Posted by: innerpilgrimage | August 21, 2012

Traversing the Deep Chasm: Oh, I Am Humbly and Personally Grateful That Bridge-Builders Exist

      Thank you to the people who responded; I appreciate what you wrote, especially after I stopped panicking. Calmer this morning, what I was looking at with addict eyes was read by recovered ones. I appreciate the inspiration, the compassion.

      Before I go on to write about what I am beginning to transition through, now, I wanted to add something. In my character defective paranoia and fear-based defensiveness of yesterday’s post, I don’t recall writing what I do like about the Christian faith. The parables are wonderful. The teachings of the highest qualities of humanity are present in them. I definitely believe in them. Like jatakas, the stories allow us to see that which is within us all. The stories offer a mirror of our selves, in which we may meditatively examine what is. That which is changeable, we can change–if we have enough strength to reach through the fear to the courage. Living faiths I like. To me, it respects nature and the world we live in. As I have said before, I appreciate the Christians who contemplate what it means to be Christ-like.
      Now, I am Christianity-focused primarily because it is the one religion I was exposed to during my formative years. It was the one religion which was real to me. If I had grown up in another religion, I would be talking about it. The other religions were pre-loaded as mythology in my mind; Christianity was true over all things. I was so deeply entrenched, I never considered that Jesus was not a Christian by birth. According to the New Testament, he respected yet walked away from the restrictions and rules of the religion of his childhood. What that means? I have no idea. However, I held fundamentalist concepts close to heart. God became limited by the religion of my childhood. Caged by the rules of humanity, as I’ve written here before. That’s not true for all people who follow Christianity. I definitely can see the gratitude to God for the gift of reason as a human being.
      It’s interesting that I am in this transitional period. I’m not looking to be anti-faith. I understand the desire to belong to a community which seeks expansion in order to bring the dreams of humanity to life. Both share the desire to create a world of peace and love, a future for the best ideals of humanity to be embraced. Maybe I am agnostic more than atheist. That “I don’t know” is very powerful. I do not know if God exists. I do know, however, that whatever is going on? I truly do not believe in a discrete external intellect guiding any of it. I believe that I have a limited means to perceive the reality today. For me, I suppose the belief in winking out of existence is equal to a belief in an afterlife. I can’t dare to presume anyone can know this for certain. There’s a faith in atheism the same as there’s a faith in religion.
      Just for today, however, what I learned about atheism as a product of a deeply fundamentalist upbringing needs to be expanded. Soaking the experiences of others in order to understand more about my own self truths I really believe honors the whole human experience I am living day-to-day. So, I am in transition. Learning to think for myself, not falling prey to abandoning my personal power to human equals in order to avoid personal responsibility for my life. That’s part of my addiction–I want an easy life which someone else guides. If I can’t abandon my life to a parent figure or a Prince Charming? I am drawn to eat unmanageably, to live unmanageably.
      Well, let’s see what I do and don’t want to do in either. Maybe I can draw some answers which will help me understand the power that is greater than myself. Definitely need to work the steps. And gratitude–to life itself, that I am even in this moment to consider this–is all around. As is humility, which I appreciate seems to come with it. I am grateful that I am part of reality at all, even in my limited knowledge and ability to sense it.
      Well, let’s see. First thing is that I can have hope. With or without religion, people recover. I personally feel that the 12 Steps are right. Um, I surrendered my food plan and I’ve been abstinent this whole time. When I try to take control of it? I’m dieting and rebelling from that diet. Surrendering to and taking action regarding the natural messages my body sends (as often as I can, I am still seeing relapse behavior despite having daily abstinence) work. Abstinence works. It slows me down, keeps me from panic-eating. Keeps me more mindful of what I put in my body. I am responsible for what I fuel my body with. I enjoy the clarity moderation and a balanced diet allows. The food isn’t muddying things up–the uncontrolled and unmanageable reaction to the natural emotions I feel are.
