Overwhelmed

Okay, so I spoke with Mary, my temporary OA (Overeaters Anonymous) sponsor yesterday evening, and she told me she would like me do several things that she did for her sponsor and that had worked for her.

1. To call her every day, and tell her what I’ve eaten the day before, if I’m on track with my meal plan for that day.

2. To read three pages in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, find something on each page that means something or touches me in some way, and write about each thing in a notebook . . . every day.

3. Go to more OA meetings. I only go to one OA meeting a week so far.

I guess that’s all she said for now. But it feels totally overwhelming, and I’ll tell you why. These are all my reasons:

1 I’ve put Undertow on the back burner and have started a novel, the beginning of a series, called Where is Faith? , to be followed by Faith in Prison, and finally Faith Forever. 

2. I’m working on putting together a book proposal for Where is Faith? which is not exactly an easy process. They are generally quite a bit longer than synopses, and more involved.

3. I love to write, but I’d rather be journaling my feelings regarding my cravings when it comes to food. Like, when I get hungry, is it emotional or physical hunger, and if emotional then what the hell is going on?

4. The reason I only go to one OA meeting a week is because I usually attend four Al-Anon meetings a week, and I told her that, but it didn’t put her off mentioning other OA meetings I might like.

Well, Mary did say at the end that we could try this for two weeks and see how it goes. We might be incompatible, and that’s okay. But when I talk to her today I’m going to ask her about the journaling thing. What is the point of the pages? Why that particular assignment? Is it just to make sure I read the big book? Because I’m reading it.

I don’t know. I’m just so overwhelmed. It’s making me tired and pissed off. 😦

Peace out.

Met with my boss at the Book Nook. We went over some procedures, that I hadn’t known and apparently a few others hadn’t known either. She gave me a bag of yarn. I was so touched. It reminded me of my love for knitting, and made me want to go ahead and begin my Einstein Coat project. People can be so wonderful. I’m amazingly touched.

The Importance of Sponsorship

Sponsorship is one of the tools of recovery in Twelve Step programs. I, however, would call it more than a tool. I would call it absolutely necessary for honest recovery.  Whereas I can fool myself pretty much all of the time, I can never fool my sponsor for very long. Nor would I want to.

This morning, I went to an OA meeting. I admitted that I’m still in deep denial about the whole process. I didn’t even admit that I’m a compulsive overeater. I merely said “Hi, I’m Chris” and began my sharing.

The miracle though, the one I’m referring to with the picture I’ve inserted here, is what I did even before the meeting started. I approached a woman I’d been thinking about whom I listened to at my very first meeting. Her name is Mary, and she has a strong program, I can tell. Plus, she seems like she would know what to do if you called her in a panic. 😉 You know what I mean?

I already have a strong Al-Anon sponsor. But Dori would not know what to do about compulsive overeating because she does not struggle with that addiction.

So I saw Mary getting out of her car, and even before the meeting starting I walked up to her and asked her. “I’m still in deep denial about the whole thing. I just thought you should know.” I told her. “But I’m willing to do whatever you ask  me to do. Absolutely anything.” She never hesitated. She wrote her phone number on the inside of my Big Book of AA (our basic text for OA).

I’m calling her at 6:00 tonight. I’m SO looking forward to it.

Peace out.

Serenity

The original serenity prayer is stated as follows: “God, give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.” This serenity prayer was written by Reinhold Niebuhr.

Over time, Alcoholics Anonymous adopted the prayer as part of the Twelve Step program. The prayer was modified and is said as: “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference.” While the serenity prayer’s origin may be sketchy, the prayer has been used extensively in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) since 1942.

One of AA”s founders, Bill W., says the prayer was introduced to the program by Jack, an AA member in New York. According to “A.A. Comes of Age,” Bill W. writes how Jack found the prayer in A New York Tribune obituary. Soon after, the prayer was printed on small cards and carried everywhere by AA members.

The rest is history: the serenity prayer is known worldwide as a prayer of strength and hope for AA and Al-Anon, and other myriad Twelve step members. I know it has helped me many a time, to the point where I’m praying it without even being aware of it at first.

Peace out.

Just Like the Seasons, People Can Change

I’ve read this statement before, and in fact it’s my wallpaper on my computer, so I see it every time I wake the thing up.

Because it’s there, and I don’t generally put things up as wallpaper or screensaver unless I believe them or have some sort of strong feelings about them, I thought I agreed with that statement. I really thought, “Well, yeah, people really can change.”

But lately I am of the belief that as a general rule people do not change unless forced by some outside circumstance. Unless someone is backed against the wall by something larger than themselves, something larger than life, and that includes God Almighty, he is usually content to continue on in whatever manner he’s been going along.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Quite cynical. It’s just how I am  feel right now. Tough times.

I’m not excluding myself, by any means. I know for a fact that I need to stop smoking. I’m addicted, for one. For two, it’s extremely bad for my health. I’m at risk for all kinds of cancer, not to mention poor circulation which puts me at risk for heart attack, stroke and amputation. But the one time I quit for six months was when a doctor thought my heart looked enlarged.

That seriously freaked me out, and I immediately quit. I started again six months later and it’s been harder than Hades to stop again.

Tell me something different. Do you disagree with me? Why? Do you think people can change? My philosophy is “If you are born stubborn, you will pretty much die stubborn.”

I’m excluding miracle acts of God at this point, okay? Just the person herself, acting on her own behalf. Change is hard. Wanting change is even more difficult.

Peace out.

Thanksgiving Day Redux

A couple months ago I wrote a post about gratitude, and today seemed a fitting day to revisit the subject. So here we are.

At the meeting this morning we chose three readings, and they all seemed related to changing our attitudes, whether it had to do with a state of needless worry, or communication with the alcoholic in our lives, or whatever.

It made me realize how much there is in my life – right now, this minute – to be grateful for. My mother will by 85 years old this year and is in very good health, still quite active and social (often more than me!).

I still keep the gratitude book my sponsor asked me to keep, and it is not hard to think of five things every day to be thankful for. Sometimes they are small, simple things . . . and other times they feel like huge, miraculous achievements.

My sister is safe in her own home right now. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and that’s just fine, because we don’t live in tomorrow. We live one day at a time, right? We live in the moment. God’s taking care of her, and she couldn’t be in better hands than that as far as I’m concerned.

My mind is not as clear as it once was, because of the CFS, but I have a wise, compassionate doctor.

More and more friends every day, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2Tim 1:7)

For those things and so much more, I am forever indebted. What are you thankful for today? 🙂

Peace out.

Hands . . . Off

The tenth step of Al-Anon says: “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” It’s one of those steps I take on a daily basis, or try to, before I hit the sheets at night, during my prayer time. I ask God to point out to me any areas where I might need to make amends. I also acknowledge any successes or achievements throughout the day, and am grateful for those. It’s a time for me to make any adjustments in my life.

The adjustments aren’t always easy, and sometimes take much longer than the recognition comes. You know?

So this morning I was aware when I spoke with my sister that I had been stepping over boundaries left and right into her program. Worried, I had been speaking out of that and telling her what I think would happen or what I think she should be doing. 😦

When I look at my hands and my arms, I see the scars still there from self-harm (cutting and burning). The ways I coped in the past with my codependency were so varied, convoluted and harmful. I still mess up, as witnessed by stepping on boundaries. I took the picture to remind myself I’m so very human. I’m no better than anyone else.

So I spoke with her, I apologized, told her I overstepped my bounds. This time I said, “I only know what I can do. I don’t know what’s going to happen. The only thing I know for a fact is that I love you.”

Peace out.