Posted by: innerpilgrimage | November 24, 2010

But What Does it Mean?!

Holiday Eating Season Countdown: 39 Days
Thanksgiving Countdown: 1 Day

      Still having compulsive behavior, based on a lot of anxiety about Thanksgiving.

      I committed to getting organics, and I’m not sure if I can for everything. The moderately prohibitive cost notwithstanding, I am worried that the pickings will be slim. But, once I’m done writing here, I am off to the chain health food grocery to give it my best effort.
      I’ve also been impatient with people, and I got an HP message out of my own mouth: “Why am I expecting everyone else to be perfect when I don’t have to be?” Now, why would I think that way? Let me explain.
      I still have black-and-white thinking. One of my newly exposed character defects (and it’s a big one!) is that I trust people until they do something that makes me question it. Many things are “forgivable”, but the moment doubt creeps in, I fret that the person cannot be trusted at all. For example, being called out recently on overdoing service in my home group. I picked the roles up a bit at a time–many were temporary which ended up becoming permanent. As I picked them up, our group size dwindled. And, when I ended up deciding that I was basically “the group”, I started making decisions. And I got pushback, which I should get.
      But I got those old addict resentments started up. And what’s weird is that the people who stayed out of it got hit by my innate distrust, too. And I resented myself for my naivete. Now, I know, in recovery-mind, that being unforgiving of others after one perceived transgression of trust is insane thought. Being unforgiving of myself, accusing myself of being naive, is also very black-and-white. And when I drop those people from my social circle because I have judged that I cannot trust them over something so minor, I am being excessive. I move on to new people, waiting out the time when those people make their one, perceived mistake and walk away from them.
      If I expect people to forgive me my compulsive behavior as I progress, what the fluffybunnies am I doing being unforgiving of people who honestly haven’t done anything wrong? I mean, being corrected as I was had no nastiness to it whatsoever. It was another person pointing out that I had made an incorrect assumption (while I was acting in compulsion) and that person’s caring message that I may be overwhelmed by my service. How did that become betrayal?
      Compulsive defective behavior. In addiction, I am judgmental, unforgiving, and demanding. I turn toward negative thinking before positive thinking. Those are pretty big character defects which help fuel the black-and-white thinking. I will jump anyone (including myself) and read negativity between as many lines as possible. When I do my Step Four, I expect those will come up pretty fast as the things I did to contribute to the situations. And as those defects raise up, I can see them because I know they’re not in alignment with my recovered life.
      What’s worse is the SLAA stuff burbling up. I have a couple people who I am communicating with, and the intent vacillates from recovery-helpful to addict-manipulative. Recently, I’ve been obsessed with the idea that I want ego-strokes (read: self-will) about my weight loss. I am looking to other imperfect people to get that approval (I see the addict self-will there, too!) of my physical changes. I want people to tell me I am beautiful, yet when they do I don’t trust it at all. I know, it’s insane! I mean . . . if I want that stupid acknowledgement, what am I doing rejecting it out of hand when I get it? If it sounds nuts, I feel reassured it comes from the old thinking, the addict thinking. So, when I see the crazy (and oh! how it burns!), I have to sit back and consider what would be recovered thinking in this same situation.
      Recovered thinking tells me that seeking approval removes my humility. I seek grandiosity by acting inferior and submissive in order to manipulate my way into getting it. Since my body image has everything to do with my sexuality in addiction (The unsaid message: “Am I attractive enough that you’d be willing to sleep with me?”). That’s where I drop boundaries and escort people straight through to my core. And then comes the fear. I do not want to be intimate with anyone but my spouse. Period. So I put my hand into the fire, hoping I don’t get burned. But my hand is in the fire.
      I feel guilt for doing this to others and myself, and I don’t think it’s inappropriate guilt. I mean, the manipulation then rejection of the message is insane. Setting up a person to reel that person in is innately dishonest. It goes against what I believe, even in addiction. So I isolate and turn a healthy withdrawal into social anorexia. I have to put real walls between me and the world. I consider myself a mental and emotional danger to myself and others when I am in compulsive approval-seeking mode.
      My truths of recovery are this:
      (1) I am happy with the long-term relationship I have and risking it in order to get ego strokes goes against my natural self. That natural self enjoys and wants the relationship I’ve got, and when I am in recovery mind, I am unconcerned with what other men think. There is room only for one in that layer of self closest to my core, and it is occupied by the man I want to spend my old age with. When I am not being compulsive, he wants to be around me. So, living in recovery will make that more likely to happen–given that neither of us is caught up in an accident before then. But that’s part of reality, and I need to live just for today and enjoy today’s time with him. It’s a gift, and worrying about his presence in 20 or 30 years removes me from the moment and makes me fretful.
