Posted by: innerpilgrimage | April 9, 2010

Twenty-Four Hours Does Not Feel Long Enough Sometimes

      This last week has been a challenge trying to coordinate OA service, projects for my volunteer opportunity, and my own writing.

      My abstinence was maintained, but it feels a little wobbly underfoot for the last two weeks, since I took on one more service position at my home group–opening the room for meeting. The service I performed for my other group has involved my first, and I worry that it will negatively impact it. Yet . . . I also know that I have the resources at hand to take care of what I need to. This week, when I opened the room early, I did two things–purchased a 24-hour chip (at twice the price the places which sell them for) for my local sponsee and paid for 5 newcomer packets at the price-plus-shipping my home group paid for them when I ordered them from the OA website. I feel somewhat guilty doing it, save for the fact that the group I represent is booming and can’t get enough packets from the main office (which sells them for just under a dollar more than I got them from the website); my home group hasn’t seen any newcomers in a while. My husband has been very supportive, so I may, in the next few weeks, be ordering many more newcomer packets so they can be made available to either meeting for what I paid for them. Not a profit. Never a profit. With the chip, I just made sure that what I donated was more than what it was worth, seeing as it was a convenience. But I still feel guilty, despite the fact I did not steal them from my home group. This confession sucks to even say, but we’re only as sick as our secrets. I just have two meetings’ interests at heart–the one I treasurer for and the one I represent at intergroup. I guess perhaps I have two home groups, now. I feel burdened to make it to my original home group because I am the only one with keys (I hold the primary and spare set). While I don’t want to miss a meeting, I worry that if I get sick no one will be able to get in. I have no one to pass the keys onto since I’m the only one who doesn’t have a paying job that demands I be in my seat at 4:59 p.m., like many of the other attendees have.
      Speaking of my volunteer opportunity, I have a project with a deadline and I am relying on others to get parts of it together. Anyone who’s been an addict sees the primary problem here: I Have No Control Over Them. This is slamming hard into my Third and Seventh Stepwork, as I struggle with my character defects to “let go and let HP.” After the project ends, I have to start work on a newsletter. I was in a tither about it until I remembered being introduced to a man who does a newsletter about the local homeless out of the program. I plan to contact him once the A/V project I am on is completed. This means I have a new hobby–photography. I expect if I want pictures, I will have to go get them. But I do know that in many instances and at many events, photographs are taken by the people in the volunteer office. So, I don’t need to go often. That’s positive.
      This brings me to my other obligation–making winter hats for the homeless. I was fortunate to find a little crochet box and booklet set from a mega-bookstore that happened to have the pattern I have sought for a long time. I now have a simple ribbed crocheted hat pattern worked in rounds. The photo on the pattern card is the hat I want to do, and finding it among all of the other pattern cards was like a miracle. So, I thank my HP for guiding me to it, because that issue is handled. However, I have to pull out my crochet needles and sacks of yarn and start making them. My desire is to make one daily, but I have given myself more leeway, and if I make one per week (a very reasonable goal) from now until Thanksgiving, that will make a difference. Other people make winter hats, as well, so my 20 or so hats will not be the only ones available come winter. I hope that I will be able to make 30 before Christmas, but I don’t know if I will. What I do know is that I have yarn, crochet needles, and a pattern. And that’s what I need to start working on those projects.
      Over the last few days, I have not taken as much time as I should to keep in contact with my sponsor and sponsees. I feel horrible because the meeting I represent at intergroup needs sponsors badly. I want to take them all in and sponsor them all up to Step Seven, the most recent step I’ve completed. But I just don’t have the time to commit to a dozen people at this point. I want to, though. I remember how frustrating it was not having a sponsor and trying to travel through the steps alone until I got mine. Though my sponsor and I still don’t communicate daily, I do keep in contact with her regularly. I am grateful to have one at all, though I am going to be talking to someone else about the process of Steps Eight and Nine over the coming weeks. This is a person who is in another 12-Step program and who is living in recovery. I admire this person and get a lot of HP messages through this person.
