As an addict, I struggle to overcome self-centeredness in all of it’s forms. One area where my self-centeredness manifests itself is in the area of fear. Two of my biggest fears are that others will  reject me and will shame me in a toxic manner by unloading mountains of harsh criticism on me.

Because of these fear issues — and for other possibly good reasons — I’ve avoided posting to OveractiveFork specific details about my food intake and exercise effort.  I’m not ashamed of what I eat and how much I exercise most days, but I fear that those addicts who demonize carbohydrates and exercise bulimics for whom NO amount of exercise is ever “good enough” would surely overwhelm me with criticism if they only knew what I was eating and much (or how little — depending on one’s perspective) that I exercise. So I ask: Why put myself through the potential of being sent abusive e-mail messages from fellow addicts who 1) are NOT my sponsor and 2) are NOT any sort of health care professional? Answer: I don’t need to put myself through such harsh judgementalness that the posting of food intake and exercise data would surely generate.

The other reason I wont post such personal information on OveractiveFork is because I would never want the specifics of my food and exercise plans to be followed by the readers of this blog.  I’m NOT a dietician or exercise physiologist so I would hope that I NEVER prescribe food or exercise plans for fellow addicts.  And I would not want any addict reading my blog to follow my plans becuase they were too lazy, fearful or arrogant to seek out the advice on such matters that I believe should ONLY come from a health care professional.

I do write down what I eat and how much I exercise on a regular basis.  But that information will be shared ONLY with professionals who are in a position to offer me sound advice and appropriate feedback when such information is shared with them.  I may also choose to share this information privately with fellow addicts, but NOT in order to obtain feedback and/or advice that should only come from a professional.

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I’m an addict — excess food intake and avoidance of physical exercise at all costs are my drugs of choice — and my problem is Dave!

I’ve released another 6.4 pounds within the past few weeks (YEAH!!!) and yet my commitment “to do the next right thing” to take care of myself is less than wholehearted.  “Why” is NOT important (REASON: We addicts must ACT our way into right thinking, rather than attempting to think our way into right acting = Action changes thinking long before screwed up addictive thinking will positively change actions).

I will acknowledge that I’m still (as I have the right to be) dealing with the death of my mother who passed away less than five months ago.  Some days my grief is not much of a burden to bear, while other days (like Easter was and I’m sure Mother’s Day will be) are too difficult for words.

No sooner than I felt like I was getting a reasonably decent handle on coping with my mom’s death, then my closest female friend passed away on April 16 — just four months and 16 days after my mom died!  My friend was only 54 years young.  I’m 51 years young.

All of this grief is HARD to deal with! And yet, all of my overeating and exercise avoiding wont bring my mother or Anna back from the dead. Duh! Acting out with my double-sided addiction might even hasten the day of my death. Duh!

When I say that my “commitment” to my recovery ain’t what it should be (yes, I typed the dreaded “should” word), this means that some days I follow my food plan MOST of the day (say up until 7:00pm), but then stop writing down my food intake and exercise effort for the rest of the day.  I wouldn’t be shocked that my food intake is greater than my food plan calls for on these “half-ass days” and my exercise effort isn’t what it could be. Ya’ think? 🙂 <blush>

So here’s what I’m doing today and for the next seven days (eight days total): I’m going to write on this journal EACH day for these eight consecutive days. My hope is that all this writing will help me renew my focus and my effort to eat sanely and exercise moderately, ODAAT. And yet, getting back on track is NOT all about what I’m doing for me. Ultimately I believe it is about seeking God’s help to do what I can not do for myself.

I believe that God does for us addicts what we can not do for ourselves.  Therefore it only makes sense for me to seek God more intensely to help me get my "recovery batteries charged up" and get me back on track.

I believe that God does for us addicts what we can not do for ourselves. Therefore it only makes sense for me to seek God more intensely to help me get my "recovery batteries charged up" and get me back on track.

Many church’s hold “revivals” to renew “the spiritual batteries” of their members. So as an addict I wouldn’t be surprised that (from time to time) I/we would benefit from a revival-of-sorts to re-charge my/our “recovery batteries”.

So I hereby declare that the revival is on!!! May we all get CHARGED UP, re-focused and re-committed to working our program of recovery each day, ODAAT!

