family it has never been OK to be angry or loud, so it’s just not something that even occurs to me as a possible course of action.

Checking in from LA

I just wanted to check in because I have the opportunity – grab it when I can 🙂

I arrived here yesterday after a 3-hour delay on the plane, thank goodness I had my dinner packed.  Fourteen hours on a plane, in the middle seat, it wasn’t pretty!  And I’m afraid my food was pretty smelly so I can’t have been the easiest person to sit next to, either.  But hey, gotta do what we’ve gotta do!  I was surprised how well I did in terms of hunger, being that I gained eight hours in my day and had to space out my meals accordingly.  I expected to be a lot hungrier than I turned out to be.  I suppose it’s all in the mind – because my expectation was that I wouldn’t eat for this long in between meals, it was OK.  Yes I was hungry, but the experience wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Anyway, I eventually made it to LA and was picked up at the airport by my host, a lovely single mom with her daughter, who took me straight to a grocery store and then home to sleep off my jetlag. 😉 So I’m sorted for food, and this evening the week kicks off with a City Celebration (it’s a church conference) – I already went to church this morning and one couple I know from New York are already there, so it was great to see them again… I haven’t been in the States in two years, so there’s going to be a lot of reunions.  So many people I know will be there, and I can’t wait.

I’m also keenly aware of the dangers of being around people like this – that’s to say, of concentrating so much on being with them that I feel awkward about my food and my needs.  It’s yet another way I learn to build abstinent muscle.  I have to plan ahead and make my food ahead of time, and then carry it along… or, eat before or after get-togethers and events.

In any case, I’m doing this NMW – even this week, which is momentous to me!  Routine days, momentous days… when it comes to food, there’s no difference.