Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ain't No Love in Here

I recently heard a woman speak at an OA meeting ... she was fantastic in her story telling. Something she said about her refrigerator keeps sticking with me though. She said she has a note on her refrigerator that says, "Ain't No Love in Here."

For people, like me, who struggle with compulsive overeating, they find comfort and love and understanding in food. Food is a place they can retreat and be pleased ... not to mention, shamed and degraded.

I read this in an e-zine this morning, "Compulsive overeating is accompanied with much guilt and shame. People with this condition often feel that they are not good enough and are ashamed that they could not control their eating habits. This only makes it worse because their negative feelings only lead them to more compulsive overeating. Food is how compulsive overeaters deal with their craving for acceptance and appreciation. Some use their overweight appearance to keep people away because they subconsciously feel undeserving of love, while others use it as punishment whenever they feel bad about themselves. One does not become successful in overcoming this condition unless they gather up the courage to face the real emotions they are afraid to feel and unless they can honestly admit the issues that cause them to be stuck in this destructive behavior. All this of course, would be a difficult accomplishment without professional help and the support of friends and loved ones."

For me, my compulsive overeating and sexual addiction are closely intertwined ... for it was in being sexual violated beginning at age 3, that I turned to food for comfort and protection.

As I was trying to pull myself away from the computer this morning ... where I sometimes sit for hours, chatting, e-mailing, searching for that "hit" or that person to meet ... I thought of the woman's note on her refrigerator ... Ain't No Love In Here.

If I were to post a personals ad that said ... "There is a hunger of the body, a thirst of the mind, but it is the craving of my soul that cannot be satisfied," I wonder if any human power could ever satisify that? I think not.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Well, it's 11:15 p.m. and I leave in a few minutes to pick up dear hubby from the airport. So far today, by the grace of God, I am abstinent in OA, sober in SLAA and rested enough to make the 30 minute drive over to the airport. I contacted five churches today about using their facilities for a weekly SLAA meeting, and am awaiting responses. I went to an OA meeting at a residential treatment center for girls with eating disorders. I called the woman I wrote about earlier who might be a potential sponsor. She said she already had too many sponsees, but I could call her anytime. I was thankful. I called someone else who could be a potential sponsor, but she was not home, and I left a message saying, "You don't have to call me back." And I looked up the names and numbers (for the third or fourth time)of some therapists that are in my insurance plan and called and left a message for one of them. I went to a restaurant for dinner, with the intention of eating some binge foods, and found myself full after eating a healthy, nutritious dinner.

I'm thankful to my friend for writing me, to God for allowing me to take an honest look at what I am doing. I know that this is just one day, tomorrow will have its own set of struggles. That's why we do this, one day ... and for me, one minute at a time.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A humble reply

I wrote the following in response to a recovery friend's question, "How are you doing?" It is a humbling truth about me, a woman who seems unwilling to work her program of recovery:

To be honest, I don't know how I am doing. I feel stuck in the warp of food and sexual addiction ... God "told" me -- not nuts, just the message I got while I was walking -- go to gym every day. If you don't do anything else, go to the gym every day. I stopped going. My doctor told me eat a little bit of protien and the rest fruits and vegetables, with only a few carbs every day. I didn't listen. My inner core tells me to pray and meditate every day, instead I waste my time looking for either new sex partners or new love partners. My OA friends say, you have to get a sponsor. I call people in OA, but never the people who I want to be my sponsor. I am paralyzed when I think of calling them. You've told me, others have told me -- get a counselor, but day after day I don't make the call. I need an SLAA program in my area, and at one time had the willingness to start it. But every day passes by ... I don't make the contacts to the church that I need to. I am still going to OA meetings, but have stopped my Al-Anon meetings almost all together. Instead I isolate and act out. I know, I have seen, God has shown me, honesty and acceptance are my two keys. I still lie, I still judge, I still expect outcomes, I still eat and have sex with strangers to make up for the "lack" of my expectations being met.

