Posted by: innerpilgrimage | February 21, 2011

Something in the Way She Grooves

      Since Friday, I’ve had an interesting time.

      I got to my morning meeting on Friday. A lot of HP messages within that I promptly forgot, but I guess I wasn’t ready to internalize them.
      My approval addiction got some play this weekend, as well. Friday night, I went dancing, and I think I may have gotten hit on. I know my husband was, since he was almost dragged onto a dance floor until he told the woman he was waiting for his wife while I was at the bar getting a couple of sodas (we don’t generally drink; me, because it comes out of my food plan and the calories aren’t worth it; him, because he just isn’t an addict) and getting complimented on my dimples. I only have one–the rest are parentheses and laugh lines.
      My smile and laugh lines got a workout because I decided not to have a bad attitude this weekend. Life did not go as smoothly as I wanted, but it turned out okay. I met with blocks and walls and resistance and even a chilly rainstorm in which I apparently had an attack of hypoglycemia . . . it was a strange time but one which turned out okay.
      On Friday morning, my Check Engine light went on. Now, there was a potentially free-to-fix reason it went on: I could have accidentally not put the gas cap on tight enough. I checked the gas cap, and it was indeed loose. The fix was to take several trips (I define several trips as “around seven”) and hope the light went off. So I tightened the gas cap and gave it to my Higher Power until today–when I would do the footwork to take my car to the shop to have them diagnose the problem and tell me how many hundreds or thousands of dollars it would cost me to get my little four-banger onto its wheels again.
      Of course, I hoped with every trip that annoying yellow light would go off, but it stayed on. And I considered that it was not yet trip number seven, therefore it was still in HP’s time.
      Friday night was fraught with anxiety over releasing reasonable control of my son’s life to him so he could fulfill the obligations of an after-school activity. With the time available to spend time with my spouse, we tried to decide what to do. I had so much energy to burn, and we finally decided to take some time out and go look for a place to dance, knowing full-well that I would be nearly twice the age of anyone there. But I wanted to bounce around like a spastic squirrel and didn’t much care who saw me do it. Well, except my spouse, and he considers my spastic squirrel qualities to be endearing. Seeing him laugh makes me happy, so I was ready to get my groove thing on and not worry if I looked like a cougar on the prowl. Which I wouldn’t have, seeing as my spouse would be there with me, laughing with me.
      We went to a club in a casino, and the deejay we expected to see was nowhere to be found. The club was smaller than several get-lost-in-a-bottle-during-the-day bars. It had more mirrors than a funhouse, and my spouse almost walked into one, thinking there had to be more to the club than what was there. They had the classic brawny bouncers, all dressed up like extras from The Sopranos. And as I was getting the ley of the, well, little place with a line of twenty-something hipsters sitting on bar stools waiting for more twenty-something hipsters to arrive. The mirrored meat market, which even is marketed as the weekend place to be seen on a freeway-side billboard, had that “So, where’s the rest of it?” feel to its decor. My spouse felt like a parakeet there, ready to scrap with his own reflection. It just was not us.
      So, we walked the circuit of the casino floor with its bells and beeps and ring-a-lings and bright colors, and I rambled about addict empathy and lack thereof. I may not know what the mesmerized gambling addict is going through because, when I see a one-armed bandit or video poker machine (asking me to friend it on Facebook . . . “Yeah, this is my best buddy, Machine 99427, which not only does slots but video poker, too!”)? I see a scam artist in a box. Kinda like a car salesman, ready to take my money. I don’t get a thrill from gambling; I’d rather just hand my money to an actual one-armed mugger because I would get more excitement out of it.
      That said . . . the two casinos out here I’ve walked the gambling floor of have sit-down food places with big, well-lit pastry cases. And that’s when the empathy strikes. That person completely engaged by the machine in front of them feels precisely the same way I do when I am completely engaged by the brightly lit cream-filled eclairs in the case. The difference is that the pastry case doesn’t want me to friend it on Facebook. Or maybe it did. I didn’t get close enough to find out its Facebook ID.
      So, we walked around the edge of the cheerily trilling floor of luridly colored machines, and we saw . . . musical instruments on a stage. A tight group of people sat together near the stage at a couple of booths, looking musically inclined. So, we decided to stick around. After all, isn’t the point of leaving the addiction to actually live in the real world around real people?
      Well, we were right, and the musicians got up and they played dance music. And the people around us were my parents’ age, in general, and I didn’t feel silly. So, we settled in at a small table (after the oddest conversation with a tiny woman who clearly didn’t work there but said she cleaned the table; I misunderstood and thought she had done it for us. Weirdly enough, whenever my spouse and I got up to dance, she straightened our chairs and the table and grumbled to herself about it.)
