Saturday, April 30, 2011


I sat down this morning, the end of April, and accidentally clicked "Edit Posts" rather than create. I found this from two months ago that evidently I never posted. So I'll read and finalize or toss it. Let's see what happens...
Pipes get blocked. Blood vessels get blocked. Recovery gets blocked.
Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once folowed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 64)
We hope you are convinced now that God can remove whatever self-will has blocked you off from Him. (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 71)
How does Recovery get unblocked? How do pipes and blood vessels get unblocked? A Roto-Rooter. Angioplasty. "If you have already made a decision, and an inventory of your grosser handicaps, you have made a good beginning. That being so you have swallowed and digested some big chunks of truth about yourself." (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 71.) Steps Three and Four - for a start.
Obviously I would have elaborated further. But at this point I don't see the need. I'll hit "publish" and come back and write what's on my mind this morning.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Decision time

I'm working on the new book, A Cloud of Witnesses - Two Big Books and Us by Barbara B. Rollins with OAStepper. It's decision time, cutting out time. And my words are my children, hard to let go of. These didn't make the cut, so I'm sharing them with you now. May God be with you and may these words go where they need to be today.

Hebrews 1:13-14
And God never said to any of the angels,
“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand

until I humble your enemies,

making them a footstool under your feet.”
Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation. (NLT)

Angels are servants,
only servants,
like second class,
like riffraff.
Guardian angels,
a real angel,
as sweet as an angel,
gone to be with the angels,
with the riffraff? With servants?
Perspective’s everything.
When speaking of one higher than angels,
how high they are
fades in importance.
I’m okay. I’m fine.
Even if I’m lesser, riffraff when contrasted
that doesn’t mean I’m not fine, high enough
not real.

God, enough of my ladder,
folks higher, lower,
none on my rung.
I’m lonely. Enough with
knowing about, not knowing.

Hebrews 2:14
Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. (NLT)

Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 146
After your man has gone along without drinking for a few months, you may be able to make use of his services with other employees who are giving you the alcoholic run-around… An alcoholic who has recovered, but holds a relatively unimportant job, can talk to a man with a better position. Being on a radically different basis of life, he will never take advantage of the situation.

Same, same;
different, different.
Same, different,
different same.
Some differences matter – big time.
Others flavor.
You tell me it’s fine to have just a bit,
I’ve earned it, I’ve done so well.
You’ve no idea what a snippet would do,
how total debacle would follow.
You have to be like me
to understand me,
to gain my trust in my insanity
with my recovery.

God, thanks for putting people in my life
who’ve walked this path,
who lead me to recovery and to you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Incremental Growth

I remember, years ago, when we had someone plant the pine tree. We moved here in 1994, and sometime - I'm reasonably sure within a year - Biff planted a twig he called a pine tree. I don't think it was a foot tall, and I know for certain some of the weeds I mowed down today were larger that that tree. But while mowing I was startled by a sight - a pine cone. From that tree. It's really been a tree for a long time, but the cones I've noticed before were anemic little things. This one wasn't! When did that happen?
I've become aware of changes in me. Not changes happening, but realized transfigurations. The very act of mowing was one. Previously, I would have tentatively proposed the project to hubby, not wanting to offend, having an aversion of taking a task he might possibly have hired out or planned to do soon. And I know my bringing it up would have been, in some frames of mind, asking permission to make a decision, and in others, trying to go the extra mile to earn praise or recognition or acknowledgment. But I did it because I'd grown embarrassed by the yard. Even the house next door, normally by a totally derelict appearance making ours shine as a potential show home, boasted a more manicured lawn.

In other situations, with other people, I'm asserting a leadership role, no longer anxious to avoid offending at all costs some possible idea, unexpressed, obscure, and - truth be told - unlikely to occur in anyone's imagination but my fertile garden of what-ifs.

As to abstinence, after the initial year of pink-cloud eating, emotions roiled, and old habits inched their way back in. Abstinence from early 2008 until early 2011 was the white-knuckle variety, something I'm as good at now as I was all those years from age 13 to almost 60 which I was on a "diet" - steadily gaining most years, reaching that awful 300 pounds on a doctor's scales. I worked with my sponsor, and she pointed out a pattern I hadn't detected. I'd do pretty darned good white-knuckling it for a month. Then the old "reward due" attitude would butt in, and for a few days nobody would have seen my eating as having any redeeming qualities. Remorse came quickly, especially as the depredation grew with subsequent slipping periods, and another month would begin. I didn't gain substantial weight back, was truly on a food plan many more days than not, but self-esteem was a word in the dictionary, nothing with which I was even slightly acquainted.

Then something happened. I didn't know it at the time - no "scales... fell from my eyes," no significance "burst upon me." Instead, it was a "different footing," "roots in a new soil." (Quotes from page 12, Alcoholics Anonymous.) But some time in late January, I got it. I found out how to surrender, how to let go. I learned there's no effort in abstinence, just accepting the rules laid down for me by a benevolent friend whose knowledge and insight know no bounds. My roots are firmly planted in rich loam. Thank God!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Restless, Irritable, Discontented

I'm scheduled to speak at a meeting tomorrow. While I know it's not a time to prepare a speech (meaning to figure out how to show myself in the best light) not to have thought about it, to have invited God's input for preparation, is wrong. I don't know where the collection of my pictures I had got off to, so I printed out some more today. It's good to look at them. And it's good to see the others, the ones during recovery, that show the distance I still have to go toward a normal body weight. My abstinence has been good since January, and the scales and clothes show it, but not fast enough for me ego, which, of course, needs to be dumped.

