Posted by: innerpilgrimage | May 12, 2010

Twisting In The Wind: What A Physically-Driven OA Recovery Looks Like

      I used to write fastidiously in this journal. My early months were filled with entries–some had days when I wrote multiple entries in a day. I have gotten into the compulsive mindset again, and it’s taken a toll on my life.

      Well, the video project was a bust. On Friday, I was informed that it was going to be given out as a parting gift for the people at the lunch. Someone else (though it turned out the manager decided to take it on) was assigned to do the pictures last-minute. So, I completed it for Monday, the program deciding to break in new and exciting ways. Then, yesterday, I got a call from the manager; she wanted me to make a few minor changes.
      I was ready to, until I saw what I had to work with. Two new nominees had been added. This completely changed the last part of the video. I had to add a whole new section. Well, I started in on it, changing the music to a longer cut of the piece I had been using. At about 9:30 p.m., I noticed an issue with the length of the montage segues. Some were the length I had wanted; some were three seconds shorter; some were three seconds longer. It had changed the project as I worked on it (apparently has everything to do with keyframes). And then it just . . . broke. The whole file was corrupted. All the work I had done was rolled back to what I had dropped off on Monday. Hours of work. Gone.
      So I called the manager, literally freaking out. I don’t think much of what I said made sense because I had just lost everything. Instead of scrapping it, I was asked to be ready to mail it out later. My husband says I need to learn to say no. I agree with him, but part of me is being stubborn. Damn it, I swore I would get it done, and the project has fought me this whole time. And I am torn between never looking back and wanting to just start over and do it to prove I can.
      The OA 12&12‘s Step Eleven chapter talks about being able to discern from my will and my Higher Power’s will for me. I’m not sure which–or even if either!–is what I should be doing.
      I have had a few HP-driven days over the last couple of weeks. But it was a struggle to really get into that mindset. I mean, I’ve had scale-driven days (part of my compulsion) and defect-driven days. I think maybe I’ve held onto my abstinence a few times like a life preserver floating on a sea of madness. I have maintained abstinence, but the plan feels too small. I feel trapped by it. This, by the way, is the same plan I felt was overgenerous while I was living a recovery-focused life. This whole month has been a complete Chester Fargo. It’s like I have to roll back and start with Step One again, just to get in touch with my sanity.
      I did survive. I did get out of it, but not with the strength of recovery I wanted to. That said, I have been living in compulsion for decades. I’ve only been in program since the end of September–less than a year. I have been so fortunate (even blessed) to have kept my abstinence through some sort of miracle. My food plan has held me up when my legs failed me completely. I was only able to barely stand, I really have found that I was at a complete loss when it came to the people I wanted to commit to.
      I have a lot to talk and listen about with my Higher Power. I really hate intergroup meetings, and it makes me insane to have to blow a midday Saturday once per month. I mean, it would be fine if it were 10 am to noon, but it’s 1 to 3, and sometimes it goes on past 3. That completely screws the day. And since no one voted on the changes to be made, I feel like it’s pointless for me to represent a group that doesn’t care. That said, having a representative there does mean that my group gets a say. But that say is mine, not a group conscience. So, do I back out because I am not entirely representing my group (which does not seem to care about the level above itself), or do I keep going until they decide they want to be involved? All I know is that I am going on Saturday because I committed to it, and honestly, I won that magazine subscription. I think I could get off my butt long enough to at least attend until it expires. Yeah, I think I might be able to do that. Attend until it expires.
      Opening the room for the other group has gotten really easy–to the point I actually could write it down and laminate it and put it in the book or attach a quick start laminated card to the keyring in case someone else wants to do it. I might just get a preliminary instruction sheet started today. That sounds like a completely useful thing to have, and I can pass off the duties if I go out of town.
      Treasury is going fine. Yay. One thing is going fine.
      I can’t wait to get back to my other projects at SVdP. I hope they don’t press the video, or I will just have to say no. Sometimes we try and fail. I tried, at least. Some of it was my fault; some of it was getting things last-minute (like finding out weeks after people had SEEN the slideshow with peoples’ names on them that there were missing volunteers and misspellings in the list they gave me earlier!) It spiraled bad. It spiraled REALLY REALLY bad. And I could have been more dedicated to getting it done earlier, but learning that it was being relegated to a parting gift hurt. I mean, just because the manager thought that people would watch it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t end up in people’s trees scaring the crows away instead.
      Maybe when I get my sanity back, I’ll have my Higher Power’s answer on this. I have so many questions for my Higher Power, so many things I really need answered:

How do you know when you’ve reached Step 12?
      I still am desperate to know. See, Steps One through Nine are discrete; they have an action you take to clean house the first time. And I know Steps Ten through Twelve are maintenance, that daily removal of clutter and quick cleaning. But when do I know I’ve reached Step Twelve?
      Okay, I’ve been told that Steps 10 through 12 are never really over. Fine. I understand. But at some point, won’t I have actually reached that place where I can say I’m living all 12 Steps? How do I know?
      No one will answer me, even with their own experiences. It. Is. Discouraging.

What OA service do I keep, and what do I abandon?
      This is hard because I don’t really know if I should keep any or abandon any. Self-will is tangled in this whole mess.

What volunteer service should I keep, and what do I abandon?
      Same thing as OA service, except I had the opportunity to walk, and I found that I really had a soul-driven “got to keep going” feeling. While I have cut back on my hours because of the massive burnout over this project, I want to grow my desire to volunteer again. I barely understand what part of it drives me, and I know the people I work with have no idea what drives me.
      I didn’t need the nomination. I really just needed my project not to be dumped last minute, with the consolation prize that it was going to go home with everyone in attendance to choose not to watch. What scares me most is that I am afraid they might make me the All Star of the Year. Okay, I haven’t earned that. I met people who earned that in dining rooms and in the warehouses and in the kitchen. These people have spent so long dedicating themselves to this. Every time I push forward, I get shoved back. Giving me a mother fucking award won’t change the fact that I have been scolded for helping someone, that I have been cornered by someone I was uncomfortable around, and that a project I have given blood and sweat and toil and tears (and MY OWN SANITY even!) got sloughed aside last minute. Bad news to happy music, basically. It was sold to me as a good thing, that people would get their own copies to enjoy. Okay, no. People would get their own copies to toss out when they got home. No one watches that shit unless they’re forced to. No one.

      See the insanity, even in my responses? The despair, the fear, the anger is all in there. I feel like I am fighting everything at every turn. Hell, I don’t think I’ve even shaved my legs in a month, I’ve been so insane.
      Well, and the other thing is that my book rewrite is going too well. I can’t write when I’m happy; it’s just one of those things. I don’t have the need to escape into my own head.
      But Yay! Two days before my weigh in and potential (though not guaranteed) seventh month of abstinence, I am fifteen pounds from the healthy BMI weight range for my height. Fifteen pounds. No, I don’t think it will make me happy. I am not even sure if it will make me healthy. But it will get me one more risk factor away from Did-It-To-Myself diabetes. And apparently a big one.
      My name is Jess, and I am addict whose primary drug of choice is food. Back to Step One for me, I think. It’s time to do as the AA’s say and get down on my knees. While it’s not the God of my fathers I am talking to, I always find myself at peace when I am so broken by the world that I let it all go to my Higher Power. I actually feel like something out there gives a shit whether I live or die–and my Higher Power has kept one thing going through it all: My Abstinence. It’s the one, small thing that’s the thin blue line between a future where I can practice a sane, sober life and descent into the black void of the madness of the addiction. And I am so humble that as my defects surfaced and I grew and harbored new resentments and I didn’t read, and I even didn’t go to one of the two meetings I attend weekly a few weeks back, my HP was still keeping me sane enough not to break abstinence. And trust me, I nearly did a few times.

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