Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"We, in turn, sought the same escape with all the desperation of drowning men. What seemed at first a flimsy reed, has proved to be the loving and powerful hand of God." -Big Book page 28

It has been about 10 months since my last post. A lot has happened in that time and in a way it seems that I have not made much progress. I know on the surface that is how it looks but I have to believe that inside, where it counts, changes have been made. I haven't been to OA for a long time. I took a hiatus from AA and have only been back the past 4 weeks. I haven't worked since August. 2010 has been the year that my bipolar disorder has acted up. I have had a number of breakdowns this year. But these things happen in life and they are opportunities to learn something vitally important. My self worth is not measured by what job I do or how much I earn. My self worth is not measured by the size of my waist. I am not less than or greater than any other individual. We are all part of God's love and he will take care of us if we look inside to find him. In 2001, my life's circumstances were more dire. I joined AA then and decided that if I were to live then I had to put one foot in front of the other and march on. I had no idea what the outcome would be but my choice to live meant living with uncertainty and a faith that all would work out in the end. Things did improve. I met someone that I now live with. Our relationship has been steady and loving. My children and grandchildren are doing well. In many respects my life is good and I have much to be grateful for. As far as what is not going so smoothly, I can admit that that part of my life is unmanageable and seek direction. Answers don't always come when I want them and patience is another lesson that I need to learn. I also have learned that when I make plans and my emotional self is tied up to the outcome, I am distressed. AA teaches us to Let Go and Let God, to take life one day at a time and have faith that our efforts will yield results. We are promised a spiritual awakening as a result of the 12 steps. The promises as stated on page 83 of the Big Book give us hope:
"If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Sel-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic security will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More Step 1

It was easy to see the critical nature of alcoholism. Over a period of time I could no longer be a good mother. I could no longer earn a living. I could no longer be present with what was happening around me. I could no longer face the world. I no longer wanted to live. In fact, with the help of alcohol and a few other mind altering substances, I lost my health and all of a normal life. It was a long climb back from the abyss that couldn't have been done without the help of AA.
Now that I am dealing with overeating, I am not faced with the same dire set of circumstances. But I am affected just the same. My health and well-being are both affected and both will suffer with more weight gain. The more I try to control my eating, the more I cannot control it. Dieting and exercise consume my thoughts but not my actions. The bigger I get, the more I want to stay in my home and hide. I don't want to buy clothes. Nothing feels comfortable. Discouragement waits for me at every corner. That is because I am impatient and want immediate results. I just want the problem to go away on its own. If I ignore the problem, maybe it won't be there anymore. I want to blame other things for my weight gain such as the stress at work and the unavailability of healthy food in the vending machines. If I wasn't so tired from work, perhaps I would have more energy for exercise and planning meals, etc. Work is a good thing to blame but life is not stress free. If it is not one thing, it would be another.
I can trace my weight gain to a couple of factors. I gained weight when I got a car and no longer had to walk either to my destination or the bus stop. I gained weight when I started to take lithium. I gained weight when my job became more sedentary. Of course my consumption of junk food has gone up gradually over this period of time. I feel myself want to withdraw and have done that to a certain extent.
"Under the lash of alcoholism, we are driven to AA and there we discover the fatal nature of our situation. Then, and only then, do we become as open-minded to conviction and as willing to listen as the dying can be. We stand ready to do anything which will lift the merciless obsession from us." (12 & 12 pg 24)
I made the decision to go to OA. After having experience in AA and seeing it work in my life, I thought why not give the 12 steps a try again. I have seen the obsession to drink lifted from me. If that can happen, why not the obsession to overeat. I have tried everything I can think of to lose weight. I am open to doing this.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


1. Write a history of your compulsive eating beginning with the first time you can remember food related events. Discuss how much weight you have gained and lost, what medical attention you have sought for the problem and your attempts at maintaining your weight losses.

These questions that I am going through come from an OA member.

I remember as a child always eating my yummy food faster than my brother. Then I would want his and I would beg him. He would just eat his slower and torture me. At one time I believed smoking kept me thin. I would also drink tons and tons of coffee to dull my appetite so that I could eat a very minimum of food (during a particularly anorexic phase). Unfortunately I didn't pass very good eating habits onto my girls. Drinking also helped numb feelings and distracted from eating but that became a very troublesome habit too and ended me up in AA. When my children were small I quit smoking, I wasn't drinking that much at the time and I ate and I gained weight. This was prior to my anorexic phase. My anorexic phase thrilled me to no end. My weight plummetted to my lowest ever. Then I started eating more and I gained a little weight. The last couple of years have seen me really develop strong cravings for sugar that I can no longer manage. My weight is creeping up and is now at the highest it has been since that last weight gain when my kids were small. I can spend tons of money in the vending machine at work. If I buy cookies at home, I will eat them in short order. The saving grace is that I rarely buy anything like that for home. I always have the intention to eat healthy and avoid what triggers me. If it is yummy and it is in front of me I will eat it. I don't know the meaning of moderation. Bread, granola bars, fruit loops, ice cream, maple syrup, so many good things. I can eat a bowl of yogurt with fruit and eat it and go yum yum but not want to eat more. I can't do the same thing with donuts. I can feel sick and still want to eat donuts. And I feel embarrassed when I eat too many donuts. What is a girl to do?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Here I Am Once Again

I have been thinking a lot about the 12 steps, Buddhism and mental health lately. I found a great workbook on a 12 step site (www.12step.org) and I want to share some tidbits of upbeat information that I came across. Here they are:

Three Spiritual Gifts from Practicing the 12 Steps
  1. The Awakening to the Presence of our Higher Power and to be in conscious union with this presence.
  2. The Awakening to the Love that we are, that all of us are.
  3. The Awakening to the individual Self we were created to be, with purpose and meaning. In other words, to consciously live our Heart's Desire, God's will.