What do I have to share? I do have recovery that's awesome, and I am in the midst of taking quantum leaps forward in recovery. That's the reason for the subject I wrote for this post - yesterday. It's been my state all week. The reason, as I understand it, is the growth itself. I'm addicted to a person, just as much as I am to food, to compulsive overeating. I've had him in the role of my higher power for years and years and decades. At this point I'm trying to move him out of that slot so God has room to take it. I can't move him out, but I can avoid worshipping at the pagan shrine. How can I do that? My current course is to utilize the mantra, "Say what you mean, mean what you say, and don't say it mean." Just this evening, he asked me if I had put an orange in the refrigerator, and I said no. So he suggested I put it in the freezer. Then later he asked for it and only then did I realize he had intended the orange sodas he bought, not a piece of fruit. His anger at my doing the wrong thing when he could easily - as easily as I could - have placed it there and gotten it out was not fair - as if that had ever made a difference in our relationship. Yet he's bitter at me for not doing it right. I thought it was an unusual request. And yes, I could have figured it out - I finally did. But in the past I would have bought into the guilt he threw at me. It's not my guilt. We went further, with him criticizing my life, my not staying in his presence, and that only, all day every day. I sit here with the fear still there, but not the recrimination. I'm finally growing up, finally realizing the next rung of recovery and delivered promises. But it's not fun, at all!

For Today this morning said, ‎"It is not easy to risk failure in plain view of those who wait smugly on the sidelines. To be thought foolish or insane could well start an avalanche of negative self-judgments. But as I grow, I become more willing to venture out of my cocoon." (p. 99) I did. I ventured out of my cocoon. A little. I'll move more tomorrow, and each day, one day at a time.

And yes, I'm restless, irritable, and discontented. It comes from feeling my feelings, from not denying them. It results when I realize what I've missed out on for so many years, in so many different ways. Affection, acceptance, respect, attraction, affirmation, confidence, confiding. Trust. I'm grieving for a life that could have been, but I have to offer the hard-won understanding that each of us is responsible for our own recovery, for our own life. Nothing I could do would be good enough, would elicit the acceptance I crave. Not from a broken person. But an unbroken God and a fellowship of sick people, recovering from insanity like mine, can fill me so full of acceptance, I find surfeit at last.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Testing the Promises

Obviously there are lots more promises in the Big Book than those on pages 83-84. But tonight I was listening to tapes I made on an OA cruise (The tapes will be available soon on the Region III website.) and one of the pitches included a statement the speaker wanted to stay in OA long enough for all the promises to come true. I'm glad I listened. I've heard the speakers - live - and worked with the tapes a while, but this was the first time that one grabbed me.

So, which if the promises have come true for me so far?
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. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity 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. (Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 83-84)
  • Amazed? Yes. I'm amazed at the changes made in me during the last four years, three and a half months.
  • A new freedom? Certainly I'm more free. I'm doing what I want to be doing, excited about life, loving every day I go to the office - or somewhere else to pursue my passion.
  • A new happiness? Hum. My sister posted on a photo album I put up of a recent trip where I dared to do (the cruise I've told you about): "Who is THIS, and what have you done with my sister? I'm so proud of you and all you have accomplished!" Yes, I'm certainly filled with a new happiness - but there's more room to top it off. I had a day this week filled to the brim with resentment and longing.
  • Regret the past? Well, I regret not getting to OA until I was virtually 60. But I also understand the past made me what I am, gave me the background to help others get here quicker, find sanity earlier. My pain empowers me, my liberation enables me to unshackle others - or, more accurately, to show them how to free themselves. So I don't wish to shut the door on the past.
  • I comprehend serenity. I can't hold onto it, but I've had it for brief moments, and they're growing longer and fuller and more enveloping.
  • Do I know peace? No. I sense it. I've tasted it, waded in it, but I've yet to become immersed in it.
  • "No matter how far down the scale we've gone..." This one always makes me smile, at least inside, when used in the context of OA. I know what it means. But we of OA have lived and died by the scale all our lives, and going down the scale is what most of us wanted when we came into OA. That's not what it means. But it's still how I read it, so I guess this one isn't played out in my life yet. The "scale" is still too important to me, not something I can assume is God's business and not mine.
  • The sense of uselessness and self-pity will disappear? More so than before. Getting there.
  • Self-seeking will slip away. Hum. My sponsor told me for someone like me, a people pleaser, a self-denier, a low-self-esteem co-dependent, the question "Where was I selfish?" means "Selfish in this context is not the negative monster we fear as a label. What did I want from this person, institution, or principle? How did I feel deprived or hurt? Write what you wanted or needed in the situation." And self-seeking was the behavior I did to get what I wanted. I'm still struggling with this, still giving my self away, failing to hold on to what I need for me. This one is easing but far from achieved.
  • Lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows? I'm finding a community who understands me, and I am interested in them and love them and would do anything for them.
  • Reading through the rest, I see the same pattern. I'm progressing, but the path is not finished. I'm in for the long haul. Thank God!