A Sponsor’s Wisdom

Please contribute insightful conversations which you have had between sponsor and sponsee. This is especially easy if you email back and forth. Please edit personal information out prior to sending, or simply use pseudonyms.

Sponsee:  Ah, this is part of the essay I sent you earlier. More of the same of yesterday’s reading… what you focus on grows. Focus on God.

Sponsor:   Thanks for the timely essay.  I like turning my thoughts to God as soon as the negative chatter begins.  I can obsess easily over something I can't change, but as long as I keep the focus positive, those messages will come more automatically.  I shared it with a few of my other sponsees. 

I also read something else on "scaling back" on the scale for some people.  It comes down to the "high of losing and the low of gaining".  The pull of the scale can become an obsession as well. She said the scale owned her, so she needed to weigh only once a month. 
 
 I remember when I was struggling to not step on the scale to make myself feel better (or worse), as it could have easily become another distraction from the real problems.  Am I good or bad, fat or thin, pretty or ugly, will problems magically disappear if only I am the right weight, would I automatically know what to do with fear and anger??  The whole experience was actually feeling out of control, and since food was no longer an option, I needed rely on another measure of my worth. This disease wears so many faces.  With all of these readings I realize that God is the only constant that is reliable.  People in our lives, machines, obsessions and "whatever" are all part of the human condition.  In order to recover, I need to rise above the worries and fears, and not keep looking back over my shoulder!!  Amen.

 

Sponsee:  Is my HP personal to me? I am not sure. I intentionally avoided a “loving” HP because then that love might become conditional. I cannot go with the “loving Father” image. I reject the God of the Baptist church I went to as a child. Where do I start? I started with nature. Nature is energy and controls the universe. Nature is not personal. I don’t think it blights one tree and saves another. It is simply the way it is. But these days I do not turn to HP or know how to turn my food over to HP. I’m still trying to control it. I feel lost in this way. But, I’m asking others. If I keep seeking, I will find. At least, that is what I have heard in the rooms. Or maybe, as long as I keep taking steps toward HP, It will close the gap.

Sponsor: That was a truly honest writing!  Good for you!  It is hard to believe in a personal God because we are so strong-willed that to believe in a "concept" or something ethereal and to actually trust it seems ridiculous. However, I believe in the power of the group, the love in the rooms, the goodness and kindness of most of us, and the willingness to push away this demon that obsesses us so recovery can flow in.  Since there is no other human way that works (and we've all tried most things), I take it from this program.  It must be something beyond my "ken", and since I can't identify it but have seen it working in so many others, it must be there. If that's a start for you, just take it and "act as if".  I'm sure that's where that phrase originated.  Hopeless drunks finally stopped drinking and made their lives a success by "acting as if".  When you weighed 350 lbs., where did that tissue go?  It simply evaporated into air as energy.  If that's not ethereal, then what is?

You don't have to believe in God the Father.  My father died when I was 2 so I had no idea what it was to have a father who loved me. When my mother remarried I was 17.  She married a kind man, but he was silent and remote, never offering affection or insult.  I don't believe God did that to me on purpose, but that was an earthly happening, and He has given me the tools to become who I am today despite adversity.  We all have a personal story, and we all have the tools to make of ourselves what we'd want to see in the perfect friend (as you wrote about yesterday).
Have a blessed and abstinent day!

 

Sponsee: Making time for myself is part of my recovery. That hour before Chuck wakens and turns on the tv is important to me. I crave the quiet so much that I don’t even want to unload the dishwasher right away because it is noisy. I am finding that hour to write my affirmations, read, and then prayer/meditation starts my day off in a better balance. There is a reason it is called getting centered. I am learning, too, that I cannot do the level of exercise I sometimes want to do. This 57 year old body that has been abused for far too many years just can’t endure. I do not want to abuse it by pushing it too hard. I actually feel guilty when I don’t exercise, but just like creating a minimum level of exercise, I think I also need to realize there is a maximum level. I can push it, but it must be gently and thoughtfully done. I don’t bounce back nearly as quickly as I did a decade or two ago. Not nearly. sigh.

