Sunday, September 25, 2016

OA - I'm a Recovering Human Being

     I am a Compulsive Overeater.  I am in recovery.  I go to meetings for food addiction and meetings set up for people of all addictions.  I hear people introduce themselves as recovering alcoholics, recovering drug addicts and other things. 

     This week I heard the best introduction ever.  My friend introduced herself as a recovering human being. 

     See this is how addiction works.  We were all born clean and free and full of hope.  Then life smacks us.  Maybe it's abuse or poverty or neglect.  Maybe it's rejection or abandonment.  Life can be painful.  So we look for help.  We may look to family or friends or social programs.  If and when these things fail us we look to something else to cover the pain.  It might be alcohol, drugs, food, sex, shopping, gambling or any of a number of escape agents.  They provide pleasure and excitement and take the pain away... for awhile.  Then the coping strategies become a trap and addiction sets in. 

     In recovery we learn to let go of our 'drug of choice' but more importantly we learn to live life.  We learn to walk through the ups and downs of each day without our blanket of comfort.  We learn to accept our problems and work on them instead of avoiding them.  We learn to smile and to cry.  We learn to feel.  We learn to be human.

     So, really I'm not a recovering food addict.  That does not define me or who I want to be.

     I am a recovering human being.

Monday, September 19, 2016

What's with the title?

I realize I have never explained my blog title - Jaki's Next Right Step.

One great piece of advice my OA sponsor gave me was to 'just do the next right thing'.  I think this was probably in response to my incessant habit of trying to plan out and/or worry about the next ten years of my life.  It might also have been during a time when I doubted my ability to complete a certain step in the 12 step process.  Either way her advice was to stop looking at the big picture which was paralyzing me and just do the next right thing.

Some days the next right thing is choosing a healthy food or exercising regardless of lack of desire.  Sometimes it's admitting my fears or helping someone else.

Sometimes the next right thing gets you in trouble.  I did something hard this week.  I did it to protect someone I love but they may not see it that way.  Sometimes the next right thing makes a situation worse for awhile.

This happened to Moses.  He told Pharaoh to let the Israelites go and instead, Pharaoh increased the slaves workload.  Their difficult lives got increasingly worse and they were angry at Moses for it.  Did Moses (who had an insecure, people pleasing personality) give up and go home or pull the covers over his head and cry like I would?  Nope, he went to God.  He did complain but he did it in prayer.  And then, at God's instruction, he did the next right thing.  He confronted Pharaoh again. 

That story is for me this week.  I don't know what the day/week/year has in store for me, but I can keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I can do the next right thing.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Future is Uncertain

     The day before yesterday I went to the doctor.  My knee has been hurting off and on for months.  I was afraid I was going to need surgery and/or physical therapy.  Instead I got a diagnosis of osteo arthritis.

     This hit me a lot harder than I thought it would.  I've been expecting this conversation all of my adult life.  My mom and my uncle were both disabled with arthritis.  My mom started using a wheelchair in her late 30s and my uncle before then.  I guess at 45 I hoped I had eluded the family curse.  I should have know better.  It runs rampit in my mom's side of the family and even makes appearances on my dad's side. 

     So - no surgery, no PT, and ...  no cure.

     There are things I can do to limit the impact of the deterioration in my joints.  I can eat foods that lower inflammation (colorful fruits and vegetables).  I can exercise (oh boy) to strengthen the muscles around the joints, and I can lose weight.  Yeah, that sounds easy. (sarcasm) I guess there is nothing in my life that is not related back to my issues with food. 

     Before I can fight this thing I have to deal with the emotional impact.  I have to be honest.

     I am afraid .... I don't want to be on a cane in a few years.  I don't want to be confined to a wheelchair.  (I know many people who live amazing, full and successful lives this way, but I also know how hard it is.)  I don't want my girls to watch me losing mobility and losing the ability to participate in their activities because my body won't let me.  I don't want to be in pain every day.

     Then there is the fact that my best chance to fight this thing lies in areas where I am weak - healthy food and exercise. 

     Still, this morning I woke with a peaceful spirit.  I was reminded of an old hymn I love.  To paraphrase it says, 'I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future and I know who holds my hand.'  There is no certainty that this disease will cripple me.  It could stabilize and be simply a chronic irritation.  Even if it puts me in a chair, I can still watch my girls grow up and cheer them on.  God has a plan for me and nothing can change that.    

     Uncle Arthur as my mom used to call it, has made an appearance in my life and he's not going away.  That first night as I was falling asleep I envisioned an ugly, angry monster attacking.  Then I envisioned a hand stroking the monster and soothing it.  In the end it was a funny looking character just sort of looking up at me. 

     I can't make this go away, but I can do what it takes to minimize the effects, and I can live my life to the fullest each and every day.