Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Gratitude ~

Today is a day of gratitude..
Everyday, is a day of gratitude for me, but then I have these days which it's extremely important to show gratitude upon more gratitude.
A big part of my recovery (for me) is practicing daily gratitude.. It started with a girl back in April of 2011 who didn't practice appreciation in any way.
I was in a very, very miserable place, honestly.  And so embarking on this journey it has been one of recovery, weight loss, healthy lifestyle and self-esteem, of course.. But more importantly, and one I rarely mention, one of inner peace and happiness..True, deep & lovely happiness..

When in isolation, I spent countless years pushing away everyone and everything I loved.. I was full of anger, hurt, resentment and found it hard to even appreciate the small things around me, including my food.  That sounds surprising to most of you, I'm sure.. Food was my main focus for most of my life, but in an obviously very unhealthy way. And so there was no appreciation for food whatsoever.. The self-abuse and obsession with food left me feeling lethargic, miserable and very unhappy with myself.  I spent my days and nights chasing for that very first "high" I got when I first tasted certain foods.  I was never going to find that high again.. Today, I really  believe and admit I am still holding myself in isolation, however, everyday I am working through ways of pulling myself out.  I am bringing people back into my life, slowly.  I am once again allowing myself to do the things I once loved doing.  I am seeking new things to try and love.. I am making much progress.

Days like today, bring me much inner peace.. When I can stop the chaos around me even for a moment and take a good hard look at everything that surrounds me, and find a true, deep appreciation for everything and everyone in my life.  Even the people who do *not* have my best intentions at heart, have a place in my life and a reason.  On a day like today I can find appreciation for the lessons and growth I have within me, because of them.  I don't think any person ever sets out to be miserable to someone intentionally, without their being a reason of past hurt or learned behavior from their own lives.  When I can see this suffering within them, I can appreciate their being and put out good intentions towards their hurt in hopes they find peace, and I can realize within that yes what they say or what they do hurt me, but their  hurt must be greater than mine.. It helps me find forgiveness and make decisions on how to handle certain people and situations, so that I can move forward and not dwell on their behaviors or choices.

This has been a very powerful journey for me, thus far.. Gratitude is something I did not practice enough of in my life, and is something I never feel I can overload on today.  The more I find appreciation for everything around me, the more I find appreciation in people in my life, the more I find peace with reasons, explanations and life in general.  On a journey, such as this, I am putting my very tender self out there for all to see and am taking steps and bringing people and things back into my life which I have been pushing away a very long time.. It invokes a lot of emotion within, something I don't openly share, most days because of the guilt and shame I feel.. But on days of gratitude, the emotions willingly pour out of me for all to see and I can find the positivity in that as well.

It's such a deep and inner magic, within.  To live a life of feeling so damn miserable and having the capability now to stop and appreciate, and to have a very genuine love of life.  To not spend my days finding ways to make myself miserable anymore, but instead to spend my days seeking positivity and working through my inner turmoil which has been a very long time in the making, step by step.  As I take each step in working through my fears, resentments & selfish behaviors that I've spent a lifetime building, I find one very small wonderful part of me within that I grab ahold of and put all of my focus on.  So in this passed year, I have started piecing together small parts of me that I have recovered, which ultimately has brought me the accomplishments I am forever grateful for, thus far.

How can one not feel so grateful for such an amazing find?
My life, is something I am celebrating every single day.. The air I breathe, the joy I feel within, my accomplishments, the love and support of the people in my life, the ability and desire to work a program of recovery that is challenging and a lot of hard work every single day, the beauty in nature that surrounds me, the breeze on my skin, and the list goes on...I can find joy and appreciation in the things that usually aren't even noticed.  And what is amazing, about these days of gratitude, is that as time goes on I have more and more of these days when they used to be so few and far between.

Practice gratitude in your days, even for the simplest of things.. Take moments everyday to appreciate the things and people deserving.
Over time, it grows.. Over time, it doesn't have to be on command, it just starts to happen.. And then you start to find gratitude in most everything, even the things which were once most challenging to you.. Peace and joy, not something I will ever take for granted again.. And I will continue this path of self growth.. practicing gratitude as often as possible, making peace with things and people around me and working through my own issues, releasing them  to the universe and finding acceptance in the things I simply cannot change.

It's an amazing journey, if you let it be.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Masking ...Tumbles... Refocusing.

Noun 1. masking - the act of concealing the existence of something by obstructing the view of it;

Masking, I am so guilty of masking things. EVERYthing.
I mask my emotions, my inner struggles, hardships in life, my feelings..
I mask things I am trying to deny, or not be honest with myself or others about, something difficult to acknowledge or that I am not accepting..
For example, for this passed year, I have been masking my own recovery and journey..
I have lost 103 lbs, I have gained much more self-esteem than I once had & have been working a recovery program.  Those are all wonderful things.  Things I am proud of, even. I truly believe, though, that things happen as they should.  The masking, the denial, the hard things I am facing here today - I am working on acceptance, admitting I am powerless and that I am not perfect.  And I am seeing that I need help, further help, and to stop masking the things I do and working through them, step by step.  I needed the journey I've been on, to embark on an even more difficult journey I am starting today.  If I didn't have that self-esteem, I might not be ready.  If I didn't have that weight loss, I might not believe that I could.  If I didn't work my recovery being only physically abstinent, I wouldn't have broke my abstinence and started believing that I needed this program, needed Overeater's Anonymous and needed a Sponsor, meetings and my daily tools every single day.  

Fact is, I cannot do this alone.

I'll start by saying, I got myself into OA in April of 2011.  It's been a year of many lessons, self-growth and changes within.  I remained abstinent from my binge foods for over a year, until last week.  Physically abstinent, that is.. Not emotionally, spiritually or mentally abstinent.

