I am away from home at the moment, due to work: staying at Bed & Breakfasts, eating food bought ready-made from the supermarket as I have no cooking equipment or fridge. So, breakfast each day is excellent (cooked), and lunch/dinner is less than stellar, but that’s OK. I’m keeping it simple. Tomorrow I go home for one day, then off to another exhibition away.
This week I have been going to live AA meetings for the first time since getting abstinent this time. I was so uncomfortable with the idea of going to AA again in my hometown, where people had seen me before I relapsed… so I lived in phone meetings. This week I took the opportunity to go to AA in a place where nobody knew me, and I feel like I’ve got hooked: the meetings I have gone to have been speaking to me so deeply, I have such a craving now to be part of that community again. Yesterday several people spoke about the importance of the fellowship, one chap had been sober for 18 years and said he was still doing five meetings a week because he LOVED it. That gave me such a tug – I WANT this! My sponsor has been abstinent for ages and still puts the fellowship first. That is what I had not done, and why I lost my abstinence.
My attitude has been that I have a commitment to doing those meetings, because I have to, because that is what keeps people abstinent in the long term; but it felt very much like chores, like brushing my teeth in the morning: not something I’m particularly excited or happy about, just something that needs to be done. I saw a kind of joyous fellowship, love of being together, in the meetings I went to this week and that attracted me more than anything. People shared so positively, and they just loved being there… that is how I want to approach the fellowship from now on. I get to be part of a world wide fellowship; wherever I go, there are people (AA or GSA) I can call on; what a privilege, and what a wonderful thing to be able to be part of!!!
So I’m definitely going to prioritise live meetings from now on. I’m hooked.
My sponsor is challenging me. I don’t like to be treated like an addict, but she is quite right, I am one. She doesn’t expect me to tell the truth, so she checks and asks questions – which I don’t like as I feel like I’m not trusted. Then again, as an addict I am not to be trusted. Her treatment of me drives home to me the reality that I am not a rational person around food, and I do need to treat MYSELF as an addict who cannot be trusted. I have to build up a network of people because I need the accountability, not because I need a new set of friends.
When I was last abstinent, I reached 3 years, then I relapsed. (That I made a choice to quit Greysheet is completely irrelevant; it is a relapse) Why? Because I had not built up an adequate support network… and also, looking back now, because I looked at the support network as an optional extra, so long as I W/M’d my food I was abstinent so everything else was more of a chore, an intrusion into my busy life. The idea that it was vital and important wasn’t really there. There are many things I disagree with other GS’ers on, and many people in GS who I wouldn’t make close personal friends with. But, I know today that friendship is really beside the point: we are keeping each other from death; I don’t have to like you to save you from drowning… and vice versa.
Then again, there are lots of people in GS who I DO like and who I WOULD like to be friends with. But I often felt that I had so many commitments in my life already, the building of new friendships really wasn’t a priority. Again, with these people as well, the accountability / network is what counts, not the depth of any friendship. Friendships may develop, but they are not what outreach calls and phone meetings are about.
I have got to change my attitude. My sponsor makes me commit my community involvement when I give her my food – she wants to know which meetings I attend, and the outreach calls I make. She wants me to do as many F2F meetings as possible, which is difficult for me with many weekends taken up by work… which might mean I need to attend AA meetings in my town instead. Not something I like to do. But again, I have to adjust the attitude: this isn’t about socialising, meeting new people, having a good time: this is what I need to do to ensure I will never forget why I do GS. Because THAT, ultimately, is why I lost my abstinence after 3 years.
It’s 4:30pm and I am starving. I have been drinking much less water today than I normally do because I have decided to drink plain water (as opposed to calorie free soft drinks) and that may well have something to do with it. On the upside, I have just walked past a mirror and I could swear I can see a difference in my weight. Then again, it may be my eyes playing tricks on me (i.e. feel hungry = must be thinner!)
I have to remember I am not a normal eater. My friends all are normal eaters; they are thinner than me, and they eat foods we don’t eat without a problem. It makes me feel resentful and left out, and their carefree easygoing attitude to food makes me feel like I’m uptight and high maintenance and no one will ever put up with me. I do wish I was a normal eater…. but, today I have a solution that works. I know, after a year of experimentation until 67 days ago, that I will never be fixed and will never be sane around food the way others are; I have let go of the idea that I ever will be; but I’m not happy with that fact.
However, feelings are really neither here nor there: I’m abstinent today, no matter what.
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.
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.
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.
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.