Sponsor: You are using good personal therapy with the time to unwind.  Unfortunately many don't consider themselves first when coming in from a busy day.  We all need time to unwind, let the mind rest, destress and detox from the "poisons" of the day (and I consider the poisons the things that are toxic to our physical, emotional and spiritual serenity).  I am learning to schedule only one main thing per day and then when that is over, just rest and put my feet up.

I have had this stiff neck all week and it has moved over the the right side of my neck and shoulder now.  I am sure it has been brought on by stress and exacerbated with the craziness of this week.  I can feel canker sores in my mouth (also stress) and a major headache even after taking Advil. It's amazing what goes on inside the body even though we can't see it.  We can see the furrowed brow on the outside, rashes, and bitten nails, but somehow don't intuit that what is happening on the outside is happening on the inside.  That's why serenity and calmness are so necessary to good health.  So, my dear, continue your centering prayers, quiet time and meditations.

Sponsee: based on Taste of Lifeline – Ladders, Not Zappers

 Don’t we all want the zapper? Instant recovery for only 8 easy payments of $99.99! Well, maybe not. If I’d been zapped from the person I was when I hit my first bottom to the person I am today, I wouldn’t recognize myself and probably would have thought I’d become a multiple personality (Hello, Sybil?). The changes needed to be as they were, for there were times I didn’t know how to BE. If I’m not who I was before, how do I BE who I am now? Instant change would be too overwhelming. I remember a movie where Robin Williams’ character was in a Western grocery store for the first time in his life and he became so overwhelmed by all the choices and the difference from his culture that he passed out. That would be me and God knows I can’t handle radical change well. So, instead of a zapper, He gave me a ladder with 12 Steps on it. And every time I get to the top of that ladder, another ladder with 12 Steps appears to take me just a little bit further along the journey. Sometimes those ladders are very steep, but usually they are gently sloping, not too hard to climb.

 

Sponsor: What an insightful and delightful writing!  I love the analogy of the ladder with 12 steps and then another 12 steps reappearing after you done the original climb.  A step at a time is easy compared to climbing the entire mountain of change.  Unfortunately, the addict part of us wants everything ASAP, not to hurt, and to come easily.  That's the fantasy of going to sleep and waking up thin (as we all had).  Unfortunately I never realized that going through the process would slowly create the needed changes to be able to handle the emotional addictions.  That's the beauty of a day-at-a-time and working each step in the right order.  If I had ever awakened thin I know I wouldn't have known how to live in a normal looking body and still act like I really belonged there.  My insanity would've sent me right back to the food. 

Sponsee: based on Taste of Lifeline - Free to Change

 I love this line: My abstinence is not my food plan, but having a good food plan helps me stay abstinent.

 I am not surprised when people mix up food plans and abstinence. I hear people say things like, “My abstinence is three meals a day with a metabolic at night.” Or “My abstinence is no sugar, wheat or flour and I weigh and measure my food.” Is it any wonder that newcomers (and not so newcomers) still have the food plan and abstinence mixed up? Until WSO further defined abstinence, my own definition of abstinence was along the lines of “peace around food.” The food plan is a tool, like writing, meetings, phone calls, etc. It is not the soul of the Program. It is not abstinence. However, if you are going to plant a garden, it’s much easier to do it with the right tools than just trying to dig with your fingernails. The food plan keeps me from having to hang on to my abstinence with my fingernails.

Sponsor: Good writing, Dearie!  Yes, so many people assume abstinence is all about food because in AA abstinence is about not being drunk.  However, there are dry-drunks who are just awful people who simply don't drink anymore!  There are many OAers who are on the "diet" but are still difficult to be with and self-righteous. I believe our program is much more about living sanely and peacefully.  However, the paradox of the whole concept is that to live sanely and peacefully I have to put down my "drug" so I can begin to work on the sanity. However, my food plan has to be something that I can live with for the rest of my life - a day at a time - and pleasing enough for me to enjoy going out for dinner and not have to white-knuckle it. It has to make sense to me, and as soon as somebody says - "you're not allowed to have that", I begin to question "why".  I don't want to have added stress around food whether it's because I'm sneak-eating what I'm not supposed to (diet) or because I can't stop eating even my chosen foods. Putting down the fork means I am doing all I can do on that part of it, and I am assured God will do the other 99% for me (which has been my experience for all these years). Working on my emotional issues through the steps also guarantees me my defects will be lifted when I am sincere about having them gone, and "voila" when they are gone I realize God has been doing for me what I couldn't do for myself all this time!!  Isn't this a miraculous program!  How long it has taken me to realize that if all 3 legs of the stool aren't level, then neither am I.  As I've heard many times - it's an easy program when we follow it, but the hard part is having to be hyper-vigilant, and being aware of when the disease is the voice talking to us. Thank God we are given the willingness to start all over again every day.