      Last, I’m frustrated about clothing. The summers get blazing hot here, and it’s already getting warm. I have some pairs of linen pants, but they’re now 5 sizes too big (I am now a 14, and they’re 24s). I used them on warm days over the winter and spring, holding them up with safety pins. But it’s not working any more, and I need lighter clothing come May. So, I am burdened with trying to figure out how to get breathable clothing for summer so I can put my heavy cotton tees and jeans aside when the temperature climbs above 100 degrees. Despite this annoyance, I am happy that I have been blessed with enough weight loss at this point that I can manage days in the mid-80s, as opposed to having trouble in the mid-70s. And I have to trust my Higher Power will provide access to suitable clothes for the summer. I will have clothing that is light enough and that I don’t hate wearing, though I may not have it right now. And as I lose more weight, I need to remember that perhaps the reason I can’t find anything suitable is because my HP has a plan for me to be in a size where they’re easily findable by the time I need them.
      In counting my blessings, I realize that each of these stresses is giving me a better opportunity to connect to my Higher Power and work the program. My Higher Power has given me the ability to complete more service and do more tasks than I have ever done before. I have been given these responsibilities because people believe I can be trusted to do them. The service positions I have now don’t take up that much time, and if I get sick, I have a list of people I can telephone who can pick up the keys and open the room. As treasurer, I am learning how to be mindful of the money I have been entrusted with; that fiduciary responsibility is making me very aware of my own money, even. At my volunteer opportunity, I have been entrusted with important projects so the volunteer coordinators can focus on the important job of bringing in and retaining volunteers. The more people who can be brought in, the more likely my responsibilities will shift and be lightened, too. I will have people to work with on the projects I am asked to complete. And I will be gaining job skills for when the recession ends and people are actively seeking employees, so I can relieve the pressure on my husband to be the sole earner in the family.
      The hats thing was a perfect example of letting my HP guide me. I didn’t know the pattern was inside. I just knew it was something I believed would help. It and the scarf patterns inside have handled half of my Christmas gifts, as well. Plus, crochet gives me something to do with my hands instead of eat–which I have been doing more of lately. I’ve been eating like an addict, despite keeping within my boundaries of abstinence. I eat quickly, consider rewarding myself with food, and rove for sweets under the stress. But I also can identify the character defect driving me at those times, and I am working on not giving in to the defects–particularly procrastination, avoidance, and isolation. My Higher Power also gave me sponsees to take hope from. Every time I talk to one, I enjoy fellowship–like having a mini OA meeting. I learn as much as I share. My character defects of perfectionism and inferiority have to be put by the wayside because I don’t have all of the answers and I am working as an equal with my sponsees. We all walk side-by-side in recovery and abstinence; we all are only living just for today.
      As for the clothing, my Higher Power will make sure something that fits and is presentable will be made available. Even before I started working with my HP, the linen pants became available to me to endure the summer. I found light shirts (in the men’s section of my local Red Bullseye department store) and I was able to get through the summer 70 or more pounds heavier than I am today.
      It’s time to let go and let my HP handle these things. I have been fighting a lot of stuff, and it’s been my will that’s driven me, not the will of my Higher Power. I know this in my heart and down to my soul, but I keep on fighting. It’s time to close my eyes and fall backwards into my Higher Power’s care, trusting that if I do the footwork to get my part of these tasks done, my Higher Power will provide resources to complete the rest. I do not need to control this. In fact, controlling it gets me that much closer to losing abstinence.
      Next week, on my home group meeting day (and HP willing), I will have reached six months of abstinence. Six months of not being a slave to food. Six months of sensible eating and clarity and physical and spiritual recovery. When I give control to my Higher Power, the world seems to order itself around me and giving away my compulsive overeating and my character defects is easy because I’m not preoccupied with them. I know how I want to live; now I just need to rest and let my Higher Power guide my feet again.
      My name is Jess, and I am a food addict. I give my self-serving will and ego over to my Higher Power, because I’ve been fighting the responsibility I have been gifted with. My Higher Power has not given me more than I can handle, and it will help me move between all of my tasks until I am strong enough that I can carry more.

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Responses

  1. you are totally right, most days 24 hours is not enough! damn girl, you have a lot on your plate, and you didn’t even mention being a wife, mom, keeping a house, etc.
    i know the new clothing is a burden, but it is really a very positive thing. think of it is another way for you to shine your inner growth and beauty.
    you are juggling an awful lot, hopefully not more than you can handle. be sure to prioritize so you don’t stress out.

  2. Hi Jess,

    I’m robyn, also a COE.. in relapse atm unfortunately but thanks for your positive post. Good luck with the crocheting.. great idea..

    robyn xx


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