Monday, 27 April 2015

Food doesn't help me cope with life on life's terms

Last week I spent two full days in a meeting with a group of people. If you’re anything like me, you’ll understand how tough that is.

I’ve spent the days watching what others are eating. The snacks and treats people consume when they are stuck in a room for days.  I’ve spent the day handing over to my HP my food places, asking for relief from obsession.

I’ve thought a number of times I could ‘get away’ with eating just that little thing extra; trying to convince myself I’m like normal eaters.

Thankfully I was looked after. I’ve remembered that my best thoughts aren’t necessarily the best idea for me nor my HPs will for me.  I’ve been able to ignore the thoughts and not act on them. There was a little extra eaten at lunch but it was generally ok.

Food doesn’t make things ok. Food won’t make me feel closer to others. Food won’t give me a boost of energy or a feeling of comfort when I am feeling discomfort. Food doesn’t help me to think clearer, be more decisive or confident in my decisions.  In fact, overeating makes all those things impossible.

I am trying to learn to take life on life terms; to embrace my individuality, to accept my powerless over food as well as my powerlessness over people, places and things including my inbox.


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Sponsorship keeps me working my program

One of the things I love about sponsoring is the ongoing challenge to actually work my program.

A long-term sponsee has been raising concerns about her step work and decided she needed to explore more concrete paths to the steps.  After a search of what is out there, which is plenty, we’ve landed on working the steps through the Big Book Study workbook written by Lawrie C and based on the Joe & Charlie way of working the steps. 

I have certainly followed the Joe and Charlie way before but Lawrie C works the steps specifically for OA.  I thought I might get away with simply skim reading what section we are up to and talking it through with her.  However, after a pretty rocky weekend where I saw clearly that I keep taking back my will, that I am eating compulsively, I am clear my HP wants me to actually work the steps. 

It’s time for me to revisit my over-eating story and be clear why I am an overeater:
  • Once I begin eating I can’t stop – especially if I eat outside of meals
  • Once I take a bite of my red foods – especially sugar and white flour and combinations of the two – the physical obsession begins and I can’t stop eating them until I go to bed
  • Once I take a bite of my red foods I can think of nothing else but taking my second bite
  • I feel fearful if I can’t eat when planned, if I need to wait an hour or two longer than I am used to panic sets in
  • I feel comfortable feeling over-full and don’t think I’ve had enough until I get that feeling
  • Once I feel over-full I crave eating even more
  • There are many foods I can’t just eat one of – crisps, nuts, lollies, dried fruit, sugar-free recreational treats such as bounce balls.

I know I am a compulsive overeater because the following eating styles don’t work for me:
  • Cocktail & finger food – it never feels like enough and I have
  • Buffets – portion sizes and repeated trips are problematic
  • Sharing - I usually eat more than my share
  • Eating while travelling – walking (especially walking home from the shop) and driving
  • Meals where there isn’t a boundary 

I do know there is a solution.  Surrender. Hopefully honestly facing my addiction will help me to surrender; to only eat in ways that are nourishing and loving to me.  HP help me to have the courage to eat portion sizes that mean I need to lean on your heavily.  I can only do this with your help.

I have been touched by the love of fellowship at the moment.  I have been honest in how I am struggling and everyone has really put themselves out to support me.  Calls, texts, emails to remind me that if I work it, it works. To remind me I am not in this alone; it’s our weakness that binds us all.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

What makes me happy...... Gratitude is the first step in a change of attitude

Today, a day where I feel like I am swimming in a sea flowing with seaweed, pulling me down and making me feel uncomfortable, I need to remember what makes me happy; to see I can be happy even if very little changes. Happiness for me is:

•       Time in nature
•       Walking
•       Sense of achievement
•       Feeling engaged, consumed by a task
•       Coffee
•       My hubby, his crazy sense of humour
•       Time with my sisters
•       Connection with my HP
•       Feeling part of a team, working for the same goal
•       Meditation
•       Taking photos
•       Making art – photo books
•       Talking to friends
•       Ticking something off my to do list

I am so grateful that most of these things aren't about how much money I have, or what I do. It shows me I can be broke and happy.

Help me be grateful for this crazy life.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Recovery needs my honesty

As a program long timer, I can sometimes be tempted not to be truthful about where I am at but instead be vague about what struggles I'm facing, and instead focus on the hope and strength of my journey.

