Why I left (and am now back)

I’ve been giving the issue of why I left GS in November last year a lot of serious thought. Perhaps some of my thoughts can serve as a warning for anyone who’s in a similar situation.

As with everything, there’s not one single reason that made me leave. I certainly didn’t “make a mistake” – no food “accidentally” found its way into my mouth, and bang, my abstinence was gone. I made a decision after lots of thought and prayer, which I advised my sponsor of in advance, to leave Greysheet on 1st November 2009 and go my own way. I made that decision with a very heavy heart because I knew it meant severing relationships within the fellowship.

How did it come to this?

Not overnight, of course. I had just celebrated 3 years of abstinence (as a dear abstinent friend of mine would say, that’s about 20 minutes) but long before I hit that milestone I wasn’t in the best place any more. I had regained weight from my lowest in abstinence, about 10 lbs. up. In order to get rid of that, I began to diet on the Greysheet. Perhaps I should have seen it coming, because that was a major factor in me leaving Greysheet 3.5 years earlier… I cut out soy products. Then I cut out dairy. Then I made sure I chose the wateriest, lowest-calorie vegetables. I never touched the more sugary fruits. I cut out gum, then soda, then all artificial sweeteners. Rules drew in closer and closer around me, boundary lines kept getting tighter – as did my clothes, as I was still either maintaining or gaining!

This was a pattern that continued for over a year. In order to compensate for my lack of enjoying my food, I threw myself into Greysheet as the fellowship: I did lots of meetings (phone), sponsored people, faithfully communicated with my sponsor who shared much more than my food, did an AWOL, even wrote weekly essays on recovery topics. But my food just wasn’t good. I didn’t look forward to the next meal, and I thought that’s just for early abstinence… I should be beyond this, I should be over this need to LOVE my food, I want to be thin, I’m in recovery now and saner around food. I should be more spiritual than this.

I think this long period of sub-#10 meals was the main factor in my becoming willing, over time, to consider letting GS go. I became more and more resentful at the bountiful choices others had, not realising that I would have much wider choices if I only chose to. I felt I was fat and GS wasn’t delivering what I dieted for anyway. I’m amazed I did manage to hold on for as long as I did, with that kind of mindset.

So in the end, it all came down to vanity – I left because I wanted to get thinner. I gained 45 lbs. instead.

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