Another day/week/month has gone by and as I've learned on the positive side of things, if I keep doing the same things, I keep getting the same results. I start my day with a conversation with my Higher Power, some days are more elaborate than others, but always in my mind the thought begins that I have a strength to draw on when needed. I awaken and my body gets ready to go walking, sometimes I'm about half through with it before my mind catches up, it has become so much a habit now. Even days when the thoughts and wishes that I didn't have to do this today persist in my mind, my body just continues to do what it has done now for almost two and a half years. There have been days when I have convinced myself that it would be okay NOT to go today, and yet I find myself leaving by the back door one more time, dog and child in tow to greet the day. It is a wonderful ritual, one I am grateful for and almost always feel better for doing afterward. Sometimes my daughter is talkative, and sometime contemplative, either is a blessing and I enjoy being with her no matter which presents itself. The dog is always eager to go and check out all the smells on the route we take.
Home again and the food plan is typed out for the day and sent to my sponsor. My food plan varies very little. It has become familiar, comfortable, a real cornerstone in my day. No longer do I have to worry about how I'm going to feel at mealtime and have that determine what foods I will choose to eat. I plan a balanced day of sustenance and that's what I have. Food has become just food, nourishment for my body, instead of comfort for my emotions or a sedative to escape the stresses or boredom of my life. I am finding great comfort in the sameness of my days, being conscious of what's going on instead of seeing it all through a fog. The turmoil seems less and less and I know it's only my perceptions of it that's changed and for that I am grateful.
I have noticed lately as the financial situation has improved how much that affects most everything else. It has been a real growing experience for me to be practicing discipline in regards my money as this program has been teaching me that lesson in regards all aspects of my life. Discipline with food, with money, with raging emotions, learning to control my actions and not letting that child in me run rampant any longer, learning the concept of "delayed gratification" instead of demanding that I have what I want whenever I want it. I am learning to savor the effort toward my goal as much as reaching it, trying to pass that on to my child also, and of course those lessons are not ones a 13 year old wants to learn. ;) In that too, I have to learn to accept that I have only the ability to present the information, not the outcome of doing so. It is the greatest lesson I think that I am learning in program, that I am responsible for the effort, for continuing to do the "next right thing", but that I have no control on the outcome. I have to learn to accept life as it comes, that sometimes it's work to find the positives about some situations, but always I think my mind chooses to believe that even in adversity, there are lessons to be learned, lessons that will make life better tomorrow.
Having risen above the struggle with the food, it has now become the struggle to deal with my inner child, that undisciplined part of me that stopped growing when I discovered my substance of addiction. That was my only coping skill, and why not, it worked great for a long time, there was no need to stretch and learn and grow in other emotional ways, I had my way to deal with life, and so the emotional growth stopped cold at about age 8 for me. I'm still that kid who wants it all and wants it right now and doesn't want to have to work for any of it, I just WANT it, and I want it NOW!! Well, because of this program I may be up to about age 12 or maybe older by now... it's hard to say sometimes.. but most days I feel I'm learning better how to handle life's challenges. Some days I revert to that spoiled undisciplined emotionally struggling child, but overall I feel like progress is being made.
As soon as I start to feel a little too superior though, I start finding fault with everyone else who comes up short in the opinion of the great almighty know-it-all, (me) and then my days take on those old feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, anxiety, rage, anger, etc. I will say this doesn't happen much and it doesn't happen for long, thanks to this program, but it could and I see the pattern, and I recognize the path, and I don't want to go there anymore, so I don't. I use the tools of this program to get my mind back on track, to refocus my thoughts to something more "acceptable" to me today. I don't always control my thoughts, but I usually am able to control my actions. When I don't I know it's because that is the choice I've made, I have no one to blame for ANY action I've taken except myself. Reasons I have used in the past to rationalize my behavior just don't hold up anymore, a benefit of working this program. My choices, my decisions about what action I will take are the things I can control, not the circumstances I find myself in but how I will react to those circumstances. I've heard it said for a long time that "circumstances don't make you who you are, they reveal to you who you are". I love that today, I used to hate it, cause I didn't like what it was revealing to me, but I started from where I was and began to grow. The phrase "Grow where you're planted" is another favorite of mine. Instead of wishing for things that never were, I just began dealing with what was, and what was, was: I am a compulsive overeater. I used food to sedate me, to celebrate me, to punish me, to hide from me. Why food? Why not drugs or alcohol or sex, or overwork, or over-exercise? Why, because "FOOD" is what did it for me. I tried all those other things, but I discovered that for ME, food DID IT! That's the substance that altered my mood and made my life bearable. I "discovered" my substance, I didn't choose it.
The Twelve step program teaches me how to live life without my substance and that's the power of the program. It's not about the substance, it's about "living" without it.
I am so grateful to have my life today. It has been a long journey to get to this point. The first fifty years were sometimes a slow and sometimes a fast decline into the abyss of despair, but the trek out of it has proven glorious and not so nearly long a return as the trip down into it. At first the days seemed to drag by, wondering how I was going to get through one more day, and now over three years into recovery, I look back and it seems so short a time, the days, most times, seem easy to get through now. It's all perspective and staying in touch with my Higher Power, Knowing that I have that source of strength to draw on if ever the stresses of living get to me, Knowing that I have a choice today, that living in recovery IS the easier softer way that I was seeking in the substance all those years.
I'm learning that the path back to hell is a slippery one, and that for me, the food is the last thing to go, not the first. When my emotions are in turmoil, when I'm out of sorts with my HP, that's when I start looking at the food again as a solution. Those thoughts are fleeting when they come these days because of the habit of recovery I've established today, but they do still come once in a while. If I let those thoughts dwell in me, I'm in real danger, so I let them move on through and let my HP have them.
The serenity I am feeling today is wonderful, I pray I continue to remember to do the next right thing, to remember where the path leads and to recognize when I stray off this path of serenity and sanity. I pray to recognize the path I came from so that I may more quickly alter my course when I discover I'm heading towards it or found my way back to it again.
The food for me is not the challenge today, the emotional strength to accept "life as it is" is the challenge for me sometimes.. with varying degrees of success I plod on, making the best choices I can on a daily basis. Some days my best is better than others, but it's always my best. I only can evaluate the varying degrees in looking back. There's a quote I like that says something to the affect that "Life can only be evaluated in the past, but must be lived in the present", and so I live today one day at a time and by doing so am changing my past as I move through each day.
Want to change the past? Make today a good day.
love and hugs,
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