~ RECOVERY WRITERS' SERIES ~
~ Recovery Inspirations ~
In this column we bring you shares from Recovery Meditations, Odyssey,
Danny's "Letters To God", Journey to Recovery, Reflections, The
Promises and many others. This month we continue to bring you
selections from "Odyssey, A Personal Journey", the journal of a man
who began his journey to recovery at the weight of 725 pounds. It is
a special month for our fellow-recoverer, since it is very soon that
he celebrates three years of abstinence and recovery! He shares some
of his extraordinary journey with us here, and we are grateful
recipients of his experience, strength and hope. (Note: if you wish to read all of
his Odyssey, the entire collection can be found at:
I've been listening to John Denver this morning, largely because at the
party on Sunday we played a lot of his music and it kind of rekindled
the interest in listening to him again.
While listening to him, the thought struck me that his songs were mostly
about appreciating the "moments", either leaving the comfort of home to
go out and earn a living, or returning home from earning a living, home
being that place of comfort and safety. My thoughts went back to the
early hunter gatherers, when "making a living" was gathering food and
supplies to simply survive. The value of work was obvious, it meant
living another day, raising children so our legacy would be passed on
and ensure the survival of our species.
Our value and our worth was directly linked to how well we were able to
adapt to our environment. Social skills and learning to work in groups,
and asking for and offering help when needed to ensure the group
survived and remained viable, safe, and nurturing.
We haven't changed all that much in ten-thousand years have we? We don't
have to spend so many hours a day now accumulating the stuff we need to
survive, our skills to acquire food means pushing a shopping cart down
an isle and simply picking out what we want, within our limits to afford
it of course, but all in all, we have it pretty easy. Now there has been
times in my life when I couldn't afford much, when there was nothing in
our cupboards, and when I resorted to stealing what I needed from the
store. I rationalized it as my need to survive, and what it showed me
about myself was not very pretty. I blamed a lot on my circumstances, I
had been hurt at work and laid up for over 2 years, our income had
dropped dramatically, but did I ask for help? No! I could have applied
for workman's comp benefits, for state help in the form of food stamps,
rent assistant, etc. but I did not. I was too uninformed about the help
that was available to me, and since I hadn't asked for any help or
explained our situation to friends, no one knew we were in need. I was
too concerned about what others would have thought, that I simply hid
our circumstances from them, pretending everything was okay. I have come
to believe that our circumstances do not make us who we are, they
"reveal" to us who we are. I didn't like what was revealed to me.
What I found out about myself was that I was basically a very dishonest
person. It would take me 35 years to say this out loud. It would take
mountains of food to cover up the inadequacies I had been forced to
glimpse in those moments. It would take another 500 lbs. added to my
frame before being put to my knees to ask for help. I did not choose
this disease, I discovered it. I tried other forms of escape, alcohol
and drugs, but what did it for me, was FOOD.
That was my escape to a place of comfort, of safety, but I always had
to return to "life" and it became more and more painful, and my thoughts
kept going back to that place of comfort, if I could just stay there,
I would be okay. The trap of course is that nothing good happens there,
no growth, no learning, nothing positive happens in this vacuum.
There is a quote I have been looking for a while now, and it has eluded
me, but it goes something like this: "God whispers to us in our joy. He
speaks to us in our sadness. He screams at us in our pain." Living in
the disease becomes so painful that it either moves us to change or
kills us. I heard at meetings and from sponsors and from speakers, that
when the pain becomes great enough, we will change. It worked that way
for me. This disease was about to kill me, and I was about to let it.
It was a conscious decision on my part, because I had lost all hope of
ever breaking the cycle. I had lost hope of finding acceptance from
myself for myself. I felt unworthy to be alive. It was a bleak place to
be. Only by God's grace am I here today. A faint glimmer of hope was
able to survive in me, but I grabbed on, and chose to finally surrender
to some Higher Power. I believe that my Higher Power put that little
glimmer in front of me, yet again, and this time I reached for it and
held on. The sadness in my daughter's eyes as she wondered why I didn't
care about her enough to stick around was the turning point for me. It
was heart wrenching for me to think about leaving her behind, saying I
loved her, but not showing her by staying with her.
My most precious moments are those where my daughter will come and
snuggle in my lap, as she used to when she was just a small child.
She's 13 now, 5'6" tall and still she comes to curl up on my lap. It
makes my heart glow. Even as she explores her own independence from us,
she still comes back for those moments of comfort and safety in my arms.
I melt. It's moments like these that I cherish now, knowing they will
not last forever, and that I am able to savor them only for a short
Life is made up of moments. Accepting them for what they are is the key,
I think. Knowing that none of them is going to last forever, the "This
Too Shall Pass" makes them more and more precious. When the hard
moments come, knowing that "This Too Shall Pass" is a comfort as well.
The Yin and Yang of living. Acceptance of the way things are, and
finding moments to hang on to has made this life worth it.
There is a sadness in me today, but there is also great Joy. I am
learning to experience the full range of my emotions without being
lost in them. It is wondrous to be able to do that.
On March 14, I will be three years abstinent and living in recovery.
It has grown and deepened in me, and I am so grateful to be here and
working this program.
Today I choose to follow my food plan. I choose to make my phone calls.
I choose to read some positive program literature. I choose to pray
and meditate and to believe that my Higher Power is guiding me. No
matter what emotions surface, today I choose to be happy.
love and hugs,