Monday, June 30, 2008

Nibbling At The Edges

It's Monday. Tomorrow's the first of the month. I've spent countless of either of those days determined to revamp my life complete with a written list from A to Z. These days I know the urge to revamp happens when I'm feeling shame. Revamping is just another way of spelling insanity but that hasn't stopped me from spelling it 100 different ways, thousands of times. Since coming home from treatment 10 months ago alarm bells clang when I start forming a mental A to Z list. God help me if it makes it to the writing stage.

The flip side of that is that often I've thought - oh tomorrow's Monday, the first of the month, the last of the month, whatever, that's tomorrow.....I'll just keep engaging in this behaviour until then.

Shame is such a shitty companion yet today it's letting me know I need to look at what's going on beneath the surface instead of making some list of above surface activity as if that has the power to transform me. Shame could propel me into making a gigantic list with which I could convince myself if I just followed it religiously enough I would be okay. Except I won't let it. To try that would mean I'd also be gritting my teeth, white knuckling it and holding my breath until my rigid walls of perfection crumbled under my humanity. I think the longest I've lasted is 3 weeks. The longest 3 weeks ever. Okay. Really, my record is ten seconds but I could convince myself it's much, much longer if it weren't for those hormones that kick in at the 3 week mark. They mess with my denial every month.

The last few days of stuffing my feelings with food is what I'm feeling shame about this morning. While staying away from my binge foods I skirted around the edges as close as possible. Which is insanity in itself. Let's see how close to the pit I can get. That's right up there with sniffing empty beer bottles or sticking my nose in an empty bag of chips and inhaling deeply. Nibbling at the edges to see how close I can get without tumbling right in.

I wasn't interested in surrendering anything, although the thought did cross my mind. "Later", I said as I ate another cookie. "Later", I shouted as I drank a pop. I've forgotten what it feels like to go to bed certain that I've morphed into the beached whale's sister. It doesn't matter that I'm 60 pounds lighter than the last time I felt this way. I still felt like the morphing process was complete. And that's why recovery from compulsive overeating has nothing to do with weight anyway. Thinner does not necessarily mean healthier. Heavier does not necessarily denote unhealthiness. Recovery has to do with the journey between the head and the heart.

And that journey is taken baby step by baby step. No A to Z list will cut it. As I sat alone in the coolness of the church yesterday I thought about what baby step I could take towards sanity. I thought back to this post and how unwilling I've been to follow through with my gift to myself. I'm still looking for distraction. I sat there and decided a baby step could mean 5 minutes of being present a day. Don't change anything else Hope, just sit for that 5 minutes. Okay I can do that. I sat there very aware of how much grace I need. Of how screwed up life gets when I live it on my own terms and the hell with nudges from the Spirit or advice from a friend. I left church with less shame and more hope.

Then I came home and ate the rest of the cookies.
After all, it wasn't Monday yet.


daisymarie said...

I'm tired of the way shame sneaks and sets up shop. I can't seem to get away from it these days.

Black Pete said...

It is now, old girl.

Chuck Sigars said...

Ah. I am SO here lately. Always wandering by the cage, letting the beast nip. And the bright side? A cookie is still only a cookie. At least that's what I think today. Thanks for this.

Anonymous said...

What crazy sickness is it that makes us think that our bodies immediately expand if we have that frickin' cookie? I know this feeling all too well. Dang messed up body images. Aaaaahhhh!!! And boy, do I know that feeling of needing distraction when other distractions are gone.


Hope said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Selena said...

What if it isn't your fault?

What if the overeating is just a sign that you have an imbalanced biochemistry, nothing more? And that by changing what and when you eat you can heal your body, stop the bingeing, and know what to do to prevent it from happening ever again?

I used to binge constantly. It was the first thing I thought about in the morning and the last thing at night. I hated myself, I was depressed, I had to drag myself through the day and I had so much shame it was unreal.

Now, eighteen months after following the advice on the Radiant Recovery website I am totally different. I am joyful, content, serene, confident, I haven't binged in well over a year and I eat just three meals a day.

There was no white-knuckling, just a sensible approach to healing my biochemistry with normal everyday foods.

Finding Radiant Recovery has changed my life. Why not look it up and see what you think? There is hope out there. And it's not your fault.

All the best from someone who has been there and come out the other side.

Hope said...

Hi Selena,
I am following RR actually. On step 2. This day was after two days of wobbles on breakfast and journalling. So the shame feelings were totally normal for where I'm at. I do hope to have the radiance one day. Today it was back to breakfast with adequate protein and journalling all day. Baby step by baby step I'll get there.

4in4 said...

Hope, I am so grateful to have come across you. You and I are kindred spirits. I am a 12-stepper (almost two years abstinent) like you (OA). I am also doing RR (step 3). I am also Catholic like you. Looking down the list of yours tags I just go yes, yes, can't wait to read more! Just wanted to say hello and it's lovely to meet you. (Analisa, gratefully recovering compulsive overeater)