Why, you ask. Why, I ask. I don't know my friend, other than it seems that I don't want to get well. That's a lie and we both know it. It's all a bondage of self, a disease ridden self destined to kill herself one way or the other. The third step prayer says ... "God please release me from the bondage of self." Some days, the shame of all that has been and all that is keeps me from even praying, "God give me the willingness." Yesterday, when I wanted to go get a whole package of snack cakes and eat them, or go home and post an ad and find a dinner and bed partner for the evening (My husband is out of town.) I struggled with the voice inside that said, "make a call, go to a meeting." But I shrieked out ... "God give me the willingness." And I made two calls til I found someone who was going to a meeting and said "See you there." On the way home, I still wanted to stop and get those snack cakes, but I just kept driving and had the willingness to pray, "God, just get me home. There's nothing there that can hurt me too much." When I talk about the shame to even pray ... it's my codependence there ... I'm even codependent with God. I feel like such a disappointment. It's one thing when you do all these things and you don't know better. It's another when you know and you just keep going ... you don't take the action. But, guess what? The first step says ... "We are powerless." My friend, I am powerless. But I am not hopeless.

There is a woman who spoke at two different OA meetings last week ... and I feel that she could be the answer to my ongoing silent and spoken prayer to God for a sponsor who can help me. I had the willingness to ask if I could call her this week, to which she said, "Please do.", the willingness to write down her number and I am terrified to call her -- I can even at times feel the call of my disease saying "But I don't want to get better." But I am going to call. Let me rephrase that ... I am continually praying for the willingness to call her, without any expectation of the outcome, other than praying ... "If this is the one, let her say yes." The answer will come one way or another. There is something in "How It Works" in the AA Big Book that says ... "No human power could have saved us." And the further down the spiral I go, the more I realize how true it is. A sponsor can help me, but no one, and especially not me, can save me. That's the humble, honest truth.

Thank you, my friend, for asking. Thank you God for giving me the humble and sobering answer I needed to write.

Monday, July 16, 2007

All I can do ...

... is cry. I'm in a pain I don't understand. It's getting worse, now I can't even feel the pain. I can feel sadness. I can feel hopelessness at times ... just waiting until the disaster gets big enough to make me stop, makes me get off my ass and do what I need to do to get a job, to get the house in order, literally and figuratively.

I really am treating myself badly lately, hating myself, unable and worse, unwilling, to step out of the cycle. Standing on the outside ... looking in.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Taking stock

I've had a rough couple of weeks that have just passed. I had been doing very well with my food and for a long, long time with my sex and love addiction issues. But relapse came on like a thunderstorm in both program ... the sex, notably after the food.

Today I went to the gym and walked for 50 minutes. I watched "Spanglish" on TV as I walked and it made me think of a conversation I had last night with one of the latest men my addiction is courting, in which we agreed (or I deferred to his sanity)that what we were pursuing was merely a friendship. God knows if that's what I was pursuing or not, but it certainly deflated any ideas that this man was going to become the next "love of my life." After my walk, I went to the bathroom crying ... I seem to be doing that a lot lately ... I can't stop crying. I cry at every emotion that comes up. Anyway, as I'm in the stall in the bathroom I just say to whatever force is listening ... "I don't think things will ever be OK." The message back was a "Do you trust me?" message and a reassurance that things will not always be this way. I was also reminded to keep going to the gym, quit lying about going to the gym, and actually go there and exercise every day, no matter what. Exercise is good for my mental condition and it also gets me out of the house.

Just for a point of record, I need to note here that over the past week I met a different man every day (M-F)and had sex with three of them. When I am away from the situation, it is hard to say how I feel about it ... Obviously, I'm walking around crying at the drop of a hat, so this behavior is emotionally damaging. Likewise, I can't focus on anything and the need for "more" is always there. Yesterday I was with my husband and also for the most part today ... so the food didn't seem to call me much. At some points the sex and love addiction did. I'm just trying to make it through this latest storm and am thankful that I see at least one window every day where I find the willingness to say a prayer.