I have a gratitude to share: Today I am especially grateful for a renewed awareness that it is NOT food that causes me to eat insanely.  After all, food is an INantimate object!  Instead the insanity of my addiction resides INside of me. This is where I need God’s help (inside). One of the best ways for me to experince His help in overcoming the insanity of my addiction is through working the 12 Steps that are at the core of my recovery program.  I work my Steps one Step and one day at a time. And writing is a terrific tool to help me work them.

When it comes to achieving long-term recovery from an addiction, RESENTMENT is a very important issue. From what I’ve experienced in my own life, read in recovery literature and heard from other addicts, ALL addicts (including myself) MUST face/release our resentments in order to be able to “stay stopped” from acting out with our drug(s) of choice. To clarify, while we may not have to face/release resentment(s) in order to become sober, we definitely must face/relase our resentments in order to stay sober, one day at a time.

The dictionary definition of resentment notes that it “is the feeling of displeasure or indignation at some act, remark, person, etc., regarded as causing injury or insult.”

Many years ago I learned from a recovering alcoholic that the Latin meaning for this word implies that we actually choose to “re-feel” our injured feelings, thoughts and perceptions in order to experience the feeling of resentment. So to feel recentment means that we have a choice — three choices actually: we can deny our resentment or we can admit we have resentment and then (once admited or faced) we can chose to take action in order to release our resentment. To my understanding denial, admission and release all involve choices.

The “Big Book” (Alcoholics Anonymous) points out that “…resentment is the number one offender” for alcoholics and, I would assume, for all types of us addicts.  It also states that in order to stay sober (e.g., stay in active recovery) that we must be freed from our resentments.

To this background about my understanding of the meaning of the word “resentment” I’ll now focus on answering the specific question that was posed by a reader of this blog, which was…

I bring up the topic of resentment because of a comment/question I received from a reader of this blog. This person’s words should be understood in the context of my blog entry dated November 15, 2008 (Did Science Finally Catch Up With 12 Step Recovery? AND…How Much Urine Does My Bladder Hold?). The comment/question I received read,

“I do feel like you seem to have a LOT of resentments towards some people in recovery. Does writing about them in this blog help you get over them?”

As to the content of the specific journal entry in question, my answer is: absolutely not.

Thinking back to the definitions of resentment I shared above, an Overeaters Anonymous member stating that HER “bladder works list a still” and therefore “it converts urine into alcohol” has NOTHING whatsoever to do with me. It is a statement referring to another OA member’s reality. Therefore I could not have been “injured” or “insluted” by her comment (remembering that resentment is about what has “injured” or “insulted” us).

While I did back in 1990 (and still now in 2008) find the OA member’s comment odd, illogical and humorous, it never injured or insluted me. I’ve NEVER overate over that member’s words — although I might have accidentally spat out food while laughing uncontrollably when considering the preposterous nature of her words (If I did, would that make me guilty of “unintentional bulimia”? Probably not.

In any case, I journaled about the “Still” comment because I do find it  offensive when any OA member (as in the case of the woman who made the “Still” comment) inserts into the context of an OA meeting (or other OA-sponsored event) comments of a highly controversial nature. Why does THAT bother me? The answer can be found in the 12 Traditions.

Tradition 10 reads, “Overeaters Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the O.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.”  Further, the Big Book states that “No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues…”  And it seems only logical that what applies to AA (the grand daddy of all 12 Step, 12 Tradition fellowships) should also apply to OA.

In my opinion, anger is an appropriate response to Tradition violations. At the same time I will acknowledge that the late Bill W., co-founder of the AA fellowship, wrote on many occasions that it was important for alcoholics to avoid anger at all costs.

In 36 years of coninuious sobriety, I find it very difficult to believe that Bill W. never once felt anger. To never once feel anger throughout a 36 year period is not being human. Given all of the unkind things that were rumored about Bill W. and fellow co-founder Dr. Bob during the early days of the AA fellowship, I know that I would have felt anger if those things had been said about me!

As a Christian I also take into consideration the words of Saint Paul where he writes that it is OK to be angry — so long as we don’t allow our anger to cause us to sin (Ephesians 4:26 & 27: “Be angry without sinning. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the devil any opportunity [to work].). As a Christian I have a right and duty to place the teaching of Scripture above Bill W.’s opinion. Nothing against Bill –But as a Christian I place the Bible as a higher authority than the words of another addict.

Rather than to pretend that I don’t feel anger, what I find to be a more reasonable approach to dealing with anger (so anger doesn’t threaten my recovery journey), is to 1) Feel anger. 2) If possible, do something LOVING with my anger (e.g., pray, work for change, etc.) and/or 3) Confront what I feel needs confronted. In the context of the Serentiy Prayer (which is not taken from Scripture), I am pointed toward the truth that PRAYER is absolutely neceessary to know when to “let go” of anger about things outside of myself.

