Posted by: innerpilgrimage | November 12, 2010

A Night in Compulsion: Progress, Not Perfection

Holiday Eating Season Countdown: 51 Days

      Right now I am sitting up, fueled on coffee, waiting for a reasonable hour to telephone someone so I can get something I’ve neglected handled today.
      Last night, I went to bed with racing thoughts on two issues: the business I need to complete today and an out-of-state visit to my older son to celebrate his eighteenth birthday.

      Though I hate that despair that getting into addict-mind drops me into, I know it’s an opportunity to practice recovery actively. Last night, even as I fretted, I was trying to let it go to my Higher Power.
      My choices regarding the business thing I have to handle will have repercussions up to this point. I entered that addict-mind “what I know” and delusional grandiosity, trying to will the consequences of my inaction to non-existence. I felt guilt that my inaction affected my family. And I couldn’t sleep because I feared today I would forget and make things worse. So, as I stayed up unable to sleep because of general discomfort (I’ve lived in a padded body for decades, and my newly bony knees hurt when I sleep on my side like I used to) and fretting.
      Even as I fretted, I was turning inward and upward to my Higher Power. I knew I could not control it, that I already had determined the footwork necessary to get it done. I just wanted it to turn out precisely how I wanted–with no ill effects. It may go easy; it may go hard. But it’s out of my hands, save for the phone call and handling of the situation this morning. My Higher Power wants me to listen instead of try to control it; my Higher Power wants me to be pleasant, to make no excuses, to avoid making it worse. My addiction? Wants to get me into loads of trouble with excuses and trying to control this. I can control one thing: Contact the people this morning, get the business done today, and ask about future consequences from my earlier inaction. That’s it. Oh, and have a pleasant attitude. I’ve found that when I am pleasant, people tend to work with me to come to a mutually satisfactory agreement. If I am agreeable and pleasant, people tend to pull back on potentially harsher consequences they can use if one has a bad attitude. I’ve learned this through experience.
      The second issue is a visit to my older son for his eighteenth birthday. He lives with his father, my first husband. I married into a pretty big family the first time, and I wanted to do what my parents usually did and take people to dinner. Well, I don’t have the money my parents did, so I began to fret about how to get nearly 20 people (yes, 20) to a sit-down dinner for under $200. This was stressful, especially since this isn’t happening for a few months. After thinking about it and realizing that I would be looking at a huge bill–and the risk of going to an all-you-can-eat buffet, something I avoid in abstinence–I was in full-blown compulsive thought. I didn’t want to eat over it, but I was having trouble.
      That’s when my Higher Power spoke through my normal-eating husband. I’m going out there to be with my son. Things aligned, and now I am going to turn toward taking my son and a guest to a really nice sit-down dinner wherever he wants to go. It will be a quiet dinner to celebrate him. The birthday dinner which I expect will be at the family home is something I can contribute toward. Instead of fretting about feeding 20 people, I now am looking forward to this intimate dinner with my son as we establish an adult-child-parent relationship that both of us want. And even if it costs nearly as much as taking those 20 people to a middling restaurant, the knowledge that I am going to have a pleasant experience with him without worrying about people thinking I’m snubbing their choice because I am trying to eat in abstinence–or worse, breaking abstinence because I am fretting over the cost of the meal–is gone.
      I am in recovery mind this morning, and I see by the clock on my computer that it’s time for me to start doing that footwork my Higher Power set out for me to complete. With pen and paper in hand to take notes, I am ready to take HP-guided action instead of self-willed reaction.
      I’d say “Wish me luck”, but I’ve got my Higher Power with me right now. I’m not alone in this, even afterward. I have my sponsor and the fellowship if I need people to talk to. So, I am off to say the Serenity Prayer and the Third Step Prayer and maybe get a Seventh Step prayer in before I make the call. I want the lines between me and my Higher Power wide open as I deal with one of those less pleasant real life events and practice recovery.
      My name is Jess, and I am a food addict. Right now, I have compulsive anxiety. This anxiety comes from a desire to control something out of my control. My Higher Power will take care of me, and the result will–at worst–be a chance to learn something. What it is will be revealed to me in my Higher Power’s time.

* * * * *

UPDATE: I made the call, got it handled, and it went very well. I am enjoying a day in recovery, now. The fretfulness has been replaced by serenity.

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