Seeking a new level

I have a little googling problem, but that’s hardly news. I love my internet as much as I used to love my drink and still love my sugar. But if I wasn’t online so much, I wouldn’t have found so much information and support in recovery. It’s all about finding balance.

Yesterday I looked up (googled) foods to avoid during phase 1 of the South Beach Diet, which I stumbled across while researching (googling) ways to reduce insane sugar cravings, which I read (googled) might be from quitting the booze. I  found a blog filled with recipes and great information on the south beach plan. The woman behind the blog wrote that she’d lost a ton of weight on south beach back in 2005 and had kept it off for years. Then, about five years into her weight loss, she noticed some of it creeping back. She had grown lax in her diet and ate more junk and, no big shock, gained some weight back. Maybe she thought she had a handle on her new habits and could afford to cheat a little here and there and it got out of hand. Maybe her brain or body grew restless with the unnatural state of deprivation. She’s still blogging and recommitting efforts to get back on track, so hers is an encouraging story.

Some part of me always thinks a person who lost a bunch of weight or kicked addiction will eventually revert back to their old self. The self-destructive voice in my head worries I can’t stay sober or thinner (but not thin) over time. I feel like I can do both right now because  the rewards of sobriety and having a healthy weight outweigh the discomforts. But what about over time? Even if I do my best to stay vigilant, is there some built-in homing device in my brain that needs to take me back? In other words, do people ever really change?

For now I need to do everything I can to stay interested and engaged in recovery or I have a good chance of growing complacent and slipping. Likewise, I need to continue to exercise and change my eating habits and focus on how good those things feel or I will grow fat and unhappy. Still, I’m reminded of streams of water rushing downill after a storm. Water seeks its own level. Balance is not a normal state in humans, so instead I fear I’m naturally inclined to return to excess and flaw because that force is really strong. I worry I don’t have a lifetime of fight in me.

My hope is that I can change the level my brain associates with comfort and happiness and peace. This is where my belief in a higher power comes in because I have no idea how to do this beyond today. It’s baby steps or one day at a time or however you want to put it, but still it’s just enough out of my control that I take a step back and find hope and comfort there.

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6 thoughts on “Seeking a new level

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  1. “…we will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace…”

    In the Glenn Hughes autobiography I just read he says something like “I started to practice the steps, now the steps practice me”. I think what he means is the move from having to learn to do the programme to the programme being ingrained within his being.

    I was thinking about this in terms of the stages of learning something – you go through the following.

    Consciously incompetent – i.e. you know you can’t do it and have to really concentrate hard on doing it. Think of when you first learnt to drive, you have to concentrate hard on car placement, steering, speed, indication, looking about you, changing gear etc. etc.
    Consciously competent – the next stage is you do it better, you know when to change gear and how much to adjust the steering you don’t have to look for the indicator stalk you know where it’ll be but you still have to concentrate on the actions you have to think, must change gear now or move over a lane etc. but the actual doing of that is less awkward
    Unconsciously competent – the last stage you get in a car and drive to somewhere and you indicate, steer, change gear, etc.etc. but all happens pretty much without you thinking about it all you are thinking is about where you are going and the conditions on the road at the time.

    I think that is the thing with the programme – I think I’m possibly just getting into consciously competent – i.e. I hardly ever think about taking a drink, I just go to meetings because I go to meetings and I am happy and comfortable with where I am with that and me in recovery to a large extent. I still have to put in conscious effort to some of it but it is getting less awkward.

    That makes me look at guys like my “sponsor” (don’t like that term really) he has 23 years in – he just lives the programme. It is him and he is it if you get my drift, he isn’t awkwardly finding his feet on the early steps or like me beginning to stretch into what you can do with it… I think I’m a toddler in AA terms now 🙂

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    1. I do like the idea of the “work” of sobriety becoming automatic. Which isn’t to say that it’s hard now, but it’s not natural. And if you’re still a toddler, am I still in utero? Is it like dog years? 😉

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      1. I checked the quote (I’m useless on remembering things verbatim) – it was… “I worked the steps, now the steps work me” which is much better – really sums it up I think…

        I’m definitely thinking that what is 1 year in drinking is like between 5 and 10 in recovery! – or is it I’m just a slow learner?

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  2. I was lying in bed last night reading a book called ‘Unhooked’ and the author was going on and on about how hard it is to kick an addiction on your own without therapy or a group or whatever and I started feeling really scared and nervous that I wouldn’t last in recover. And then I thought FUCK THAT SHIT I’M GOING TO SHOW EVERYONE, I’VE GOT THE STRENGTH IN ME AND I’M NEVER GOING TO DRINK AGAIN. Sorry for those caps there but all that matters is what’s inside of me and you and if we want to do this we will!

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    1. Broken down, it is as simple as not drinking. Not being able to see into the future to know if we were successful or not, we doubt and worry at times, and that’s normal. I hate jerks who say it can’t be done a certain way, though it sounds more like your author is saying it’s hard. Still discouraging, but we’re scrappy fighters 😉 and there are plenty who defy the odds. Also think there are lot of sober people out there who go uncounted b/c they’re not in programs. I mean, I can think of three right off the top of my head (and “real life” non-internet people).

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      1. I know one good example – she spoke to me some years back, I was a year or two sober, she was going through a bad patch. She just stopped, made decision to never drink again and hasn’t – good luck to her. She is following a model of total abstinence since she got the “first drink does the damage” thing but like you say she appears in nobody’s statistics

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