Tag Archives: 90days-2006

Day 90

My name is Susanne and I’m a compulsive overeater. Today I get to be abstinent as I weigh my 3 meals off the CGS, write them down, commit them to my sponsor, and eat those meals with nothing in between but approved drinks, no matter what. Because I have made this my #1 priority for the past 90 days, and continue to do so today, I have been given a wonderful and contented relationship with my food.

This time around was my third Day 1. The first was when I lived in NYC and managed to get abstinent for all of 18 days before I decided that I wasn’t all that bad. What followed was a long stretch in food hell. One year later, living in Maryland, I was finally ready to surrender. I had tried more diets.  I had binged my brains out. I weighed 180 lbs. I found the Greysheet I had, thank God, kept as a sort of “souvenir” and got abstinent. I had no phone numbers or contacts, and there was nobody in my area, but I remembered the website and the Greynet. I got on there, asked for a sponsor, grabbed the first person who replied, and was abstinent.

Miracle of miracles – I was given such freedom! For nine months, I was abstinent in MD as an outpost, staying in contact via the Greynet, phone calls, phone bridge meetings, my sponsor, and by sponsoring others. I even went to Chicago (a most outstanding event!). Life was throwing me all kinds of curve balls but I was able to deal with it because my food was in order. My weight had gone down to perhaps 135 lbs. – near goal.

Then I moved to England. Not by choice but because I couldn’t remain in the USA (which is a country I passionately love) as my job had ended and I was unable to find another one that would sponsor me a work visa, which costs a company about $4,000 in legal fees. Again, however, God provided me with wonderful people around me, my church, and today I am happy here.

Back then, January 2005, my sponsor who I had from the beginning, was unable to take my call at a different time and our regular time slot was impossible for me to make. So, with her blessing, I looked for a new sponsor within the UK. With the loss of my previous sponsor, my contentment in abstinence ended. Different sponsors have different ways of doing things, and while I learned very valuable things from each of the people I asked, I had trouble finding somebody who I clicked with and who had what I wanted. Eventually I found a wonderful sponsor in the USA who I called daily, and who was there for me. There are millions of reasons but no excuses for my relapse – if anything, I was being more involved in AA and Greysheet, going to a meeting weekly when before there wasn’t one – but I was drifting. Holding on, but drifting. Eventually, I drifted away.

What follows was a summer of more diets, and while I only gained 7 lbs. in those four or five months, my head descended into the obsession that had so miraculously been lifted. My disease is such that I my life itself won’t fall apart immediately if I’m not abstinent. I am highly functional. But food drowns out everything, my head becomes my enemy, I have no peace. Through the summer, I never had sugars, grains and starches (I know better than that) and yet I was out of control. The disease came back creepingly, gradually.

In October, I found myself face down after bingeing two evenings in a row. I had tried to hard to keep my eyes closed and explain them away. They didn’t go away, they were getting worse, and sugars/grains/starches began to call out to me. Defenses were crumbling. I had binged on sugar free sweets and suffered the intestinal consequences. Nothing helped. Then I finally surrendered – I made a call.

So I have been abstinent again since then. It was tough, facing all the people who hadn’t seen me weigh over the summer, but this time I didn’t discuss whether I should do it or not – I simply did. I contacted my first sponsor, and though she didn’t have any spaces, she did refer me to a sponsee’s sponsee of hers, with who I have a very good connection now. I am abstinent now, and while I can only speak for today, I believe that I have finally taken Step 1 fully. There are no illusions, no compromises – I am abstinent today, no matter what. Thank you for walking this road with me.

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Commuting

Having started a new job this week, my commute now (door-to-door) is about 1.5 hours each way. I cycle to the train station, take my bicycle with me on the train, then go from the station to work.

This has a few implications I hadn’t thought of. Because I have commitments every evening except Mondays, I need to prepare not only lunch but dinner as well – and when I get home at night it’s very late and food prep seems to take forever. Also, those meals are less than inspirational.

It’s all worth it

I am so, so relieved. So grateful, too. It’s a hard-earned victory, I feel like. Realising that I would struggle, I still went to celebrate Christmas at a friend’s house – I know how accommodating they are and that I would have no problem getting my food. There was never a problem anywhere except in my mind.  It would have been so easy… so many times I wanted to reach out and eat, eat, eat (oh I never dream about “just one”, I want it ALL). I did not. Yesterday there was a party and temptation was so strong, food was all around and I would have simply joined the crowd, but what kept me was knowing the sweetness of waking up the next day ABSTINENT. I did that.

I woke up this morning, clean and clear and abstinent. Today it wasn’t hard, we ate leftovers (phenomenal abstinent veg and protein!) and it was generally a low-key day. I think the reason it was hard for me yesterday was that I get bored in groups. Oftentimes it’s just a matter of sitting around, waiting for time to pass, chatting about uninteresting things with people just to make conversation. There’s the odd gem that holds my attention for up to half an hour, but then it’s back to waiting – and eating is what I want to do when bored. Keeps me occupied.