While I understand it's important I'm of service to others, I realise dishonesty really can't be my HPs will or truely be of service. Only HP can know what others need to hear from me. No one can truely be inspired by lies, no matter how subtle.  I heard a long timer share yesterday that she realised her imperfect story, one which included relapse after long term abstinence, needed to be heard for others to know that despite relapse after years of program she still could find recovery again. She certainly inspired me.

I also see that I really struggle with humility, that my default comparison position (feeling both less than and better than) is one of the most self destructive elements of my compulsive disease. I sense that these struggles are the best lessons of program.

I suffer from a progressive disease. Each year I struggle to be truthful about the amount of food my body needs, my meal size and what is considered 'with a meal' (is a piece of fruit 15 or 30 minutes later really with a meal?). I struggle to be honest about what my abstinence looks like and what restaurants I can eat at, I struggle to ask for my own meal, to admit that sharing food is one of the hardest things for me.

I am humbled to know that despite years of program, distorted thinking that 'I know' program that I am still a compulsive overeater who needs to surrender each meal to her disease.  I am humbled, but not humiliated, to know my body isn't right sized, that my angry and resentful behaviour shows I am still wrestling control of my life from my HP. I'm inspired to keep working a program and be open to messages from my HP.

My life experience has shown me that if I am honest in my struggle, do the work and surrender to my HP life will be good. I will have the life HP intends for me.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

My disease of forgetfulness

At a meeting today I heard once again that addiction is the disease of forgetfulness, something I really relate to.  How many times have I forgotten what the first compulsive bite looks like?  It's probably been 10 times this year already.  Most of all I forget the unmanageability that follows when I eat something that makes me compulsive.

I want to remember what (can) happen to me when I take that first compulsive bite:

  1. Anger binges
  2. Compulsive thinking
  3. Depression
  4. Dishonesty to those I love
  5. Lethargy
  6. Migraines
  7. Paranoia
  8. Sinus
  9. Weight Gain

The balance of imperfection - letting myself make mistakes but striving for recovery

I shared in a meeting yesterday that I'm striving to allow myself to be average, to accept myself as I am; neither the best or the worst.  I see that my thinking that either I am the best or if not I'm worthless has driven my disease for so many years.  It sees me push and push myself, and others, instead of being open to my HP's will.  It also let's me hit the 'fuck it' button and opt out when it seems too much or too hard.  

I want to live a live where I know I am good enough and that I am loved no matter what I achieve.  Or what I look like.  Or what I own.  Or how I spend my days.

However, I also see that my cunning disease is manipulating this desire to live differently to the black & white thinking of perfectionism.  Abstinence continues to be an important tool of recovery, my only path to recovery and sanity.  In my early years of recovery, abstinence was something I treated so preciously so carefully.  I ensured everything I did protected my abstinence.  I planned and lived my life in a way to ensure I could eat abstinently at every meal.

All these years later, after years of slipping and sliding, but with years of emotional and spiritual recovery I seem to take it all for granted.  I seem not to be that stressed when I take the first compulsive bite.  I justify that they are only little diversions, but deep down I know it's dangerous.  The additional food numbs me from my feelings, I put on weight which leads to more self obsession, I feel like a hypocrite when speaking to sponsee's and newcomers and stop being a role model of hope for others in program.

Yesterday I ate some crisps at 10pm.  They weren't on my food plan, I wasn't hungry and they weren't mine. I waited until my husband went to sleep so he wouldn't know I'd eaten them. Straight away after the first bite I knew I was in trouble as my next thought was 'what else can I eat'.  That thinking takes me on a dangerous road as there is bottom line food in my house.  I opened the fridge and looked at the food that my hubby has in there... Luckily I remembered to pray and my HP got me through to bed without any more food.

I find my dishonesty (eating my hubby's food, at a time that he won't see and a quantity that may go unnoticed) so confronting.  I am rarely dishonest in other areas of my life. My husband (who works another 12 step program) tells me it is this dishonesty that confirms to him I am an addict.  I am also rarely super clear in meetings or with my sponsor that I have eaten outside my food plan or broken my abstinence.  I use terms like messy and rough to describe my abstinence, and talk about food as being shinier. I don't say the reality that I have broken my abstinence.

Sadly, I'm the only person I'm kidding.  Messy abstinence doesn't serve me, it keeps me stuck in self obsession, dishonesty and separation.  I can't be connected to my HP or others in my life if I am being dishonest.  I can't hear my HPs will for me if I have food talking loudly to me. I can't be the best me if my thinking is full of thoughts of food. 

