Monthly Archives: December 2007

Goals for 2008

I always used to make New Year’s resolutions, and I do think there is something healthy about looking into the year ahead with some definitive goals to work toward.  It helps me to assess the past year, where I’ve come from, and where I want to get to.  In the past, these resolutions used to be very much about weight – lose weight, exercise more, etc. etc. – which was discouraging as I binged my way to New Year’s (since I was never going to do it again!) and then had my next binge on Jan 2nd.

Now, however, my goals look different.  They are more defined than “lose weight”, and they are things I definitely want to do… things I want to be able to check off the list at the end of 2008.

Currently, the list goes like this.  In 2008, I plan to:

  • exercise consistently (not too little, not too much!)
  • finish my postgrad marketing diploma (exams in June)
  • put £100/month away
  • work through the Steps in my AWOL (never gone beyond 3rd Step)
  • write to the Greynet at least weekly
  • spend time with God every morning
  • visit my family once

These are a few things I am thinking of, off the top of my head.  I keep thinking there are more, and I haven’t yet taken the time to really write down a definitive list.  I’d love to hear what others are doing with the new year.

I heard once about a Greysheeter who simply took a word, “Trust”, as her theme word for the year.  She would meditate on that word every day, keep it in the forefront of her mind, and at the end of the year she really felt she had grown in that area.  I might do something like that, too.

If I died tomorrow…

I felt pretty terrible this weekend – a stomach bug.  A sleepless night, at the end of which I lost the fight and thew up my dinner; then ate breakfast and lost that, too; then gave up and ate nothing else (with the OK from another qualified Greysheeter, of course) for the rest of the day.  I was really sick like a dog, barely able to move, stomach cramps and nausea.  Maybe that condition had something to do with the way my thoughts went, which is what I want to share on.

I wondered what I would leave behind if I were to die tomorrow.  What impact have I had on other people?  How has my being there made someone else’s life better?  I thought, what a sad life if all people can say of me after I die is, “She worked really hard on herself.”  That whole thing of self-improvement… this thought brought it into perspective.

Sometimes I lose sight of why I am trying to improve myself.  I am a very self-centred person.  If I keep getting better and better… to what end am I working on that?  The issue is my usefulness to others.  If I’m addicted and using, then I’m also using and abusing people.  THAT is the issue.  When I quit abusing food and got abstinent, I didn’t automatically quit using and abusing people.  I have to learn now how to relate to other people, how to respect them as individuals, how to see them as “people” and not “things” to get my way.  This means learning how not to manipulate.

I’m nowhere near where I want to be with that.  I still struggle with my relationships, but if I think about it rationally – there are lots of ways that I now, because I am abstinent, serve other people and make their lives better.  I help in church where I can; I volunteer at the local Nightshelter; my job is in a charity that helps thousands of people, and I have a part in enabling that to happen.  My life is not just about me.

I can really get into a guilt mode about my self-centredness, but to keep it in perspective: I am a work in progress, and while I admit that I am nowhere near as giving or loving as I would like to be, I have come an awfully long way from where I was.  The foundation of this path is my abstinence.

Being useful

Right… being useful.  I relate to Bob in a lot of ways.  Had to laugh at the story of the checkout, getting resentful at the person in front… it’s funny, with me, I can be very mellow and at other times be extremely on the other side of the spectrum.  What I’ve become more aware of lately is how my character changes according to how hungry I am!

I’m sure other people also experience this to some degree, but I really think I’m a little extreme.  When I’m not hungry, I tend to be mellow and take things as they come – I do get stressed if I’m held up somewhere on the way to an appointment, as I cannot stand being late, but that’s pretty much it.  And then there’s Mr Hyde in me… who comes out only when I’m hungry.  That’s a jerky, negative, terrible person.  

A very recent example is the other day I was to have dinner with a friend at her place – bringing my own dinner.  It meant eating a little later than usual for me, and I got hungry.  Getting into my car to go to her place, first I could hear the neighbour’s child screaming (thought: SHUT THAT KID UP!) – felt very irritated.  Never mind the poor mother/father having to deal with the kid, I could have had compassion.  Instead I just wanted the kid to shut up.  Getting into my car… reversing then into first gear, because it was cold the engine died and I had to re-start it and in my irritation more or less floored the pedal and raced off – a dangerous thing to do at any time, and unnecessary as well.  This is the kind of reactions my father used to have, and I used to hate about him.  Now I’m doing the same, and that irritates me to no end!

Anyway, what this has to do with being useful is simply that as I get to know myself, knowing that I am likely to overreact out of proportion when hungry, I can take precautionary steps.  It’s unrealistic to try never to get hungry, but as I am aware of this character defect I can bring it from my unconscious to my conscious mind and deliberately work to NOT react in these ways.  Pray for usefulness.  Rather than praying for calm, or peace – I think the idea of praying for usefulness is better, because it makes me look outward, to how my behaviour can benefit others.  If I pray for calm and I just don’t feel it, that’s a failed prayer.  If I pray for usefulness and then act “as if”, then the prayer has worked and my behaviour has changed.

