Posted by: innerpilgrimage | September 12, 2012

Where Do We Come From?

      Despite this being a big life question, today’s entry isn’t about that.

      Well, I’ve been looking over my stats to try and figure out why I get more than two or three reads per day. On average, fifty people visit daily on weekdays and maybe 25 visit on each of the weekend days. I’m baffled, to be honest. I don’t consider myself particularly interesting. Some people do, however, and at least half of my bookmarks bars have “A Forty-Something Fool’s Journey” on their bookmark bars. Now, most people come from search engines, and they don’t really do much with the search terms–though I’m seeing more people searching WordPress tags. I was baffled, however, by one from a website called The referrer link finally gave me the complete link this time, and I found my journal in an August 2010 article about beating food addiction. It’s listed among many, many fantastic journals about compulsive eating. Mine was among the Personal Testimonials section:
      A 40-Something Fool’s Journey: This blog is primarily about the writer’s experience with Overeater’s Anonymous and and trying to achieve abstinence from food addiction. Recommended posts: “Walking Into a First Meeting With A Higher Power” and “A Balance of Self: I Work an Imperfect Program.”
      Well, that explains why people keep hitting those two posts. Of course, I see, probably once every two months, someone starts reading from the beginning. It’s pretty cool to watch that journey forward in time. No, I don’t know who any of the readers are, but if someone is interested in following the ups–and especially the downs–of life in program? I appreciate that they’re willing to slog through it. I do hope it helps, because this has been a three-year journey through food addiction. A journey that began only a couple of short days before I walked into my first meeting. That’s pretty groovy that I have that, to remind me of what life was like when I was struggling back then for when I struggle today. And it inspires me to allow myself not to be all sweetness and light about recovery–especially when I decide to go it on my own in action. Diet programs do that. I don’t want OA ever to be seen as a diet program because of me. I am a complex person, and the more experience I share? The more people will at least consider looking at OA as one of many options out there. Because that is what OA is to me–an option, not a cure. As Wesley says to Buttercup in the film version of the Princess Bride:
      “Life is pain. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
      Though I have to say, pain is a choice. Well, not like the pop-psych people seem to think, where–through magical thinking–anything can happen. There’s no genie in the bottle to grant a wish (though genies of mythology are notorious tricksters, so perhaps the analogy of wishing to get away from the life I had and turning to something as destructive as food addiction to successfully introvert would be like a genie-granted wish). There is definitely no magic pill (Talk to a Fen-Phen class action litigant, if you doubt me). However, through the process of sliding out from under the mountain of food I buried my sorrow and my anger and my self under? I found a clearer mind at the same weight. That clearer mind allowed me to take in new ideas about how I wanted to live my life. Nearly three years of living it that way has brought me here, to a life where I only rarely feel deprived by a food plan I have chosen for a nutritionally- supported life. I am still learning about my trigger foods (they evolve with me) and my trigger behaviors (they do, too). But what I have learned in recovery has helped, even as the challenges knock me down and make me want to turn away for good some days (the primary challenge being that retaining a sponsor and having her as a close friend is just not in the cards at this point in my life–something that hurts very, very badly). I don’t turn away. I didn’t turn away during the biggest crisis I’ve had since I began program. And through the strength of the fellowship both in and out of OA? I am still abstinent and still in recovery. That is a testament to me that program works for me.
      It’s not for everyone, but OA works for me and for a whole lot of people all around the world.
      Speaking of OA all around the world, I also love being able to see what countries readers come from. It’s a great and fantastic list of countries I definitely want to visit some day. Primarily, I get readers from the United States. Canada is generally number two on that list, so hello to my neighbors from the north. Your country is gorgeous, and the Canadians I have met are polite and decent people. So if other U.S. citizens are jerks to you. I apologize on behalf of the rational citizens of the United States. They’re just plain loco, and you’ll want to steer clear of them like we do down in the contiguous 48 just south of you.
      To the person from Ireland? Stunning country. I have strong political views about Ireland being united and independent of British rule (despite a mutt ancestry of being Scotch-Irish, and Orange at that). I’m not really keen on the British people I’ve met–especially after a trip to Paris. Two rude British men were in the elevator up the Eiffel Tower being offensive at the multilingual elevator operator. When they left, my husband and I apologized to her in English because we were disgusted to shock whle the men were there. Of course, my husband is wicked to the British whenever he deals with them in work situations (after years of being frustrated and baffled by U.K. citizens)–often setting Aussies, Scots, or the Irish on them. To the British (who have, in the past month, been just behind the Aussies in terms of visits)? I’m from the U.S. and freedom is our big thing. Big Brother socialism and those nasty games played with the speed cameras on your bypasses and highways is just plain disrespectful to you folks. Though I understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do. I mean, I am terrified that people won’t mobilize to keep the Republican team out of office and out of my body. I want my freedom to choose what medical procedures to do on MY body. The ignorance of our political candidates must be pretty shocking to you. Trust me, it is terrifying to those of us who are facing living under that kind of Fascism as of January 2013. If it goes bad on Electrion Day Tuesday in November? I am hoping the 2012 Doomsayers are right. I would rather the world end (which it won’t) than face having President Romney and Vice-President “Women-Can’t-Have-Babies-From-Rape-‘Cause-Nature-Fixes-It” (to whom I respond, “Tell that to the woman I knew twenty years ago who was raising her child from an unwanted sexual encounter with a man she thought was a friend. She chose life, and I respect that she did. However, she didn’t spontaneously miscarry.”) voted into office. Ugh. The ignorance burns! Why are people so crazed about making politics an emotional decision?