I will tell someone today that I broke my abstinence last night and that I recommit to abstinence today.  My abstinence is 3 meals a day, no snacking in between.  No food not on my plan especially recreational sugar.

HP please grant me the humility and wisdom to treat my gift of abstinence more carefully.  Help me to surrender to my physical compulsion and not take the first compulsive bite.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

A program of many chances

At this morning's meetings someone described OA as the program of many chances. That simple sentence encapsulates so many things I love about the program  I work - especially now I'm a long timer. An imperfect, struggling long timer.

After a period of less meetings, less willingness and more shiny food over the festive and holiday season my food is rough. This week I'm eating more at meals. I've eaten food outside of meals. I've eaten food recreationally and to numb my feelings. I thought about not going to my normal meetings. All things I can use to labor myself as a failure, use as excuses to hit the 'fuck it' button and dive head in to compulsive overeating, and not emerge for many months and many kilos later.

But I know if I start to take action and work a program it will soon be better. I don't have to be willing. I don't have to be willing to be willing. I just need to start doing something for my recovery and pretty soon things get easier.  Going to meetings becoms a privilege I guard protectively. Extra food at meals doesn't call me. I don't think about food between meals. My feelings are embraced.

Yesterday I spoke to my sponsor. She reminded me I had all the self awareness, tools and understanding of program I needed and that she had nothing new to teach me. You just need to take the action she reminded me.

I am so grateful I know that as a truth. I see that even though I have many stumbles and my weight is still higher than it should be, OA always provides me with a chance for a better life. This hope has been one of the most amazing gifts. Hope keeps me alive and growing. Hope keeps me coming back.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Living Spirituality

I grew up with a traditional notion of God and spirituality - it was a higher power that I was constantly trying to impress so I could get the rewards my Mum promised me. Somewhere through life I lost interest in this God, primarily because I felt I couldn't live up to my part of the required bargain and I felt I wasn't getting the rewards from life I expected.

Joining OA I have been forced to go back to basics and take a look at this view.  Why did I no longer feel connected spiritually?  Why did I think life was completely up to me and under my control alone?  I understood I'd failed to be in control around food, but didn't seem so clear on where else my control was failing.

Sitting in meetings, I slowly started to see that there was a God-sized hole in my life.

Now, my relationship with a higher power is firmly planted in the day.  It's not about my future life - it's about dealing with the life that is delivered to me today.

I ask my higher for help first thing each day.

At the end of the day I formally review and see where I forgot I wasn't God, where I thought I was in control. Where as I lost contact with God? This questioning/ God conversation ends with me asking God to take care of particular people - those I love and those I need to learn to love. This is a kind of surrender and the way I connect into a power greater than me.

Where does time go

How has it been so many years since I've blogged?

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Step 10 the AEIOU way

I am always on the lookout for new ways to do Step 10.  My brain struggles with honesty when it thinks it knows all the answers.  My ego is certainly a progressive part of my disease, and formal Step 10s are the most effective antidote to an over blown ego.

Today I heard about a new way to do Step 10 that I will try - the AEIOU way.

A is for abstinence
Reflect on what I have done for my abstinence; did I get to a meeting, work with others?
E is for exercise 
This one is going to be confronting for the lazy me! Reflect on what exercise I have done for the day.
I is for me, what have I done for me 
What did I do to take care of myself and my needs today?

O is for others, what have I done for others
Was I of service today?
U is for uncover
What is the thing/things I don't want to think about?  All I need to do today is write it down, get it out of myself.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Doing recovery like a newcomer

I heard in a meeting yesterday the reminder that I worked my program differently when I was a newcomer.  Then with the steps so new, and the memory of the pain of years of uncontrolled and painful eating so fresh in my mind, I approached working a program with gratitude and humility.  Every cell of my body understood what it meant to be a compulsive overeater, understood my powerlessness and saw me surrender completely.