’tis the season…

… to celebrate that I still fit into my dirndl dress!

Hello friends,

my name is Susanne and I’m a compulsive overeater, abstinent today because I get to weigh my 3 meals off the CGS, write them down, commit them to my sponsor, and eat nothing else no matter what.  That’s my #1 priority today.

We had our office Christmas lunch today.  I chose abstinent protein from the menu (asked for it to be served plain) and ate my own salad and cooked vegetables.  They also served fruit as a starter and as dessert, most of which was abstinent fruit, and I packed it for tomorrow’s breakfast.  That’s how to get extra mileage out of these occasions, hehe!

As with the last Christmas ‘do I went to, there was no problem whatsoever.  I sat right next to our CEO, who asked whether I was on a really strict diet, and I replied that I avoid sugars, grains and starches.  That settled it – most of the time, people are simply trying to make conversation.  Having asked the question, and received a friendly yet short answer, it’s easy to then move on to the next small talk item.

The fun thing with this lunch was that my team of four, who are all from different places, each dressed up on our “national garb”: the Indian lady with a Sari, the Bolivian lady with an incredibly colourful one-piece garment, the boss as the quintessential Englishman, and myself in an Austrian dirndl.  I had not worn this in years, and the beauty of it is that I didn’t need to worry whether I’d fit into it or not!  (However having said that, I did put on 7.7 lbs. since August and so had to sit there with my tummy held in throughout… which isn’t easy after a GS meal!)

I’ve changed back into normal clothes now. 😉

I’m so grateful for the peace of mind and serenity this program gives me.  I spent the lunch having interesting conversations with the people sat around me, not obsessing over food.  I knew that if they couldn’t serve what I needed, I had backup, and my food was absolutely delicious.

High-days and holy days, I embrace the gift I have in abstinence – NMW!

Recognizing & Trusting help

This week’s reading… the line that stood out to me was about how we used to trust our substance.  Truly, that was the only thing that would remain constant for me – and not just because other people would let me down, but also, or more so, because I would let MYSELF down all the time.  I would change my mind and go back on my own promises to myself without a second thought.  I treated myself with much less integrity than I would ever, ever treat another person.  No wonder there was nothing to trust in… nobody outside of me, and not even myself.  Only the food.

I believe the reason I can trust in the process of Greysheet is two-fold: a) I can SEE the evidence of it working in people who have been abstinent longer than I; and b) every time I keep my promise to myself (and God, and my sponsor) to have a particular food for a meal, I build my own integrity.

So I trust this process… a day at a time… and because I have been given this gift, of understanding that this is what I need, that I can choose not to ponder other “possibilities” – I don’t even go there, mentally.  I have recognized my help, and I want to keep my eyes firmly on it because I have a clarity that I do not want to lose.

If this translates to the rest of life, what I learn from it is that any solutions, any help that is presented, can be recognized by two things:
a) I can see the fruit of it in others who live it
b) it is something I can do a day at a time, a little at a time.

Not sure if this is 100% clear, but I think that the key to recognizing help is not only to recognize and take it, but to KEEP it when I’ve found it.

Exercise

I  must say I’m not doing so well with the exercise.  I really need to get better with that.  I go to the gym every morning, still, but I don’t necessarily work out – I go to the sauna instead often.  This morning I did do my 10 minutes of cardio.  I’ve done Callanetics once this week.  Tomorrow I want to do 10 minutes of cardio, that’s my goal.

I really want to get into it – and, having gained 7.7 lbs. since August I really do need to… exercise would help greatly in getting that weight off again.  Yet, the paradox is that BECAUSE I feel fat, I find it that much harder to want to work out.  When I feel good about myself, it’s easier… when I feel bad about myself, I constantly have to battle that spiral of “it doesn’t matter anyway”, and lethargy.

Trust

I’m relating this week’s reading very directly to my experience of Greysheet because I have weighed in this month with an increase, which has been going on since August and I have gained almost 8 lbs. in total since then.  This is a worrying tendency (and my sponsor has adjusted my food this month).

But, I affirm that I trust in the process.  Trust that this trend will not continue, that my sponsor knows what is best, that my body will find balance again eventually.  That I have to surrender to the process: surrender my body to the Greysheet, and my mind and spirit to God to give me peace about this.  I must be surrendered because the alternative is manipulation: taking power back into my own hands.  I know too well where that leads.

I trust myself enough now: my experience has taught me that I am capable of being trustworthy when it comes to what food I put into my mouth.  That is an incredibly powerful thing, albeit small in the big picture – I can translate that experience of faithfulness on my part to other things.  I can learn to be faithful in other small things.  I do tend to overcommit myself and then let certain things slide, and I have to learn how to commit only to a selection of things – making sure I am able to follow through on each one.  That will build my experience of being faithful and trustworthy, which will in turn help me to trust in many other processes other than food.  It’s life.