Sponsee: based on Taste of Lifeline - Stargazing

I love this writing! I do believe that every dark cloud has a silver lining. Unfortunately, I usually can’t see the silver lining for staring at the dark cloud. It is up to me to FIND the silver lining. Another way I’ve said this is that every situation brings a gift with it. Look for the gift. My mother’s dying and passing was the catalyst that pushed me to the bottom and brought me moving upward. I went looking for change in my life. It took a while, but I found it in OA. This morning I did a freehand writing and the point was brought home to me that we get more of what we focus on. I have been focusing on the numbers on the scale, so I’m moving the scale out of my bathroom and down to the basement. I am eating better, working out, and yet the only thing I see is the number on the scale. Lately, people have said that I’m looking good and seem to be losing weight. I immediately deny it and say something like “I wish! But the scale hasn’t moved.” Stop denying the work I’m doing and focus on the positive. See the gift. My gaining weight has compelled me to start truly working out harder and more consistently. I’m looking at my food and seeing what needs to change. I’m going to bed earlier so I won’t eat after dinner (I’m breaking that habit) and getting up earlier with more time to devote to reading, writing, and meditating. I’ve bought a couple of new Kindle books about the 12 Steps and abstinence and am reading them. With all the positive in my recovery, why focus on the negative? Why perseverate on the number? Focus on the positive. See the gifts. Find the silver lining. I have far more silver than dark cloud today.

 

Sponsor: Good morning, my friend! I also believe there is a silver lining to all we have had to endure so far.  We are always led through a storm and then into the sunshine even stronger than before.  There have been many happenings that I couldn't understand, places where I felt God could've been more compassionate and understanding, but I am not "writing the life stories" of myself or anyone else, I can just do what I'm given each day.  It's amazing how a few years ago I refused to pray for God's will because I didn't want what I didn't want.  His will was what was good for me, and was happening anyway, so what was my point.  It's amazing how we fight, fight, fight over what we eventually give in to.  That fighting was my disease pushing back against the message God kept sending me.  It's scary how this compulsive overeating wears so many hats, seeps in wherever it can even in triggering cravings over a piece of afternoon fruit.  The same things happen to me yet I keep being drawn to the mangoes, grapes,pineapples, etc. when I see them on sale.  So far I have resisted buying them because I know I LOVE them too much, they are high in sugar and call me because they are triggering that pleasure center in my brain.  Nobody tells me I can't have them, but I know in my own mind I shouldn't because I overeat them.  Talk about an emotional disease with a spiritual solution!!  

Remember that this program works in the reverse.  Every time I see the scale go up, I get irritable and defensive.  My mind goes into what's fair and not fair, but that's the disease talking again.  As soon as I stay home more, stay with the plain foods I have enjoyed for so many years, the scale moves back where it was, and I am grateful.  However, it takes so much emotional energy again, I wonder why I just didn't do what normal people do.  That's because I'm not normal people.  

For you today, I wish your "will" to be in alignment with God's "will", and you have an easy emotional abstinence.

Sponsee: I love this page in the book. Coye Feda is the internal saleswoman who reads my mind and speaks in my own voice so it seems as if I’m making the choice to eat. It’s that little voice behind my ear yet in my brain and whispers gently just to plant the seed. Once the seed is planted, the disease can make it bloom quickly. If I were car shopping, I would be on guard against everything the salesman says because I know it’s his job to pull every dime out of my wallet that he can get. I go in there with a determination of not buying anything that I didn’t want when I walked in. I have a line that won’t be crossed. But with Coye Feda, she’s subtle and sounds like me and it seems it’s my idea. And a good idea at that! I have to remember that line. I have to remember that Coye Feda is only selling disease.

