GreySheeters Anonymous

Things I Do with Free Time

Hi, I'm [Anonymous], a Co, and I W&M 3 meals a day from the GS, DENMW in between, write my food down, commit it to my wonderful sponsor, and Abstinence is the MOst important thing in my life today, because without it I don't have a life. I was really touched by the person who said she had time on her hands didn't know what to do with it and not eat. I still have those times, I'm a stay-at-home mom and although that gives me plenty to do, I still find those times when my soul is bored and my mind is stretched, and the food begins to call to me. Here are some of the things I do instead of eating:
  • First, I call other GSers.  I find that what I'm doing is feeling some feeling I can't identify.  In the beginning of abstinence, it was often grief over letting go of the food.  Not an easy feeling to sit with.  Really powerful, and it's good to talk to someone who understands the feeling.  If anyone needs a copy of the GS Phone List, you can email  to request a copy.
  • Read or listen to the GS shares on the website:  Written/Audio Qualifications.
  • GET TO A MEETING.  I don't have any GS meetings here in MN, so I attend LOTS of GS Phone Bridge Meetings.  There are phone bridge meetings every night at 9pm EST and three times a week at other times.  I get to most of them, to build the defense against the first bite.  When I lived in a face-to-face GS community, I went to almost daily (if not more) meetings.  I need the "brain washing" that I get at meetings.  Gratitude flows when I'm in a meeting.  Meetings are NOT just for newbies.  The oldtimers I know still go to many meetings a week.  As I've always been told "Meeting Makers Make It."
  • Write to the GreyNet and share where I am.
  • Call my sponsor.  I always encourage my sponsees (or any other GSer) to call me when feeling 'discombobulated'.  We don't have to do this alone.  It's a "WE" program.
  • Take a bubble bath (sometimes accompanied by two kids and wandering cats, sometimes blissfully alone). I take a nice book and a cold drink in to the bathroom and I soak and read and dream.
  • Give myself a pedicure. There's nothing I love better than a pedicure, so it's really very special to give myself one.  If I can go out and have someone else do it, all the BETTER!
  • Give myself a facial (see above).
  • Go to a movie. During the day there isn't so much munching, and if I need to, or can, I bring my lunch and munch to my heart's content.
  • Bring a movie in. Can't do that anymore, since I gave away my TV and VCR 18 months ago, but I used to do that and it was a nice alternative.
  • Clean out the fridge. If that is too close to the food, I don't.
  • Declutter or clean out some other room/'hot spot'. For some reason this helps me declutter my mind, too.
  • Fix and pack extra meals. If that is too close to the food, I don't.
  • Get out my drawing supplies and play.
  • Get out my handcraft supplies and play.
  • Get out my tape player and headphones, a book on tape, and listen to it while doing some of the above activities. It drowns out the "Committee" in my head and I find some peace that way, strange as it may sound.
  • Read the Big Book and the Twelve and Twelve and the 12-Step meditation books. Sometimes I hear just what I'm supposed to hear.
  • I'm not a journal-writer, but sometimes if I just can't get what I need I pick up a pen and I find my beautiful journal (a gift) and I do stream-of-consciousness writing.  It's remarkable what I connect with when I do this. Why don't I do it frequently? Maybe some day I'll find out grin.
  • I go for a walk. I frequently feel much better after taking a walk. I hate to exercise (isn't it enough that I have to do GS???) but it's another of those things that almost always makes me feel better.
  • I put on a favorite tape or a cd and sing&dance with my kids. See above re: walking.
  • The thing I've learned is that feelings pass. Abstinence is worth hanging around for. When I first came back this time around, I had no earthly idea what I liked to do, what would make me feel better, what would help me pass time until the next meal.  I just sat on my hands a lot and waited. Now I have a few options I hadn't thought of then, and it's a wonderful thing to them share with all of you. I have come a long way in the last year and a half, plus.
  • Just Don't Eat No Matter What, and it will get easier, I Promise. If you don't believe me, read the promises in the Big Book (p. 83).
One last comment. 
I have been trained to Love My Food. I am a Compulsive Overeater. That means I am NOT normal around food. I will never consider in my heart that food is fuel. Therefore, if I want to stay abstinent, I have to LOVE my Food. The GS lets me have safety around loving my food. If I eat foods from the GS, Without Exception, committed,and W&M'd, then I get to enjoy every morsel. I HAVE to LOVE my food.  If I don't, I WILL eat again. This is not a diet.  All diets fail, and if I use GS as a diet, it will fail, too.  I can't wait until I have time or energy to do the work to find #10 meals. I have to have them every single meal (with those rare exceptions when circumstances call for a quick and easy meal, but notice I say RARE). If I am bored with my food, I have to take action to find foods on the GS which make me look forward to each meal and which give me orgasms during each meal. This is difficult to 'get' until you do it. It IS safe. It IS surrender to the GS. Don't look at recipes, call other GSers and ask what they love. Find what you love, and give yourself the gift of #10 meals and abstinence. You deserve it! Abstinent and Grateful, 
Anonymous in MN USA, December 5, 2002

What Do I Do to Stay Abstinent?