      A woman my mother-in-law’s age got her groove on so seriously to some 70s funk covers by this band (complete with horn section!) that she fell over. But she got back up after getting checked out and helped by security and the casino medical staff and kept grooving once she was okay.
      That night was a combination of letting go and enjoying myself and flirting with my spouse and feeling confused because I may (or may not) have been flirted with by a few guys. I don’t know. I mean, I think I was, but after decades of running under the radar except by men with nothing but seriously ill intent toward me and my marriage? This was . . . I don’t even know what this was. So I let it go to my HP, since I didn’t need the headache of worrying if someone besides my spouse thought I was sexy. My spouse does and did, and I had a lot of fun with him. And that, as ever, is the point.
      Saturday was about my son’s obligation, and then letting my son enjoy the party afterward. Not much happened, save for me going through my snarky literature semi-chick-and-semi-hen-lit series (all 3,500 pages, and I have three more books to write) and fixing story lines so all 20 novels will hold true through the series. I think it’s going to be out by 2012, or maybe even birthday 2011. I am apparently the writer of that series, right now, even though it exhausts me.
      Sunday was about what my spouse wanted to do, even though a few things happened.
      We attended a Renaissance Fair in the rain. I had not woken hungry, so I decided to respect it and wait it out. Bad move. One of the rules of the fair was “No Outside Food”, which meant the fruit bar I carried in case I got hungry was off my menu. I did get hungry, though I was more cold. So, I had coffee, and waited.
      We went around the fair while it was cold and cloudy but not raining. We saw jugglers, went into shops and stalls, and generally wandered the area. We saw a sword swallower, and he was very entertaining. My spouse got hungry, and the traditional turkey leg lunch was brought up. I started looking around for food for me, and I found most of it was deep-fried or pan fried or just plain fried. I couldn’t think of what to get, and I was having trouble deciding on something to eat that I was ready to work the estimates so I could stay on my food plan. About fifteen minutes later, I was dizzy and disoriented. My husband offered what he had, but I don’t eat turkey because it makes me feel unwell. The chilling rain came down as my sight warped a bit and sound started to get distant. I sat, leaning on my spouse to get warm.
      With help from a costumed performer, we found a warm place by a glass blower, and we stood near the furnaces, but I couldn’t get warm enough. I had a little turkey, finally (tiny bite), and I came back to life enough to try to find the first stall with something I could calculate into my food plan. I ate, and things got better and I felt better. This was about 2 p.m., when I first ate that day.
      I learned later that I had lost color, gone pallid during what apparently was a hypoglycemic crash. I haven’t had one in decades. My family didn’t want to tell me I’d lost color in my face because they didn’t want to alarm me into an overreaction. I was surprised it happened because I had no idea that so much time had passed and I hadn’t eaten. Had I known I lost color entirely, I would have risked blowing abstinence to get something–anything–in. Nothing that was there would have broken abstinence had I eaten a partial portion.
      Things got better, and we stayed through pouring rain until I could not stay longer. I felt bad because we missed the joust, but I could not stay longer because it was too cold, too wet, just miserable. So, we went, with me apologizing. I want to go again with my spouse because he wants to go again, but not in a chill rain.
      I had a meeting tonight (the entry here is wrapped around that time, and we talked about Step Ten. I considered what I’ve been doing recently, and I see that I was trying to control my food on Sunday instead of letting go and being guided by my HP regarding my food. I’ve been sloppy with how I’ve eaten more than what I’ve eaten, despite being within my food plan. The tenth step recommends inventories, and I think it’s time to inventory my eating, to see where I’ve tried to take control of my food plan instead of letting it go to the side so I can work my recovery. To me, I see relapse on the horizon if I keep doing that. So, a little awareness work would do wonders for the mental and spiritual aspects of my physical recovery.
      Also, Step Ten talks about Step Four not being the end-all, be-all inventory. I’ll have more things come up as I grow in program. That means it’s time to get the footwork done for resentments I’ve journaled in my pen-and-paper setup and get back on that recovery wagon and into the real action of Steps Three through Nine. I’ve been wresting control of this from my Higher Power even as I have been practicing letting go of the small stuff.
      And the small stuff takes care of itself. Last night, as I was preparing to drive my family to get a quick dinner, I started the car. The Check Engine light went out.
     
      In my Higher Power’s time, not mine.
     
      My name is Jess. I am a compulsive eater and a compulsive approval-seeker. I have spent a lot of time distracting myself, but it looks like it’s time to get back onto those steps again and start the workout for my life. It is a good life when I work the program, and living in compulsion just isn’t the thrill ride I once deluded myself it was.

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