Sponsor: It's scary to see that our disease is really Machiavelli standing next to us beckoning with a velvet glove. Unfortunately under that velvet glove is an iron fist which smashes into us, and keeps us prisoner.  Horrifying thoughts!  Even more deadly is that what he is calling us with are the scents, aromas, sights and tastes of nearly unbearable-to-resist binge foods.  There seems to be no defense against it, (as we've so often read), but the price of recovery is eternal vigilance. That's what our fellowship offers us.
For today - keep on keeping on!  Together we can..., and we can change those automatic responses to sights and smells by stepping back and saying - ok, but just not today!  The price is too high!

Sponsee: I’m glad we are rereading this chapter. I still wage a war within my own thoughts between lack of willpower and disease. When I slip, I chastise myself for lack of willpower, poor choices, I took my will back, etc. Blame, shame, blame, shame, and name calling, too. I never say that it’s my disease. I’m still in that mindset that says it’s up to ME to defeat this. It’s MY choice. I’M responsible. The powerlessness is obvious, but I have yet to get the concept truly that God will handle this. It’s MY footwork, etc. I keep cycling back. This will be good to reread this section. I hope it will sink below the thought level and enter my heart and gut.

Sponsor: Good morning, my dear!  I hope you will be rolling along today at the top of the wheel!!  It is so important to remember that this disease is so cunning and powerful it convinces us we don't have a disease, and that we can fix it "if only" we were stronger.  Well, truly there are some days I am so strong that food doesn't call me, I can make very sane choices in all areas of my life, and all seems well.  However, it's those days that seem very boring, bleak, scary or dreary that I want so badly to toss this all out. That's when I need God most because I am pushing myself away and don't even realize it.
  Reading about powerlessness is good.  It's not your job to defeat this disease just like it wouldn't be your job to defeat cancer by working harder physically.  I consider the doctors for physical diseases my "higher-powers" because they can diagnose and treat things I have no control over, so when I have a mental obsession that can't be controlled by a therapist or medication, I have to ask God to intervene to take away the thoughts and restore me to sanity.  I can't do it alone.  I need this program and everyone in it to support me, share with me and walk with me.  I will walk with you just like you will walk with me, and together we can!

Sponsee: You are never alone. What a wonderful sentiment. If someone wants to immerse herself in recovery, it’s right at her fingertips today. The Internet offers up so much to us. I’m grateful for my face-to-face meetings and I’m grateful for the podcasts. I don’t take advantage of the phone meetings simply because I don’t want to hold a phone to my ear for an hour. But I’m a strong user of podcasts. There’s nearly always something great that comes from a speaker. AND, if the Judgmental Bitch doesn’t like the speaker? Skip to the next one.

Sponsor: I agree that we are never alone in program.  Some of us choose to isolate and hide, but for me, recovery means pushing myself to get to a meeting even when I don't feel like it.  I agree about the phone meetings.  There's something about the sharing afterwards, and also, yes, about holding the phone for an hour to listen, which makes me tense.  I always gets a creepy feeling when they announce the # of people, and I don't know who is listening in.  I like podcasts, too, because I can just pop one in and listen to a recovery story.  I guess I just like face-to-face because I am a "visual" person and I need the contact.

Sponsee: I agree about the meetings who do not allow specific foods to be mentioned. I do not know why that go started and I think it’s ridiculous how folks work around “not” mentioning it. “I wanted this frozen carbohydrate” sets me off trying to figure out what they wanted. “The round things that come in a box” has me thinking about every round thing that could come in a box. Because they didn’t mention 1 specific food, I thought of 27 foods! “I ate too much protein last night” has me wondering “Beef? Pork? Fish? Tofu? Nah, probably not tofu. Could be tofu. I’ve had some delicious tofu. How much is too much tofu?” and on and on and on. I’m thinking my mind is not very disciplined.

Meetings: Go early, stay late, do service, sit up front, keep an open mind, and remember why we’re here. That should probably be a sign on the wall of every meeting.