  1. Being totally desperate and willing to do whatever a qualified abstinent person said to do to get relief.
  2. Not waiting until I had self-esteem, faith, loved myself, or found a loving and kind sponsor that I bonded with.
  3. Following directions even when they were illogical, inconvenient, or expensive or given to me by someone I didn't admire.
  4. Making three GS connections a day (this is where graduate student poverty forced me to invent the GreyNet to avoid long distance phone calls from Kalamazoo, MI. Desperation to be abstinent may be the mother of invention.)
  5. Driving three hours to Chicago or two hours to Ann Arbor to GS meetings even though I was too busy with studying or too broke to buy the gas
  6. Starting a GS meeting in Kalamazoo even though it was often just me, copies of the GS, and my Big Book for weeks on end
  7. Working with newcomers after I had 90 days even though scores and scores (maybe even hundreds and hundreds!) never came back
  8. Going to the NYC Round Up, the Cambridge Marathons, and the Chicago Retreat (those were the only GS gatherings in my early years - now there are many to choose from) (again, despite being much too busy, much too afraid of financial insecurity, and terrified of GS people I didn't know)
  9. Listening to GS tapes in the car, as I walked around campus, and when preparing and eating my GS abstinent food, i.e., whenever I wasn't studying or in class
  10. Promising myself that I would eat tomorrow but since I had committed my food that morning, I would be abstinent today
  11. Chewing pack after pack of sugar free gum (that lasted a year) and drinking gallons and gallons of diet soda (that lasted years) whenever I wanted to eat
  12. Calling my sponsor on time everyday, calling in food changes, and calling with GS questions or dilemmas
  13. Throwing out all non GS foods and stocking up on emergency GS supplies
  14. Going to the grocery store to make sure I had the food I committed
  15. Going to AA meetings everyday in the absence of GS meetings even though I didn't think I was an alcoholic
  16. Eating huge meals
  17. Trying everything vegan on the greysheet at least once and constantly expanding my soy choices
  18. Napping after my meals to get through the tragedy of 4 ounces.

What Do I Do to Stay Abstinent?

  1. Write a gratitude list daily.
  2. Drink 12+ glasses of water a day.

What Do I Do to Stay Abstinent?

  1. Have a CD player in my kitchen where I prepare my food. I am then able to play my most favorite music (women singers, Celtic, bluegrass, new age, YoYo Ma) while I'm chopping, weighing and measuring. It makes the experience very pleasurable, and for me, who used to eat whole meals whilst I was preparing food (and then sit down and eat whole meals!) it just seems to keep me focused on taking care of myself and Not Eating No Matter What!  No Extra Bites during preparation. But I can listen to all the great music I want!
  2. For me is that abstinence is a promise. Food was destroying my life in many ways and I decided I wanted to live!  I also am a person who keeps promises, I guess from my earlier Girl Scout days. The words of an old Girl scout song was as I remember it:  "Whenever you make a promise, consider well its importance, but once you have made it, engrave it upon your heart." That's how I feel about following GreySheet, a promise made to myself, and when I commit my food to my sponsor, that's a promise I made to her! This thought has helped me for the past 5 years.
  3. I am organized today. I bring my breakfast and lunch to work. Bought a little scale, T spoon and 1 cup measuring cup in a little bag to bring with me every day.
  4. I have phone numbers to call and e-mail contacts. I made phone & email lists in Excel, printed a bunch of copies, and have them everywhere so I can find the info I need at a touch.
  5. I listen to my sponsor and do what she tells me.

What Do I Do to Stay Abstinent?

In the beginning of my abstinence I did exactly what was suggested to do:
  1. Get on my knees each morning and ask for help to not take the first bite.
  2. Go to a meeting.
  3. Make 3 calls a day.
  4. Don't Eat No Matter What.
  5. Get on my knees every night and thank my HP for a daily reprieve from compulsive overeating.

Move a Muscle, Change a Thought

For me what has really worked throughout my abstinence is "Move a muscle, change a thought."  Whenever I want to eat, I first get out of the kitchen and away from the food. Then, as I do with my young children, I distract myself.  I do anything to forget that I am "hungry." I put my blinders on and I say "I'm not going to eat no matter what...not an option," so what else can I do for the next hour or so until it's lunchtime? Even making a cup of tea can be distracting and physically filling.

What Do I Do to Stay Abstinent?

  1. In the very beginning, I went to a greysheet meeting every day. Today 3-4 years later, I go to no less than 3-4 greysheet meetings a week. I do not substitute AA meetings for GreySheet, as I live in a city where GreySheet is in abundance. I seldom substitute phone meetings for live meetings.
  2. I go to therapy and Al-Anon 4 days a week as I ate because I hurt so much and need healing on an emotional level.
  3. I have belonged to a Buddhist group for the last 14 years so that is where I get my spirituality from and my prayer and meditation.
  4. I do lots of service in the GSA community. I help the next compulsive overeater.
  5. I share HONESTLY about where I'm at ANY GIVEN TIME IN MY PROGRAM, BE IT POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE.
  6. I keep an open mind.
  7. I study the Big Book especially the Doctor's Opinion and More About Alcoholism; for today, I don't eat no matter what.

Listening

In the beginning, in 1989 I went to meetings in NYC at least 4 times a week, but after years of struggle, including going through a lot of deaths in the family, I finally lost it completely, and learned that I had to surrender ALL THE PARTS OF MYSELF to this program. In 1998 after 1 year of back to back abstinence I married and moved here to Washington State where there are NO meetings really. So all those meetings I went to and LISTENED AND LISTENED AND LISTENED are still with me today. I have all those tapes too and listen to them frequently.