But enough about anger. Resentment is the primary focus of this journal entry.

it is no secret that the Overeaters Anonymous fellowship has lost thousands of members over the past decade for any number of reasons, including the introduction of “controversial outside issues”. Among the most controversial of such issues that has divided this wonderful fellowship is the discussion of theories regarding nutrition. Believing that one’s body is capable of “converting sugar and flour into alcohol” is (at best) “controversial”, is it not?

Another point: Since when does any addict (myself or others) NOT have a right to openly discusss whatever is bugging us (regarless of whether or not such things cause us resentments)? When did the toxic behavior of other addicts (that take place within the context of fellowship meetings and other fellowship-sponsored events) become something that I have to “keep secrets” about? In my recovery from dysfunctional family issues I’ve learned that keeping secrets is UNhealthy.

As to the reader’s direct question, “Does writing about them in this blog help you get over them?”, my answer is not really.  While writing IS a key tool to help release resentments (along with prayer), the writing I’m doing on OveractiveFork is not intended to be a substitute for working the 12 Steps. We need look no father than the pages of the AA Big Book to discover, in the context of working Step 4, a five column format for working through one’s resentments.

Beyond writing about resentments when working Step 4 (as instructed by the Big Book), I’ve found it very important to work Steps 5 – 9 to help me get to the point of releasing my resnetments. Then after and in the process of) working Steps 4 – 9, I can’t emphasize strongly strongly enough the importance of PRAYING about our resentments — and if need be, praying about then just ONE resentment at a time.

We PRAY to find release from the RESENTMENT we feel for those people, places and situations that have injured and insulted us -- One Resentment At A Time!

We PRAY to find release from the RESENTMENT we feel for those people, places and situations that have injured and insulted us -- One Resentment At A Time!

Why is prayer important to releasing resentment? Because I believe that prayer helps me to connect with God and that God can do for me what I can not do for myself. If you can release your resentments apart from the grace of God, good for you! I can’t. I need His help!

How do we pray in order to become free of our resentments? Here’s what is suggested from the same AA Big Book I’ve referred to many times in this journal entry… 

“If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or thing that you resent, you will be free.  If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free.  Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free.  Even when you don’t really want it for them, and your prayers are only words and you don’t mean it, go ahead and do it anyway.  Do it every day for two weeks and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love.”

Dave\'s Recovery Journal

As part of my ongoing recovery effort most days (if I were “perfect”– which I ain’t — it would be EVERY day), I fill out a form that I refer to as Dave’s Recovery Journal (Yes, if we haven’t yet met, my name is Dave!). The form contains three main sections: Sane Thinking, Food Intake and Physical Movement.

Allow me to clarify the phrase “physical movement”. Since I detest the word “exercise” I use the word “movement”.  In the same I detest the word “diet” and therefore refer to the boundaries that guide my food intake as a “food plan” or “plan of eating”.

The SANE THINKING portion of my journal sheet contains thoughts and concepts that either I’ve heard over the years in various 12 Step fellowships or that I’ve read (perhaps something that I’ve read on the particular day that I’m journaling) in a 12 Step-focused daily meditation book. My favorite meditation books these days is titled Just For Today and is published by Narcotics Anonymous World Service Office (www.na.org).

Yesterday’s reading in Just For Today dealt with the topic of change (and this isn’t the kind of “change” you carry around in your pocket, if you know what I mean!).

Here’s a synopsis of my “one liners” on the topic of change as an essential element of my recovery process…

— Change is an essential element of authentic 12 Step recovery.
— It takes courage to change.
— God is the source of all the courage that I will ever need in order to change.
— Fear = addiction, while courage = recovery.
— Who is it that I should seek change for?  Change needs to take place in me much more than it does in other people, places and situations (in terms of what it takes to stay in recovery)!
— Change can certainly be painful (DUH!!!), but the pain produced by change is almost always LESS than the pain I feel when I stubbornly refuse to change.
— Change takes place one moment, one hour and definitely no more than One Day At A Time.

Speaking of “change”, you might have heard John Mayer’s popular song Waiting On The World To Change, which includes a chorus that goes,

“So we keep waiting
waiting on the world to change…
We keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change.”