      Uh, also, a shout out to the Philippines. Like the Canadians, I don’t think I’ve ever really met an unpleasant Filipino (or Filipina). Attractive people, too.
      Over the last month, I’ve seen the flags from every continent. Exciting. Though I expect a few were phishing (Heh, welcome to the reality of the Eleventh Tradition), I hope most were looking for something about dealing with this stuff. And yes, this is a First World problem. That’s why I want to get my head out of my backside and really start being a contributing member of the world. Well, beyond regular donations to Medecins sans Frontiers, Heifer International, Red Cross, and several other highly reputable international relief organizations. Especially at the holidays. People I know who want prezzies don’t need stuff; they have more abundance than they know what to do with, and I have no idea what to get them that won’t get regifted or returned. So, they get to be named as the reason we contributed extra to international assistance groups (and the food bank charities, for our local and national donations) at the holidays.
      Yup, my atheist family donates quite a lot of money to charity because people are in need and although we have debt? We’re paying it off fast enough, and those people are in need today. We are citizens of the world, first, and the world is everyone’s responsibility–especially when they are under pressure to conform to First World lifestyles without First World funds.
      Yes, I am passionate about a lot of stuff, and I am more shocked that people who have a lot just are so reluctant to share any of it. I suppose, however, when one is fine with getting their vast accumulated wealth from the blood and tears of the working poor all around the world? The towers have to cost more in order to keep them in the clouds, so they can’t see the suffering they could have averted below–because they worried some other unethical person would choose to take the opportunity instead. If we, as a nation, stopped buying the Made in China label? We would affect great change. But it’s inconvenient . . .
. . . just like program is. Just like keeping to a food plan is. Just like working the steps is. Just like going to meetings when I’m feeling at my worst is–especially when I fear being abused by the people who are comforted by the He’s and Him’s and Thee’s and Thine’s and Thou’s in the Big Book. I fear anonymity will be broken because religion will matter more than recovery. Sheesh, the Grey Sheet diet and strict (and often cruel) sponsorship style matter to some more than recovery. I just have to trust that the meetings I have chosen to attend aren’t filled with people vying for the title of Miss O.A. 2013. It’s a crapshoot, though. I mean, I got zealous in my recovery and ended up acting like a cultist until I hit the wall and ran smack-dab into that patriarchal deity which allows atrocities and disrespect against women as part of its three primary fundamental texts. I like the religion that’s packaged in order to get me to convert. It’s very nice. A living religion, filled with hope and love. Unfortunately, under the meringue is some pretty scary stuff, there, folks, and it takes a strong modern gnostic to hold strong to their ethical belief that the book is the launch point for an intimate and personal relationship with God. I think the modern gnostics are the people I deal with well from the Abrahamic religions. They’re the ones who teach me so much about kindness and humanity and the point of even having religion in the first place. People turn to religion for those reasons; they begin to question them when intellect wins out. However, they shouldn’t have to give up the comfort of having it. I only hope they understand that just as the New Atheists don’t like agnostics or atheists who say that spirituality and a belief in a Higher Power can be a good thing, the Fundamentalists don’t like you because of your lack of conviction to follow them blindly into that violent and angry path of righteous ire–which they got in spades. Trust me, I don’t doubt my future is filled with Christians threatening Hell upon me and telling me I am evil and will burn eternally for it–which I don’t believe unless I see one of them bring forward physical proof of the lake of fire. And photos of volcanoes don’t count–those are things of this world, and that’s lying. I would consider since God is a deity of truth? A lie in the name of that God is a sin.
      The scariest part is that some of these people are off-kilter enough to commit murder to prove a point. I felt the shockwave of the OKC bombing miles and miles away. It wasn’t much, but something changed to the point I turned on the news and learned that because a man was angry at the government for the complete screw-up that became the tragedy at the Branch Davidians compound, a rental moving truck was turned into a bomb using farm supplies. A truck bomb parked in front of the full day care center in that OKC Federal building. Those children the Bible said for this religious zealot to be like–most if not all children of Christian parents. After all, this was Oklahoma, the state of churches and Wal-Marts.
      As an atheist? I am a target, just like everyone else is to at least one of the three Abrahamic religions. That’s so sad to think, and it, to me, explains the New Atheists’ shout to the world to wake up and realize how insane it is that the Crusades are back. Because they are, only this time humanity has the technology to destroy us all. That’s a horrible thought, when we all could be working toward peace, were it not for the adherence to a few books which have no relevance in the twenty-first century–save for the philosophy that nobility comes from our actions and personal ethics than what religious (or non-religious) team we root for.
      So, where do you come from?
      Same place I do. Vilkommen. Bienvenue. Welcome. Life’s a cabaret–some flash and some tears. But we’re all here together, and it’s time for me to stop quoting show tunes (despite being a huge Joel Grey fan), and get on with life on the big blue marble with my 7 billion fellow inhabitants.
      My name is Jess, and I am compulsive about food and toxic love. I appreciate that some people may come here to laugh about that very first-world problem. Trust me, I laugh, too. I also cry, because I would love not to have that sense of entitlement to a perfect life then have a real one I felt I had to run from. A life where I chose to eat more food than I needed while others starved. A life where I could choose to regret relationship decisions without being murdered by family members. And to somehow have that lack of reality-sense enough that it could become something I cannot control.
      However, the lesson of the day is that recovery of sanity and release of addiction is something that some people do with the comfort of God’s love around them, just like it’s something that I can do with the comfort that I have the experience, strength, and hope of those who have come before me to guide my recovery with what they learned on their own fool’s journeys.


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