"Life is a swirling, sucking eddy of despair, with only faint glimmers of false hope, that fade away as you're dashed to the rocks." Bill Maher
The above line came from a standup comedy bit, this was the wisdom of life passed on from a father to a son. It was so outrageously depressing that is was meant to get a laugh, but to me it spoke directly to how I felt at the time.
The subject of my f2f meeting the other night was "change", and I felt it was important to 'remember' where it was I came from. My life had been a downhill spiral with only those faint glimmers of false hope that would occasionally give me a positive outlook and project to those around me a positive upbeat person, but when that hope inevitably passed away, the depression was palpable. The isolation became almost constant for more than 3 years, my home was affectionately called "the cave", by those few acquaintances I had, cause the windows were always drawn, I would sit for hours and watch my fish tanks, the room glowed with the muted light from the tanks filtered through the wavering water and the gentle motion of the swimming fish, it was my solace, I would not speak at all for days at a time.. there was simply no need in me to communicate, there was nothing to say, nothing new to share, and so no joy from one day to the next. The attempts at communication were met by me with grunts and hums and when it became angry attempts to engage me, I would either yell or sulk..... and eat. I would eat away the rage, eat away the despair, eat away feelings of nothingness and loneliness, hoping for that good feeling if just for a moment.. the one that used to come from the food. I didn't care that it was killing me, actually I was praying for it to kill me, a suicide from natural causes, the insurance wouldn't be able not to pay. Death was my solution to all my problems and I was ready to go. I saw no other answers for me at the time.
How do you come back from a place so bleak, so dark? How do you believe one more time in that ray of hope you think you see? How do you start over one more time after such a long string of failures that convince you that you can never accomplish anything except to be a failure?
For me, I was pushed into the light. I went into counseling to try to "get myself fixed" so I wouldn't be such a detrimental influence on my brand new daughter, as part of the therapy I was instructed to attend 6 weekly OA meetings before deciding if it was for me or not. I thought, "I can do anything for 6 weeks" then I'll quit, I would have shown that I made the effort, so my part of the deal would have been fulfilled, and "I would be off the hook". I could then no longer be blamed and so it would "not be my fault", there was nothing specific I could name that I would have been at fault for, it was just an all encompassing reprieve from blame.
I attended my first meeting with a huge chip on my shoulder, had toyed with the idea of bringing along a bucket of food to eat in the back of the room while the meeting was going on. I walked into the meeting, and was greeted with friendly hello's and welcome's and then they read the opening series of steps, and tools, etc. and then everyone shared, I don't remember if I said more than my name, but I felt a warmth there that had been long missing from my life, and at the end everyone began hugging and I was even offered a few, which I accepted, and I left feeling ... good! I felt as if I had been bathed in a warm light, like laying on a grassy hill in the summer time and having a gentle breeze blowing over you, so content, and so serene. It was wonderful to "feel" something again, and something good. The following week I remember actually looking forward to going again, I still had my reservations about it, but that feeling was calling me back, more satisfying that any food I had ever eaten, I was eager to have more of it.
One of the people there made reference to "dragging yourself into the light", and she related that to coming to the meetings. I asked earlier how you start to believe in that glimmer of hope one more time, and that's what did it for me, I kept bringing myself to the light, instead of waiting for the light to come to me... I didn't "get it" right away, but I knew that's where I had to be until I DID get it. Even in the last year when I was unable to attend meetings I still had some contact with program people and that was the connection that kept that light available to me, however dim it had become... and finally, I "got it"......
The surrender to light was nothing less than a miracle, a blessing beyond my wildest hopes, a grace from my Higher Power that had been waiting for me, and all I had to do was surrender to it. Such a small change, such a difficult change to make, such a fearful change, but what a significant one. Learning to accept that every situation has positive aspects and to hold on to that instead of dwelling on the negative. Suddenly there are different answers to the same old questions that have baffled me for so long, different solutions, and so many choices, and they all began by dragging myself into the light.
It is good to remind myself where it was I came from, but it seems so far away now, tears leaked from eyes a few times remembering how totally hopeless I was, remembering the despair, and being so grateful now to have a real hope and trust that my life will be better. I thank my Higher Power everyday for blessing me with this gift of abstinence, for relieving me of the desire to seek refuge in food, to be able to sit quietly with feelings and simply feel them without fearing them, seeing what it is I can learn from them and being content in the knowledge that things are as they should be.
The love I found in the meeting rooms and now online is a part of that light that helps me believe that there is indeed hope for me, and I must keep "dragging myself into that light", though nowadays it's a "happy walk" to it, I must continue to be there just like the blood has to continue to flow in me, I NEED that light to renew me and reassure me and help nurture me in my growth, and in turn give that light to others to help nurture them, for this light is a giving light, if you try to hold on to it, it will wither, only by passing it on does it continue to glow.
Thank you all for being there, may our struggles give us strength, and our love - hope!
love and hugs,
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