Posted by: innerpilgrimage | March 28, 2010

Into the Woods: Return to My Step Journey

      I’m trying something new . . . not marking my abstinence in my journal. Yes, I made 24 hours yesterday, too, but after a long talk with my sponsee, I think maybe it’s time to release that crutch. I know when I’m getting my coins (the 14th of every month, HP willing). So, I’m not marking my time any more at the top of my journal. After all, it’s a journey of one step at a time, one day at a time. To honor that, it’s time to let go of the numbers game and start living recovery.

      Well, I took my vacation. I learned about my spiritual connection to my Higher Power and it’s give me the peace I was looking for in trying to aggressively do the steps instead of letting the steps do me.
      Tomorrow, I am going to review my Step Six (unless my HP brings me to my Step Six tonight) and look at what powerful character traits drive my character defects. My character traits are neither good nor bad. I can use that energy constructively or destructively. That changes the playing field, because if I can recognize the source of the character defect, I can intuit a means to act instead of react. To live productively instead of exist for the drama.
      This, by the way, came from a talk with my sponsee. I never considered that by putting up my time, it might harm my abstinence (and possibly others’ abstinence). No, my time didn’t harm her or hasn’t harmed anyone so far as I know, but if I’m supposed to be abstinent 24 hours at a time, putting that number down moves the focus from where I am to where I have been and where I am going. I look at the numbers and think about the next milestone as it nears. “Just make two weeks,” I tell myself now. Or “How the Hell did someone like me make 5 months?” I ask myself sometimes. Both of those responses remove me from today’s objective: 24 hours of abstinence. If I focus on the next coin, I’m not honoring today’s abstinence. If I forget that those months are just chained 24-hour periods of abstinence, I’m not honoring today’s abstinence. I am exactly where someone who has decided on a food plan and is working today’s abstinence. I could lose abstinence today. I could lose it tomorrow. I could lose it on June 20, 2017. The more I remove my focus off the fact I am walking the same path as everyone else does through today, the more I am putting myself in harm’s way to lose it.
      And to overvalue the past or the future.
      I’ve also found that this blog doesn’t really hold much save for my OA trip through life. I do a lot more, I just don’t really talk about it. Like this morning, I went to the local coffee shop, had breakfast, and listened to the owner (who is a violinist at the local symphony) play. Like live sports, I love live music. The intimacy of being at a live performance, especially at a small venue, allows me to get in touch with that part of humanity. Music is a wonderful gift, a blessing which we can use to express our emotions without trying to find the words. It is a meditative shared experience, a chance to have a spiritual uplift while I do something mundane.
      Yesterday, I went shooting. I have a .22 pistol with a blue handle, which I chose because it has meaning to me. The main character in the second novel of my dystopian trilogy uses a pistol with a blue handle. While I don’t pretend to be that character, I enjoy relating to that character who became more than she was simply by starting to live proactively instead of exist under the thumb of society.
      My aim is good, but my accuracy is crap. I have to get some time with an instructor to work on my stance.
      Oh, and yesterday was the first day I open-carried. It’s a right in the state I currently reside, and while I was uncomfortable with it (though I only wore it in a very controlled circumstance), I learned a lot from myself. Instead of giving into the fear of even having a weapon on me, I realized my discomfort had everything to do with not being sure I could keep control of the weapon at all times. I came to the conclusion that I should be practicing to keep control of the weapon at all times. Just like my food plan helps me. And, of course, I trust my Higher Power will give me the strength to use it only in need. But since is it something that has a physical learning attributed to it, I am going to pursue those knowledge avenues as well. The footwork so that I can efficiently rely on my body to react properly when faced with a spiritual challenge. So, I am not carrying today, nor do I intend to. But on the way to the range, I will wear it because I am in a controlled situation (the car) on the way to a place where I will have use of it (the shooting range).
      I like to shoot. It’s not about power when I wield a gun. I feared guns desperately until mid-year last year. By taking that tool and turning it into a tool, I have found that it can be used for productive means. I can happily go my whole life without drawing on another human being, but if I am in a position where drawing will save my life, I have that option.
      And to honor that option, I am going to learn how to stand properly, how to carry properly, and how to be ready when I am faced with a life-or-death situation (again, the only time I feel that drawing it on another human being is justified). I already store it in a locked place, which is my responsibility to do to keep people safe.