I want to work my program like a newcomer, where I was clear that working a program was the most important thing in my life:
  • I was grateful for the opportunity to go to as many meetings as possible and regularly went 4 times a week and put meetings before my social life
  • I treasured my abstinence like it was the most precious gift.  I didn't put it at risk in any way including not tasting while cooking, not tasting samples or not eating at buffets or cocktail parties.  I weighed and measured. I shopped and cooked with my abstinence in mind. 
  • I counted my days of abstinence
  • I spoke program every morning in my call to my sponsor
  • I read every program book I could and when I could
  • I had an open mind when it came to all OA members
  • Exercise was part of my action plan, and I often exercised with other members
  • I was grateful for my recovery; my ego was reduced enough to know it wasn't me who was doing it but my higher power
  • I journalled without fail, and did formal step 3s and 10s each day
  • I meditated
Today I am going to think like a newcomer.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A Step 10 Prayer

My Higher Power, thank you for my day - let your will be done.

I pray I may continue to grow in understanding & effectiveness.  Help me to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear; help me to be willing to have you remove them.

Help me to be willing to discuss them with someone immediately and to make amends quickly if I have harmed anyone.  Help me turn my thoughts toward helping someone else.

Please help me to remember to practice love and tolerance of others.

Powerlessness needs to be remembered over and over

Forgetting I am powerless and not in control of everything gets me into trouble over and over again. When I forget that, I slip into selfishness and self-centredness warned against on page 62 of the BB. As the book says it is the root of all my problems; self-will run riot.

I am reminding myself today that I am powerless. I am powerless over things, people, places and situations

Things – I am powerless over food; food not on my food plan; food eaten outside of meals.  I am powerless over Pinterest.

People – I am powerless over myself; my imperfections and my defects of character; I am powerless over my weight and all I can focus on is abstinence one day at a time.  I am powerless over my husband, the struggle he is having in his life, his smoking and what actions he will take next.  I am powerless over other people at work and their opinion of me; I am powerless over their judgments and their priorities.  I am powerless over my in-laws and the their approach to life; it is none of my business.  I am powerless over my sponsees, the program they work and the recovery they are given.  I am powerless over my family and the decisions they make for themselves.

Places – I am powerless over my place of work and the change that is occurring at the moment.  I am powerless over OA.  I am powerless over my home area. 

Situations – I am powerless over our current debt (though I can not add to it).  I am powerless over my childlessness.  I am powerless over my pain in adjusting to change.  I am powerless over my grief. I am powerless over what I did yesterday; I am powerless over what I did not do yesterday.

HP let me live my life your way. Help me to move past my self-centredness, to give me the freedom to do life on life’s terms and to do it your way.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Taking responsibility

To err is human; to blame it on the other guy is even more human.
--Bob Goddard

Life (ok my HP) certainly has a way of sending me messages, and this quote was in my inbox today.

Yesterday's Step 4 work showed me that I have not been taking responsibility for what's been happening at work, not seeing that I am part of the problem and not part of the solution. 

But as Bob Goddard's quote says - that's okay that means I am human.  But I don't have to stay stuck, I can learn the lessons, take responsibility and become part of the solution.  The serenity prayer promises freedom in finding the 'courage to do the things I can'.

HP help me to find the courage I need at the moment, the courage to be the best I can at work, the courage to accept others and the courage to take responsibility for things in my life that I have been flakky around - especially my finances.  With God's help I can be the person he intended me to be. 

Saturday, 19 May 2012

My old friend fear of failure

Hello my old friend fear, you've not been gone long and I enjoyed your absence, but somehow it seems right you are back.  I was hoping to have lost contact with you, to have moved on to a new circle of friends but it appears that's not God's will for me.

What message have you brought with you?

I wonder why you always visit me when it comes to my work?  I've had fear of failure, fear of being found out as a fraud, for all my life. I remember it clearly at school, but remember it most painfully in my first few full-time jobs where I didn't appreciate what I was good at.  I just never felt enough.

 These days I seem to swing between over-confidence in my abilities and pure panic that people are just about to discover that I am not up to the job, that I'll lose my job and not be able to cope financially. 

The fear paralyses me, stops me from just getting in and doing my job and do what I am paid for.  I have so many 'to dos' left undone at work simply because I am afraid I do not know how to do them well.  I'm not pulling my weight, or working to my true ability. Other people are getting in and doing a better job and I am so resentful. I feel vulnerable and embarrassed. Isn't it strange how fear run wild results in the thing I am most afraid of?

I need to take action.  The opposite face of fear is faith, and in the past I have seen when I am missing faith I can act as if until it arrives.  Acting is good enough and can deliver the same results.  I am not making promises that I will storm through all my to dos on Monday but I will try to act as if I believe I can do my role, that I deserve to be successful.  After all, my business did just make that decision about me.  You see I am a survivor - I have a role when many don't.  I can just do everything on my to do list on the basis that I can do them well.

