Tag Archives: gratitude

Day 91, thank God

I’ll have to keep this brief because I’m in an Internet cafe in Vienna as I write this – but I need to write in to say that I have celebrated 90 days abstinent yesterday. I’m in Austria, visiting the family, and I’ve already faced a few challenges! Most notably, I had to use my cooked veg backup the day I arrived and the next day, being a Sunday, nothing was open (I mean, NOTHING) and I was worried. We went out for lunch and I ordered so many cooked vegetables they thought I was mad: but it meant I had enough for dinner, and the problem was solved. And I have learned to take more backup in the future. 😉

It’s wonderful to be here and be abstinent. I can feel the difference: last year when I was here, I felt heavy, unable to move much, weighed down and full all the time. I was crazy in the food, stealing it from the people I was staying with, buying it everywhere, eating in secret and quickly. I don’t have to do that today.

So I just wanted to thank you guys, the fellowship, for taking me back after my relapse and welcoming me the way you did. And I have a wonderful, brilliant, committed sponsor to thank too – NMW

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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.

3 Years – anniversary thoughts

I’m Susanne, a compulsive overeater. I’m abstinent today as I weigh my meals off the CGS after I have written them down and committed them to my sponsor, and then I eat those meals and nothing else – no matter what. I make that my #1 priority today.

I celebrated 3 years’ abstinence on Thursday. Thank God… I am living in the solution and I have a life.

Today is Saturday and I haven’t eaten compulsively – so I’m officially into year 4 of abstinence. Right now I’m sitting in my living room, watching Star Trek: Voyager (yeah, I love it) and sipping a hot abstinent beverage. Life is good.

Abstinent life over the past year has been challenging in some ways. In general, having been “in programme” since March 2005, I’m fairly comfortable with the logistics of staying abstinent; I’ve never had an “accidental slip” or anything like that. Whenever I have wanted to be abstinent, I have been. There was a summer in 2006 when I allowed others to talk me out of abstinence and I suffered the result – the insanity of starving and bingeing, even though I never touched the sugars/grains/starches – over the course of about three months before I gathered the courage to stand up for my needs and get abstinent again. Or perhaps better words: I was finally desperate enough again. On 15 October 2006 I got abstinent again and have remained abstinent since then.

But the challenges have been more insidious. Due to a hormonal condition, I have been gaining weight – ironically, ever since I began working with my current sponsor (which is now probably about 2 years), I have been gaining almost every month. My sponsor is wonderful and I hate that this is happening because I feel like a burden to her. For a while I was put on the pill, which was an additional cause of weight gain, but last month I was finally put on other medication and now I’m finally hopeful for loss again. It’s terrible to keep gaining and gaining, but while I’m abstinent I can be confident I will never be *obese*. Even so: I want to look good.

So over the past few months, with my clothes getting tighter and having to move up a dress size, I have had to fight off the urge to starve or diet. To cut out just a little bit from the Greysheet allowance. It would be so easy…. and of course, the next bite would then be even easier. I cannot give the disease a foothold.

At 3 years’ abstinence, I’m not cured. I still have compulsive thoughts. I’ve struggled hugely with gum (currently I’m OK, no gum). I could pick up the food any second, I just choose not to right now. The big difference these 3 years make is that I have a life now that I don’t want to lose by picking up… I got busy! I have a job I love; a place I’m calling home; I have a wonderful group of friends around me; I’m able to help my family; and I’m doing a Master’s degree. Life is full, but I know I could unravel it all if I picked up. That’s why, even though in terms of my weight abstinence is not giving me what I want, I would be mad to exchange what I have for a life filled with food (or just food thoughts) and nothing else: because that’s how it could be.

So I don’t eat today, NMW.

One thing

I was thinking – it’s the 1st of October, and I thought about the number 1: if I could only gain one thing from abstinence, what would it be? The ideal weight or peace with food?

Thinking about it this way, my vote goes for peace with food. I have been in a thin body and absolutely ravaged by food at the same time, no space in my head for anything else, obsessed every minute. It’s not what I want.

I want to be thin too, but if I had to choose just one thing, it would be peace.

Writing Group Topic: My feelings are my responsibility

How I feel can’t be determined by others? Whether I’ll ever get to that level of serenity in my recovery, I honestly don’t know. I am lucky in that who I am is giving me the best possible start to work with when it comes to getting people to like me. I’m non-threatening, short, female, reasonably good looking, young, well-kept. I believe I don’t scare people off, and I come across as an average person most people feel comfortable enough relating to.

That’s a start; it could be worse (I could have some deformation, or simply I could be a tall black male some conservative English people could feel threatened / intimidated by). In this country, I’m a totally average person with a steady job and have “normal” written all over me. That is an amazing gift that abstinence has given me (because I am abstinent I am interested in other people, I am not grotesquely fat, I don’t smell because I can’t be bothered to wash).

So the initial outset is OK – I don’t get negative feedback from strangers. Strangers usually make me feel good: I can connect quickly with people, I find it easy to meet new people and have a conversation and be liked. I’m sure that counts for something in the sense of my self-esteem.