      Well, the biggest don’t: I don’t want to proselytize. I don’t have the answers. To tell another seeker of the truth that I have them isn’t truth. I have nothing but my beliefs, and even those change as I do. What I write here is a revelation of an individual journey. The emotions–the anger, fear, grief–which colour what I write in my entries are not part of program. They are, however, part of my recovery. I started the journal with no idea where I would be headed with it. Didn’t really even start it as a recovery journal. I was turning 40 that December, and I needed to feel like I hadn’t wasted everything. That I could get something done before I turned 40.
      I got the biggest thing done I could have: I entered an OA meeting at the end of September after waffling over it for, oh, months. Possibly years. Time doesn’t really move smoothly when I’m living the unmanageable life. Kind of like a YOLO (You Only Live Once) replacement: In addiction, YOLU (You Only Live Unmanageably). Oh, and YOLO triggers my fear and anger, because I used that as the #1 excuse for acting out my addictions. Of course, I said, “No Regrets,” but I lived in that “I can live regrets-free” era. Little hint from personal experience? YOLO and No Regrets guaranteed them once I changed as a person. That said, I am grateful anyway. Without those attitudes? I would not have the most powerful of my life lessons to work with as I try to evolve as a person.
      I don’t want to feel bad for what I believe. I fear people who proselytize because I am weak-willed. Part of the addiction. Can’t stay on a diet, hate to avoid conflict, will get steamrolled to make apparent peace until the big rage-filled blowout when I feel cornered and trapped. I accept the passive-aggressive nature of how my addiction manifests. I’ll make peace to get people to go away; if they don’t, I will become terrifying. The problem is that I don’t want to live as either. I don’t really think I have a real conflict with most people. Those who seek power over others and who use FUD to force their wills? I do have a problem with. However, that’s something program helps with. I definitely believe that.
      I believe in reality. Nice thing is that everyone does. I will admit, some realities are filtered more heavily than others through minds bent by irrational rules. I don’t see life really having rules. Sure, there are paths life follows which science has revealed and keeps revealing. But I don’t believe in an external being purposefully guiding it all. First of all, that removes free will from the equation–which is part of the human experience. Second of all, if I am to believe in God? Why did my child get cancer as a preschooler? As I read recently, I find more comfort in the idea that it was simply something that happened in nature. Because if a deity guided my innocent and loving child to get a cancer that has taken away so many opportunities for him? I am offended that–yet again–someone else had to be hurt in order to make me “a better person”. It’s not free will if I do not choose to be a better person for my own reasons. A being who punishes people I love to get my compliance . . . that’s the definition of a hostage situation. Force creates an uneasy slave class, and rebellion will follow if the empowered classes rouse that anger enough times. People accept guidance, but there is a point when the inhumanity becomes absolutely disgusting. Some hide because they fear they’re next; others stand between those crushing forces and accept that to have a future of peace, sometimes war must be waged. Do I want war? No. But each person I leave to be tortured and killed for my petty first-world convenience is as valuable a life as mine–or the person who tortures and kills that person.
      That is a strong belief of mine. Is it fact? Some will agree; some won’t. And I want it that way. Belief is open for debate. Fact is not. Of course, the journey to fact is a trail of belief, so the debate is ever present. Free will to believe as each of us wishes; free will to admit, “I don’t know,” and sit with that truth.
