Monthly Archives: May 2008

If need be…

Today and tomorrow I’m eating pretty sub-standard food… because I haven’t had the time to prepare proper food.  I’m going back and forth between a 24 hour 3-day event we have organised at work (that’s where I am now), and study days, and I have my final exams are next week.  I’m only going to be at home for about six hours overnight tonight, before I have to go out again.  So I have prepared my food from canned and ready made stuff this morning, and my lunch and dinner today have been less than stellar and tomorrow’s are going to be no better (in fact they are 100% the same!).
 
And you know what, that’s OK!  I can deal with that.  In fact I’ve been amazed at how God (my higher power) has protected me today – I’ve not been hungry at all even though I’ve had to space out my meals more than usual and didn’t have the most substantial of meals.  I’m trusting for the same grace for tomorrow, but even if not – even if I do get hungry – that’s OK, because this is not how it always is.  This is an aberration in my diet of abundant, tasty, beautiful (and, dare I say it, *sexy*) food that I love and there couldn’t be anything better!
 
I usually eat amazing food.  I’m a compulsive overeater and I have been given the most incredible gift, to be able to love and enjoy every single bite without ever questioning, negotiating, wondering, or feeling guilty.  Every last bite of it is mine to have!
 
I’m so glad to be abstinent.  If I wasn’t, I would be using food to “help my energy” to get through all this, and wouldn’t experience how God meets even my physical needs because I’d be taking care of it myself.  I’m physically experiencing that I can indeed depend on my higher power.

Honesty with self

I’m somehow very good at giving people the impression of being incredibly self-disciplined – all my friends/acquaintances consider me that.  And I don’t think it’s because I try hard to come across that way.  I do expect to be “found out” any time… maybe my own perception of myself is skewed, I wouldn’t be surprised: maybe I really *am* self-disciplined.  But probably not.

I do like to “treat” myself.  Before abstinence that was with food… but even while abstinent I can use things to “treat” myself and I don’t believe that’s always a bad thing, why not indulge and make myself feel good every so often, but the key here is MODERATION and every so often, rather than over-the-top and all the time.  I can definitely overdo it with sodas, chewing gum, and shopping.  I don’t do debt, but if I do have money it seems to burn a hole in my pocket until I spend it: and I don’t spend large amounts at once, but little and often, which adds up and I end up with nothing to show for all the money I spent.

This is certainly an area of honesty with self.  I have started to take out cash for my groceries and use only that, a set amount per week, because if I put it on the card it doesn’t have that fixed limit and all those little indulgences add up really quickly!

I can easily get too hard on myself, too introspective, so I do need to be careful not to take “honesty with self” too far.  I don’t need to go over my every motive, every thought, every idea with a microscope.  Need to get on with life, while at the same time never turning a blind eye to my behaviours, because things are much easier to catch when they’re small – if I don’t examine myself, things can grow in that dark, and one day I’ll turn around and they’re huge issues.  So it’s a balancing act.

A new pair of glasses

As an aside, I was just saying to a sponsee this morning that my life these days is so far removed from the misery of the food, I live a life so free – mentally and physically – that staying close to the community and service are absolutely VITAL things for me to do because it would be easy to forget there I came from.  And I know I can have that misery back any day, if I want it.

And I don’t want it. 

As for the weekly topic:

> My Topic for this week has to do w/the changes that occur
> simply because we W&M our food w/o exception.

A new pair of glasses, I like that comparison.  When I had new glasses fitted, I experienced quite a bit of dizziness and headaches for the first couple of days.  Much like in the beginning of my Greysheet abstinence. 😉  But I need those glasses to see clearly so I needed to get through the adjustment period and now I have no more dizziness & headaches but I see clearly.

Lots of things have changed for me simply because I started w/m’ing.  My first sponsor, who sponsored me for over a year, used to promise me this.  She would tell me not to get too worked up about my character defects and/or problems just yet because I may find they work themselves out over the first year just because I’m abstinent.  And she was right!  So many things came into focus, became “clearer” for me.

Probably the biggest change in clearer vision was that I began to see the dysfunction in others (and then my sponsor would tell me to love them, not judge).  With my family I’ve always been *involved* in the dysfunction – hating it, staying on the sidelines, but nevertheless letting it get to me.  Mind you, I don’t see my family for more than once or twice a year and this is all I can take without being drawn in, but as it is now, at the times I do see them it’s different.  I observe lovingly.  It actually breaks my heart to see the misery some of them are in.  And without getting onto their case, every so often I find that one of them opens up to me in an amazing way, almost like they were sensing that I’m safe, someone to trust in.  That is a privilege I don’t take lightly.