      (2) Seeking approval is dangerous to my recovery. It causes me anxiety and fear; it makes me feel unhappy when people respect me by trying to be a friend as opposed to potential “acting out” partner. The relationships end violently because the person becomes unsafe to what I actually want if I am “successful”. To be true to my natural self, I need to accept that the person I am seeking approval from is not unsafe–I am. I don’t want to be an unsafe person! So, I get to give my approval-seeking to my Higher Power in the hopes that recovered alternatives are returned to me.
      (3) Manipulating others affects my recovery. The dishonesty which fuels the compulsive control of others’ perception of me is exhausting. I focus on it instead of exposing the manipulation and the chemical highs I get when I am successful and the drama-based highs when I’m not. I am worn out when I try to manipulate people into approving of me. To be true to my natural self, I need to approach people like a natural child, without an iota of sexuality. I feel energized when it’s removed, when my intent is honest. The lightness of being means I can be my imperfect self and not worry if I’m saying the right thing to get what I think I want in addict mind.
      It is hard to expose this, but I have a responsibility to. In exposing my self-awareness that I can very easily be an unsafe person allows me to work on that in recovery. I like being a recovered safe person. I feel at peace when I act without manipulative intent. My life goes smoother and I can function better in day-to-day life.
      The fact that I am struggling with it means that at least it’s in focus as a real issue. And I have been shifting mental gears when I communicate with people, forcing myself to take a lighter mental path, a natural one. I won’t regret not trying to manipulate people, and their emotional reaction to me as I am is not my responsibility.
      Ugh, I hate Holiday Eating Season. It’s a whole two months of walking through emotional trigger land mines. I had enough good memories (and some probably fabricated good memories) that I get obsessed with the bad ones, trying to undo them. Manipulating the past, like manipulating people, is fruitless and only in my own mind. I have to release it, to learn from it, to mourn what needs to be mourned, to remember what aligned with my natural self and make that part of today’s life. The holidays are about orchestrating a good memory for myself and for others. I am so desperate not to have others (especially my kids) have a negative experience like I had that I end up making the experiences negative.
      Now I’m writing to distract myself with the busy work. I’ve gotten the lesson I can take forward with me over the next two months. And since I’m already feeling those old feelings, even without doing the Fourth Stepwork, I might as well open it up and do the work. I’m in the, erm, stuff, and I’m not getting out of this addict war zone until January second. I might as well take a few hills while I’m here and see the view from them.
      Ugh. I hate the holidays.
      My name is Jess, and I am a food and love/approval addict. I’m procrastinating and am making more drama for myself. Just git ‘er done, Jess! Then at least one thing I have to do is done, and it won’t be haunting me. Well, except when I fret over that freaking approval of what I’ve done.
      Heh. At least my dog approves of what I make. When I make something she likes, she makes the biggest soulful pout and whines as though she’s starving to death . . . to the point she will suck in her tummy and make sad, big-eyed puppy faces until she gets a bit.
      I’m chuckling because I’m realizing I do the same thing when I seek approval. Next time I decide I’m going to manipulate for approval, I’m going to take the logotherapy route of making it comical in excess. Suck in my tummy, make big and sad eyes, bring up my paws, and whine like a starving puppy. Do precisely what my dog does when she successfully begs, because that’s what my own manipulation is, at its core.
      And with that, I’m out of the drive to manipulate, because I am able to see the intense comedy in what I was doing. If I am going to manipulate, then I might as well be honestly blatant about it. Go full out, maybe even make a pair of floppy dog ears on a hair band and find a dog snout in a Halloween super-discount bin so I can work that begging for approval just like my dog does.


      I want to give a shout-out to the person who is going through my journal from the beginning, today. It’s been a long journey of growth (at least a hundred thousand words of it!), and I’ve fought a lot with what I believe in my addict mind over the last year and two months. No, I have no idea who you are, but I checked my stats on the way out and saw that I’ve had half of the maximum reads I’ve ever had in one day already today.
      Thanks to everyone who reads what I wrote. And to the anorexics and bulimics facing off with their own issues with Thanksgiving, I’m going to pray (talk) and meditate (listen) with my Higher Power today. I’m sending out good vibes that tomorrow will be a good day for you, too.

I put my hand in yours
and together we can do
what we could never do alone.

No longer is there a sense of hopelessness.
No longer must we each depend upon
our own unsteady willpower.

We are all together now,
reaching out our hands for power and strength
greater than ours.

And as we join hands,
We find love and understanding
Beyond our wildest dreams.

My hand is outstretched, as are all of the hands of people seeking relief from eating disorders. I promise you it can be done. We are all together in this, you are loved and understood, and though there is no cure, there is a solution you can live day-to-day . . . even if it isn’t OA.


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