Sponsor: Am trying to figure out the "good" in these gray and depressing mornings!!  I guess the ducks are happy for the fresh water supply and the trees and plants are soaking it all up!  Good!  It's not all about me, I see!  :)
I agree with your message.  There are far too many rules and requirements when all it takes is a desire to stop eating compulsively and working the program to the best of our abilities!  I remember a meeting where someone was sharing about having eaten Halloween candy.  A well-known and familiar-to- meetings compulsive overeater complained that he went into relapse because of the mention of "Halloween Candy" which then sent him out searching for the bags on his way home.  I always felt that it was probably the justification he needed to buy his stash because he was a chronic relapser. Many people made a big deal out of what happened to "poor P____" because of that person's share.  No one wants to hear a run-down of the latest supermarket sales, but when I am in fit spiritual condition, the mention of certain foods does not set me off, it makes me relate more to the person. I have always felt we have to live in the real world, so when I am confronted with people eating strawberry shortcake at a party or pizza on the boardwalk, it simply isn't mine anymore than the latest local beers or mixed drinks are mine. So, that's that!

Sponsee: I’m very grateful that I have done the red/yellow/green light lists and have categorized many foods. The best purpose was that it truly made me think about each food and how I react to it. Also, it brought up a lot of behaviors about the foods. For example, I can have craisins when measured and tossed in a salad or if they come as part of a salad in a restaurant. I cannot eat them in any other way. But then again, they are not meant to be eaten in any other way. They are not a fruit like an apple. I am okay with cheese as an ingredient. I am not okay with cheese as an appetizer, eaten with the fingers. For the most part, I’m not okay with foods eaten by hand. Finger foods are my favorite. I’m okay with chicken, but not fried chicken. The list was less about the food and more about thinking about the conditions around the food for me. I rarely overeat broccoli; but, if it’s that broccoli salad or broccoli with cheese sauce, that is an entirely different story. Broccoli is not the problem. Broccoli in combinations may be a problem. I can overeat on almost anything if the conditions are right. Celery sticks? It’s a finger food eaten by the hand. Will not overeat that. Stuffed celery? Hold me back! Doing the red/yellow/green lists helped me to pinpoint some of those conditions.

Sponsor: Good morning, dearie!
I can see that you (as well as all of us) like what I call "garnishes that don't count" (or we think don't count) on top of our salads.  I used to eat the craisins, too, until I read the label and realized I could've had an extra apple or bowl of strawberries instead of that garnish for the amount of fructose and calories.  Ditto with bleu  cheese, feta or mozzarella cubes, and those delightful little seeds to sprinkle  as well!  It all adds up to fat, but more than that, hones our taste buds for more and more.  We are not plain eaters, and we want to make everything palatable and delectable.  I have made a conscious decision to walk past the fresh mozzarella being made warm at Shop-Rite, and not succumb to buying any.  For that moment I want to eat the entire thing, but if I give it a few minutes and walk away, I am ok.  I am never okay when I bring it home because then I feel like I need to eat it.  The same goes for "finger-cheeses".  Extra sharp provolone gets to me, and I want to pop cubes in my mouth.  If I don't buy it, I can't smell it, so I don't eat it.  Add bacon bits to that list for salads, and there I go off again to la-la-land! There's a reason why the founders of this program kept saying:  "Keep it simple"!! LOL. Of course, it's not about a food list or "fixings" , but it really is about that.  It's the feelings that also surround it.  At Ruby Tuesday's I don't overeat their uncooked broccoli either, but give me that broccoli salad with the mayo and cheese on top, and I have a hard time not taking any.  It sets me off, and again, I have to remember that overeating that will reset my willingness to zero, and I will start feeling all the trappings of my disease.  The pull is so great that I don't want to resist, yet if I go along with it, it only progresses until I am back on my knees praying for relief.  Isn't it awful what this drug does to us.  It is subtle, cunning, too powerful and murderous. The plan of eating has to be first in order to eliminate all of the above. That's the only way to move forward through the "forest of life".

Sponsee's writing: [based on Taste of Lifeline – Smooth Sailing]   What a great story! I love this! Every defect is a character and when one of the characters is in charge, conflict and chaos prevail. But, when HP is running the ship, each character is too busy performing a healthy duty so the ship runs smoothly. Lovely concept.

Who are the characters on my ship: Tamara, the procrastinator; Polly Perfect, the perfectionist; Judy, the judgmental; Lovey, the compassionate; HP, the captain; First Mate, in recovery; and I think the role call will continue (pun intended). What is the healthy duty for Tamara? To keep me from cramming too much into one day. Polly Perfect makes me good at my job. I’m not sure what Judy’s healthy duty is. Do you have any suggestion?

