Monday, March 28, 2011


I just came back from the OA Region III Serenity at Sea cruise, a week aboard the Carnival Conquest. One of the participants told of talking to her doctor, telling him she planned to cruise with OA. His response was to ask if that wasn't counterintuitive. Short answer? NO!

It was a very meaningful experience, and a really spiritual one. Abstinence wasn't tough. It was actually easy, not because it was a cruise, not in spite of the fact it was a cruise, but just because. My abstinence had been tough for a long time, but since late January, that has changed. Would I have stayed abstinent had I been struggling with it when the cruise started? Probably. I would have been so aware of all the other OA people around, the fact I couldn't "hide" food by stuffing it inside me. But abstinence has nothing to do with what's around us. I can be abstinent in a bakery or a grocery or a restaurant or anywhere - if I'm going to be abstinent anywhere. I can also break my abstinence in a vegetable garden with nothing but green stuff available by any possible means. Abstinence on a cruise isn't counterintuitive. OA is. All of our best minds had tried all the things that made any sense. We couldn't find relief from compulsive overeating. We tried giving up, admitting defeat. And we found recovery. Now THAT is counterintuitive - and miraculous.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

So, what?

Neat post earlier this morning. Real insight. So now what? What's the difference? Right now:
  1. If God's my higher power, I work on writing a book instead of playing games when I'm sitting in this chair.
  2. If God's my higher power, I get out of the chair and do things that need to be done, have needed to be done for a long time.
  3. If God's my higher power, I don't let logistics stop what I need to do. I walk out to the car and get what I need this morning.
  4. If God's my higher power, fear is gone. Wow. That one's big.
and to enable us to serve him without fear God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David ...
and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness bef
ore him all our days. (Luke 1:68-75 NIV)*

We ask him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what he would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear. (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 6)
*The Holy Bible New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Assistant Higher Power?

So. I've not studied psychology particularly. I guess I've pretty much avoided knowing about codependency -- knew it struck too close. This definition hits at the heart of my problem. I'm addicted to a person. The definition says:
The codependent may be addicted to another person. In this interpersonal codependency, the codependent has become so elaborately enmeshed in the other person that the sense of self -- personal identity -- is severely restricted, crowded out by that other person's identity and problems.
That kinds of sounds like the codependent at some point made a decision to turn her will and life over to the care of the other person. Bingo. Guilty. So how, if the life and will is already turned over to another person, can the life and will be turned over to God as I understand Him? Is there a role of Assistant Higher Power? If so, which gets it? I'm pretty darned sure in my case the other person and God don't agree on what to do with my life.

I've kept thinking of this as being a 7th Step problem, that God could relieve me of the obsession about the person, but no. It's a 3rd Step issue. One has to go before the other can take over.

I admit I'm powerless over the other person, that letting that person manage my life makes it unmanageable, makes both of us miserable.

I have come to believe that a power really greater than me can restore me to sanity.

I have made a decision to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as I understand Him. I know the post has been occupied for a heck of a long time and that the interloper needs to be evicted. The 3rd Step is a decision, not a fait accompli. I've made a decision that God will be in charge. I'm totally willing and ready. My part is to look to God instead of the person for guidance. God's part is to show me how the heck that can be done. Amen and Amen.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Missed Steps

I’ve heard some people who move from creeping straight to walking have to go back and learn to crawl sometimes, an essential step missed and needed. Maybe that’s what’s going on with me. Not the crawling – I did that part of it. But…

Okay. I set out to tell you, and I will. Mother used to claim I always wanted a fire truck instead of a doll. I don’t think that’s the entire truth. I expect the fire truck was a passing fancy. But the disgust with dolls? Yep. That one lasted for decades. When necessary to mess with dolls, I designed and made clothes for them. Or, in collaboration with my sister and the next-door-neighbors’ granddaughter/babysittee when necessary for dolls to be involved, I played the hunter/gatherer role while they nested in a world of my imagination’s creation. I never liked dolls.