I run into trouble when I get into real relationships. Friendships. Family. There are some whose opinion truly doesn’t matter to me and therefore they don’t affect my emotions, positively or negatively… my grandmother, father, sister are all in that category. I could care less what they think and whether something I said or did has made them feel any differently about me. Their feelings truly are not my responsibility, although of course I do civilly and try to do by them as I’d have them do by me. It just doesn’t affect my inside.

Very different with people who I *want* to like me. My cousin. My friends here. My boss. I find myself very affected by what I think they think of me (and that might be wrong!). Not to the point that I’d say I worry constantly but I do get a high and a rush if I feel like I’ve pleased them… and then I feel a certain pressure to keep up the relationship, to continue pleasing them. I’m convinced that is from the way my mother brought me up, in that I would have her love and her attention only through pleasing her. Since she mattered to me, that’s what I did. Today, if someone matters to me, I want them to be pleased with me.

Now I don’t think that generally it’s a bad idea to try and please someone but I would detest the idea of doing things for that reason alone, that I would otherwise not do. Trying to be someone I’m not. I absolutely hate it when I sense someone is trying to please me too much, is trying to say what they think I want to hear. It feels dishonest. And probably the reason why I detest it so much is because I have that tendency, myself.

But, I’m in recovery. I get to work on these things. Today I won’t eat, no matter what, and instead learn how to live in this world as an equal to everyone else.

Abstinence is its own reward

Someone apparently found my blog by typing in a search for “abstinence is its own reward”. I don’t think I’ve ever used those words, but there’s certainly truth in that…

Abstinence has enabled me to have a life, quite simply. Because I am abstinent, I’ve been able to focus on living my life – moving continents, getting qualifications, building friendships, crafting my career. The rewards are endless. But, would I choose to be abstinent even if none of that ever materialised?

A resounding YES to that!!

I had a sponsee for a while who kept asking me why her life wasn’t getting any better now that she was abstinent. (mind you, she never made it to 90 days). Her life sucked, according to her, and she was disappointed with abstinence because it didn’t make everything better.

As for me, personally: I will take a life that sucks over a life consumed by food any day. When I ate, I despaired on a daily basis – I had no life, and I couldn’t die. I was merely existing. To me, no matter what life will still bring my way, abstinence has got to be first because no matter how bad my life gets, I can still have hope for it to get better – I’ll work on it, I’ll trust that circumstances will eventually change, I trust that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

That’s what I lose when I’m not abstinent: hope.

No matter how bad things get, I have hope because I know that “this too shall pass”. But the food never passes. If I drown in that, I lose hope, and that is the darkest place to be. I don’t want to go there today, so I’m abstinent – no matter what.

A life to be lived

I just returned from a week’s vacation in southern Spain.

This is the first time I have ever taken a vacation in that sense… normally when I travel it is to visit friends or family, or to attend events (conferences etc.) – but I have never before gone somewhere with no plan, nothing to do at all, away from everybody I know and completely cut off – all by myself.

I found it an incredibly liberating experience.  The “logistics” weren’t a problem – I have travelled a lot in abstinence, and was staying at a self-catering place anyway where I prepared my own food.  But there I was… no plan, no agenda, no schedule… no TV or Internet, either… and life became so simple.

In the morning I would get up, have breakfast, spend time with God and meditate.  I wrote letters.  A few mornings I sat in the sun, in the garden, with a book.  I didn’t even keep to any discipline with my reading material: within a morning, I would switch from a history book (yes, I’m interested in that sort of thing) to fiction, to AA literature, to guide books about the area.  Or I would do a puzzle – it must have been years since I have done that.

I would make lunch, then head out – just down to the beach, or into town to window-shop (I found I’m too stingy to buy things I don’t need, especially on vacation when it means that I’ll have to cram them into my suitcase!) and walk around.  I spent a lot of time just walking around aimlessly.  Looking at things, people-watching.  I walked along the beach.  A few days, I lay at the beach (with a jacket on – it’s winter there, too!) with a book.

I did go sight-seeing to Malaga, wandered around a lot there too – didn’t go into any of the attractions because they cost money.  I do not like being a tourist, walking the trodden tourist path.  But I walked around, and up a hill where I could survey they entire city.  Up on that hill, on a lookout point where I could see the city and the sea and all, I had a beautiful lunch that I had taken with me.  Abstinence is beautiful.

Now I’ve come back incredibly, mentally refreshed.  A little over a week ago I was hurried, disorganised, unable to concentrate – running ragged.  Today I have an inner calm that comes from being in a place where I was able to listen to God and to myself again.  Get acquainted again.

The point is: I took care of myself in abstinence.  Going on vacation like this was an act of self-care, sorely needed at this point.  Eating beautiful abstinent food that I prepared myself, while there, was another act of self-care.  Every day that I do this – take care of myself by choosing recovery – I am loving my body and my life in a very practical way… but that is only the beginning!  Life unfolds.

In Spain, one book I kept referring to was Living Sober (AA conference approved literature – if you don’t have it, I recommend it highly!).  One message of that book hit home for me: and that is, there is a life to be lived in sobriety!

Today I have a life, and I’m making it the best it can be – only because it rests on a foundation of recovery.  Today I don’t eat, NMW.