I went to a meeting yesterday and the day before I called people on my outreach list ... but still I am in the mode of life where I am watching myself from the outside in. My behavior seems like my own, but there seems to be this sane person who just sits back and lets all the insanity happen, numbed to the effects. I guess this is all about PTSD, I honestly don't know. I wonder sometimes if I need to go to a psychiatrist for testing ... but then I'm not even making the appointments with the counselor.

One day at a time ... I am just going on. I am thankful for the small successes, the many miracles and the willingness to just keep going.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Feeling blessed

I am truly thankful today for the grace of God in my life, that there are people who truly and unequivocally love me, they think I am a wonderful person, they see in me what I cannot always see in myself.

I am thankful today to have had calls and messages and e-mails from family and friends old and new, all expressing one single message -- I am loved.

I am thankful today that someone cared enough about me to pass along my resume to an important person at an important company and that tomorrow I will go for an interview there.

I am thankful to see the absolutely beautiful success of my niece, who I mourned over the fact that she got married right out of high school and never went to college. Today she told me of the new business office she is setting up and we talked about marketing plans. I am so proud of her and thankful for her presence in my life and thankful for the example of a 17-year marriage that has had its ups and downs but keeps going strong.

I feel so totally blessed to be a part of the 12-step fellowship, and specifically to feel a part of the family of my OA home group. I need that sense of family in my life ... and am thankful to God for giving it to me.

I am thankful for the words inside a card today from my husband that said, "Thank you for coming to (this place) with me and for going through all the trouble." That was a precious acknowledgement.

I am thankful that 39 years ago today a baby was born to a single mother struggling already to feed three kids, and that that baby grew into a little girl, a young woman, and the woman who writes to you today with tears in her eyes filled with humility and a true sense of gratitude for ALL that she has become.

Happy birthday to me. I didn't open a single wrapped package, but oh what a wealth of gifts I have received.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

It only starts with one bite

I just ate two packages of M&Ms to "get them out of the house" since I bought them the other day when I bought the chocolate cake.

One day last week, I had the choice to buy an apple fritter or not. I did ... and every day since then, I have eaten compulsively.

I had the choice ... I struggled with the choice ... I made the choice. I remember hearing God's voice say inside me ... and if you buy this, how are you going to say no tomorrow?

Lessons learned the hardest ...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My life as a food addict and a liar

I just sat in my car outside and abandoned building in a strip mall and ate a double serving size of chocolate cake from the local grocery store, so that I could throw out the evidence of the cake's existence (the package and the fork used to eat it with) in the trash can in front of me. I drove home, unloaded the rest of the groceries -- which included many healthy items that went into the fridge -- and three packs of peanut butter M&Ms that went into a secret hiding place in the guest room. I then loaded all the recycling into the paper bag I brought from grocery store (which still contained the receipt from the store) and took it to the garbage. There! All evidence gone. And when I came back in ... I moved my tennis shoes from the location where they were this morning when my husband left to a different spot, so the he will believe the lie that I actually went to the gym this morning to work out.

Thus is my life as a food addict and a liar. We won't even go into the ongoing online conversations I am having with men about sex or why it is I need to lie to my husband rather than tell him the truth.

I had been doing so well in recovery -- in all aspects. Then suddenly I stopped praying first thing every morning, stopped doing daily meditations, cut back on meetings, began to isolate, and here I am -- eating chocolate cake (which is just one in a long line of binge foods I have eaten over the past few days) and putting more effort into hiding my behavior rather than change it. I find it hard now to ask for the willingness to begin my program again. I want to continue to get attention from strangers who can tell me sight unseen that I am the sexiest woman they've ever known. I want them the want me to the point of frustration ... only for me to decide to go back into recovery from sexual addiction.

The food plays into all of this ... because it is my comfort from loneliness ... and often in these online endeavours I am rejected -- often because the person who was so keen on me before seeing my picture, suddenly becomes extremely disinterested, sometimes to the point of not wanting to talk after seeing my picture. So with each encounter I am putting my self-esteem, which is already in the toilet, on the line. And when it is raped (well, they say you can't rape the willing right?) one more time, I am lonely and hurt and turn to the food.

It's a cycle that goes on and on. One that only recovery can stop ... and recovery comes one day, one decision at a time.