So, I just wanted to check in today, having just had a lovely abstinent dinner, to say that I made it through Christmas Eve abstinently and I feel like a million bucks for it now. Thank you God, thank you Greysheet community. I didn’t feel that I could call anybody, and I should have made arrangements with a few people who would be safe to call (I’ll know for next time) but I texted another Greysheeter whose support kept me going when I was nearly ready to let go. I was close to the edge, way too close for comfort, and I need to take better precautions next time. Nevertheless, I feel that I have built abstinent muscle.

Ode to sponsors

I’m so grateful for my sponsor. That woman makes herself available to me every single day at the same time, late at night for her, whether she is tired or going out or whatever. Sometimes I reach her voicemail, but the majority of times she is there and we connect. I’m so, so grateful for this – without her constant support and my accountability to her, my abstinence would not live very long. When I withstand food calling me, I get to tell her the next day that I still abstained! She’s my cheerleader, and I’m like a little kid who says, “Look how well I did,” and she gives me her nod of approval.

Of course I am abstinent FOR ME. If I didn’t want it for myself, no sponsor could give it to me or make me want it. But my sponsor is the authority against which I weigh my decisions with food, and toward who I air my frustration about my weight. She loves me very practically. What she does for me is an expression of loving, and perhaps over time I will learn to love myself this way, too – not indulging, not overdisciplining; good, healthy, firm boundaries applied lovingly.

I wish I could give my sponsor a gift that would express my incredible gratitude. Funny enough, however, *I* am her gift – I get to keep her abstinent, too! The fact that she gets to sponsor me supports her abstinence. I am not a burden to her. She depends on my calling in a different way to my depending on calling her, but in any case, this relationship is vital for us both.

One of these days – God willing by the middle of January – I will take on a sponsee and I can only humbly aspire to be to them what my sponsor is to me.

Locking the door

In talking with my sponsor this morning, we were discussing my plans to go out for dinner with my friends for one friend’s birthday. It would be my first time eating out since getting abstinent again. As it so happens, the dinner isn’t on (which has nothing to do with me) but I think it’s worth sharing with you on here the thoughts and feelings I had about it, in the hope that some of this may encourage someone else.

I was planning to go and eat the restaurant’s food. I have been there before and I know that I can get abstinent food – perhaps not in sufficient quantities, which is where my backup would come in (I take backup of everything, separately) – and this would mean that some of my friends there would see me weigh my food for the first time. Uncomfortable, certainly. Necessary, absolutely.

Yesterday I was thinking about going and not weighing there – making one exception, after all they do it in OA, why not me, especially as I don’t often go out anyway… you get the picture. But I know that I’d be on dangerous ground that way, I may not slide into a binge THAT DAY but I would be opening a door. There would be another time of eating out. There would be other exceptions. Eventually, because my abstinence isn’t clean, compromises would grow and grow until I’m living a lie. I don’t want to live a lie. I choose to do the little, day-to-day things right – such as making it an exact 4.0, such as not making any exceptions, such as being rigorously honest with my sponsor – not because I’m afraid I will binge if I allow the scale to say 4.1. My disease isn’t like that.

I do this because little compromises grow, they don’t stay little.

I’d rather have NONE – then they can’t grow – but once the door is open, even just a fraction, the lock is off and all I can do is use willpower to push it closed by force. And I know very well that my willpower is finite. So why do that, if I can just cleanly lock the door?

My door is locked today, thank God.

Scotland trip

I’ve been out of touch over the long weekend because my housemates and I went to Scotland. Staying in this lodge right by the seashore, we had a wonderful time to spend together and get to know each other better (and amazingly, the weather was awesome!).

I didn’t have a particularly easy time with the food. I’ve travelled abstinently many times, and the logistics of it weren’t an issue, but with only 60 days of abstinence backing me up I often struggled with envy and wanting to eat what they ate. Part of that, I’m sure, was also the fact that travel food is rarely #10, so the food I ate was by necessity small and not too tasty. But I need abstinence, I need it desperately, so I would not eat despite the envy. Back home, I need to make sure that I get reconnected with all of you and recover my gratitude.

My despised body

As I’ve been reading the jubilant shares of those who weighed in with a loss this month (congratuations!) I was once again feeling let down by this body of mine. This is an old attitude that I am slowly and consciously working on changing.

My body holds on to weight like a bulldog (which is a hormonal issue, I have PCOS, thank goodness I now know there’s actually a problem rather than just my body’s stubbornness!). So I was disappointed again, I didn’t lose anything this month. Or the last. Or the one before that. And the past month I have been, once again, hitting the gym in an attempt to exercise it off. It’s not going.

This month, at first I was defiant and told my sponsor that since it doesn’t make any difference anyway I might as well not exercise at all this month. She didn’t challenge that attitude (to be fair, understandably she’s as much at a loss about what to suggest in this situation as I am) but the past few days I have decided to treat my body with respect – DESPITE my feelings of frustration and anger at it. Doing the actions and perhaps the feelings will follow. So I went to the gym this morning, not to exercise, but to go to the Sauna and relax.

So I just want to say, because I need to hear myself say it, the SANITY I get by being on Greysheet has to outweigh my VANITY. I have such serenity and peace now, mentally, when it comes to food. Not when it comes to weight, obviously… but the food, the food, the food.

Thank God it’s down.