06 November 2008

Back again

Yes it is a long time since I last posted. I know that lots of you have given up on me. In fact it seems like everybody has. That's a very self-centred whiney thing to say, but I'm gonna say it anyway. I have no readers and no comments which upsets me.

There have been huge changes in my life since I last posted which I really should update everyone on.

  1. I finally dropped the old boyfriend that cause grief in my early posts.
  2. I have a new boyfriend with whom I would like to move in some time in the foreseeable future
  3. I got a job in a nearby city. That was a big change because I have been living solely on disabilty for a few years now so it was a big step forward
  4. I dropped the job in Sydney (which actually sucked) and got a new job in Wollongong doing what I love. But that job is only part time casual. It's still a foot in the door, but I just have to keep moving forward. The next step is full time work
  5. My abstinence has been pretty poor lately. It's often non-existent. I'm ramping up my program to try and get it back again. I'm blaming it on stress, but hte real problem is unwillingness to surrender every aspect of my life to God.

26 August 2008

Posting Again

Ok, lets play "Spot the Compulsive Eater". There is a person who starts her blog and posts every day for a couple of weeks, then doesn't post, then posts again, and then stops posting for almonst two months, and posts twice in a week. I'm not a person of extremes....well not really...well perhaps a little bit...

Did you spot those two second addictive traits? Denial and a need to control everything, including the actions of others? I put them in red in case you missed them. You might also have noticed some progress...some moving out of denial. That's the stage I'm at now. I've been in denial for several months and five kg about my slide towards relapse. Perhaps it's been even longer. But now I'm being totally honest. I posted my new weight here on my blog, and I admitted it at two meetings. I know honesty is important to recovery. In the Big Book it says that the three essential traits needed for recovery are "honesty, openmindedness and willingness". I don't have any of these in spades. But I have a smidgen of each. I'm just hoping they'll be enough for recovery. I'm praying for more of them every day.

I've been working my program harder the last week or so. Last week a drove an hour round-trip to go to a second face to face meeting and I emailed my sponsor and sponsee, read my online program emails, meditated, prayed, journalled and worked on my fourth step, almost every day. I try and do 5-10 minutes of each every day. I find committing to a tiny tiny action is much easier for me than committing to anything massive. I've also started listening to OA speakers in my car. That's a useful thing to do. I highly recommend that one. I download my speakers from www.oalaig.org

As a result I've got back some semblance of abstinence. I've given up the sugary foods and the three big binge foods: ice cream, chocolate and buttered bread. The buttered bread binge food is a big one that I've been trying not to admit for a long time. But if you can't stop at two pieces of buttered toast, but you go on to half a loaf, or even more, so that at the end you feel sick, that's compulsive eating of an alcoholic food. I'm not snacking as much either. Just one or two snacks if I need them because meals are too far apart or I need ot take my antibiotics. The next step now is to cut down my meal sizes. At the moment my meals are still binges. I don't know if I'm still putting on weight or if I"m losing it. That's actually a good thing, because it means I've given away a bit of that obsession with weight. I've even put my scales away in my room without going back to get them again.

19 August 2008

Hisashiburi---Long time no see

Yes I know it's been a while. I'm actually much more faithful with this blog than I was with my non-OA one, in which I kept up semi-weekly posts for a couple of months and then just stopped posting. I need to do service and use the writing tool. I know that. But finding the time is pretty hard. I think we all also know that. My food has been a bit off the last few months. Well I've been saying "a bit off" during those months, but let's face it, when you put on 3-4kg (6-8lb) in a few months, and your eating is off track on more days than it's on track, then you're not "a bit off" you're so far off you're in relapse. Just because I haven't regained all the weight or anything doesn't mean I'm not in relapse. The other day I stole food from the fridge and ate it in secret. I've been anxious and yelling at people. I've been spending too much money on food. I've been eating chocolate and ice cream by the packet.

The good news, of course, is that I have the program. I just need to work it harder. I know that it works if I work it and I'm worth it.

24 June 2008

The Entertainer

One of my favourite parts of our intergroup retreat was the "review", "entertainment", "variety show" or whatever else you call it, that we had on the Saturday night. I helped out with the writing and performance of several skits. Everyone loved them and thought they were hilarious. I want to put the scripts here:

I got a lot of inspiration from the television show "Starved" which was on late at nights in Australia at the same time as I started the program (odd or God?...A pretty big coincidence whatever the case). Apparently it only ran for a few episodes, but it was an absolutely awesome show. If you can get your hands on a DVD or an online version let me know. If you're offended by sexual references and things then don't watch it because it is quite risque, but otherwise it is amazing.

Script 1: Romance Gone Wrong:

Characters: Compulsive Eater, Fruitarian, Narrator

Compulsive Eater approaches Fruitarian infatuated and shy, like a lovesick puppy
Hi....um...I really really like you. I've never met anyone like you. Please...please, please, will you go out to dinner with me?

Fruitarian: in a snobby voice

Well you know I only date fruitarians....are you a fruitarian?

