Monthly Archives: June 2010

Day 22, checking in after the weekend

I haven’t been sharing on here every day. A few days ago my sponsor told me in no uncertain terms that I needed to make it to a meeting per day, and I have been doing that through the phone meetings. And I make a lot more outreach calls than I ever have done. I read the Greynet but it’s not the only thing I have as a tool now.

The weekend I had in Brighton was interesting. I went to a conference where I knew nobody. This sort of thing isn’t terrifying for me, being single it is the norm really… but that is not to say it isn’t uncomfortable at times. It was an interesting time, I met two people with who I had good conversations, I stayed at a beautiful place and all in all the weekend was good. I’m not a wallflower but equally I’m not a social butterfly so I do not find it easy to start up conversations with strangers, especially strangers in groups. But there is something to be said for consciously taking myself out of my comfort zone.

Food wise, I had everything with me, pre-weighed and packed. Kept it in the fridge at the place where I stayed and at the conference packed lunches were what everyone did; the one dinner together I chose not to eat in the dining hall (which was way too hot and crowded anyway) but enjoyed my meal on my own in the sun, on the grass, with a book.

At the conference somebody mentioned AA conventions and it got me thinking, coming back now I have googled it and found one in my area in September… and am seriously thinking of going. Another step away from comfort, I find AA very uncomfortable (as I have never even been drunk) yet they do have what I need.

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Day 18, gratitude today

Today I feel so grateful. I have so many things to be grateful for…

  • 18 days of recovery.
  • The craving / urge for a cigarette has been nearly removed, I’m feeling much better now.
  • A sponsor who doesn’t take nonsense, and who holds me very much to account about reaching out to other GS’ers and getting to meetings.
  • A meeting with a friend yesterday where I was able to say I was back on GS, and her reaction: “Great!” – genuinely happy for me because she knows it’s what works.
  • A GS friend’s phone call at my work, having a good conversation strengthening my abstinence and connecting with another GS’er.
  • Beautiful sunshine and the temperature just right – not too warm, not too cool.
  • The fact that there are live AA meetings in my town and I will go to one of them next Friday. That’s a commitment.
  • The many engagements I have in my dairy – I have friends and interests and that makes me feel loved and needed.
  • My job which I love and where I get to work with people I genuinely like towards a very good cause.
  • I’m off to Brighton after work today to a weekend conference I very much look forward to.
  • That I have all my meals for the weekend weighed & measured and packed.
  • That people at the conference are expected to bring their own lunch, so I won’t stick out like a sore thumb for bringing mine.

Day 16, cravings

Sorry, I got my daycount wrong in previous emails, it’s day 16 today. Thank goodness my abstinence doesn’t depend on my math skills – as long as I can figure out that 4.0 means 4.0, 8.0 means 8.0, etc. then I’m OK.

And I am abstinent today: I have weighed my 3 meals off the CGS, written them down, committed them to my sponsor, and I eat nothing uncommitted, no matter what. That’s the most important thing.

I have such a craving for cigarettes. That is so odd because I gave up smoking almost exactly 10 years ago! Why it now rears its head… I haven’t had a single cigarette in those 10 years, but in the past three or four weeks I have really, really wanted to smoke. Why?! I didn’t feel that way when I initially got abstinent, or any time during abstinence. It could be that things became so desperately bad in my addictions during the last year or so that giving up one addiction re-triggers another… who knows?

It’s difficult to look through the past months and admit what kind of insanity it was. It was nuts, but somehow I convinced myself I was learning and growing and going somewhere. I was only going up in weight, but certainly wasn’t getting better at managing my food.

Here are some things I have done after leaving Greysheet after 3 years of abstinence (one observes an increase in insanity on this list)…

  • low carb
  • zero carb
  • hypnosis
  • chewing and spitting food back out (ugh)
  • doctor-supervised liquid diet (450 cals a day) – that lasted about a week
  • food delivery diet (cost: £1,000 for 5 months – I didn’t even do it for one month before I saw reason and returned to GS, so now I sell off the foods on eBay)

In between those dieting attempts, binges of ever increasing frequency and size. Misery. Fat. Bigger clothes. Defeat.

With that kind of insanity, I’m not surprised any and all addictions I have ever had come back up. I want to smoke today, but I still have this healthy fear of it: quitting was the hardest thing I have ever done and I’m afraid if I pick up even one, I will have them all back and I probably won’t have the strength to quit. That’s the only thing keeping me from going out to buy a pack right now. It wouldn’t be only one pack – it would be back to a pack a day, and at the prices here that would be at least £5/day, that’s £35 a week, that’s £140 a month that I don’t have.

