It's been a little over a month since my last Odyssey post, and lots of things have been happening. I continue to post to my home group and in looking back over the past 5 weeks, have seen some real changes taking place in me. Realizations and little lights are burning a bit brighter than before. ;)
My new part time job has altered my daily schedule, but has become somewhat routine for me now. I wake at 6am and take my kid to school, come back home, do my walk, shower and breakfast then back to the school for my 3 hours a day, then home usually by 2:30pm where I have been falling asleep for a few hours after my "gruelling" day. LOL
To the normal person working an eight or more hour day, might not sound like much of a challenge, but from where I have come from, this is a major change, and all I can think of is the gifts of this program. Three and a half years ago, the 20' walk to my bathroom had to be contemplated, planned for, and time spent psyching myself up for the major physical event of my day. Dragging an "extra" five hundred pounds around takes it's toll, and of course the less I did the less I could do as the muscles and stamina simply vanished. I was praying for death to alleviate the suffering of living in that body as it seemed impossible for me to accomplish anything positive concerning recovering my life.
When I finally surrendered my will, my recovery began. Surrendered using food as a reward or a treat, and using it for nourishment only. I have been abstinent since March 14, 2001 One Day At A Time. My plan and my life were simple, eat my planned meals, and to begin exercising. My exercise was walking and it has become the metaphor for my life today. When I began I walked 100' a day. It took me 2-3 days to recover from it, my knees and legs and back ached from the effort, in that order. I had a heating pad for my knees which were on me almost constantly as it was the only thing which gave me any relief other than the pain killers I was taking... though they never took away the pain totally, they simply helped make it tolerable. As I "slowly" increased my walk, the recovery time from the pain became less and eventually, maybe as much as a year later, I was able to walk pain free, and was able to walk everyday instead of having to take a day or two to recover enough to do it again. I did schedule in one day off a week as my body seemed to need at least that much rest from this effort and that worked for me for about 2 years. I have released to date more than 325 lbs. and that makes everything a bit easier too. I still have another 150 lbs. to go, but it's going. :-)
During that two years, I continued to work the steps, continued to follow a food plan, altering it slightly over time in consultation with my sponsor, and it has now become so engrained in me, that it is simple and easy to accomplish. I remember at first it was an effort to get all the program stuff done in a day, it seemed overwhelming, it was so foreign to me, but I persisted, and with encouragement and support from my sponsors I was able to achieve a balance in my life, living the program in all aspects of it, and realizing the promises of this program coming true for me as I did so. Being abstinent was the starting place for recovery for me, not the end. Without the "drug" of food, the emotional baggage must be dealt with, and it's the strength gained from working the steps that makes that possible, that makes change possible in my personality.
I have recently been thinking about discipline as it was pointed out to me by one of my sponsors, discipline is a foreign thought process to me, doing that next right thing takes strength that is beyond my own power, it must come from that Power Greater than myself. I talk about the struggle sometimes to get my mind in a place to continue to drag this body for a walk everyday. My own thoughts are constantly telling me I don't have time to do this anymore, I've done so well, and worked so hard, I deserve a break, I'm really not a food addict, having my old "favorites" would be okay once in a while, and so it drones on, the endless dialogue of my disease telling me I'm okay now... and I no longer have to be so rigid, so dedicated, do diligent, and that's how I know I have to be, cause the thoughts are relentless until I am almost through with whatever they are trying to get me not to do, and then they stop.
My routine is to get up, and go walking, and even though my head is working on reasons I don't have to today, my body just gets up and goes, knowing it's what is needed. Discipline to me is "doing what is needed no matter what", no matter who is watching or not watching, cause I realized that now, "I" am always watching, "I" am always aware of what I do, and I am important enough today to have it matter. That strength of conviction comes from outside myself, or some might say from the spiritual place inside me, however you want to look at it, it is a strength from a source beyond "me" that draws me forward, draws me towards doing that next right thing, Discipline to do what is needed.
Discipline was always viewed as punishment to me, and yet recently I was asking myself, why do I feel that doing things detrimental to me are a reward or a treat? In the beginning of my recovery and for much of my life, the "rewards and treats" were always food related, always that thing that brought on so much discomfort, so much pain, so much remorse, so much loathing, and yet, I viewed it as a reward to be able to have some of it. Why?
When I truly accepted that these substances were poison to me, I no longer could think of them as rewards anymore. My reality was that these substances were not good for me. While it appeared so many people can still use them as such, for me it had to stop. Acceptance of "my" reality was a long time coming, it took working the steps to finally see it all clearly. How much of my life revolved around seeking comfort in something which caused me so much pain, not understanding why I was drawn to it.. I heard something the other day that may explain it a bit... it made clear to me my feelings about the food...
a man speaking about love, says, "When I'm thinking about her I get this dull ache in my gut, and it only goes away when I'm with her", and someone else quotes The Troubadours saying "The wound that can only be healed by the sword that inflicted it... The only person who can heal that wound is the one who caused it."
And this is the feeling I had about food, I "loved" it, it was my friend, my comforter, my everything, and only when I was using it did I feel relief, even when the aftermath was so devastating... and yet, I continued to search out the comfort in that old relationship.
Nurturing a spiritual relationship has now replaced those desires and given me so much more depth of comfort. I heard it said somewhere long ago that any addiction is the failed search for spirituality. I wasn't sure about it when I heard it, but I can see that relationship now.
I have known for a long time, but never quite trusted that the spiritual solution would always work for me... when I take the time to pray or meditate, a calm comes over me more intense but still similar to that effect of overeating, takes about the same amount of time too, but there's no hangover. ;-) Learning to turn to my spiritual strength first has been a real gift of this program, as I learn to trust more fully, and practice these principals in all my affairs.
It has been a glorious year for me, lots of tests when I look back, but not nearly the turmoil of the past, trusting and moving forward with hope and faith no matter what has come my way. I am in awe.
Keep coming back, the miracles are waiting.
love and hugs,
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