Keeping it Green, Gratitude
Greetings, fellow travelers. [Anonymous] in NYC here - still w&m'g w/o exception my 3 meals/day off the GS, after writing them down and committing them to my sponsor. I don't eat between no matter what, and I put my abstinence first. I just received an email from someone (and I paraphrase here) who shares that, after a short period of abstinence, she begins to feel great, optimistic, and confident, and to forget all the pain it took to bring her to the state of desperation necessary to get her "to face the tragedy of 4 ounces," and to find the willingness to get started on the GS. She proposes that writing about it every day may be the answer -- to "keeping it green." That's a good description of the "Built-In Forgetter" that is ALWAYS a part of addiction. I try to cultivate a grasp of the CONCEPTS of addiction, and although there's that great line in the Big Book: "self-knowledge availed us nothing," I do think there are salient facts about how the mind (and body) of the addict works that it is important to keep practicing. It really helped me to hear at my second AA meeting (Feb. 24, 1973) that THIS IS THE DISEASE THAT TELLS ME I DON'T HAVE A DISEASE.
For some yet unknown reason, once a person has crossed the line into addiction, forever after, their wiring is altered, so that where a 'normal' person has the instinct to survive, the addict has the warped "instinct" to survive BY RETURNING TO THE SUBSTANCE. The substance which ONCE was so helpful, ONCE was so comforting, but now is so destructive. There is a deep conviction -- operating on the unconscious, automatic level, as well as sometimes surfacing into consciousness, that "If I don't eat, I'LL DIE. So just this one time...." I liken it to "a flaw in the hard drive." No matter how horrendous my suffering became later through ABUSE of the FOODS WE AVOID, no matter how much corrective software I install on my computer, eventually it will all be corrupted by the flaw in the hard drive, and I WILL eat again, unless I download fresh software on a daily basis. Fresh software only comes from OUTSIDE of my computer (brain), not INSIDE. That means I have to keep returning to MEETINGS, MEETINGS, MEETINGS. The software I need comes only from my personal participation in the recovery fellowship where MY story can help somebody else, and THEIR stories can touch me anew. Sitting alone and writing out my story for myself -- that can be useful. It's a useful exercise. BUT IT IS NOT ENOUGH. My own story doesn't become real ENOUGH for me until I share it with another suffering compulsive overeater, and another c.o. shares his story with ME. I don't know why - AND I DON'T NEED TO KNOW WHY - I sometimes resist going to meetings and doing the necessary daily activities for the maintenance and growth of my spiritual condition. ALL I NEED TO KNOW, IS THAT (for this particular compulsive overeater) IF I WANT TO REMAIN ABSTINENT, I NEED TO KEEP DOING THESE THINGS - BOTH WHEN I FEEL LIKE IT AND WHEN I DON'T. BOTH WHEN IT'S CONVENIENT, AND WHEN IT'S NOT CONVENIENT. When it's fun (which it often is), and when it's torture (which it sometimes is). A little footnote here on gratitude - a brilliant friend of mine recently articulated so well: "GRATITUDE DOESN'T KEEP ME ABSTINENT." Brilliant, indeed. How many pink-cloud newcomers have been absolutely delirious with gratitude, only to return, BAFFLED, to the food? O YEAH - it's great to be abstinent. It's great to get off all sort of medications as one's health dramatically improves. It's great to be a smaller size. It's great to love one's GS food. It's great to be more present to family, friends, and work. Those great things are NOT ENOUGH. GUESS WHAT!!!! If I as an addict/ c.o. don't PUT IN THE FOOTWORK to stay vitally connected (through participation in the recovery community) to the horror of the food AND the PAIN, YES, THE GROWING PAINS OF ABSTINENCE -- I believe I WILL EAT AGAIN. And all the gratitude in the world can't stop it. Well. Thanks for listening. I need to share with you guys what keeps me abstinent, about whom I care (sometimes more than I am able to care about myself); and I need to keep these concepts in the front of my addict brain.
Anonymous in NYC