One year and 275+ pounds ago, there came a new light, it was the light of Hope! It came in the form of surrender to a power greater than myself. That Higher Power was an eating disorder treatment center and it was a time in my life that I had all but given up on ever getting into recovery, of ever getting abstinent, of ever having food not be the central issue in my day. It was a life altering ray of sunshine. From the depths of a suicidal despair, came once again a small glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe there was a way out of this muck for me.
From not being able to walk 20' without major effort, I began walking the 100' to my back fence and back, it took me over 15 mins. I added over the next months another length in 100' increments until I was doing 4 lengths of my yard, at which time I started walking out on the back street behind my house, down to the corner and back, an equivalent of the 4 lengths of my yard, I then added little by little over the next few months until I could walk all the way around the block, which I measured at half a mile in the car.... this was a major first goal met for me. The next jumps were quick and possibly a little too quick, but I was determined to get up to 1.5 miles, which I have now done, it takes me about 35 mins to walk it but I do it each morning, usually 6 days a week, with one day off to recuperate. I am learning to listen to my body in that regard, though sometimes I'm still not sure if it's my body or my head that's talking... :-)
Small but significant is the fact that I can finish my walk, usually sit to rest for 5 mins before coming back inside, and can get right into the shower without having to wait an hour or so to have enough energy. This is in sharp contrast to last year when at least 2 hours was needed after ANY exertion before I could entertain the thought of standing long enough to get through a shower, which took 30-45 mins and then THAT required another couple of hours rest before being able to do anything else.
Now my showers take 10-15 mins. and I'm ready to go out the door if needed and run any errands that need be done, shopping, bank, etc. :-) A small miracle in my life for sure. I've also noted that the bars of soap are getting smaller before I put them out of the shower, as it's no longer a big deal to pick them up when dropped.. another small miracle.
I can wear my watch again, feel the bones in my wrist and hands, my eye glasses don't dig a groove in the side of my head anymore and I can feel the bones in my cheeks when washing my face. My knees no longer ache constantly, in fact it's been weeks since they've hurt at all, this is major improvement as they hurt ALL the time before.
I am diabetic and my glucose levels are down around 100 now, heart is still beating (this is a good sign) :-), "resting" heart rate is about 58 now... down from the high 80's/low 90's a year ago. If I subscribe to the theory that my heart only has so many beats allowed it for my lifetime, then I have increased my lifetime a bit. :-) Blood pressure is down to normal levels, 110/78 down from 160/105.
I have just started looking for places that need skin donors, burn centers, hospitals, etc. in anticipation of removing all this loose skin that is accumulating, might as well have it go to something useful and if I'm lucky perhaps the facility will absorb the medical costs in exchange for harvesting the skin. That's my hope anyway as I am not sure what my insurance will cover in this regard. That's at least a year away though.
On the emotional front, I have been able to release much, well some, of my controlling nature to my Higher Power, learning to see those things that I cannot change and believing that the universe is unfolding as it should. My close personal relationships are improving as I let go of my old ways, and begin in earnest to "grow up" spiritually and emotionally. I am more open with my spouse, I am quicker to make amends when needed, and quicker to forgive her shortcomings and release it to my Higher Power for His care. I am, of course, not perfect at this, but it's giving me a lot of practice making amends.. :-)
I have been working "on my side of the street", the clutter that is mine in the house is being gone through and thrown out, and the other is being turned over to my Higher Power for Him to deal with.
My acceptance of my daughters "growing pains" is becoming better, allowing her the freedom to make mistakes and live with whatever consequences have been decided upon... instead of "hovering" about her all day prodding her to get things done.... it seems to be a cyclical thing... right now we are going through a "good" time, and it is glorious. As my acceptance of this process increases so does my serenity about it. Funny how that works huh?
I have been blessed with abstinence since March 14, 2001, food has seldom been the cause of any discomfort in my life, I thank God everyday for this wonderful gift. There have been the occasional food thoughts that make their way across my mind, but they leave me very quickly these days as I know to my very center that for me, "food is not an option for my emotional problems". I have come to rely on my food plan more than I ever thought would be possible for me. The food plan reassures me that I've had "enough" for nourishing my body, and if I still desire "more" then I know it's something other than physical hunger that must be dealt with.