I have just started my latest Step 4, so I've started on my work issues and I can see I am full of self-obsession and self-absorption.  I am a pile of resentments and they are all based on the notion that if someone else doesn't think I am great, doesn't look after me at work, then I will not survive.  It's the old 'I am not enough'.  I've been blaming bosses and co-workers for how hard I have been finding life, but fear was really to blame.

God, I am so bloody grateful you looked after me this week.  I am going to use that gratitude to confront my fear.  With your help I know I can live in faith; live happily no matter what your will for me is.

Here I go, off to do my first to do.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Mychal's Prayer

Lord, take me where You want me to go,
let me meet who You want me to meet,
tell me what You want me to say,
and keep me out of Your way.
Prayer of Father Mychal F. Judge, killed in 9/11

Friday, 4 May 2012

Updated Step 3 Prayer

 God, help me live my life your way. Help me to move past my self-centredness, to give me the freedom to do life on life’s terms and to do it your way; not my way. Take my petty struggles, my fears, my resentments and any negative emotions so that I can help others and share your way of life. Help me to quit gossiping, judging others and to recognize when I’m being selfish and self-seeking.  Let me use that energy to be selfless and help consider others feelings and actions. Make love and tolerance of others my code.

God, help me today to not put anything into my mind or body that you would not have there. Take all of my relationships and make of them what you will.  Help me to trust you, for I know now that I cannot handle everything and, everybody by myself.
Let me know and live in truth.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Learning the lessons of slipping and sliding

2012 has been a year of growth - well that's the kind of thing I tell myself when I reflect on the pain of the year.  Pain equals growth right?  Well I am not sure what it means for most people, but for me much of my personal and emotional growth in my life has come at the time of extreme pain.

Here's hoping there is a reason for the recent pain.  I can't see that reason at the moment, but maybe I can be open to learning the lessons of slipping and sliding.  After a period of freedom from the food, once again I am trying to see how far I can push my food boundaries and I seem to be asking myself nothing but questions.  Can I eat this early, can I have a snack, is this sugar-free sweet really on my black list, is anyone noticing how fast I am eating?  Sometimes the answer is disappointing as behaviours like these are always a sign that I am in trouble.

So what is happening, what are some of the lessons I am learning at the moment?
  • I can not control others and often my attempts to control others just makes everything worse
  • Sitting with my feelings continues to be very difficult and I will grab for anything to make a feeling go away - food, TV, compulsive picking, judgement, gossip
  • Gossip costs me my peace of mind and leaves me feeling guilty and ashamed
  • I need to be even more vigilant around my food boundaries when I am hormonal as my body gets confused by the messages
  • When I keep masking my true feelings with food and other compulsive behaviour I can eventually loose contact with them and genuinely not know what I am emotional about.  Writing can help me clear the blocks to my feelings.  Sharing at meetings and with a sponsor can work even better.
  • If I push my 'physical' boundaries I can trigger the physical reaction of compulsion
  • My body doesn't know the difference between sugar and artificial sugar (a lesson I need to learn over and over)
  • Any food outside a planned meal, no matter how healthy, can trigger a physical compulsion
  • I am uncomfortable with how I look at the moment
  • I have slipped into isolation in program, not calling others enough including my sponsor
  • I need at least 3 meetings a week to be sane and happy
  • I need to have an action plan to support me to be sane and in my current job
  • Resentment, especially and other people's journey with food and their body, is poison
  • If I am sneak eating, especially hiding food from my partner, I am eating something I shouldn't be
  • My life is currently unmanageable
  • I need to resume doing daily Step 10s
Most of all, and as usual, I am learning that my thinking gets me into trouble.  When in doubt I need to stop  thinking, ask for help and hand it over to my HP.

the blue lining in my difficult year - growth

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Comparing my insides to other people's outsides causes me problems.

--Joan Rohde

Whenever I compare myself to others I always lose sight of who I really am. There will always be someone smarter, witter, funnier, more attractive, more loved and more lucky than me.  There will always be others who aren't as smart as me, hard working, aware.. the list goes on.  None of that is any of my business; none of that is about who I am.  It distracts me from my business of living my life according to God's will.  It leaves me in shame and guilt.

