Friday, October 30, 2015

Figuring out what I am committed to

This morning I'm debating whether to nudge a potential client one more time. She was referred by a mutual friend who is supporting her in getting her book out in the world. We had an initial conversation in August and two phone calls since then, on my instigation. She says she's eager and determined but nothing happens.

When I ran across this quote on Facebook recently, I thought of her: When something is important, we find a way. When it isn't important, we find an excuse. She says she wants to complete the book, our mutual friend also says she does, but she has a lot of excuses: travel, house remodelling, the list goes on. These other things are the important ones and she has every right to have them be so.

I'm certainly not immune from this. I've gotten good at pretending some things are important to me but if I judge by my actions, they're not because I don't move forward on them. They're shoulds or want to's, not priorities. I'm slowly learning the difference in how they feel in my body.

I am going to nudge her one last time because I said I would. And then it's up to her.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Creating a 3-meal life

I haven't had a 3-meal life since I learned to feed myself. Snacking has been akin to breathing for me. As a skinny child, I was hungry all the time, as a growing adolescent, even more so. I began developing my addiction to sugar and flour at about age 10 when I would come home from school and eat 4-6 piees of buttered toast with jam or cinnamon and sugar. By 5th grade I was snacking at my school desk--those old wonderful desks where you lifted the lid and the teacher couldn't see what you were doing.

I must have suffered from some sort of food insecurity because I always had snacks with me. Nuts, candy, cheese, half a sandwich. I needed it to be safe, I guess. I've always eaten at work, in the library in college, in my dorm room, in the break room, in the car. In some of the worst of my addiction, I ate during the night--getting up for bowls of ice cream to tide me over till breakfast.

I prided myself on being a most flexible meal companion. Need to eat dinner early? No problem. I can snack later. Need to eat late? I can snack before. I fully embraced six small meals a day as license to graze, although that wasn't really what I was doing. I was eating all day long.

For the last two weeks, I've eaten three meals a day. Period. No snacks. It's astounding to me that I have been able to do this. The first few days were very hard. My inner kids were screaming at me. I was off sugar, off flour, and off snacks. As the days have gone by, it's gotten easier and Friday night. at a conference, I went 7 hours between lunch and dinner. I didn't faint, I didn't die. I had been told I'd get hungry and it would pass. It did. I more than survived. I was totally okay.

I also am learning to ask for what I need for this 3-meal life. No early dinner for me. No late dinner for me. If I have a lunch date, I eat 5 hours before and 5 hours after. It's going to be a very different life. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Saying it and accepting it are two different things

I've known I was a sugar addict for a long time. I ate a lot of sugar as a kid--most of my allowance went there--and I've medicated with sweets and baked goods for almost sixty years. But saying it to myself and others and really accepting that this addiction is just as lethal as alcohol is a different experience.

If you've read this blog long enough, you know I've been off sugar before, once for three years. I've also been off sugar and wheat before, once for 9 months. But neither time did I see it as a permanent decision, a vital decision, a life-or-death decision. Never was I willing to equate it with the seriousness of alcohol.

In the last several weeks, I've heard three women on separate occasions say they were sugar addicts as they took another bite of a scone or piece of chocolate bar. Maybe it's become cute to say that. But I don't think they really mean it. I didn't really mean it. And now I do. I don't want to. I don't want to be a sugar addict with uncontrollable cravings, weight gain, health issues, but I am.

Addiction is progressive. Those two candy bars from decades ago have turned into more ice cream bars in an afternoon than I want to admit. My appetite for sugar and fat and flour are as irrational and incomprehensible as my ability to consume four bottles of wine in a typical day of the old drinking life.

I'm on Day 11 of Bright Line Eating. I don't know if I can stick with it forever, but I sure hope so. The alternative is not so good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Chronicles of Josie, continued

Josie has been with us for almost six weeks now. She has about doubled in size (although she remains a very small cat) and she is out and about most of the time. She sleeps mostly on the bed, instead of in the dresser. She romps and wrestles with Mr. Sam and plays chase games with Frannie, the alpha.  She is pretty confident and very clear about when it's okay to pet her and when she doesn't want it. I love that she has good boundaries and I'm sure I can learn a lot from her.