Last Saturday I heard a speaker who told of reestablishing contact with her innocent childself by loving on a stuffed toy until she felt, rubbing his paw, as though her foot were being caressed. Yeah. Sure. Maybe for someone else…

That night, as the Big Book says, "suddenly the thought crossed my mind." I knew there were stuffed animals in the storage bedroom, wasn’t willing to venture in there. But wasn’t there something among my travel souvenirs? That’s how Bobbye came to bed with me. Before my critics chime in, I know he’s not a bobby but a beefeater. And I know how to spell the London cop bobby. Bobbye, though, is my spelling of a childhood name Mother called me at times – maybe the same times she called me the little boy among her flock of girls.

I missed some steps. And I’m catching up on them. And Bobbye and I can grieve together over water that passed under the bridge decades ago.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Great Elixir

Doctor Bob spoke of his childhood home, a small town where liquor was obtained if the State liquor agent was convinced a person really needed it. Otherwise, the person left with "none of what I later came to believe was the great panacea for all human ills." ("Doctor Bob's Nightmare," Alcoholics Anonymous, page 171 4th Edition)
  • Panacea. A solution for all difficulties or diseases.
  • Elixir. A magical or medicinal potion.
That's what food was for me. I was told a long time ago I was passive-aggressive: "being, marked by, or displaying behavior characterized by the expression of negative feelings, resentment, and aggression in an unassertive passive way (as through procrastination and stubbornness)." Yes. I knew that. I accepted criticism and sarcasm I didn't deserve. Then I "showed him" by doing what he wanted poorly or not the way I was directed to do. I "showed her" by being sloppy, not playing by the rules just exactly, aggravating without outright disobedience. I agreed to do something then put it on my desk, to be done next time I got desperate and cleaned the desk.

I knew I was passive-agressive. But I didn't realize the big way I did it: by stuffing the feelings back inside with food. I had a habit of leaving the house, normally mad or at least discomforted, and it became habit for the car to join at least one drive-through-window queue at a donut shop. When the house was quiet and nobody was around to bother me, I expressed my wistfulness in the kitchen, concocting whatever didn't emanate smells that might tip off sleeping witnesses. I guess I should have put it all together when my mother would comment she could always tell when things were going badly because my weight went up. Yep. It did.

Comfort food. That's redundant, isn't it? Isn't all food comfort food? I thought so. Certainly I had favorites, but just stuffing my mouth worked, whether it was something I wanted to eat or not.

Comfort doesn't come from food. I have finally learned that. A friend said recently she'd been praying that the food before her be enough, but a better prayer had been suggested. "God, let this food be my nutrition and You be my comfort."

Finally. The Great Elixir.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Self, Humility, Service, Exposure

I can't even figure out who to label this one. I had been looking at rankings in Amazon because of a post on Facebook. And I found in looking at the ranking on the Kindle version of my Slender Steps to Sanity a shocker. I have no clue how many pieces of writing there are in the Kindle category/sub/sub/sub category
  • Kindle ebooks
  • Advice & How-to
  • Health, Mind & Body
  • Recovery
  • Twelve-Step Programs
but Slender Steps ranks 47th of those. On books, not just Kindle books, it's 179th. Among OA books, it's 24th. Part of me wants to feel pride, part of me wants to hide from that kind of acceptance, part of me is grateful for the opportunity to offer service in this way, and part of me feels absolutely naked.

If I concentrate on that, I will be disabled, blocked, unable to write. I cannot do that. I have a gift and need to continue to offer it to God. I didn't write Slender Steps. I sat there and watched as my fingers typed it. Then I read it and was amazed at what had come out.

I wish I hadn't looked. Like what I weigh, where my book ranks is none of my business. I need to do the next right thing. And that is to write, to move forward in my own recovery so that what I do write may be of some benefit to those I pass it on to. I have substantial fear about this. It's time to ask that God relieve me of my fear and show me what he would have me be. Amen.