Compulsive Eater's face falls and they look horrified.
Errr...do fruitarinas still eat chocolate, pizza, KFC, ice cream and cheeseburgers? Because I haver to eat those.

Fruitarian: Er...in a word, No! ...But I do make a delicious, fruititious, nutritious, 110% fat free, zero-calorie vegan burger!

Compulsive Eater: Falls to their knees and shouts Oh my! I love you so much! Will you marry me? Your lifestyle totally enables my eating disorder!!!
Compulsive Eater and Fruitarian turn away from audience. Compulsive Eater stuffs padding in his/her clothes. Fruitarian puts on a wedding viel.

Narrator: 6 months later

Compulsive Eater: Angrily rips the veil off Fruitarian's head. What have you done to me, you liar!!! I've been eating a gazillion of your burgers every day. You said they were zero calorie 110% fat free so I should have been able to eat as many as I wanted. Now look what's happened to me! The wedding's off!! I never want to see you again!

Skit 2: Dietrette Patches
This one was inspired by the Nicorette ads I posted about previously and also by a Chindogu I saw once.

Characters: Compulsive Eater (name can be anything), Dietrette Salesperson, Cheerleader, Devil, OA Angel

Compulsive eater: Slumps down on the stage.
You know, I really am addicted to food. Beats the air with her fist I need to do something about it, now!

Dietrette Salesperson: Oh I have a wonderful solution for you. These new dietrette suhgar patches and this nose cover. Put your favourite foods in the nose cover and put on this patch, and you'll smell your favourite foods all the time- whilst also keeping your blood sugar up in that hyperactive range you've come to love. You can eat a salad and feel like you're eating five mudcakes. And it only costs $5 millioon! Imagine it...it will be like having your own personal cheerleader to help with weight loss....Hands a huge children's band-aid and a ridiculous loking fake nose to COE, who puts them on enthusiastically, then exits

Cheerleader: Enters stage in costume doing elaborate moves and chanting "No [COE's name], No!" "No [COE's name], no!"

Devil: Enters from other side of stage and places a bowl in front of COE's face, whispering Eat it! Eat it! Eat it

Cheerleader and Devil continue on either side of Compulsive Eater, who becomes increasingly distressed, clutching her nose and arm. Compulsive Eater then covers their ears and shouts desperately "NO! No! NO!!!"

OA Angel: Enters from the back of the audience, wearing an angel costume. Reaches out hand to COE and addresses them by name. It's alright Sally. I put my hand in yours and together we'll find freedom. Just say "Yes God Yes."

Skit 3: Apocalyptic Eating:
This one is all me. This is my mentality to a T

Characters: Compulsive Eater, Friend

Compulsive Eater: Stands in front of a backdrop picturing a massive pile of canned food of all types. Holds a pot and is frantically tipping cans into the pot, stirring and cooking

Friend: Walks in and surveys the scene. What on earth are you doing with all this canned desert....baked beans,, spam....and dog food!???

Compulsive Eater: Looks terrified. I'm preparing for the apocalypse! I told you before- tomorrow there's going to be a terrible disaster! The end of the worldas I know it. Slim chances of survival. I have to get ready!

Friend: Oooookay.....welkl for starters you never mentioned an apocalypse. Um...and you do realise that the advantage of canned food is sort of lost if you cook and eat it before the apocalypse actually happens?

Compulsive Eater: Not this apocalypse! This is the diet apocalypse. I have to eat as much as I can before the dreaded calorie count falls.

Skit 4:
This one was inspired directly by a Garfield cartoon.
Characters: Compulsive Eater, Scales

Scales: Stand in the centre of the stage. The person can be made to look like scales in any way you like. The person in our skit just used mime. Compulsive Eater Walks over to scales. They tip to one side

Compulsive Eater: You're fat

Scales: Look very distressed Am not.

Compulsive Eater: Are too!

Scales: Angrily Am not!

Compulsive Eater: Are too!

Scales: Scream Am NOT am NOT am NOT!!

Compulsive Eater: You can dish it out but you can't take it, can you?

14 June 2008

Intergroup Retreat- Morning After

Lots of things happened on the Monday morning before breakfast at the intergroup retreat....
I wouldn’t know about them. I got out of bed, got dressed and rushed down to the main hall just in time for breakfast (who isn’t surprised I missed that? It’s amazing how effective a motivator food is to the compulsive eater). I was pretty ticked off that they put raisins in the porridge, since that was the item that was on my food plan for breakfast that morning. I don’t like raisins.

I had a good chat over breakfast to some people who were interested in Asperger’s/autism. As usual I did most of the talking. Learning to listen is going to be an important part of my recovery, I think. I also had a good chat to a lady who had a similar history of “never having been slim” before OA. There are so many OAers who weren’t that overweight to begin with, or who were yo-yo dieters. She was on a very restricted food plan because as she became abstinent she discovered heaps of food allergies. She pointed out the link that some people believe exists between food intolerances and autism.I know about that. I’m not supposed to eat Gluten and Casein. That means no wheat, oats, rye or dairy. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that dairy and carbs tend to be big triggers for me,. But I’m trying to give up one food at a time. My first total eliminations were weetbix and ice cream. Besides, my psychiatrist is very scepitical of the food intolerance theories of autism. He is much less sceptical of the idea that I have a physical reaction to refined sugar and simple carbohydrates. Apparently that's fairly common in people with ADHD.