All of this passed year, I had it in my head that I was 100% able to do all of this on my own.. None of the things the program had to offer was necessary for me.. I have many daily tools I should be using to help myself , but I didn't think I really needed those.. Over time I stopped using them, one by one.. Turns out, I was physically abstinent - a.k.a controlling my food intake and proving to the world I could do it all on my own.. But, inner chaos (that's what I call it) told me every single day  that I was not moving forward, not healing, not understanding, not accepting and certainly not growing within.. I was merely the shell, not bingeing and losing weight.  But every single day, I was fighting my monsters and stuffing it all in, ignoring the signs, ignoring the cravings and telling myself I would *not* get back into the foods...

As time went on, I continually found ways to set myself up.. Though I found strength in various ways to stay away from the food (for awhile), my behaviors were high, my obsessing, my self-abuse and being hard on myself emotionally & mentally.. I didn't care, because no one could see that stuff, except me.. People still seen the strong, capable girl who had it all under control if I could only stay away from the food... Sadly, over time, I started to overeat different kinds of foods that were not on my binge/abstinence list.. Flour products, not necessarily white flour either... Crackers (something salty to replace a previous binge food of mine), toasting bread, making numerous sandwiches, pasta, rice.. It's so easy to overeat these things and they were filling a void for the things I was missing.. I would acknowledge to my partner that yes, indeed I knew I was overeating these things but thought it wasn't nearly as big of a problem as the actual binges and compulsive overeating I was doing in the past.  I procrastinated seeking the help I needed once again, stuffing those thoughts deep within and continuing to do what I was doing, despite what it was doing to me on the inside.. Again, no one could see 'that'.. I masked it, by smiling and going to the Gym and talking the talk of weight loss and control..When all along, I was slowly losing pieces of myself, and crumbling...

As time went on, the bigger the portions.. The weight loss was stopping, my positive attitude and "feel good" self was changing.  I was slipping, and had no control anymore to stop myself.. My cravings were in full swing, the sugar and binge foods were calling my name loudly, and I knew within I was losing my battle.. I didn't acknowledge this loudly, until today.. I realize today, that I never really did accept that I was completely powerless over food.. I said I knew it, but I wasn't spiritually, emotionally or mentally invested in those thoughts... Saying something and then believing something are two totally different things.. I am not a normal eater.. I can't put down foods or stop when I am full.. I can't even acknowledge when I am full.. I can't distinguish between  being thirsty, being hungry or being emotional or stressed.. Everything results in food and wanting to fill my stomache more and more and more, searching for that high that sugar or foods once gave me and never really finding that.. I am always so guilty and hard on myself.. The next morning especially, if I could even explain the feeling the next morning.. It would be like an alcoholic waking up from a drinking binge, the hangover.. the guilt.. Remembering the previous night and feeling completely guilty for one's actions.. The embarrassment.. The shame.. My behaviors, wanting to hide food.. Stuffing crackers in my pockets so no one can see and slipping them into my mouth when no one is looking.. Hiding packages so no one will suspect I have eaten something, sneaking back for seconds or thirds with my meals.. Sadly, if others don't SEE me do these things, then in my head I can convince myself that I don't have to acknowledge it either.  THIS is the very reason why putting my journey out here for all to read helps keep me accountable.. I can't deny things, hide things or stuff things deep within.. If someone has laid there eyes on my blog, video or facebook page, they will know of that struggle, THIS struggle, that I am dealing with every single day.. Then, I hold myself accountable to find ways to help myself.. Accountability - no more masking.

I probably will mask still.  But I am working hard on sharing this because I really do recognize that I need to change this about myself. I need to show my feelings and my emotions.. I need to start digging out the years and years of hurt, anger, upset and start rifling through those one piece at a time.. I need to make peace with each and everything, and move forward leaving it all behind me.. I need to make amends, I need to find forgiveness for others and for myself.. I need to work this program emotionally, mentally and spiritually.. I need to take one small baby step forward, each and everyday.. I need to accept that I am not perfect, that I cannot control things and learn to let go.. I need to not dwell and I need to not continue to set myself up.. I am scared, I have so many fears, I am trembling even as I type this, because I know I should not hold back anymore.. And posting this and opening myself up completely to everyone is such a big scary step for me.  It's like putting myself fully out there for the first time in my life, and letting people take sticks and poke at me if they want to.

Now, for my confession, and the reason for this blog:
This week, I broke my physical abstinence and everything came reeling back at me full force ahead and then some..As I look back I realize that my few attempts at working the steps, always had me stopping after the first or second step, and just recently at the third step... Step four has been scary to me, because it's as far as I could go with my physical abstinence and not doing the inner work required.. My fear took over and I had to stop and not go any further, again convincing myself that it wasn't what I needed anyway and that I was doing just fine on my own... I stopped using all of my daily tools, made many excuses and tried living everyday just as everyone else did, focusing far too much on my weight loss and not on the actual inner problem and disease I should have been facing all along..

Very humbling, to say the least.. To think back to this passed year and see all of the wrong choices I have made.. Also, to have the support and love from a partner, friends and family who never give up on me, even when I feel like giving up myself.  Very emotional, to know that I have been setting myself up all along, and finding myself back at square one and even worse than square one, in fact..  I have never felt everything like I do here today.. That inner chaos is there, fully taking me over and has me being so hard on myself..
Today, here I am committing to my recovery.. Whether it be participating in email recovery loops, reading literature, working with my sponsor & attending meetings.  Being honest with myself and working on self-acceptance of what I am dealing with here and taking the necessary steps to help myself.  And finding the strength in all places necessary, with daily tools, focus, opening myself up and sharing and asking for help and not being ashamed to do so.

Powerful stuff.