Sponsor: Hello, Dearie. What good is Judy Judgmental??  I think she was put in your mind (as well as mine) to teach us that she pops up too often and has to be put in her place.  As I would take it, I'd use this as a lesson in confrontation. When she pops us, ask her why she is spotting that defect in someone else, thank her for her service but please go back to the place she came from.

I love naming the defects.  It personalizes them so much and makes them so much more human.

Sponsee:  I agree with the author that only from the rooms and our fellowship do we learn to fear certain steps [4 & 5]. That chatter needs to stop and instead the chatter should switch to the joy and freedom that working these steps bring.

Sponsor: Hello, Dearie. I agree about ferreting out the bad stuff in Step 4.  It isn't all that bad, and after I've dredged up the crummy memories (on both sides - things done to me and things I did), I realize I've heard many of the same stories in the rooms, and nothing I've done hasn't been done before either.  It's a good feeling to know I am allowed to be human, and how I acted at 30 certainly has little bearing on who I am today other than to realize I don't want to be that person who is unable to separate sane from insane behavior.  Life is to be savored and enjoyed, to be of service to another human being, and to do no harm along the way.  When I was self-absorbed I perceived the harm done to me was not my fault.  Now I can see my part in things and realize that without Step 4 I never would've been able to get down this deeply.  I, too, thank God for the ability to learn from that "buried treasure".

Sponsee's writing: “If ever we’re tempted to go back to old habits, we can remember the misery that accompanied them.” In that moment of desire, I cannot remember the misery. My forgetter is in full force and the disease is there telling me that this little bit won’t hurt. When I am reaching out for the food, there is no other thought involved except that small voice saying, “No, you don’t really want to do this.” And then the powerful voice of the disease stating, “I’ve already won! She’s reaching for it and I won!” And my hand reaches out as if I’m not the one in control and I move automatically, taken over by the disease, feeling broken and defeated inside once again. And that small voice goes silent, disconnected from me by my disease and the food. The next morning, I pray to be shown God’s will and for the power to carry it out. Feeling like a hypocrite, knowing I was told his will for me by the small voice and knowing I ignored it, willfully defied it the night before. But, willing to try again, hoping today will be different. Praying it will be different.

Sponsor: Hello, Dearie. I like your writing which says so much about how cunning and powerful this disease is. How many times we get that little voice and swat it away like a gnat.  Yet, after the horse is out of the barn (or the feathers are blown out of the pillow) we are hard-pressed to regain what we worked  so hard to guard.  I can only liken grabbing that first compulsive bite to lighting a match to a fuse and then trying to stomp it out before it blows up.  I guess I, too, am afraid of the amnesia of the misery that would follow a binge.  All I know is I want to feel good, not worse, and by breaking my physical, emotional or spiritual abstinence I will be left angry, resentful, confused, bitter and spent!  I think I'll let God help me today to not go to those places!

Sponsee: I was so hungry yesterday. I think a heavy workout in the morning may require more food in the morning. I'll keep a watch for this and we may have to discuss what to do. I caved and had my morning snack a half hour early at 10:30 and it was if I never ate it. I was hungry until 1:00 lunch. But, I was surprised that I didn't die or at least slip into a hunger coma. I made it to lunchtime :) 

Sponsor: Hello, Dearie. It's amazing how we become aware of eating behaviors when we track them!  The "diseased mind"  follows a line from "discomfort" to "pain" to swallow fast, eat faster, drink alcohol and then "oblivion" (except that most of the time there is no oblivion, just having to find more and more substances).

Thank God the recovering mind takes a step back, remembers those inappropriate solutions with severe consequences, and follows a path to healthy alternatives like some quiet time and rest, and then the Advil or headache meds that would help.  

Maybe you were hungrier in the morning because your food has changed and lessened the night before.  That's ok.  That will right itself as your body gets used to it.  I eat breakfast at 7am and lunch at noon or a little after.  I am seriously hungry by noon, but it feels good to know it's real hunger and not head-hunger.  Most of my physical activity takes place in those 5 hours in the morning, and some in early afternoon, but I am ok with those same mealtimes.  Your workout times are different than mine so maybe your lunch shouldn't be as late at 1pm.  I guess you can try to adjust your schedule so it works for you.  The bottom line is to just keep to that healthy food plan. 

