Posted by: innerpilgrimage | February 21, 2014

Sayings from the Joker

      If clarity is the gift of recovery, then opacity appears to be the penalty of addiction.

      I just don’t feel the clarity. Muddled thinking, not sure what to say that could potentially inspire anyone. I am looking for answers, and all I find is more confusion. Perhaps, then, I can settle on a few small clear ideas or thoughts or . . . whatever. I feel like my mind is scattered, scrambled, just not taking in new information even as I reach out for more information.
      The problem is that I don’t want to take any leaps of faith. I am tired and resentful, still abstinent but my abstinence isn’t helping me lose any weight–physical or emotional or mental. The most dramatic symptoms seems to be that I’m looking outward for others to give me answers. I long for guidance, want someone with truthiness to solve my dilemma. I have tools to work with, but I want to intellectually and coldly analyze my way to intuition. It’s not going to happen. I just want someone to tell me what to do, because I am tired. Someone to hold my hand through all of this. I’ve fought for a solitary path through program, and that’s what I have, now. I just don’t connect with anyone again.
      I feel sad because I remember feeling that hope at the beginning of program. I really do. I felt like I was going to do it by the Big Book, get a sponsor, take it all the way to the spiritual solution. Almost four-and-a-half years later, and I have no sponsor, have no friends in program (if I’m going to be brutally honest). I want a fellowship, and I just have no sense of fellowship in twelve step.
      Is it my failing? The meetings’ failing? Program’s failing? Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Blaming is pointless, is counterproductive, is honestly not part of program–as evidenced by Step Four’s moral/ethical inventory. I know I could do more, but it still involves other people who are dealing with their own program issues. As an individual, I have so much access to the experience, strength, and hope of other people who share my frustration. That gives me hope. Actually, as an atheist, the experience and strength and hope of others willing to share publicly yet anonymously is about as Higher Power as I can get. What we share is like a big charity rummage sale. We might turn away from something because we find a treasure at the next table that appears made just for us; what we left behind often becomes a treasure to the person right beside us. And, well, I added “charity” in front of that rummage sale, because every share goes to fund a greater cause–relief from the dis-ease of compulsive behavior relating to food and appearance (COE, bulimia, anorexia, and probably even exercise addiction in concert with any or all).

      As an aside, I absolutely loved picking through this thoughts on abstinence forum thread. Oh, I love when I hit on something like this. It makes me feel a little more clarity, makes me feel more awake and aware of a truth that I want to deny: I am a COE/anorexic by nature, and OA works for me. It does. Something about the 12-Step talk when it comes to OA just reaches me. I don’t have the kind of despair I get from CoDA or SLAA or ACA. That isn’t knocking those groups, by the way. I just get so overwhelmed in them, feel even more of a failure at life. I am those, as well (codependent, romance addict/social anorectic, and a link in a long family chain of adult children raising adult children and addicts). I look at the literature, identify myself, and say, “Okay, I’m ready for the path to sobriety in this program!” And nothing is there for me except Step One. So, I despair, because I’m powerless and no one seems to have any guidance on the paths through the jungles of those addictions. Well, okay. I had a mentor who I thought was about to offer illumination. Then, the mentor died, and that flame was snuffed. I was in darkness worse than before.
      I still am.

      It is so frustrating to me that I have no one to sit with but once per week to share these thoughts. I just feel missing in action from program. I feel apart. I want something I can do alone, with my pouty child self stating that I don’t need anyone even as inside my heart breaks and I stay silent over the sadness that I need them but they don’t want me. It is so much easier to reject the world first after one extends one’s self and nothing comes of it. I don’t think I was ever outright rejected as a human being, but I definitely know I have been involved in some real personality-before-principles lessons. Powerful lessons. I’m grateful for the seemingly bad, and I take wobbly steps toward mindfully being principle-based. It’s not easy because I just am not willing to extend myself right now for fear that (1) I will be rejected, (2) I will be neglected, (3) I will get into a personality-before-principles conflict, and/or (4) any potential mentor will die right when I’m ready for guidance. The last one . . . that’s anxiety-producing magical thinking that I have more influence on the world than I do.
      So, I guess I’m lonely. There’s the food. It didn’t leave. It’s just an unsatisfying relationship, as lonely as any other. And my clawing inner anorexic is demanding I get to a point where people are telling me to eat. That’s power for someone who feels faded away into the background. There is attention to be had in people’s scorn that I can terraform my body into a lean and skin-over-skeleton look. By starving my to death, I would have people trying to keep me alive, right? The danger is easy enough to self-deny . . . because it’s will power I got and you do not, baby! Yeah . . . that’s *so* mentally healthy right there. Thin is not beautiful; health-at-any-weight is beautiful. The pallor of death over anyone is frightening. It is sad, it is terrifying, and “death-becomes-her” beauty is the myth that I consumed as a girl. I don’t want to nourish myself; I don’t want to starve myself; I don’t want to punish myself by eating so much that I want to vomit for the amount I consumed. I want people to notice that I am hurting; I want someone to reach down to help me before I am consumed by the addiction. It’s only a matter of time, really. I’m just not sure which way I will go in relapse. I’m swinging to the edges of my abstinence most days, eating very little or nothing until I have to play catch-up to make sure I don’t lose abstinence as an anorexic. That sucks to admit. I’m sure some people are pointing and gasping and are offended that I still say, “I am abstinent.”
      To those people who have decided I have broken abstinence because I sometimes have to force myself to eat and they are offended that I don’t play abstinence by their rules? Go screw yourself. You weren’t there when I was reaching out. You probably aren’t there when others are reaching out. You won your coin for not eating those cookies. Good for you.
      To those people who pity me or sympathize or empathize? Thank you for feeling something for a fellow human being suffering. Feeling anything besides scorn.

      There must be some way out of here. There IS too much confusion, and I can find no relief.



  1. Hi,
    I don’t know what to say in response to your post today. There are so many things I want to say, but I also know that only you can change you, and nothing I want to say can do that. I will say that I am sorry you feel lonely even in the program. I sometimes feel that way too. Sometimes fellowship in these rooms feels awkward and forced, but in the other 12-step program I am in, I’ve found that faking it until I make it has lead to some more genuine relationships. I am also having difficulty finding an OA sponsor, but I am very new to OA. It may sound absurd, but even after 4 1/2 years, you still can get a sponsor, go through the big book, and make progress. It’s never too late. One of the beauties of any of the 12-step programs is that you can do them at your own pace. Granted, at some time you’ll want to go or get off the pot, but all of that is up to you. Should you want to reach out to an OA program friend, you are welcome to email me. Like I said, I don’t have much time in the OA program, but time it the program isn’t important – being in it is.
    Wishing you the best.

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