Thursday, November 13, 2008

Checking In

I don't know how far I'm going to go with the addiction terminology because you know I'm too much of a bird in flight to focus on the negative. But I've had some harsh realizations lately about how often I was medicating my self, numbing my feelings by using food. The first few days were harsh. Really harsh. How many days is it? How many days has it been? I cannot remember which is a goshdarned blessing in itself. I'm no longer white-knuckling it and counting the days.
(pause)
(sigh)
(smile)
Cool. That's something to celebrate. So anyway, what I was saying earlier is all caveats aside, there's a term I heard from AA "Hi I'm (name) and I'm a grateful recovering alcoholic." The key word here is grateful.
I am grateful.

There's a line from a movie that comes to mind; a movie called The Doctor. In the movie (Netflix it you'll enjoy it) William Hurt plays a doctor that is a cariacature of the obnoxious-SOB-who-thinks-he's-God-doctor. As the movie progresses, the doctor learns he has a fatal disease and has a short time to live. And he changes his life from the inside out, because he knows he only has a while to live. While the doctor is engaging in a random act of kindness, one of his colleagues is surprized and asks him what he is doing. The doctor's reply: I have an illness that has given me permission to live like I like because I won't be living much longer. They key phrase for me is "gives me permission".

I don't have a fatal illness, but if I let this addiction to food run wild, it could destroy my health. It could have become fatal. Easy. And I have found that by living my life sober (which for me is eating with gratitude and joy until I'm no longer physically hungry and not to numb or stuff my feelings) by living my life sober, and working to stay sober, has given me permission to do some really brave stuff.

I'll give you an example.

Several days of not eating sugar when I want to "calm my nerves" (read: stuff my feelings) several days of this has made it really clear to me that resentment is often the trigger to me having the urge to eat addictively. Another AA quote comes to mind "resentment will kill ya" or "resentment is an emotion I cannot afford if I want to stay sober". Damn! Those AA folks really have some wisdom don't they? (grin) So anyway, my point is if I want to eat healthy and not eat addictive I have to deal with my resentment.

This morning, I shared a tearful phone call with the roomate I lived with when Delighted Husband and I got engaged. I moved out soon thereafter when I-oh how do I say this without maligning her? Sigh. Let's just say our friendship and my living there ended badly and I felt forced into buying my way out of the lease. I could say more, but that's enough. The point is that I has resentment towards her.

So I haven't seen this gal in years and years. Twelve or thirteen years. I had done some forgiveness work in counseling and I felt it was a good outcome that angry thoughts of her no longer entered my mind. Live and let live and all of that.

Well this morning, she and I spent a half hour on the phone with both of us taking turns crying and her telling me she loved me and she was so sorry and me telling her I loved her and I forgave her. She prayed for me that I would be healed. And I was.

Now how in the sam hill did this happen??

This happened because I kept running into mutual friends of her every.where. and thoughts of her, no fear of running into her, this bone deep anxiety just permeated my thoughts. And when bone deep anxiety permeates my thoughts, you know what I am tempted to do, dontcha?

Medicate my feelings with chocolate. Or any other sugar I can get my hands on. After a few days, I knew I had to deal. I knew if I didn't deal with this situation, deal with her one way or another that I was going to act addictively.

My connection with this mutual friend made it possible for me to send a message to Roommate Girl via email. I typed out this message:
(name)
Out of the blue, God has brought you to mind several times over the last few days. I think God wants to heal a piece of my heart. Would you help me? Maybe you will feel healing too.
I'd like to call you and talk for 20 minutes or so. What is a good time and a good number for you?
(my name)


Through the same grapevine chain, came this reply:
I would love that. My cell number is (number) and you can most easily reach me during (time)

So I called her.

Now I had done my homework with God early this morning. I sat down with my journal and wrote out what I wanted to say to her, what I hoped to say to her if I actually had the courage to go through with it. Basically, I told our parting story from my point of view using I statements instead of you statements and telling what her actions were and what my feelings were. I cried several times while writing it, and I cried a lot after I finished writing it. I felt what I can only describe as God comforting me. Just a peace and that Himself was proud of me.

When I called Roommate Girl, I reasurred her that I didn't hate her and that I just wanted to feel free of pain and resentment and would she please let me talk from my heart for a few minutes. She said that would be okay. I broke down crying a few times as I told my story. Our story. The story of how our "us" died. When I started crying and stopped talking, she actually encourged me to keep going. At the end of my story, I told her "could you maybe love the me from all those years ago and could you maybe find a kind word to say to her?"

And she did.

Oh my God. She did. She told me she loved me and she deeply regretted her actions and that she didn't want me to hurt anymore and that one of the things that hurt me the most was actually a huge misunderstanding. Which could be bullshit, but it's not. It wasn't. She actually was able to explain how one of her actions which broke my heart in two was actually driven by a different motive than the one I had ascribed to it. But by that point back then, we weren't talking anymore. So. I find out she made big mistakes back then, which I knew, I found out she didn't have quite the hateful motive I interpreted at the time, which I didn't know. The most important thing I found out that I didn't know was that Roommate Girl still loved me and she didn't want me to hurt anymore.

Oh.
My.
God.

And if I had stuffed these feelings with food, I would have never found this out.
Ever.

So you see why I'm grateful?

Love,
Shula

4 comments:

Who am I said...

I am so glad things went well with your former roommate.

I went through Weigh Down Workshop- a Christian weight loss program years ago which teaches you to focus on Jesus instead of eating to deal with your emotions.

I too realized that alot of my emotional eating is tied into resentment, and for me fear.

I admire you for working so diligently on this struggle with feelings and weight. I know it is so hard, and I need to get my focus back also, because my weight keeps drifting up and I don't have the passion for Jesus I used to.

Thanks for inspiring me.

Desmond Jones said...

Restoring old friendships is just gold. . .

Maria Kettleson Anderson said...

I love this story of healing!

And I love the way you write, dear friend! It takes talent to tell a story like this and communicate the emotion clearly without giving up either your anonymity or the anonymity of the other person . . . and you have such skill and discernment in that!

Hope to talk soon . . . maybe tomorrow?

Gigi said...

My husband was a close girlfriend's crush. I was just suppoed to be the "bridge", but her crush became the love of my life! We didn't talk fot 2 years! And I was just about on my last month of pregnancy when I decided to email her!

And now, we're friends again and CLOSER than ever!