Sponsee's writing: “Until I recognize, accept, and admit that the situation is Step One and I am powerless, I cannot act.”

I think I would change that to read, “…and I am powerless, and all my actions are only frustrating and exhausting me.” Once I recognize that something is a Step One situation, I can relax and let HP handle it. That is when I realize I am trying to beat down a wall with my forehead. That is when I let go and let God. And I usually sing, “Que Sera, Sera.”

Sponsor: Hello, Dearie. I think we are always at Step 1 since life becomes unmanageable on a daily basis in one way or another.  Whenever I am really irritated, overly hungry, impatient or intolerant - I can become obnoxious. That leads to a lack of serenity and unmanageability (where I tell them in my head what I wish I could really tell them so I replay the running conversation like a broken record). That is definitely unmanageability!!  So, for the rest of today, no complaints, no broken records, no eye-rolls!.

Sponsee: I am afraid for my sick friend and I hurt my boss' feelings with an off-hand comment - I didn't realize he was so sensitive.  It was part of the good talk we had as he really opened up.

Sponsor: Hello, Dearie.  The road to recovery is bumpy and never straight.  Neither is life.  One misstep many times leads me to new awarenesses and new paths.  Your offhand remark to you boss brought about something that was needed for a long time - an honest look into how you both see things.  So many times we question the wisdom of "What is God thinking"??  If we could always live in hindsight we would know all the right answers, but faith comes in because we can't see around corners. I have come to believe that God always brings me to more clarity and acceptance no matter what the issue. Some things are very hard, like our dear friend's illness, and some are easier like deciding to listen with understanding when you don't really want to.  In all cases, you come away feeling a bit better than you did before.  

Sponsee: I'm having a hard time thinking of five things to be grateful for.

Sponsor: Hello Dearie, Finding the gratitudes in life is so healing.  I read on FB the other day that we should try not complaining for 24 hours to see where that brings us!  Wow, that's a tough one for me.  I love to kvetch about nothing much.  I always think of it as getting the toxins out, but actually complaining keeps me whirling in the middle of chaos.  I like your gratitudes and reflections!  There will always be problems with people, places and things (like food and personalities), but so many of them evaporate with the morning sun.  It's just that we addicts hate change, and everyday there are changes and challenges.  No wonder we need this program to get us through the "art of living".

I promised myself that as I get ready to go to the luncheon today I will find the good in being there, the friendliness of the people I really like as opposed to the scrutiny of those women I never liked anyway.  I have to remember I will always be judged whether kindly or harshly, so what message do I want to leave people with??  Program tells me to leave each day on the best note I can.  I hear that with you, too!  God Bless! 

Sponsee's writing: “If ever we’re tempted to go back to old habits, we can remember the misery that accompanied them.” In that moment of desire, I cannot remember the misery. My forgetter is in full force and the disease is there telling me that this little bit won’t hurt. When I am reaching out for the food, there is no other thought involved except that small voice saying, “No, you don’t really want to do this.” And then the powerful voice of the disease stating, “I’ve already won! She’s reaching for it and I won!” And my hand reaches out as if I’m not the one in control and I move automatically, taken over by the disease, feeling broken and defeated inside once again. And that small voice goes silent, disconnected from me by my disease and the food. The next morning, I pray to be shown God’s will and for the power to carry it out. Feeling like a hypocrite, knowing I was told his will for me by the small voice and knowing I ignored it, willfully defied it the night before. But, willing to try again, hoping today will be different. Praying it will be different.

Sponsor: Hello Dearie, I like your writing which says so much about how cunning and powerful this disease is. How many times we get that little voice and swat it away like a gnat. Yet, after the horse is out of the barn (or the feathers are blown out of the pillow) we are hard-pressed to regain what we worked so hard to guard. I can only liken grabbing that first compulsive bite to lighting a match to a fuse and then trying to stomp it out before it blows up. I guess I, too, am afraid of the amnesia of the misery that would follow a binge. All I know is I want to feel good, not worse, and by breaking my physical, emotional or spiritual abstinence I will be left angry, resentful, confused, bitter and spent! I think I'll let God help me today to not go to those places!