GreySheeters Anonymous

The Nature of Our Disease and Our Solution

Early Abstinence

Dear Group - Thank God for GreySheet.  I'm still abstinent - on day 86.  This is long-term abstinence for me.  A few months ago, I was unable to get more than a couple of days at a time.  For some periods I would call my sponsor every morning and binge every single day for weeks.  I was in that place they talk about in the Big Book - terror, bewilderment, frustration and despair.  As far as I was concerned the situation was hopeless. By mid-morning, I would say "What's the use?" and eat.  Not only was I fully in victim mode, but the food had me in a complete chokehold.  When we read How It Works in our meeting I often key in on the words cunning, baffling, powerful.  It's hard to find the words to fully describe how much control my eating addiction has when it's activated. As for the cunning aspect of it, I heard once at a meeting that the chains of my eating addiction were too soft to be felt until they were too hard to be broken.  It was completely baffling how I couldn't do something that I had been able to do in the past. Once at a meeting I told the group that I felt like I was in the ocean and everyone was tossing me life preservers, urging me to grab on and get on the boat.  I was utterly clueless as to my inability to grab on and save my life, despite my desperation.  Freeing myself took a lot of willingness, intervention-type help from people in the program and an act of God.

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Strength of GreySheet Abstinence

Dear GreyNet Family, In an AARP report I read "the majority of chronic conditions and deaths due to heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis can be attributed to poor nutrition."  For me, GreySheet Abstinence is preventing diabetes, stroke, cancer, knee replacement, etc., etc.,-- all diseases in my family, from which my family members are now suffering. I am a compulsive overeater who needs GreySheet Abstinence!  Before I came to GreySheet, I had tried variations of all the food plans people want to try to deviate from GreySheet. People don't want to weigh and measure in restaurants or in some other situations.  When I brought this idea home to my husband (after I had been abstinent for a few weeks) my wonderful, logical husband said, "Why is the food any different in a restaurant than at home?"  I would want, as I have seen others do, to eat more and more often in a restaurant until I was having 3 meals a day there--every day!  Or I would be plagued with thoughts about the amounts they served: too much, too little...  People want to use the serving plate in the restaurant as a measurement.  I did that before GreySheet in one of my many efforts to lose weight.  I looked at the amount of food my 5'11" husband put on his plate and put the same amount on my plate.  Of course, I felt deprived, so I kept asking him to go back and get seconds so I could get more.

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Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Solution

I am still weighing and measuring without exception my 3 beautiful abstinent GreySheet meals each day, one day at a time.  Because I'm an addict (and as such, fundamentally a sneak, cheat and liar around my food), I continue to commit my food daily to my food sponsor.  I write it down, and keep the 3 by 5 spiral notebook where I have written it in my kitchen - set up like a little easel, so that while I prepare my meals, I check and make sure I've got it exactly as committed.  I don't make decisions about my food on my own.  It is extremely easy for me to lie to myself about my food - but it is extremely uncomfortable for me to lie to another person.  The way the Cambridge GreySheet program has been passed down to me via my sponsor, and the long-term abstinent GSers in NYC where I live, is that we continue to commit our food daily to our sponsors, indefinitely, a day at a time.  I know this is a major factor supporting my abstinence because it helps me stay honest around my food.  I do this, and all the other things I do to support my abstinence, because I am a food addict. I am "carbohydrate sensitive," so the low-carbohydrate GreySheet food plan is a big help.  But I am also just plain addicted to the process of eating.  So the fact that we weigh and measure, a day at a time, indefinitely - so that all my meals have a clear-cut beginning and a clear-cut ending - this is another huge factor in protecting my abstinence. Because addiction is a disease - progressive, fatal and incurable - there is no way that I will ever become "normal" around food.  It is not because I am spiritually unfit that I have this disease (although living in active addiction certainly corrodes moral fiber).  And no amount of spiritual work, no amount of lifting of my defects of character by my loving higher power, is ever going to make me into a normal eater.  No more will I ever safely take a drink of alcohol, or safely use recreational drugs. Oh, yes, because this fatal, progressive, and incurable illness is three-fold (mental, physical and spiritual), the solution with which I can hope to arrest this illness in the long term (one day at a time) must also be three-fold.
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Open Letter To Greynet About 'Cambridge' In The GS Name

[I'm posting this to the GreyNet because a very nice individual I know expressed to me personally her unhappiness about our using Cambridge in our name.  She perceived it as confusing and elitist.  This is the answer I sent her, and I hope it helps.] I'm really sorry you have bad feelings about the name "Cambridge" attached to Grey Sheet.  It surprises me, because I experience it so differently.  As they say "that's what makes horse races." I hate to think that you are feeling disenfranchised or offended.  I remember you as a lovely person.  I can see from your letter that you are caring deeply about the sick and suffering newcomer.  I believe the most caring thing I can do for the newcomer is to give a clear message of recovery, no sugar coating.  Sometimes people coming in from regular OA can be so indoctrinated with this "unconditional love" talk, which can sometimes tend to be more like "unlimited enabling." I know people new to the community are confused by the name "Cambridge" - but newcomers ALWAYS have a lot to learn, and experience a lot of discomfort till they catch up with the "jargon" and special uses of terms.  It's true in AA, true in all the 12-step fellowships. Myself, I gratefully look to the people with long term abstinence, because I know these are the people who can share with me "what works" in the long run.  I've been seriously involved with OA for 25 years, although my first OA meeting was 29 years ago (in NYC).  [Sober 28 years as of 2/24/01, binge-free 19 years, and GS B/B 11.9 years abstinent.]

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