Now I have been committing to my sponsor daily that I will abstain from ice cream, chocolate, bread, sugar and white flour. The weetbix is also off the table, but it comes under the sugar thing I think. Anyways, I don’t eat weetbix. But at the meeting after breakfast I discovered that merely refraining from binge foods does not constitute abstinence. One of the veteran members said that “you mustn’t eat an abstinent meal compulsively” I can completely relate to that idea. It seems like a contradiction in terms, but it isn’t. For example, on my birthday this year, I thought that I was abstinent because I didn’t have any sugar or white flour. Now i know that was a huge achievement to get through the day like that. But it wasn’t abstinence. I was eating non-stop even if I wasn’t eating my so-called trigger foods. In fact, if I’m honest, I was bingeing. It was only a matter of time after that before I did break my sugar and white flour rules.

The fact is that abstinence is defined as “refraining from eating compulsively”. This means, whenever I eat for my own self-will and not God’s will, whenever i’m not submitting to the guidance of God and the program, whenever hte food is eaten selfishly not to nourish my body so I might better do God’s will, and whenever I’m failing to have “life in between meals”, constanntly thinking about the next meal instead of being present in the moment,-whenever I’m doing all these things I am not abstinent. That’s a hard definition to have, but it’s true. Lots of OA members shared that they still struggled with the freedom from the obsession. I don’t want to have that obsession for the rest of my life, to be a “dry drunk.” And yet that’s what I do. I do feel powerless against this obsession, but I find it hard to trust thqt God can relieve it.

23 May 2008

Retreating further

Ok so I really wanted to share as much as I could about my intergroup retreat. It was awesome, and I want to milk the experience for all it's worth by writing about it, sharing about it and reflecting on it as much as I can...now where was I up to?..

Ah yes, after the candlelit meeting on the Friday night, most people went to bed, but since I'm a nightowl I stayed. I had the added incentive that somebody was setting up a Scrabble game. I LOVE Scrabble! But I have nobody to play it with. I play it on the computer sometimes, but I always see board games as social things.

Of course socialisation for the compulsive person with Asperger's is a real double-edged sword. I was terribly nervous because I didn't know anyone there. Now I'm doing my fourth step I'm becoming aware of many of my faults. I know I'm not as spiritually fit as I thought I was. I was frightened that the people in the program would look down on me for not being spiritual enough. I felt my old need to show off and impress coming through. I had to win the scrabble to prove I was "smart". That is my self-worth and my social worth...I have to be smart. That's the one thing I can do. I'm fat, annoying, clumsy and socially awkward...but I can win a scrabble game. That's how I think. But then of course, I started to worry that my showing off would be obvious, and that these "spiritual" people would think me an arrogant smart-##S. So I slipped into the defence of "I'm not upsetting you am I?" "Sorry if I did...". It tends to work, people are like "Oh no it's fine." Few people have the courage to answer "Yes you are." to a question like that.

But that's the thing about spiritually fit people, they don't need to judge others. They just cared for me and accepted me. That became even clearer that night, when I woke several people up in my dorm by having a late shower. I said I was sorry, and everyone was ok with it. They seemed genuinely forgiving. I tell you what...people who disturb my slumber don't get much sympathy from me. I just felt the serenity from some of those people.

22 May 2008

Getting away from it all

OA Intergroup Retreat

Hi everyone. I hope you are all well and abstinent. I had a wonderful time this weekend just past at a retreat organised by my local OA intergroup. It was amazing. I knew I needed to go. My sponsor went to great lengths to get to her retreat, and recommended I do the same, and I’m a big fan of retreats anyway. I had wanted to go on one ever since I started the program.

We arrived on the Friday night at about 7pm. Everyone was eating dinner. It was lovely to be around people who also had physical allergies to certain foods, like me. The food was free of gluten, and somebody else asked whether there was sugar in the chutney (the only thing on the weekend with added sugar). When I waited to have lunch, a simple “I don’t like to have eat too early” sufficed, without any need to worry what people were wondering.

After dinner we had a late night identification meeting which included a beautiful ceremony where the lights were dimmed, the chair lit a small candle. After her share, she told us one quality that she’d like to pass on to the person nextto her, and then used her candle to light theirs. As we each shared our experience strength and hope the room gradually began to light up and we became a circle of hope united against the darkness. I can be a very visual and kinesthetic learner, and I'm a bit of a romantic at heart, so I enjoyed the symbolism. It was also good to see teh variety of people there. Several of us were in our twenties, whilst others were in their seventies or eighties. Some has been in teh program a few months, and some had been in it for decades. My usual face to face meeting is very small so there was no one whom I knew. That was actually a good thing because it gave me an extra level of anonymity which enabled me to share more honestly and openly.