I hope that I can serve my family and others – not just the GS community – whereas before, I was interested only (or at least primarily) in what I could GET from people.  Now, certainly with my family, when I go there I go with a view to what I can give to them. 

Only because of GS abstinence.

Sponsors and Cambridge GS

There’s something I want to address without cross-talking because I feel it is IMPORTANT (in capital letters!!) and I’m very concerned.  Greysheet abstinence is defined as 3 weighed and measured meals per day with nothing in between but black coffee, tea or diet soda – without exceptions – committed to a sponsor.  Anything else is not Cambridge Greysheet abstinence.

The way I understand sponsoring, a qualified Greysheet sponsor is someone who: 

  • has been abstinent on the Greysheet without exceptions for 90 days or more
  • has a sponsor who has been abstinent on the Greysheet without exceptions for 90 days or more (and that person has a sponsor again, and so on, and so on)

With 90 days or more of abstinence, a Greysheeter has learned enough and experienced enough to be able to guide a newcomer.  And if I don’t know what to say to my sponsee, I refer the question to my own sponsor, who refers it to her own sponsor if necessary – until the answer is found.

I would not entrust my recovery to someone who:

  1. is not accountable (i.e. not being sponsored)
  2. makes exceptions in the food plan
  3. is unclear about what abstinence means.

I feel very strongly about this, and sorry if I’ve stepped on any toes.

Accepting or even embracing imperfection?

I’m not good at accepting or embracing imperfection in me, although I’ll often speak openly about my shortcomings – hold my hands up and say I’m not perfect – but that’s lip service. Deep down I do have that need to be perfect, when it comes to action. I’ll *say* I’m not perfect, but I’ll expect perfection in myself regardless.

I have had to admit to a terrible lie this week that I have been trying to live with for months now. I’d taken money. Sneakiness, greed, “seeing what I can get away with” – those are character defects, and they are not pretty. They make me lose self-respect, how can I accept or even embrace them? I don’t believe I should. When it comes to integrity, I want to live as clear and transparent a life, without hiding, as I possibly can.

I suppose I’ve got to learn that there are character defects, which need to be worked on & ironed out, and then there are imperfections that are merely evidence of my humanity, the fact that I can’t be good at everything and can’t be at my best at all times. I think I do accept that. What I really have a problem with is my essential flaws, the things I dislike about myself: my – in Christian terms – flesh, the “fallen” nature. I don’t have to live in this, and I hate it when I do, but nevertheless I sometimes do.

Well, the story of this week is that I finally owned up to my lie, I gave the money to its rightful owner, and a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Thank goodness.

A hungry day

Today I have experienced a really unusual amount of real, genuine hunger.  I think it’s because I’ve just finished taking hormones (for PCOS) that are meant to induce a period either today or tomorrow. Having had no monthly cycle for over two years now, I am not used to changes in my appetite like this!

(Whether or not those tablets have actually worked, I’ll see… right now all I have is HUNGER!)

Anyhow, I was just thinking how grateful this day makes me because I’m realising how rarely I usually think about food these days!  I hardly ever get hungry, and when I do it’s usually very near the next meal. What a gift, what a blessing of Greysheet that a hungry day is a rarity and not something I do to myself regularly to try and compensate for the debilitating binges (not that the starving ever DID compensate: I was fat!).

So, as I chew my lips and drink gallons of water and listen to my grumbling belly, I am comforted by the knowledge that this is a rare thing indeed and that there is another meal coming, and tomorrow (or the day after) I won’t be feeling like this.

Can’t wait for dinner!

Summer coming

It’s that time again… summer is coming, at last. Today was the first day I really felt it. Temperature in the 70’s, glorious sunshine, I even went out for a run in the park this morning instead of doing the hamster wheel thing in the gym. This kind of day reminds me why I live here in the first place.

Summer is beautiful. I can’t wait for it. But it hasn’t always been this way.

Before I got abstinent, summer was about…

  • sweating excessively
  • thighs rubbing together (I remember one VERY painful – on many levels – time when I went for a run in Central Park and my thighs managed to rub against the seam of my pants so much that the seam disintegrated, which aggravated the rubbing, and my inner thighs ended up with something like burns – I could barely walk home)
  • wearing dark clothes
  • wearing covering, heavy clothes to hide beneath
  • craving, madly, the frozen “summer” binge foods (which really have little to do with summer, it’s not like I didn’t binge on them in the winter!)
  • depression
  • not wanting to go out of the house, the beautiful weather was for beautiful people – not me
  • feeling pathetic
  • comparing myself to thin, scantily clad girls and HATING my own body

Thank you, Greysheeters, for carrying the message to me so I could get abstinent and enjoy every day of the summer!! These are the days I want to LIVE to the full, every single minute of them.