HP relieve me of the bondage of comparing myself to others.

If it is to be, then it is up to my HP

There is a lot going on in my life at the moment, and I am having the slow realisation that my recent unhappiness is caused by my will getting back in the way of my life.  I thought I'd really learnt that I can't think myself a sane, happy life and that it is only in my surrender that I get the life I need.  Once again the sneakiness of my disease has surprised me where I review all the areas of my life where I am acting in control.

Work is crazy, where I feel under pressure and under-performing in a fast-paced male environment, all under the cloud of change that a corporate restructure brings.  I am failing to do the ground-work, blaming others, procrastinating on the big things and obsessing with the detail, being self-centred and acting resentfully.

I want my marriage to be bright and shiny, and seem to rubbing just a little too hard in the areas I think have lost it's shine.  I have been pressuring my husband to do marriage counselling when realistically we just need to open the communication doors.  Nothing slams those doors shut faster than the suggestion we need professional input.

I want my body to push through pain and heal, despite the fact I have abandoned it these last few years reducing my exercise to a token level and haven't been feeding it the most nutritious meals.  I am angry at my body (and myself) for all the weight it has on and the moment, and the struggle it is having supporting that weight while on crutches.  I am expecting my husband to look after my food, while resenting the fact he can eat whatever he wants without physical consequences.

Grief is playing havoc with my emotions, and when I generally feel sad I pick at the old wound that is my childlessness.  I fantasise (is there a word for a negative fantasy) that my husband's happiness is defined by what I can not deliver him.  I project all my unexplained pain, hurt, guilt and regret onto this easily explainable pain.

I am nervous about our financial situation, despite demanding that I can have everything I want even if I can't afford it.  My credit card bills have escalated to pre-marriage days and I am feeling the emotional burden of financial fear that it is spiralling out of control.  I am not letting go of the areas of excess, and I am filling my apartment and my head with clutter.  My HP clearly wants a simpler life for me than bright shiny unpaid toys.

I am not open to others and failing to remember that my HP often tells me their will for me through others.

I don't need to worry about the minutiae of any of this, I can stop the pain caused by living beyond my means.  My message to myself is simply 'If it is to be, then it is up to my HP'.  If it seems all too hard it's because I am butting my head against the wall of self will.  I need to hand it all over to my HP - they know what is the next right thing for me.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

A day to remember

Tomorrow my ex-husband is cremated.  It is the end of his painful journey with addiction, one that finally killed him at the age of 47. Too young to die, too old to continue to battle with an enemy that had him tightly in it's grip since his teens.

This has been a tough week, and one where I have subtly played out my own addictions. Overeating. Busyness. Abandoning myself. There has been lots of ways I have numbed myself and tried to avoid the complex tide of feelings that keep washing over me.  I got myself to a meeting tonight and started to get back in touch with the feelings I was feeling when I first heard the news.

I am so sad that his life was how it was. He died alone, drinking alone and hiding from the world.  He wasn't discovered for a few days as his life had become an unending series of days drinking alone.  Very few people talked to him regularly as people who loved him found it too painful to see.  Many people were angry with him for not being able to help himself, many were angry at themselves for not being able to help.  He had married three times but still hadn't found the self-love he needed to face his demons.

I am so grateful for knowing my ex. He was a kind and loving person who is a big part of who I am today.  We grew up together, we became the people we are together. He will always be my first love and my first sexual partner. Through him I went to my first 12-step meeting.  Through him I began a journey of self-discovery that made me feel freer than I ever dreamed of.

The reality is, despite a distance of almost 15 years I still feel a lot of guilt around him.  I was a terrible wife and behaved in ways that I am ashamed of. I feel guilty that I left him. I feel guilty that I have found a great life and he didn't (I know that is arrogant to assume his life wasn't great, but it is how I feel).  I feel guilty that my addictions haven't stopped me being loved, working, having a family.  I feel guilty that I ever thought he and I could make a family.

I was lucky enough to have made two amends two him - one around how I was with him in our marriage and one about how I was with out of our marriage.  My living amends to him was no contact, my living amends to me was no contact with him or his family.  That meant I discovered that he was dead via facebook, something I found shocking.  When I called his brother he sounded stressed I had had to call them - we didn't have your number he blurted out.  Somehow that made me feel guilty too as I knew that was by my design.

