I have so much going on in my head, it’s hard to know what to write today. So I’m just going to type & see what comes out.
Last night at my OA meeting, the discussion was on step 6.
Steps 4 & 5 lead up to step 6.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
This step simultaneously excites me and terrifies me. Excites me because this step is one of the key milestones in deep, lasting, positive change. Terrifies me because, while I know I have many character defects, admitting to them and letting them go will be difficult.
Why do I think this will be difficult? Probably because I've lived with my character defects for so long, I don't know how I'll live without them.
What are my character defects? I haven't officially defined them yet. But mostly, at this point, I feel like I am one big ball of character defects. Procrastination, selfishness, laziness, monkey mind, self hatred, easily distracted, fearful to the point of paralysis, anger, self importance, arrogance, impatience, being controlling. I'm sure there are more that I'll discover as I work these steps.
I am hard on myself. I often feel like what I do isn't good enough. That *I'm* not enough. That if only I would be this or that, instead of who I am now, I'd be happier and be a better person. I often live my life out of selfishness and laziness--as in, I don't want to do what I don't want to do.
I routinely "should" myself. I should get up earlier. I should go to bed earlier. I should workout in the morning. I should workout at night. I should eat better. I should feed my kids better. I should spend more play time with my kids. I should manage my money better. I should manage my household better. I should meditate, be more spiritual, take yoga classes, be more generous, volunteer more, be nicer to my husband, be more patient with my kids, be a better parent. And on and on and on.
My monkey mind processes these kinds of thoughts all day long. Not only these thoughts, but thoughts of how I failed in the past, or how others failed me in the past.
I get in a loop, and the loop goes round and round until it crowds out all else.
Some days are better than others. Some days the monkey mind is quieter and doesn't beat me up as much as other days. Some days, I feel like I've done some things right--like get up early enough to not be crazy in the morning, handle a parenting situation well, or have a cleanly abstinent day.
This leads me to think of step 7, which is "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings."
Like removing my compulsive overeating, I need my higher power to remove my shortcomings.
Self knowledge and knowledge of the how's and why's of self hatred aren't enough for *me.* They may be enough for others. For an addict like me, self knowledge doesn't make me change.
I need divine intervention to help me change and to learn to accept myself.
Does that mean I can't do anything for myself? No. I am called to action. I am called to work the steps. I am called to have an Action Plan which helps guide my day, to make it the best day I am able to. I am called to read and learn and listen.
I am called to not rely on my way, to not rely on my strength alone, and to give my cares to my higher power to work through them for me. (Being the control freak that I am, this one is really hard.)
Getting out of the rut of "shoulds" is hard work. Changing bad habits & unproductive routines is hard work. Selfish & self centered--I don't want to do what I don't want to do--makes this challenging, as well.
Many days, I don't want to have the best day. I just want to coast, to be numb, to not feel all my shortcomings. I no longer numb myself with food. But there are other ways I escape. Right now it's reading. It has also been shopping or movies or TV shows.
I don't write all this as if I'm a helpless case. I am making changes. I do have better days. I see improvements. I am hopeful for the present and the future.
The best thing I can do for myself is focus on one day at a time. One choice at a time. To do what's necessary at this moment, and then do what's necessary the next moment.
Monkey mind often makes my moments get mixed up. I'm doing one thing, I think of something else I need to do, and skip to that something else. I often have to force myself to stay on task, to resist the urge to follow every thought that flits through my brain. It's hard work.
Sunday I spent a lot of time outside working on the yard and the landscaping. When we did the back yard two weeks ago, we didn't have time for the front. Sunday, after I saw the accomplishments of four hours work, I felt good. It was therapeutic to breathe fresh air, work the ground, beautify my home and get rid of the "pile" of weeds and unattractiveness of our neglected (for years) landscaping.
That kind of thing--working when I'd rather have been lazy and reading--is one kind of positive change I am happy about.
What is remarkable to me, is that now that I am out of the food fog, now that food is a "minor" issue (I will always be an addict, the addiction is not minor, but I have been freed from compulsive overeating), I can finally pay attention to deeper issues of my life.
The food fog hid these issues by burying them. Now they are rising to the surface, and I can't (won't) ignore them. Shining the light on them is the first step to healing.