Friday, November 28, 2008

I burned the rolls.

Chuck C said:

It's quite possible, gentlemen, that the only bondage there is in this life is absolute freedom under law.... You can do anything your immagination can conjure of if you are willing to pay the inevitable consequences of your thought and action.

Jesus said: 

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

I remember an incident some thirty years ago. My husband, his parents, our young son and I were in a fast food restaurant on Ben White in Austin, many years before Ben White became a freeway. Some part of the food or service displeased my husband, and everybody in the establishment knew of it. I was so terribly embarrassed. I don't actually remember how that event became an object lesson, but in my mind it marks the concept that nothing anybody else does, even family, is my responsibility. I'm only accountable for my own acts. Of course that's reinforced by OA and Twelve-Step work. 

Yesterday, Thanksgiving, was not an ordinary day, not even an ordinary Thanksgiving. We spent the morning in an emergency room, husband bringing me home to do our part of the lunch to take to share with other family members, while he went back to wait for our patient to be patched up and released. I cooked the rolls. Too well. I burnt the rolls. The tops were fine. Some of the bottoms were too brown. Some of the bottoms were too burnt. I took them and the other three dishes I'd put together and, when husband and the patient arrived, we sat down to eat. He asked me if I was responsible for the burnt rolls, and I said yes. He said when we got home he couldn't believe I'd burnt the rolls. He got up this morning demanding to know why I'd burnt the rolls, what I'd been doing. I had chosen not to give my explanation of what happened because it was an excuse, not a reason, a justification, not a fix. I did give it to him, answered his questions. And felt sorry for him. He's in the position I was those long years ago, embarrassed by a spouse's wrongs. I can forgive myself, did rather easily, though it's not that I don't regret what happened. Yet I did not and have not obsessed over it, and the others at lunch took it in their stride. We didn't go hungry. 

I started Thanksgiving from a shaky platform of one day's abstinence from computer games (again) and that day's clean compliance with my food plan. I wasn't perfect. I no longer have to be perfect. I made some choices that may not have been my strongest choices, but they were miles ahead of the choices I'd made Tuesday and days leading up to then. And I'm okay with the choices yesterday. And today will be as clean as Wednesday was. The bondage of absolute freedom under the law resonates with me today. I'm not willing to make the poor choices that I can make, absolutely legal (speaking in the traditional sense, not the sense we've used the word in our household for years to describe "in compliance with the diet du jour") and acceptable. The rest of the world can take my errors in stride. Nobody, not I nor husband nor even God, needs to bemoan them. But I do not want to pay the price of not working this program, not walking the steps to the very best of my comprehension and ability and in God's absolute will today. Or tomorrow. Or for the rest of the days of my life.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful for Desperation

It's that time of year, a time of thankfulness, for counting blessings. And it's a time for gathering of families and, customarily, for overindulging in food, fluids, and friction among family members and others. For me it's also a time of renewal and regeneration, for recommitment. I've been falling into old habits lately, and I reached the point of desperation, of realizing what I was doing to myself. I'm glad it happened yesterday, so I can establish today a day of right living, of doing what's good for me rather than what placates me and dulls emotions, of failing to live in recovery. And I am today living in recovery. Today I'm eating from my meal plan (and only from my meal plan) and I'll not open a computer game. It finally (I hope) has gotten through my head that when I decide it's okay in the late evening to open a computer game that within a few days, that will be out of control one more time and the food will deteriorate right along with it. There's nothing wrong with eating good food. Unless it's an addiction, unless it's done for the purpose of tamping down emotions. There's nothing wrong with computer games unless it's done for the purpose of tamping down emotions and unless it's responding to an addiction of procrastination, of not doing the things that are good for me.

I've had it with computer games. They're a thing of the past. And I hereby commit to broadcast on this forum the FIRST time I open a computer game from this point on. And I've got enough pride not to tell the people who matter to me, who read this forum, and therefore I'm saying I'll call you (or write you) and that will save me from me.

So, today I'm glad for the desperation that drove me back to working the program and walking the steps.

One of the things I've done that's good for me this month is to participate in the Writers Digest poetry prompts with recovery poems. The one for today is supposed to be a call to action, and more fingers are pointing back at me than are poining forward:

Suggestion of Action

They're suggestions, the twelve --
the only suggestions we have.
We've rarely seen a person fail
who thoroughly followed our path,
who gave himself completely
to this simple program.
A "suggestion of death"
means the person is dead.
A suggestion of action
means action taken.
How do you follow the path?
By walking the steps.
When? Oh, the timing's up to you...
"a course of vigorous action"
"at once" "next"
Procrastination's an option:
chronic, low intensity fear.
You want to be miserable?
Okay. Procrastinate. Live in the fear.
You want recovery? Walk the walk,
step the steps, all twelve of them,
all the way to recovery.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

to my sponsor's god

you didn't do bad

last night i told you thanks
for a lousy day and you
didn't get mad

i asked you to keep me clean
just today and somehow i am

i asked you to stop my dumb
mouth at the boss
he grinned when i left
said i'd done good

so thanks for a not bad day
can you do it again

i'd be much obliged

I'm participating in a poem a day challenge, writing recovery poems. This isn't me, it's my response to a directive to write a "praise" poem. But for some reason I felt like I needed to put this one out here on the web.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


A recovery speaker I was listening to last night indicated all fear is based on self-sufficiency, on trying to be in charge of how things turn out, of having an idea we can control events and matters simply by doing "it" right. That resonates with truth for me. Especially this morning.
I'm red politically in a red state and in a position where active participation in political matters is prohibited. And this election grabbed my passion like only one previous has. And the previous one was local, long ago, and very personal. Two people I respect, love, admire, and know to be intelligent and thoughtful contributed to the blue vote count. Somehow that softens the blow. And I did feel it as a physical blow. But life goes on. And my program is solid today.
I'm reminded of the story in 2 Samuel 12. There is no need to mourn what could have been. My fear yesterday and in the preceding days was a failure to trust God, a failure to believe He's in charge. Freedom will survive. Life goes on. 
I had the flag out yesterday. I didn't put it back out this morning. I wish I had. Instead, I'll pray my newest favorite prayer, "God, I trust you."