I am afraid of tomorrow. Will I behave the way I am supposed to? Will others tell me they are angry with me because of how I was with him or them? Will others behave too kindly to me so I won't be able to cope?  I know it is going to be a difficult day so I am going to ask God to come to the funeral with me. I need to do this.  I need to say goodbye properly.  I don't want it to be another thing I feel guilty about.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Insane. Who me?

I am starting to look at Step 2 of this journey of recovery, and as part of that process I am questioning whether I am 'suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer' (BB 44).  Is it true that I have behaved in insane ways and that only a higher power can return me to sanity?  Life has shown me over and over again that in some areas of my life I am insane, and can only be helped by a higher power.  Nothing I can do, say or learn can return me to sanity.

The ways I have acted insanely include:

• Blaming my weight on my genes, metabolism, problems – allowed myself not to face my compulsive overeating. Keep thinking that if only I was thin I would be happy.

• Pretending I was somebody else so I didn’t have to confront my coe. Pretended I didn’t like the beach, swimming, outdoor activity or playing sport.
• I wore/wear black clothes as much as possible in the mistaken belief it hid my weight. Wore long sleeves in the hottest of weather and convinced myself i wasn’t hot.
• Isolating and limiting my social life because of food and how I felt about myself.
• I was ‘driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity ‘(Pg 62 BB). I was afraid of never being good enough or loveable enough to be happy. I believed I had it all under control if people would just do it my way, that my way of living was the only way – despite my issues with my food.
• Got involved with unavailable and inappropriate men because I felt unloveable and unattractive. Chose men on the basis they reflected well on me physically and then accused them of being shallow and believed a lot of issues came from my weight not my behaviour.
• Blamed the world for not making me happy. Gossiped, bitched and moaned.
• Disconnected from my higher power – and tried to live on self will. Pushed and pushed in areas I felt I ‘had to’ control.
• Kept having conflict with people, places and things.
• Kept pushing and working and things (and relationships) despite all the signs that it was not working.
• Acted over-responsibly, assumed I could fix everything. Did for others what they needed to do for themselves with the expectation they’d look after me back. I have focussed on other people’s problems rather than face I had my own.
• I have eaten food when I was not hungry, when it hurt to eat more, when eating more food made me feel sick and vomit. I have eaten food that was not cooked properly, stale or off. I have eaten food to sate my pain and emotions. I have eaten food I am allergic too. I have eaten food to shift my mood and have altered my hormonal balance.
• I kept eating food that made me compulsive and promising myself to just have one.
• I have lied about what I have eaten; to myself and others.
• I keep turning to food to ease the pain of excess weight.
• I spent money on therapists and counsellors to solve my weight issues.
• I damage and maim my body including compulsively picking and touching my skin.
• I get excessively busy – at work and in my private life – and leave no time for feeling my feelings.
• I often do the same things over and over again but expect the outcome to be different.

Friday, 10 February 2012

My higher power is definitely louder when I am quieter

I have been on a lovely break away with family, to a break in nature with no modern world distractions such as phones (I love going to places with no coverage), computers or TVs.  Really getting away like this has long been the best medicine for me. Nature forces me to be quieter, it gives me delights and adventures that shows me I can not be in control of everything. I notice that in nature I am more my true self, not the person I think I should be.  In my quietness I start to listen to my HP.  I hear the messages I have been ignoring.  I remember I am not in charge.  I remember I am powerless.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012


Where does willingness come from? On my good days willingness is a sign from my HP that he or she exists. Life continues to show me that I can't have willingness simply because I want it. When I am in my will alone, no matter what I try and manipulate, the willingness will not arrive. Unless it is God's will. Today I am grateful for the willingness that has arrived, and was desperately needed. I see That I did the ground work and then handed it over to my HP. And then I was looked after.

I am also grateful for my imperfect parents today, after watching someone else deal with her family. My parents may not have been perfect but they loved me and took care of me to the best of their ability. I am grateful for all the lessons they taught me and all the love they shared with me.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Desperation Prayer

Someone shared with me their desperation prayer this week - 'God I'm f**ked re x, please help me'.  It really made me laugh as I can really identify with the sentiment and the need.  I think it is a very effective prayer and have added it to my repertoire.

