Response to a seeker

I was contacted by a newcomer who heard about the Greysheet and wants to do it, but doesn’t feel able to get started – so she asked if any of us could “chaperone” her for a month: “I would like to find a food chaperone/monitor to work with, i.e. someone to essentially come everywhere with me for the next month or so to help me stay on track.”

Here is my response…

I’ve given your idea some thought and, if I may, can I just share some of those thoughts…

  • the early AA group did take in alcoholics, Bill W. shares about that – one chap even committed suicide while staying at his house. So there is a place for that.
  • however, I and pretty much all Greysheeters I know of have our own lives and can’t just hire ourselves out. What we have to give is free, we received it for free, and we’re giving it away for free. But the way we give it away is not by chaperoning others.
  • If you are planning to live in the real world, a temporary chaperone may keep you on track but can you afford to have one for the rest of your life? Because if that’s the crutch you use, when it goes away nothing will have changed. The rest of your live begins when you get Greysheet abstinent (which could be RIGHT NOW if you want!), not after a month with a consultant.
  • I don’t know your story, but I doubt that yours is fundamentally different and worse to that of others. Read some of the stories on and see if some of them sound familiar. People have been in desperate places when they came to Greysheet, and they managed through the support of the community and their Higher Power, without being inpatients or hiring someone.
  • The Greysheet isn’t about “staying on track”. It’s not willpower that keeps us abstinent. It’s an admission that we cannot live and eat like normal people – a surrender and acknowledgement of the fact that we are not normal and can never be – so if I want to live I need to be abstinent. I can’t kid myself into thinking I can do this. I can’t. I don’t have willpower, all I have is a sober acknowledgement of the fact that I am a compulsive overeater and that I have no life to speak of when in the food. I have acknowledged that I cannot make food decisions on my own. I cannot trust my own thoughts. I can, however, trust a programme that has kept other people like me sane and healthy for 30+ years – I’m not asking questions about the programme (i.e. why can I have apples but not pears?) but I’m taking it as it is and do as it says. If my sponsor says jump, I jump and then I’ll ask how high. If my sponsor says don’t eat XYZ, then I don’t eat XYZ. I just don’t make choices any more.
  • In conclusion, this is very much a “we” programme and I understand you won’t succeed on your own. I agree with that. I could never do this without the community, without the help of other Greysheeters! It’s just that the way we can help you probably isn’t the way you imagined. There are certain steps nobody can take for you. The first one is surrender.

Have you been to the Saturday morning meeting in London?  I believe it would help you to see others who have overcome the first few days and weeks, who have come out of a place just as desperate as yours, and are now radiant and serene. They will be able to tell you how they did it. Just seeing them is an inspiration! And while there, you can make those personal connections without which none of us could be abstinent for long…


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