      Right now, some people probably would freak out about it. Considering that kitchen knives and hammers are tools which can be used to productive or destructive ends and most people aren’t terrified of them (nor do they lock them away unless they’re expensive; but that’s the fear of them being stolen, not misused). But as I said, it would take a life or death situation, where I (or another person) will die if I don’t take action. So, there it is. I don’t consider a person wholly against guns to be wrong (though it’s not my choice). People who don’t follow the laws use firearms carelessly, as a means to create terror and randomly cause mayhem. They will never follow the laws. If guns are banned, I won’t carry and I won’t own one because I follow the laws. However, that will not stop a child playing in his bedroom from having to duck from the spray of bullets coming through the windows and walls. Or dying in an ambulance because someone used an illegal firearm to impress other people who see firearms as power. Laws do not stop criminals, hence the whole definition of “criminal”. So I appreciate having my right to defend my life. My property? Screw it; take it; it’s just stuff. Stuff’s replaceable. The things which are not replaceable–human lives–are sacred to me and I appreciate the right to preserve them.
      Which, of course, is why I support the military one hundred percent. I may not agree with the action they are ordered to take, but they stand as human shields between me and those who would harm me. So, I always say thank you to soldiers–active and retired–because my freedoms are a result of their courageous choice to get between me and those who would take those freedoms from me. I am humbly, deeply grateful for that gift they chose to give all Americans, of their own hearts and consciences.
      And I even more am humbly grateful they do it for all of us, even those who disagree with having a military (I’m sure someone does, though I haven’t really met anyone who disagrees with soldiers–just the military situations they are ordered to enter).
      Well, now that I’ve lain down my political views, I am sure that nothing will happen. 🙂 My readership’s dropped again, and I’m happier that way. Sometimes I get jealous of others who get tons of comments and have a huge readership. But I realize that I prefer a slightly more intimate community of readers. I don’t have to perform; I just have to show up.
      I’ve been neglecting crochet and bass. Yes, that’s a terrible segue from something as polarizing as firearms and the military, but it’s something I want to address. I committed to making hats and I have a kitchen trash bag filled with yarn. I also have a custom Fender J Bass that a person had to sell when the economy took a dive. I got a chance at it, and I went for it. And yes, there is a difference. I guess I want to honor that guy who had to give up something so special in order to survive. It’s not really fair to let it stay cased, even if I am a crappy bassist. But I have the bass grimoire and I have a neighbor who is a bassist, and if I really give a crap I will put those together and become at least tolerable. I’m not looking to be Geddy Lee, but I think I should aspire to something better than the bassist from A Flock of Seagulls. Something comfortably between, where I can jam with people and possibly even (*gasp!*) perform in a small venue for the fun of it.
      So, a return to crochet. I have the needles. I have the yarn. And the damned thing helps me do stuff with my hands besides eat or focus on getting things to eat or what my next meal will be. Plus it makes a difference every winter for the needy in the community. So, I’m going to do what I can over the snuggly, gorgeous spring and grueling hot summer and make winter caps for November.
      Tomorrow is Monday, and I look forward to talking to my other sponsee in person. I gave my contact information out but didn’t take hers. (Facepalm.) So, it’s face-to-face and asking how she’s doing and getting her stuff so I can email her daily to see how she’s doing.
      Oh, and I was also thinking it’s high time I actually go through my stuff for donation so I can finally open my beading box. I like to bead (especially making hemp chokers). I’d like to start up again before Christmas so I have handmade stuff to spin off to the four corners of the world this year instead of stand helplessly and feel like a tool for being late yet again.
      So it’s hats and homemade gifts and other life stuff until November, when it all gets sent to the corners of the world as gifts of my time and effort.
      And maybe, just maybe, by acting on life rather than reacting to it, I will really start living the promise of OA–real recovery from the compulsive life.
      My name is Jess and I am a food addict. I’m not working my 24 hours of abstinence alone today, and I am so humbly thankful for it. So humbly thankful.



  1. I am enjoying reading about your journey, as another 40-something traveler with a weirdness around food. Or is that insanity? Thank you for sharing this. I want to agree about the counting of the abstinence being a less useful tool, but perhaps we can discuss this when I have some again.

    • Well, normal eaters do range from eating a lot to eating very little. I guess if it’s interfering with one’s life, that’s where it crosses the line into an eating disorder.

      Were/are you in OA or a therapeutic eating disorder program? You mentioned having abstinence again (I think, unless some meant something else), and I’m curious.

  2. I too enjoy reading you daily. Please continue as you strengthen me.

    • Thank you so much! I haven’t written much since the beginning of April, but I appreciate that you come by daily and get so much out of my trip through abstinence and recovery.

      You inspire me, too, to keep working my program. If what I’m doing helps 1 person, then I’m serving how my HP wants me to. Definitely a good reason to keep the tool of writing going. Again, thank you, and I am humbly grateful for your very kind comment.

  3. I enjoyed this post, Jess. It was nice hearing about your daily life apart from OA. : )

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