Monday, 16 January 2012

How my life is unmanageable because of the food

  • I get emotional hang overs from the food
  • I get mood swings from food
  • I am unable to manage my emotions when I am in the food
  • My life is organised around food
  • I stress when shopping, I struggle to find clothes that suit my size and shape and I hate looking at myself in the mirror of dressing rooms
  • Impacts my sex drive
  • I abandon activities that show my body, even if they are things I love - going to the the beach, swimming, dressing up
  • Time and money wasted on food
  • I spend days in bed due to physical reaction from foods
  • I think people are judging me because of what I look like, which sometimes allows me to avoid taking responsibility for my behaviour (ie I believe it is not what I did/or didn't say or do but what I look like)
  • Unmanageability around spending money I don't have
  • Unmanageability around friends - I can isolate
  • Issues with my body - weight, size, back, cellulite

Why I am convinced I belong in OA
  • No where else works - no diets, no diet clubs, counting calories, not counsellors or psychologists, not keep a food diary
  • I have food issues beyond my weight - I can't stop after the first compulsive bite, especially outside of meal times
  • My relationship to food goes beyond my physical needs, I use it as a crutch spiritually and emotionally
  • I have a proven history that it works for me when I admit my powerlessness and work my program

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

This is what Step One looks like

  Step One is where I get to admit I am powerless over
  food and that my life is unamanageable.

  Today, I celebrate the freedom my powerlessness 
  gives me and the blessings of being an over-eater.

  In knowing and identifying my disease, I can surrender
  and hand it all over to my HP to take care of.

I know I am powerless over food because:
  • I have a physical reaction to food I am allergic to, espeically sugar, sugar and flour and sugar alternatives such as palm sugar.  These reactions include:
    • Being unable to stop after the first bite; portion; plateful
    • Migraines
    • Severe sinus
    • Eczema
    • Acne
    • Excessive and rapid mood swings
    • Depression
    • Physical cravings
    • Excess weight
  • I can not limit my food intake by dieting
  • I can not eat moderately or sanely outside of meals - snacking always leads to compulsive overeating.  I can only eat manageably within the structure of abstinence
  • My relationship to my food is beyond physical - it is a crutch spiritually and emotionally
  • I physically react to 'sugar-free' foods as if they were sugar products.  My body can not tell the difference between artificial sweetners and sugar, and therefore has the same physical reaction
  • I am often secretive about my eating, not wanting others to see me eat, see what I am eating or share what I am eating
  • I am often unable to eat slowly
  • I often have poor judgment around portion/ meal size. 
  • My first reaction to a plateful of food is often 'it's not enough' and I become fearful that I will be hungry.  I often finish eating my meal and my first thought is I am hungry, that wasn't enough
  • I have significant fear of being hungry
  • I will eat food even when I am not hungry.  I will eat food I don't like.  If I do not like a meal, I feel grief that I didn't get the meal I wanted
  • I am constantly watching what others are eating, aware of their portions and food types
  • I experience jealously at what other's can eat
  • I can be a 'feeder' offering sweets and cooking treats for others

My will is in the way

I am currently working through Step-One (for the upteenth time - but it takes how many it takes!) and the thing that is coming through really clearly is that I am totally expecting my will to get me through life.  I somehow have gone back to the old thinking of 'if it is to be, it is up to me'.  I seem closed to the idea that I am powerless over people, places and things.  In reality, all I am responsible for is the groundwork and the rest is up to my HP. 

If it is to be, then it is up to my HP.

I am trying to remind myself that it is ok, I don't need to race ahead to Step 3 and instantly hand my will over to my HP, but I do need to observe the problems at hand.  I need to experience the pain of not living life on life's terms.  Today, I know I am in self-will because:

  • I am irritable and discontent
  • I am blaming others for everything, and not looking for my part in any conflict
  • I am letting everyone know I am not happy
  • I am procrastinating at work
  • I am avoiding taking care of myself, and instead focussing on what everybody else needs to do to make my life manageable
  • I am struggling to be truley grateful for my life - I know I have a lot to be grateful, but I can not get in touch with the feelings of gratitude I have previously felt
  • I am not being open to suggestions from others (other people are often the messengers of my HPs' will
  • I am not letting go of the excess in my life - my wardrobe needs a cull as a starting point
In essence, my will is getting in the way of me living a life that is joyous and free. 

I know that I can not know or understand what lays ahead for me, but that it will be ok. I don't have to get everything I want to be happy.  If I just 'let go' of all my control, my HP can start looking after me and I will be ok.

HP help me find a way to get out of the way of your will for me.