Last night she was tossing toys around in the office and flipped over the soft cat bed on the floor. So she settled in to nap on the flip side of the bed. Here she is in all of her yawning regalness.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Trust and deductive reasoning

One of the webinars recently in the money program I'm involved in was on trust: deciding to generate trust with others rather than waiting for evidence that people are trustworthy. Our assignment was to observe our relationship with trust.

Not long after the webinar, I had an altercation with a client/friend over money and I watched myself not generate trust with her but rather take offense at how she handled the problem and want her to prove to me that I could trust her again. It wasn't until the whole event was over that I realized how not generating trust, not radiating trust to her, made the whole thing so much more difficult for both of us.

And in my thinking about all this, I saw how generating trust is like deductive reasoning: you start out with a premise (people are trustworthy) and seek examples of how that is true: we generate that truth. I, on the other hand, treat it like inductive reasoning: look for evidence before I can accept the premise. On me, inductive has a hard edge: a "show me" feel. Deductive seems an easier, softer way to go.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Poem #294

Trust is stripping down
to underwear
and letting a friend
record your vital stats
and take pictures
of you back, front, and side
Never mind that you'll change
never mind that you'll be
less and less
in the weeks ahead
It's now that the phone sees
that your friend sees
the solace lying
in her willingness to strip down too
and let you see what
she's been carrying around.

Jill Kelly October 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015

Once more with commitment

Last week, I signed up for Susan Peirce Thompson's Bright Line Eating boot camp. I need some serious support to get off sugar again. I need structure, I need commitment, I need help.

I debated doing it--yet another program, yet another food plan. What would make this different? Perhaps the fact that Thompson's success started in a 12-step program and she talks that language and has that orientation. It's a language and orientation that are familiar to me. That have been successful for me with alcohol for a very long time. Maybe it's her compelling arguments about the addictive nature of sugar and flour for some of us. Mostly it's such clear knowing that my way is not working, not even a little.

The boot camp is 8 weeks and multiple options to stay connected to the program after that. I'm hoping for a different relationship with food and with myself. Here goes!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Re-living trepidation

On Wednesday, I made a decision to sign up for a radical food plan. I'd done a lot of research on it and what was on offer made sense. My hesitations, I realized, were not about the cost of the program or its rigorous nature but whether I could be willing to change, really change, and stay with it.

In many ways, this parallels, or echoes, my experience in Sept 1989 when I made the decision to go into an alcohol treatment program for 28 days. I had come to the end of my ability to cope with that aspect of my life and I wanted freedom. At the same time, I was terrified of the changes that would be required to attain that freedom. I was stepping off into the unknown.

Now as I prepare to take the same kind of action (giving up sugar and flour and eating on a schedule with a defined plan), I feel the same trepidation. I'm consoled by the all the good things that have come to me in the past 26 years and by the promise of freedom. But I'm still nervous. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A knowing that shifts so much

Last week my spiritual director told me about some studies she'd read on will power, discipline, self-restraint. That our daily supply is limited. So if we have things we have to do that we don't want to--and they require will power to do them, then we use it up. No problem, right?

Well, let's say you're staying off sugar and you have to go to the dentist, which you hate. It takes all your will power to sit in the dental chair for an hour. When you come home, it's no big surprise that you eat two big cookies. Or let's say you go to dinner with your in-laws, whom you don't care all that much for. You sit there all through dinner not saying much so you can keep your temper but you eat two big pieces of dessert.

This makes so much sense to me. It explains why newcomers to AA who smoke are encouraged to continue to smoke for the first year or two. It takes too much will power to give up both addictions at once. It explains why when I have a tedious project for work and I make myself sit there and get it done, I find it hard to keep my resolve not to eat sugar.

My challenge is to make sure I don't have too many things each day that require self-restraint.