Truth on Tuesday

The Miracle of Freedom (sort of)


Somebody brought in a plate of goodies and plopped it on the table in the break room.  I am pleasantly surprised to find myself able to walk away, but I’m still obsessing a little bit in my head.  Part of my thinks, “Oh. Cookies.  That’s interesting.”  Another part of me thinks, “Hmm, I wonder how they taste?”  Still another part of me rationalizes, “I should eat one because I might not get another chance.”  The devil on my shoulder says, “Take one or two. It won’t matter.”  The angel on my other shoulder says, “Take care of yourself.  You don’t need cookies today.”  And my inner beast says, “OMFG, COOOOOOOOKIESSS!!!”

Here’s the truth:  Glad as I am that I’m not stuffing myself with cookies (because, you know, I might never get to taste a cookie ever again in my entire life), the crazy is still there inside of me.

In the program, we talk a lot about miracles.  Miracles come in all sizes and shapes.  Today the miracle is that I’m not physically crazy for cookies even though I’m fighting a few battles in my head.  I’m not a person who really believes in miracles because the ones that happen to me often don’t seem as spectacular as I think anything called a miracle should be.  Inasmuch as I’m grateful for today’s little miracle, I want the big one.  I want it now.

Here’s some more truth:  I rarely want anything in a small way.  Whether it’s cookies or recovery, I want it BIG.  I want it to be MAGNIFICENT.  I want it to be INSPIRING and I want it to go viral.  A lot of that is ego.  A lot of the desire for the BIG miracle is because the feeling of wanting to eat junk food is overwhelming at times, but the lack of desire is *meh.*

Imagine this:  You’re in your house, maybe watching TV, and suddenly there are fire alarms going off.  You don’t just sit on the sofa and say to yourself, “Oh, fire alarms.”  No.  You jump up and you run to the door.  Well, that’s how it feels inside me most of the time when I’m craving something to eat (usually junk food).  It’s like there is a fire and I physically need to get up and run to the food for safety, for calmness, for satisfaction, for relief from the tension.

And here’s the God’s-honest-truth:  Recovery really isn’t spectacular.  It’s having to deal with the inner demons that come out to play as soon as I don’t give in to food cravings.  On a good day, it’s just calmness (i.e., a lack of the drama that has been part of my life for longer than I can remember).

So, maybe in time I will find joy in the quietness.  Maybe in time I will realize that freedom from the addiction is a magnificent gift even if it’s not celebrated with fireworks and rainbows.  Until that  release finally comes, I’ve got friends and I’ve got a program and I’m going to take this just one day at a time.


Acceptance, Steps

One Resolution, and I Kept It


My one resolution in 2016 was to learn to like myself.  It took nearly the whole year, and I’m still not good at doing it every day, but I finally learned at least how to go about it.

I learned that the only path to liking myself was to accept myself at this moment, to accept that I am where I need to be, and that I have value as I am now.

This insight came after a phone call with my sponsor, a good friend in the program, who reminded me that, even though I might not like my current situation or circumstances, accepting that my Higher Power (HP) loves me and accepts me exactly where I am at this moment is the key to loving myself.  If I can accept that I am where I need to be, that my HP knows this and loves me as I am, then I can love myself.  If I love myself, then I can learn to be kind to myself, and being kind to myself is the root of positive changes.

I admit that it was emotionally overwhelming to come to that realization.  I admit that I wanted to live in that moment of pure bliss and acceptance forever.

But acceptance is a process, not a static state.  It is the daily practice of releasing the illusion of control; of developing a habit of turning to my HP for assurance rather than relying on food to give me emotional strength.

Paradoxically (or, perhaps not), it is in turning inward for strength that I feel most weakened.  I want the easy crutch of my addiction.  I want the easy excuse of hating myself and my situation so that I an eat until I self destruct.

This year’s goal is to continue to good work I began last year.  This year’s goal is to make choices (in food as well as in managing stress) that honor the goodness that my HP sees in me.  This year’s goal is transformation of mind and spirit; whether it shows up in my body is completely incidental.





The 400 lb Phone


The telephone, whether a cell phone or a land line, is an essential tool of recovery.  Too often I need to reach out to my sponsor or to someone else in program.  The time we spend on the phone is like a meeting in miniature.  We know the steps.  We share our experience, strength, and hope, and then we get on with the day.

