Monday, September 04, 2006

Telling The Truth

Twenty five years ago today dearest one and I met in person for the first time. He travelled from northern Alberta to the southern tip of Ontario to meet me. We had written to one another as penpals when I was 14 and he 16. Circumstances muddled things up for several years in between but when I was 19 and he 21, we met. That day is still crystal clear in my memory.

One of the things I did in preparation to meet him was go on a diet. My very first one. How I decided I needed to, I don't know, but diet I did. Enough that a friend commented on my (8 pound) weight loss. Funny how one comment like that can plant seeds of a negative kind. If I didn't think I had a weight problem before her comment then I surely thought I had one afterwards. This many years later I know that if someone notices you have lost 8 pounds, there really wasn't anything wrong with your before picture. With 80 extra pounds on my frame now, eight pounds seems like a pittance.

Earlier this summer, when I took the month of June away from blogging, I renewed my habit of journal writing. I've filled more pages in the last 3 months than I did in the previous eighteen. Journalling is similar to having one long album of before and after pictures. You get to see where you've been and where you're going. Within the last week or so I've noticed a reluctance to journal. Missed four days in a row to be precise. Missing days is a sign that something's brewing deep within me. Something I don't want to acknowledge. Never knowing what's going to come out the end of my pen when I start writing can be unnerving so, in order to keep a facade of serenity, I had to stop writing.

The only problem is that when I don't journal then I have to carry around those renegade thoughts and repress them. That takes energy. Yesterday I took up my pen and started to write. Here is what hit the page:

"There's a link between missing days in here and being out of control in other areas of my life. My eating is out of control. Twenty one days of abstinence (from sexual addiction) but my eating is wretched. I am lying to myself when it comes to food. I keep thinking that dealing with the other stuff is enough for now so food is my relief valve. It's the insanity of addiction in another area.
I feel like a two year old having a temper tantrum. I know I don't want to diet. I don't want to write down everything I eat. Yesterday though, I thought about the increasing risk of becoming diabetic and having to keep track of it all then and having to follow a rigid diet. Why do I feel so resisitent? Probably because I am unable to face this reality right now. For now I'm going to pray to become willing. Going to AA is teaching me to face other stuff in my life. I'm alternately glad/pissed off about that."

What I failed to write was that I didn't want to keep track of anything I ate because I want to eat mindlessly. I don't want to be aware when it comes to food. Being aware would demand action. It would be like wrestling my last lifeline away from me and leave me exposed and naked to the truth with no place to hide.

I've known I was sugar sensitive for many years already. Most (if not all) alcoholics are. Getting off of sugar has always been a good thing for me. During my blog sabbatical I returned to AA after an 8 year absence. At that first meeting one of the people said to a newly sober person, "If you come here you'll mess up your drinking. That's what happened to me. I started coming to meetings and it messed up my drinking." We all chuckled but we knew the absolute truth to that statement. And for me I immediately thought of my sugar sensitivity and said to myself "oh great, knowing something about sugar sensitivity messes up my eating too." Same principle, different addiction. I've followed the sugar sensitive program in the past and found relief from the insanity of being a binge eater. I know enough about sugar addiction to know that one bite of something sugary has a domino effect in my life. Although I haven't followed the program for several years, I have enough knowledge to recognize the daily cause and effect of sugar in my diet.

A few days ago I arrived at my AA meeting only to find it had been cancelled. At that moment the only other female member of my home group arrived too. We decided to go out for coffee. During our visit we shared bits and pieces of our history with one another. Through listening to my own words, telling her my story when it came to food, I clearly heard myself justifying my behaviour. Trying to further cover that up with words only made it worse. I might have been able to blot the conversation out of my mind had I been talking to a non addict, but talking with another addict in recovery made it more difficult to ignore. There came a point in our conversation when I realized that I could have substituted the word alcohol for food and been telling the same slippery story. I was glad when our coffee time came to an end.

I know how much I get pissed off when I hear someone lying to themselves. The urge to smack them upside the head is huge. "Wake up," I want to tell them, "You only get one go round at this thing called life." I see I've got my own waking up to do.

Yesterday after communion, when I knelt to pray, I told God I hadn't been hearing much from him lately. The reply I heard in my heart was that God was speaking to me through other people right now. "Ok, I could accept that," I said. So I started talking to God about my eating disorder. Praying those specific words, which have never come out of my mouth before, stopped me in my tracks. Tears came to the surface. I nearly felt like I had been tricked into praying them. There are times when praying spontaneously can seem as dangerous as journalling. You just never know what's going to come out of your mouth.

Wasn't it just a few short days ago when I wrote that facing the pain was worth it? Man, it sucks to eat one's words. It's the one thing I have no desire to binge on.

So now I pray for the courage to face what feels like my last escape hatch. In my head I know that facing the pain is always worth it in the end. But I am not always willing. I know I can do anything one day at a time, but some days I sure don't want to. With the healing I have experienced lately I am more comfortable in my body than I have ever been. It's more about being uncomfortable in my stinking thinking that's the problem. The outward is simply a manifestation of that thinking.

In my email every week I get a newsletter from the Radiant Recovery site. Many months ago, it might've been a year ago already, there was one newsletter where it said, "If you want what we have, do what we do." My initial thought was: "Piss off. Don't tell me what to do." But the words of the newsletter wouldn't stop reverberating in my head. Despite their continued presence, I kept searching for something that would make my path different, easier, without cost to myself. Something where I could have my cake and eat it, too. I never found it. I know now that the phrase "If you want what we have, do what we do" applies to any recovery process, regardless of the addiction.

This morning I picked up my pocket Thomas Merton and flipped to a random page. Here is what I read:
"We make ourselves real by telling the truth."

God continues to speak to me through other people.

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