"We have failed many time, but we are not failures. We have been foolish, but we are not fools. We have done many bad things, but we are not evil."

"We will repeat the same problem until there is real healing."

"Watch out for the termites, the little day-in day-out stuff. This is a real present danger. These little guys undermine the foundation of every relationship. Termites destroy more property than all the fires, floods, wind and hail and so it is with relationships. With the "big" problems, we are forced to do something about these or run away. With the little stuff we don't have to do anything about it, or it is not important enough. In one way or another, we often stuff these. One termite doesn't matter, but when they build up in numbers, watch out. It is best to deal with all problems ASAP."

I just started to go through the work book and I already found these tidbits. I can hardly wait to read more.

I also bought a new book called The 12 Step Buddhist. It is right up my alley being an AA member and a person interested in Buddhism. There is also a website associated with this book http://the12stepbuddhist.com. I even felt compelled to write a lengthy letter to the author. Isn't the world wide web grand?

Now I just have to find someone in the mental health field to help me and I will have all the bases covered.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I've got to get moving. I had planned to start my day off at the gym and I still will. Instead of starting work at 8:00 am, I have a doctor's appt at 9:00 am. So I can go a little later. Otherwise, this would be the time I would be heading out the door.

I met with a personal trainer on Saturday. We came up with a schedule for the next 2 months, at which time I will meet with her again to see if I have made any progress. Here is the schedule:

Monday: Cardio
Tuesday: Yoga/ Strength training
Wednesday: Cardio
Thursday: Strength Training
Friday: Cardio
Saturday: Yoga
Sunday: Day off or whatever I want to do

My plan is to go to the gym Monday to Friday between 6:00 am and 7:00 am Monday to Friday. Before something becomes a reality, it has to be envisioned. First the blue print, then the materialization.

I have a busy day ahead of me so I had better get moving. Time to prepare my healthy lunch. I have having a blueberry bran muffin with strawberry cream cheese, some almonds, some grapes, some applesauce, some chicken vegetable rice soup, some cucumbers and carrots and then I will come home and figure out what to make for supper. Yum yum.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I am feeling pretty good this morning and not feeling pessimistic at all. Why I have a particular outlook on a given day is a mystery to me but I will take feelings of positivity any time.
I watched the Biggest Loser last night and one of the lessons was that it takes a certain level of self-esteem to make the effort to lose weight. One has to think he is worth it to make the changes necessary. It is a commitment of time, energy and even money. It involves making your health paramount over other concerns realizing that taking care of your health will provide extra energy that can be directed to relationships and other endeavors. I don't think I have 4 hours a day to spend at the gym though. I have a consultation with a personal trainer on Saturday that I am looking forward to. Maybe that will give me the motivation that I need. Payday is tomorrow and I am going to put aside some money for yoga and I am going to print up the grocery list from the Biggest Loser Club and go shopping. I am going to buy food and cook and plan meals and exercise. I mean it this time. If I can quit smoking, I can do anything. Yes!

Monday, November 16, 2009

I am filled with a lot of anxiety this morning. It seems like it has been a long time since I've had this much anxiety. The only thing I can hope is that by going into work and facing the day I can make this anxiety demon disappear. Right now though I just want to crawl under the covers and spend another day hiding from the world. I will just have to reach in and find some inner strength.

I had an urge to run off and go to Ajahn Brahm's monastery in Australia. That won't be happening any time soon. Ajahn Brahm got himself into a little bit of trouble when he ordained a group of Bhikunis. Even Buddhism has its controversies. I listened to an interesting talk from the BSWA website on the ordination of women and the role of women in the monastic sense.
I don't know how to link to the video so I will have to find someone to teach me and post it later.

I am quite satisfied with the progress I have made in the quitting smoking department. I have blipped a couple of times but I am confident that this time I will definitely quit. I recently cut the dosage of the patch I am wearing and perhaps that is contributing to my anxiety level. I guess no matter what I do, I have to face the withdrawals sooner or later. All I know is that I would be flattened if not for the patch.

Monday night is meeting night. I am going to tell everyone how I have been feeling because that is what you are supposed to do at a meeting. My habit is to tell everyone that I am ok but that is not really true right now. I am sure that this will all pass but in the meantime it is uncomfortable as all hell.

I restarted my diet yesterday. I joined the Biggest Loser Club. I'll keep trying different things until I find something that works. This diet gives me a menu plan to follow so maybe, just maybe, that will help me. I read recently that making an overall lifestyle change is better than just trying to make one small change at a time. I'll go with that.