Posted by: innerpilgrimage | February 8, 2011

Social Abstinence and the Art of Getting Well

      I’ve been missing meetings all over because I have not wanted people to get sick because of me. I’m finally well, which means it’s time to get back into the swing of recovery again.

      Over the last 24 hours, I’ve been doing laundry, dishes, and cleaning my residence to catch up and be ready for some maintenance workers this week. I am nearly done with the dishes, leaving the cast iron and over-sized bread bowl hand-washing for last. I hate to hand-wash stuff.
      My recycling is ready to go, trash is out, bathrooms and kitchens are clean. Though I still have clutter from moving down to a smaller place from the residence I had three years ago, it is slowly happening. Storage is at a premium, and I simply don’t have any storage space to speak of here–as opposed to there, when I had access to lots of closets and a garage. One benefit of losing 120 lbs. is that the same amount of clothing takes up far less space. That’s very nice to me.
      I’ve been doing well on abstinence, dropping to the lower-calorie value day because I’ve been ill. But my weight has been hovering at the particular number I’ve been sitting at for about a month, even if I feel “fat”. It’s weird. The clothing fits the same, but I feel like I gained 10 lbs. despite maintaining the same approximate weight day-to-day. Valentine’s Day is coming, my second in abstinence–HP willing. I can feel the draw of the sweets, though I can turn away because I have the sanity to understand I don’t want it. But the draw is there, and I see that I clearly need to be more active in my recovery again.
      I’m leaving my home group in March. It’s just not beneficial to my recovery any more. If anything, it adds stress. So, as reluctant as I am to abandon this meeting, I can pick up another once I settle into my routine again. Back to meetings this coming Monday (which will put me at 16 months abstinent, HP-willing), once everything settles.
      I’ve missed SLAA for three weeks now, between the travel and the illness. I wish I had access to one while I had been traveling, but my HP kept me out of trouble completely. And the final stressor is coming in a few days–my parents’ visit. It won’t be too problematic because they’re not actually here to visit us. We’re a side thing to an event they’re attending. They’ll be here at the end of the week and be gone not long after that. It appears I will be gone for one more week, since that’s one of the days my parents have free to spend with my family. I’m not feeling the need to seek their approval this time around. Well, I did get upset both because I did not want them to visit us and because they’re not really coming to visit us (ah, the crazy dichotomy of addict mindset!), and now that I see both are unreasonable, I am calmer. It will be what it will be, and my only job here is to relax and put my life into my HP’s hands and not worry about things I cannot change. If my parents approve of my weight loss, it should be treated just the same as if they think I should lose more weight. Considering I have enough trouble going day-to-day looking at myself and worrying I’ve gained 10 lbs. in one day, I think that the opinions of people (including myself) who aren’t seeing through normal or entirely recovered eyes should have little or no influence. My HP set me here for a reason, at this weight, at this time. I am capable of doing what I need to do with nearly no arthritic-like pain. I’m not sure if it was arthritis two years ago, but whatever it was? Losing the weight made all of the difference in the world, and I am healthy enough for now. It will take the willingness to practice surrender again and again until it is so much a part of me that I just sit within it and relax. My recovery is about going from being a Type A control freak to a Type B purpose-driven human being. Not to say all Type A’s are control freaks and all Type B’s are purpose-driven. However, that is how it manifests itself in me.
      I’ve been having a hard time with control of something I am out of control of . . . because I feel fear and even a little anger that I am powerless to help a person I love help themselves. This person does not want to change yet, and I fear the consequences for them, and I worry that those consequences will cause that person to emotionally break.
      But I cannot do anything about it, and I went about it the wrong way this morning. I pushed to control instead of held my arms open as the person makes the mistakes necessary to learn this lesson. Well, or deny responsibility for the part played.
      I am imperfect. I would like to act in recovery more often, but I did not this morning. So, it’s apologies and awareness and amends yet again. I need to remember that allowing another person to use experience as a teacher is not only a loving act, it is reality. I cannot be controlled, just like no other person can be controlled. Sure, this body can be forced into an untenable situation, but my mind is still my own. Holding to what I believe will keep me capable to deal with whatever comes. Those convictions to keep program even as I am not practicing it as strongly as I could (despite a daily “giving over” and gratitude to my Higher Power for what I have) have positive repercussions. Practicing recovery has brought me to a place where I can look away from things I obsessed over only two years ago.
      And I’m kind-of pleased I have a cleaner home because of the desire to take action instead of hide or plan then not do. What’s been done is better than nothing at all, and the improvements are visible even now. Not perfect, but progress. And that is good enough.
      So, as I exit that time of recuperation, that isolation because I wanted to get well, I am ready to move forward. I have the energy to do it, which is good. I mean, if I can clean my home, I’ve got the energy. And the things which cause my stress are being resolved in my HP’s time, which is good. I feel better about it all. No, it’s not perfect, but it does not have to be. And that’s great, because seeking the perfectly imperfect seems to be a pattern in my life since my youth.
      I sometimes sit in amazement at the many things which led up to this year in recovery. Something innately okay was inside me this whole time; something kept me going even when the world seemed to be sitting in that “darkness before the dawn” zone. I feel I’m in twilight (the time of day, not the Stephanie Meyer vampire series), having enough light to see yet not having reached the beautiful dawn.
      It’s okay, though. I’m not really worried about it any more. I’m not sitting in constant fear, and as I practice what I have learned so far? I am taking it forward. I am enjoying this journey very much so–even when I’m slipping and sliding through my character defects. But dealing with that is part of the unseen future, part of Step Seven. Currently, I clearly am sitting at Step Three, practicing willingness. I know I am an addict; I believe in reality as my Higher Power; I just have to keep surrendering again and again until it is as much a part of me as the first two steps. Part of the surrender is going back to Step Four, which I have put off yet again for whatever distraction I can put in the way. And if I’m not doing Step Four? I’m still working Step Three.
      But it’s okay. I’m not giving up on the program. It’s going slower than I initially anticipated, but that’s good. The best of my ability is taking the time to set a very strong and real foundation of recovery beneath my feet. Rushing through this is not my journey. Some people can do it fast and powerfully; some people can’t get past admitting the addiction. But as long as I am moving forward? I am doing okay.
      My name is Jess. Binge eater and food anorexic, approval addict and social anorexic. Yes, I have been neglecting the tools of recovery, and I have the little addict voice saying, “I don’ wanna go.” But I do. Even barraged with words like inconvenient, frustrating, time-consuming, neglectful-of-family? I know that getting to a meeting is how I will not only survive but thrive.
      Even if the meeting I attend is not one I have been to before in an effort to find a meeting which will inspire me like my home group did sixteen months ago.


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