Day 63, planning and protecting

Life is hectic at the moment. These coming weeks will be super hectic and I have to get myself together to plan and prepare, so as to protect my abstinence. I have two weeks of exhibition work ahead (meaning I will be staying in B&B’s away from home and working odd, long hours) and one week of vacation in Austria with the family. I’m not worried that I can’t stay abstinent, but I am very aware of my need to be prepared. I will need to know where the supermarkets are near exhibitions; I will need to have enough tupperware to make and transport my food; take backup; mustn’t forget the scale…

All this is necessary because I have to protect my abstinence so I get to have a life. I will miss out on several weeks of live meetings – next Saturday I’m in Conwy, Wales; the weekend after in Bath, Somerset; and the weekend after in Lincoln. Then off to Austria for another two Saturdays. So I’ve got to make sure I attend phone meetings and make outreach calls – having planned those in advance, too.

Above all, I don’t eat no matter what… I can’t say I look forward to several weeks of substandard food, but hey, better meals are coming when I get a chance.

Day 34, serenity anyway

I had a string of misfortunes today. It’s a beautiful, sunny Sunday here and I decided to cycle to church rather than drive. I have just got this new bike and have never tried the footpaths to go to church – but I do have a rambler’s map. So off I went this morning, through fields and footpaths (and nettles) and ended up losing a screw on my bike. Also, the footpaths on my map are obviously meant for ramblers, not for cyclists: totally overgrown, often near impossible to pass with a bike… so when that screw came off I decided it wasn’t going to work, and headed back towards town – on roads. In town I went to the bike shop where I got it and they fixed it for free.

Upon going into the bike shop I tried to switch glasses (I have prescription sunglasses) and a screw was off on my regular glasses, so one arm fell off. Luckily I was already in town, so was able to go to the opticians where I got my glasses and they fixed them, for free again.

All of this is to say: this is what happened between breakfast and lunch. It certainly was inconvenient. I wasn’t happy these things happened but they never disturbed my inner peace. No anxiety… just doing the next right thing. After all that, I went back home and enjoyed a beautiful, committed lunch.

Day 30, vigilance

I had a crisis this morning. With my sponsor being away for a few weeks, I had arranged with another Greysheeter to sponsor me temporarily for the duration. While I normally call my sponsor around noontime, this Greysheeter asked me to call in the morning. Not a problem; I noted it, confirmed it with her, put it in my diary and thought of it before going to bed last night. Then I woke up, carried out my morning routine without thinking, and had a start at 9am (long after when I should have called) when I realised I had forgotten!!!

My abstinence is very young. I can’t afford to take things easy, not now, not ever; I did manage to find another Greysheeter to commit my food to at 9am and I can say that I’m abstinent today, but whoa. I did think about what if I have to go back to Day 1, and the honest answer is… I would do it. And I wouldn’t binge just because it’s Day 1 anyway. Having had a taste of abstinence again, I want nothing more than to keep it – but I do have to be vigilant.

Day 24, fears and insecurity

This morning I weighed in about 4 lbs. down from when I started. Unprecedented loss! – but fair enough, I was bloated on sugar when I started. I’m not expecting this rate to continue, nice as it would be.

Yesterday was a day filled with fears and insecurity. I feel insecure at work, which I haven’t for a very long time, and I worry. I fear not being taken seriously as I work alongside a very experienced person who is my senior in every way (experience, age) but we are equals on the same team. I feel undermined, since he has come in a month ago he has hit the ground running and done incredibly well. He is extremely professional. I feel amateurish and clumsy in comparison. My reaction has been to retreat and hide, instead of stepping up my own efforts – instead of trying harder, I waste time on the Internet and don’t get my own work done because I fear it will not be good enough! Obviously that’s the exact wrong thing to do. But I cannot help it.

Every evening as I take my inventory I write down this worry and my wasting working time, which eats away at my sense of integrity. I am new to this level of seniority and have made beginner’s mistakes; yesterday I had a meeting with the CEO and the Operations Director, which I initiated and thought was very important, but I got a sense that they felt I was wasting their time. That may be a correct perception or not, but in any case, it eats away at me and I worry. Today I had an email from my line manager saying that he was unhappy with the way I handled the recruitment of my and my coworker’s assistant (we made our choice and announced it; my line manager would have wanted to be informed first, and consulted). We will talk about this on Monday. On the upside, I feel secure enough in my job not to be fatalistic (i.e. I’m not afraid of being fired for this) but adding all the little mistakes up I am very afraid of becoming sidelined over time and passed over.

I don’t know how much of that fear is unfounded. In any case, the worry is not getting me anywhere and the fear and insecurity is not helping me either. Being abstinent means I cannot flee into the food and I have to deal with these feelings and the real life around me – which is entirely a good thing! But it is painful as well.

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.

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.