      I want to live by reason, not emotions. I eat and manipulate people because I can’t handle my emotions. Recovery creates a reasonable life, a life lived in a rational existence. Emotions are part of the human experience–we all have them. That’s a rational thought proved by observation. An emotionless human being–and I mean one who actually has a medical condition which short-circuits that, not an individual’s choice to suppress emotions–is rare. Anyway, reason is how abstinence is still in my life. I can turn to the piece of paper I have up and look at that. It splits seconds. It creates action between choosing and eating food. I weigh and measure, still, for most things. I eat what dieticians and other nutrition scientists have learned through study creates a balanced diet to sustain a healthy human being while also allowing for the variety which appeals to me, personally. I eat a minimum and maximum number of calories out of those healthy choices and enjoy certain foods considered “bad” by the diet industry (unless they’re processed and packaged by them, it seems) in extreme moderation. For example, I bought a 4 oz organic fair trade chocolate bar on Friday. With my family also eating it? One square of the eight equal squares is still left wrapped in the refrigerator. So, I can eat an ounce of chocolate in a day and be okay with it. Two ounces . . . to me, that’s not moderation in my food plan. To put this in harsh perspective: I used to eat pound boxes or bags of chocolate. Sometimes two pounds in a day. Or more. I can’t really remember too well, because I was high on whatever brain-numbing agent was in that candy. Today, my food plan, individualized to me. I’m never going to be a no-white-foods OAer. I definitely appreciate the people who do it, because those foods have a wretched chemical reaction within their bodies. Kinda like me and chicken. I get stomach flu symptoms when I eat chicken or a “serving” of fried food (what’s given as a portion at a restaurant, not what the USDA recommends as one serving). That’s what I love about the OA abstinence of the meetings I’ve attended. Though I don’t eat the three-two or three-zero food plan suggested. I don’t get hungry by the clock, and I consider if I am going to eat naturally? I am going to take the time to respect nature by not giving into the desire to binge on trigger foods or ignore the hunger pangs or hunger nausea (oh, sneaky, sneaky anorexia). Plus, I could binge at those three meals and two snacks and very likely take a miss on nutritionally sound foods when I do it.
      Recovery is the return to sanity. The return to reason. Now, I do wish I had a sponsor to guide me. That would be nice, but sponsorship . . . oh, it’s one of those hard things in OA. Hm. Maybe I should start sitting in AA meetings and talk to AA sponsors. They seem to have the whole sponsorship gig down. I don’t have to share in meeting. I just can learn how over 75 years of AA recovery has evolved sponsorship. Actually sit down with sponsors and learn how to become a strong sponsor or sponsoree. I mean, my Step Four Inventories are Big Book inventories. I just . . . I want to know where the relationships broke down between my four different sponsors in two programs. I have some inkling of the mutual breakdowns. I definitely know the social anorexia made a difference on my side. Wanting to be worth saving to another person.
      Ugh, well, there’s a lot moving around in my life right now, like a flurry of birds taking flight into the sky in a mass of fluttering feathers and swirling air eddies. Natural thoughts, taking off to be observed in motion. And I have no idea where this metaphor is flapping off to, so I think it’s time to relax and meditate instead of just let all of the clamoring ideas free-flow out here without rhyme or reason.
      Yeah, this is a mind between Steps One and Two, in that desperate leaping place between knowing I am gonna die by food and trusting . . . something. I don’t want to add “out there will catch me” because I did that–and I fell. And I don’t want to think that an external deity wants me to die of addiction, because the history of feeling abandoned by my sponsors–needing to work their programs, having no time for me, making me do all of the work, just not being able to answer my scheduled calls–makes me despair that death by addiction is my purpose-driven God-willed life path.
      The facts are that I entered an OA room. My belief is that I live Tradition Three as a truth–I am a member because I want to end my compulsive eating and starving. My fear is that after being given the hope of walking into the rooms, I am an example from which others can learn. I don’t want to die. Relapse? I don’t care. If I relapse, I can pick up abstinence the minute after I’ve binged and start a brand new 24 hours. But I don’t want to die of addiction, and I don’t want to feel like I am excluded from every being able to pick up Steps Two and Three because the only God I see is a capricious and cruel slave master who punishes good people trying to make a difference and rewards selfish people who force their wills on everyone.
      My name is Jess. I am a food addict–binger and anorexic. And yes, I still am the love addict and avoidant, but right now? The food is that fine thread to sanity. I am as close to fallen out of program as I can get. Abstienence is that lifeline, and I am trying not to drown. I know I will drown in despair if I pick up the religion of my childhood again. I will die of food addiction alone because I hear the word “love” and see the action “suffering”. And I feel like I’m so far away from home, that home I accepted when I first heard “Our Invitation to You”.
      And in this darkness, I have hope, finally. Why? Because that’s when I open the door to possibility, and that which I already judged impossible becomes real.

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