More importantly though, today I don’t eat, no matter what. I suspect that picking up cigarettes could seriously endanger my abstinence as well, because my default mentality is “oh well, blew that, might as well blow everything else”. Can’t go there today.

Day 15, planning ahead

I have just had a look at my diary. Lots of things coming up…

  • work travel with overnight stays,
  • a weekend event in Brighton this weekend (with 2 nights’ B&B stay),
  • a family member’s visit with a night’s B&B stay in Bournemouth,
  • a weekend retreat (two nights away),
  • several week-long work events away from home,
  • a one-week holiday to visit family in Austria…

This is all between today (end of June) and September!  It’s a crash course in getting back to planning, as there’s no question – I need to plan ahead. I can no longer free-wheel it into situations and hope for the best – if I don’t plan, the best will never happen!  Funny how I used to be so used to planning I didn’t even think about it much.  Now, with almost a year’s absence from abstinence (pardon the pun, I had to!) it’s a conscious effort and really not all that easy.  It’s awkward.  In the past I used to be thin and protecting my abstinence felt like an honourable thing to do.  Now I’m fat and showing my scale in public or dealing with people about my food – as I will have to do in B&B’s – feels awkward and I’m self-conscious.

So for this weekend in Brighton, I need to shop for and take along food. It’s more important than making sure I have my toothbrush packed. To be honest I really don’t want to have to deal with this, it makes everything I want to do extra complicated, but what is the alternative? I’m not actually tempted to not do it, I’m just whining because at the end of the day, this is the easier way for me!

Day 14, taking it seriously

I did a quick calculation today – even at a good rate of loss, it will take me at least 10 months until I am back in a normal-sized body. It truly is just a rented body, given courtesy of GS abstinence.

On a different note, I have made a decision to stay away from dietary advice in any form. I will not read blogs about it, or books, and I will avoid those articles in magazines. The problem is, all these diets make very good sense… and I’m sure they work. There are many success stories. I’m just not one of them! I have found that the only thing that works for me is Greysheet – my experience is much more valid to me than thought constructs about nutritional concepts. So many things make sense, but only Greysheet has consistently worked for me.

I take Greysheet seriously and that means I can’t tweak it, like I would always tweak diets. I can’t “slip” or “slide”. As opposed to diets, boundaries aren’t soft and bendable: they are rigid, black and white, right and wrong. I need this kind of approach because if I’m offered a finger I will always take the hand when it comes to food! If I can have just a little bit of ABC, I will have all of it! I cannot have that. With Greysheet I don’t have to think about it: if it’s on the sheet, I can have it – and that means ANYTHING that is on it is within boundaries. I have learned one thing: I will not restrict what I can choose from the Greysheet any more than I will expand my choices beyond the Greysheet. It just doesn’t work for me like that.

Day 10, slotting into recovery

I’ve posted my first food pictures over on My Greysheet Meals today.

I think it’s fair to say that things are a lot easier than I thought, at least thus far.  I said in my previous post that I didn’t feel stable and that is mainly due to the fact that there hasn’t been any challenge yet.  It seems too easy and I’m afraid of falling at the first hurdle.  I mentioned to my sponsor that I was still finding it easy and still feeling the relief more than anything – and her response was simply, “Well that’s because you’re working the programme!”

Good point, and food for thought.  Perhaps it doesn’t have to get harder.  If I have settled in my deepest soul that this is what I do, then whatever hassles may arise aren’t actually challenges, are they?  If I work the programme, make outreach calls, and so on: I don’t have to white-knuckle abstinence.

Working the programme for me means to cut myself off from various dietary advice, too.  Staying away from the blogs, the diet sites, the books; saturating my mind with recovery and other people’s experience, strength and hope and letting the food be the food, simple and straightforward: on the Greysheet = OK, not on the Greysheet = do not eat.  Simple as that.  No matter what.

Day 7, no promises

I don’t feel ready yet to say “no matter what” or “this is the most important thing in my life”. I need to mean these things when I say them, not recite phrases. Can I truly say “no matter what” when in the past 7 days I haven’t actually had any real challenges? Things are easy, but they won’t always be this easy. When I face real difficulty, then I will be able to say “no matter what”.

And as for abstinence being the most important thing in my life? I’m not there yet, either. I wonder, looking back, when I was last there. I know I was, of course, but I lost that kind of depth long before I lost my actual abstinence.

Today, all I can say is that I plan to weigh and measure my meals as I have committed them to my sponsor… for today. And for the rest of the week. There are challenges coming, and soon – work trips, family visits, social meals out. I haven’t faced any of those yet, and I’m worried, and I’m not ready to make any promises. I’m not nearly as stable as I once was…