I have shared before that it took me several years in this program to realize the "Tools" we have are the things we can and should "Do" INSTEAD of eating. I'm not sure what I thought they were for, just things to keep me busy maybe so food wouldn't call to me... but I found that it's when the food DOES call to me that these are the things I can do to help myself handle the desire to eat, to soothe the feelings, something to get me through until that craving/desire leaves.
Another minor miracle was that for the first time a few days ago, I was able to lay down in my bed, on my stomach, and fall peacefully asleep. I've been able to sleep laying on my side again for about 6 months, but to sleep laying on my stomach and be comfortable is another milestone. I still mostly live in my chair, but the time when I can lay down for an entire night and sleep "normally" is fast approaching... I really revel in being able to do that, as I miss it more than I thought. So far I can manage only a couple of hours before the aches and pains drive me back to the comfort of my chair.
I have noticed my thinking is clearer, I am aware of more and more options to life's situations that ever before, and as I learn from my own trial and error methods I am able to be more and more tolerant of the process of growing up emotionally, knowing that I will make mistakes, but that my Higher Power will be there to help me recover from them and try again. I don't have to be perfect, I just have to "get better", and as I do, more and more is revealed to me. That reminds of something heard in my youth, "the more I know, the more I realize how much I don't know!".
I am looking forward to being able to travel again, to not be concerned that people will have facilities that will accommodate me while travelling will be such a great gift. To be able to visit friends I've not seen in a decade will be such a joy and a blessing.
All these things are coming, all the promises from the Big Book are coming true for me, and though I look forward to them, I know I only have to be concerned with today, to be "present" while I'm "here".. it is so clear to me how I've always NOT lived in the moment. It is evident in my daughters constantly looking ahead to the rewards and not concentrating on the effort of the task, that she is copying me so much. I was always thinking about the rewards of accomplishment, seeking the adulation for things done, but taking no pleasure in the doing of the task... and THAT is really where the happiness comes from, in the knowledge of all I had to overcome to finish the task at hand, and not the rewards of being noticed for doing it.
It is in the quiet realization of anonymous acts of kindness that truly bring a smile to me today... helping someone without thought of reward, but just for the act of kindness, to be a positive part of their life, if just for a moment.
I got a call not long ago from a friend who got a little perturbed at me when asked what was new, I replied, "not much, every day is pretty much like the one before", and it was taken as a sign of depression... but in reality, it was just an acceptance that I don't have an epiphany everyday, I don't see the small miracles everyday, sometimes I just "get through" the day, and some days I notice the smallest things and realize what miracles they are, the joy of watching the sun come up over the trees.... sitting in my gazebo and watching 6 different kinds of birds feeding on the ground and in the trees, watching my daughter studying a trail of ants, or reading in her latest favorite book, having her voluntarily fix lunch for the family or picking up something she wasn't told to, seeing something on the floor and bending over to pick it up without considering how much effort it will take, and taking 5 mins on my way to my walk to pick a few weeds here and there in the back yard on my way out, being able to "feel" the muscles in my legs while walking, and being able to differentiate them from the fat in my legs, being aware of the feelings of touching my skin, to enjoy the sensuous touch of my lover after years of recoiling from it, to be able to sit quietly and just listen to the excitement in my daughters voice as she tells me about something that caught her fancy... I'm seeing more and more in the mundane everyday things, but it doesn't happen every day, some days are just to help me appreciate the miracles I will see next time.
I'm continuing to work the steps, letting go of some of my short-comings, letting God decide when he will take them from me, but being ready to let them go...knowing they will be replaced with something wonderful and better.
It is with profound gratitude that I say Thank You for a wonderful year, one day at a time.
I pray for the strength to continue on the path I have started walking, for quick recognition when I step off so I may more quickly return, and for the knowledge of my higher purpose as I'm ready to receive it.
love and hugs,
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