Monthly Archives: March 2008

A spirituality that works

What really stood out to me was how a group of drunks, the least in this world, would together discover something that is – in my humble opinion – nothing short of God-inspired.  Then again, looking at the prophets of old, they weren’t usually the most kosher of characters either.  A spirituality that works, taking from various traditions whatever was actually born out in reality, is what I believe all human beings are after… but we’re too trapped in our own baggage, background, and views to really come to this question with fresh eyes.  Bill certainly didn’t, nor anyone else I believe can ever… but in the group, many views were accepted and came together, in a melting pot.  Something bigger than the sum of its parts, and it was only possible as a GROUP, no single individual could have dreamed it up.

For me, I have found in Christianity the relationship with God that I never thought I wanted or needed and which has made me into a completely new human being in a way I could never have anticipated.

Yet at the same time, I recognize that there are black-and-white issues, and then there are also gray ones.  The black-and-white ones are easily defined and I agree with them completely, but there are occasions when I have learned that I must trust my own wisdom, or turn to other sources of wisdom, to arrive at what works for me.  Nobody’s truth is my entire truth.  I have to pick nuggets of truth as it applies to ME from various different sources.  A good example is GS.

There is so much truth here, in the program, yet no “civilian” will ever truly understand.  And GS’ers will never truly understand my spirituality, not fully anyway.  There are those who share my faith AND the GS, and that is an incredible thing to be able to share and “get” each other on that level, yet our relationships with God and with food are so intimate and deep that there is always an individuality we won’t get about each other.  AA says the Alcoholic is “terminally” unique, but I believe there’s also a positive understanding of uniqueness.  I’m not like you.  I’m me.  Yet we share lots of attributes.

Don’t know why I’m going on about this.  I love that spirituality is about imperfection, not perfection (something I do understand on a very deep level), that I am approved and accepted not because I have been perfect, but because God is and has given me HIS perfection in his eyes.  And isn’t it funny that the Greysheet is actually ALL about perfection (4.0, etc.)?  Yet the most spiritual practice I do on a daily basis, three times a day.  Just a thought.

Unedited, me

Having finished my 4th Step (for now; I believe in the onion model, i.e. you can always peel another layer), I have an unedited version of myself in black and white, in writing.  This is frightening and comforting at the same time.  When things are not named, they are grey shadowy entities about myself that loom large, and seem too terrible to confront.  When I wrote them down, they were disgusting and terrible things I had done or had identified in my personality, but they shrunk somehow.  They suddenly had clear outlines, no longer hiding in the back room but fully exposed to scrutiny.

I really don’t like some of what I see there.  But I can grasp it now, whereas before it was just there, nebulous, undefined. Yesterday, a friend of mine said that she is always wearing a “veil”, editing who she is for the outside world.  I do that too, of course, that’s only normal and healthy (who would blurt everything about themselves to everyone else?) – BUT, the difference now is that I’m not wearing that veil on *myself* any more.  I have a clear vision of who I am, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Soon, through Step 5, another human being will also have that clear vision of me, and that is another frightening – and yet strangely exhiliarating! – concept. Now, relating to the weekly topic… if this stuff isn’t therapy, then I don’t know what is!

Spirituality of Imperfection – 1

I have enjoyed this first chapter, but the one thing that stood out to me as well was Rabbi Zuzya’s quote about being ME.  I struggle with that.

It’s funny, everyone I know would tell you that I’m so self-assured, I don’t care what people think, I am just unabashedly myself.  Funny, because I wouldn’t say that, not even close!  I see myself being someone else according to who I’m with, who I want them to see… I edit myself quite heavily.  And the thing is, people don’t see that, but God does.  And I do, too. One thing I’m very good at is judging myself, and I’m harsh.  So at this point perhaps I should give myself some credit and believe that people do have a point, that I’m not as malleable to my surroundings as I think I am. 

With the step work I’m undertaking right now, through the AWOL, I am learning things about myself I hadn’t seen before and have made connections about things I used to feel so bad about… whereas, when I look into my past, I can see where these things have come from and I can accept them about myself.  Not to say I don’t want to change my character flaws, what I’m saying is that I’m becoming more aware of who Susanne is – which the Rabbi says I’ll have to give an account about – and while that is not perfect, I don’t have to have this vague feeling of condemnation.  I’m differently flawed than everyone else, because I’m unique, but the point is I’m flawed just as everyone else is.  No hiding necessary.

Of course my fears are still there, of being KNOWN – a frightening idea – but as I grow to accept who I am, I trust I’ll be more comfortable being that, authentically, anywhere.  Last week, a friend of mine said something that impacted me profoundly, she said, “I’m a Christian.  I don’t need your approval, because I’m already approved.” – I know this, in my head, but this girl has it in her heart.  It’s her truth.  I can only aspire to this level of security in my identity!

I look forward to working through this book.

Sponsorship Lessons

One of my sponsees told me this morning she wanted to quit Greysheet. All the planning, the phone calling, the repetitive food (she ate the exact same thing every day), was too much for her and she felt able and ready to go it without Greysheet.  I wish her all the best and I very much respect that she told me this in person when she called, on time as always, rather than just “dropping off the face of the earth” and saying nothing.

The part of this journey I shared with this sponsee has taught me important lessons about how to sponsor.  I cannot make someone want to be abstinent.  I’m not a salesperson.  I have been given this gift and I will give it away freely, so I get to keep it, but I’m not supposed to throw it at people who don’t, or only almost, want it.  This program is for those who want it.

I’m very blessed with another sponsee who is grabbing on to this program with all she’s got, and shows me that there’s nothing wrong with *me*… I can only share my experience, strength and hope, but I am only human and I can’t carry another person’s load.  For the past few months I have had this very healthy sponsoring relationship along with a very dysfunctional one and it has been invaluable for myself, learning how to support someone who truly *wants* this program (even though, as I do and I know we all have, she has her battles) as opposed to dragging along someone who’s digging in her heels at every suggestion.

Sponsorship is an incredible gift.  To have someone to guide me who has been through the same experiences, whose wisdom and guidance I can trust, is not something most people are given.  I cherish and appreciate my sponsor, and my sponsee – these are incredible, deep relationships where both sides learn things.  I do what my sponsor does because I want what she has, she’s further down the road of contented recovery than I am.  But I’ve already come some way, too.

Because I am abstinent and I follow the program of recovery outlined by GSA, I:

  • know there’s always another meal coming;
  • get to LOVE my food without pain, fear or guilt;
  • get to live a life in between meals;
  • have to look at what the food had buried, all the things that make up who I am – beautiful things and ugly things;
  • am growing! – in all conceivable ways except physically;
  • get a chance to make my life something I want to show up for;
  • can plan financially as not all my money is wasted on food/ shopping/ impulses;
  • genuinely believe my life need be second to none.