As several people have shared about their gratitude to Greynet, it got me thinking. Looking back through my recovery the Greynet has been absolutely, totally central to it.
When I first found Greysheet, in 2004 while living in NYC, I went to live meetings with live Greysheeters, and signed up to Greynet for the first time. Sadly, after 18 days of abstinence I concluded I wasn’t as bad as these people and that was that. I went back into the food and lived through another year of hell.
By the time I was ready to truly surrender, I lived in Maryland and there were no other Greysheeters around. All I had was the Greysheet itself (which I’d stuck into my diary the year before as a kind of “souvenir”) and a memory of the Greynet. I signed back up, asked for a sponsor, and grabbed the first person who replied. This sponsor asked me to write to Greynet every single day for the first 90 days, given that I had no Greysheet meetings in my area. I followed her instructions. Because I wrote to Greynet every day, people got to know me and what was happening in my life, and I became part of the community. Without the Greynet, I would have had no contact with other Greysheeters except for my sponsor on the phone! But Greynet became my meeting. I replied to people individually… I posted… I picked up the computer before I picked up the food, so to speak.
Then I moved to the UK, again to an area with no Greysheeters around. By that time I had over a year’s back-to-back abstinence, but over a few months there, my commitment to Greysheet began to be chipped away. I had lost my sponsor when we couldn’t make our schedules match because of the time difference… I went through different sponsors in the UK and for various reasons it just didn’t work out… and eventually I found a sponsor in the US. I kept on reading the Greynet but didn’t participate like I used to. I no longer replied to many people individually. My loved ones put massive pressure on me to let go of abstinence. Eventually I did – and I don’t blame them. I descended into a summer of eating hell.
Finally, on 15 October 2006, I was on week’s trip in Germany and this was my opportunity: away from my loved ones, I got abstinent again, having signed up to Greynet right before I left and gotten a temporary sponsor. With a week’s abstinence under my belt I returned to the UK, to my loved ones, and simply put the facts before them. Today, I am still happy to discuss abstinence and what it is and all that, but I do not discuss whether or not I should do it. That’s just not open for negotiation. I made that very clear then and it has been respected ever since (although I let them keep their hopes up because that makes life easier/discussion free: I say I’m abstinent only for today and that’s not open for discussion. Maybe I’ll not need to be abstinent at some later date – only today. Who can argue with that?)
I have essentially been an outpost for pretty much all of my abstinence, except for the first 18 days. I haven’t had a Greysheet community around me. I have of course met other Greysheeters, at retreats and various meetings when I was in towns where there are meetings, but in general I have been on my own. On my own? No! Greynet has been my meeting place, my daily dose of Greysheet connection, along with my sponsor. I can’t say for sure that I wouldn’t be abstinent without Greynet, but I strongly suspect I wouldn’t have been able to be. This is a vital lifeline for me, as it is for many others. I can’t even begin to thank Grainne for starting it, and every moderator who ever served for maintaining it as a safe and helpful place focused on Greysheet abstinence.
I’ve been on moderation many times, by the way. I’m on moderation right now. All I have to say about that is that while there are many things I worry about, this isn’t one of them. I’m sorry I broke the rules, unintentionally of course, and I’ll try not to do it again but moderation as such I couldn’t care less about. Whatever…
I’m grateful that there are so many people on this Greynet who have been supporting my abstinence by just being there, and some of them have become friends. Greynet is a wonderful place. I don’t eat, NMW!