Paradoxically, it’s hard to reach out, either to ask for help or even to say hello.  We call it the 400 lb phone for a reason:  it’s hard to pick up the receiver.  It’s like that day I was on my way to the gym but didn’t want to go, and I was in tears from my torn feelings:  do the thing I need to do, or do the thing I want to do?  But just getting to the parking lot of gym made it easier to go inside, and being inside made it easier to do the workout, and going the first time made it easier to go the second time.  So, picking up the phone, dialing a number — small steps toward the goal of reaching out.

I received a call today from someone in the program, and it was great.  The caller was trying to get out of his/her head, and I needed someone to talk to for a moment.  Someone made the call to help him/herself and ended up doing a service (another of the tools of recovery), and thus we did Step 12 work with each other.

For all the crud that happened today, that unexpected call was a bright spot.  And that tells me that maybe I need to reach out not only for myself but to see whether I might be someone else’s lifeline.


How I Get My Sorry Arse to the Gym


Last Monday I promised myself I’d get my sorry arse to the gym.  I’d gone into work early (it was a holiday, but there were things I needed to do), I ate a decent breakfast, I’d run the one errand I needed to run.  But I didn’t want to go to the gym.  I was tired (lack of sleep), but that wasn’t the reason, either.  I just didn’t want to start on this journey.

Crowbar #1:  Call a friend.  Talking to someone, saying it out loud:  That makes it real.  I have to own up to my sorry excuses for not doing what I need to do.

Crowbar #2: Drive to the parking lot of the gym.  This was what the aforementioned friend (the one I called last Monday) suggested, and I found that it works.  I don’t have to go in.  I just have to be willing to drive into the parking lot.

Crowbar #3: Try just 10 minutes.  This one came from another friend, and I like it.  If I still feel like crap, I can stop after 10 minutes.  If I feel good after 10 minutes, I can continue.

This week I have promised myself that I will drive to the gym every morning before work, and on Wednesday and Friday morning I will actually go in and try for 10 minutes.  Driving to the gym in the morning helps to set the pattern for changed behavior.  All of it is a practice of being willing.

I don’t believe I will ever love exercise or going to the gym, but I know from past experience that I will like the results of the effort.

Truth on Tuesday

Truth on Tuesday

I’ve decided that I need to tell the truth about myself.  Tuesday seems like a good day for that.

Truth #1:  I’m fat.  At my last doctor visit, I weighed 306 lbs.  Granted, I was wearing my shoes and a pair of jeans at the time, but I think it’s bullshit to deduct any number of pounds from the today because the number is what it is.  Deducting even 7 lbs still puts me nearer to 300 lbs than I ever intended to be.  So, let’s be truthful:  I’m fat.

Truth #2:  I’m a food addict.  I am a compulsive, impulsive, and sometimes repulsive eater.  I have tried diets with some success, but no diet has ever addressed what’s really going on at the core of me.  That’s why I need a 12-step program.  That’s why I needed to heal my relationship with a power greater than myself because when I’m around food I have no power.

Truth #3: I’ve eaten some food today that was not beneficial.  I was stressed out over some work I’m doing and pissed off about some inequities at the office, so I told my Higher Power (HP, for short) to get the fuck out of my way.

Truth #4: My HP doesn’t punish me for pushing him/her/it aside.  My HP loves me exactly where I am today.  When I overeat, I am only harming myself by eating stuff that isn’t good for me and by not practicing the habits of recovery that I have been given.

Truth #5:  I don’t like myself very much, so it really blows my mind when I remember that my HP loves me no matter what, when my 12-step friends love me no matter what, when anyone in my family or among my friends loves me no matter what.

Truth #6:  Lots of times I am eating cruddy food because it’s a way to kill myself and still live for now.  If you heard the self-loathing that goes on in my head when I’m stress-eating, you’d think I had a gun stuffed into my mouth.

Truth #7:  I’m still trying.  Last April, I called a friend in the program and said, “OK, I’m really ready to take Step 3.”  My recovery is based on working the 12 steps, and most of time I’m starting the day at Step 1 and getting through Step 7 before I get to bed.  But that’s OK.

I think that’s enough truth for today. #TruthTuesday