While I like this song, me thinks that the lyrics pretty much have it BACKWARDS — as an addict I’ve learned the hard way (and on more than one occasion) that my job is to work on change INSIDE of me. I’ve learned the importance of NOT waiting, expecting or manipulating the OUTSIDE world to change.

As far as “waiting” for the “world to change”? I know that I would LOVE to see LOTS of people, places and instututions CHANGE NOW. But while “waiting” for them to change, I need to be careful to NOT lose my focus on what is an ESSENTIAL element of my recovery process, namely to seeking God’s stength to make changes in MY life.

In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, one recovering alcoholic wisely states that his recovery works best when he concentrates “not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

Do I still want OTHER people, places and institutions to change? YOU BET — and “early and often” for that matter! But recovery keeps gently (and sometimes NOT-so-gently) reminding that it ain’t my job to try and change others. When I get wrapped up in forcing my solutions on others, then I lose my ability to take the best possible care of myself.

Taking care of MYself? I do that dute best when I seek God’sr help in 1) figuring out what I need to do to take care of myself and 2) giving me the ability to do what I can not do for myself without His grace.

When I think that something OUTSIDE of me needs changing, I’ve found that the BEST thing I can do (if I really can’t stop obsessing about the need for something OUTside of my control to change) is to PRAY about it. God surely knows better than I do whether or not someone or something REALLY needs to change. And He knows far better than I do exactly HOW something or someone else needs to change.

In a previous journal entry I shared about how IMPULSIVE I can be when it comes to food — not just “compulsive”, but also IMPULSIVE (e.g., On many occasions I’ve been known to grab food and insert it into my mouth withOUT eve consciously thinking about what I’m doing). Can anything STOP our IMPULSIVE behavior with food? Yes. But it definitely takes some work! It requires that we:
1. Think.
2. Write.
3. Share.

Many years ago I raad a suggestion that has, on many occasions, helped me stay sober (“stay sober” means that this suggestion is intended for ONLY those addicts who are already following a medically-approved food plan WHILE working the 12 Steps). The suggestion is simply: “THINK BEFORE you overeat…” (or, in my case, I can add “THINK BEFORE you avoid physical exercise”).

Before I share with you what it is that I “think” about, let me assure you that NO amount of thinking ONLY can keep a true addict from overeating and/or underexercising!!! Rather taking the time to think, write and share will help MUCH more than “only thinking” about the following questions and issues.

So whatever comes to you as you think on issues making you want to act out, PLEASE ALSO write these thoughts down AND share them with another addict (overeater or otherwise)!  Recovering addicts can help most, but even “drunk” addicts have even been known to help me (and in the process of my sharing, sometime I’m even able to help them).

To take the time to think, write and share  certainly takes discipline and effort, but it is well worth it! And remember what a wise gentleman once observed, “The only place where ‘success’ comes before ‘work’ is in the dictionary.” And I’ve yet to meet an addict who had long-term recovery who didn’t have to work, One Day At A Time, at his recovery process!

Some things that help me to THINK about BEFORE I act out with my addiction…

Thinking About . . . FEELINGS
Many years ago one of my therapists stated that ALL of our feelings could be distilled down into just six catergories: mad, sad, glad, ashamed, afraid and hurt. So take the time to ask, “What am I FEELING at THIS moment? What FEELINGS would I like to stuff down with overeating and/or underexcising?”

If words or phrases come up that don’t fit “neatly” into the six feelings listed above, then match them up (as best you can) with those six feelings anyway.

Thinking About . . . RELATIONSHIPS
Is any person, place or thing “pushing your buttons” at this moment? Who? Why? Is it best/wisest to (using the Serenity Prayer as a guide here) to seek “the serenity to accept” OR “the courage to change” your role in this relationiship concern? Have you prayed about this relationship?

 Thinking About . . . H,A.L.T.
Are you currently feeling “too…” Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired? Note that I’m NOT asking if you feel “a little” of any of these things — The issue is feeling “too much” of any of these four things.  And if you are Hungry, is it because you don’t have a healthy food plan to follow? Are you Hungry because maybe you REALLY DO NEED to eat?

Other things that I need to be careful to be feeling “too much” of: Stress, Fear, Confusion, Guilt, Rejection, Saddness and/or Shame. All of these items (H.A.L.T. plus the items in this additional list) are potentially triggers for active addiction.  Actually, IMHO, “too much” of ANYthing (including “too much unresolved horniness” — Yup!) can lead an addict to relapse.