Thursday, 12 October 2017

Step four

A fearless moral inventory.

So now it becomes harder of course. I need to act so that I have "made a searching and fearless moral inventory" of myself.

Or as RB says "Write down all the things that are fucking you up or have ever fucked you up and don’t lie, or leave anything out."

This will take a long time I worry! But hey, I can use all my chocolate eating time :)

I have done some moral inventory stuff before. But I didn't know it was called a moral inventory. I just thought of it as a list of what a fuck up I was. I now need to work towards being honest and authentic in my assessment of my fuck-ed-ness.

I recognise steps one to three as laying the ground, being accepting of the help that I recognise I need.

Now I need to begin the search as to why I am a fuck up in the first place.

I'm not sure I yet understand the RB methodology for this. I've been doing some reading around this step to find different approaches to help me.

I do think that RB's starting point of listing all the people involved in my life in different age brackets is good though, and will help me unpick my behaviour in relation to those people.

RB asks the reader to draw up a table and identify how you have resented each person. Then you say why you resent(ed) them, how it has affected you and what part you have played in this.

I need to practice this and find multiple ways to do this I think. I always imagined step four would just be listing all the shitty bollocks things you have done whilst drunk or high, or all the crap you did in pursuit of getting drunk or high. I now realise that a framework makes you more thorough, and helps you do your inventory more comprehensively.

I'll be working on this for a while I think. All I can think to put in my inventory at the moment is "you are a fuck up" (but quite a nice one, with particularly good hair, at the moment)


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Step three - help me

So I'm finding the first three steps pretty easy ... as I said in my last few blogs, I've been doing some hackneyed version of a few of the steps in my quitting of the booze, without realising it. I now need to apply this same idea to what we will call for brevity's sake "the sugar."

Astonishingly, although I do consider myself intelligent, it has not really occurred  to me to do with the sugar what I did with the drink, duh!

Brand says, too, that steps one to three can be ticked off pretty quickly:

Step one - yes I am powerless and this sugar/drink bollocks has become unmanageable. Done
Step two - yes a power greater than my own will is going to be needed here. Done

And step three - "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him." or as RB says "are you, on your own, going to unfuck yourself?"

Of course I'm fucking not! I've already said I'm powerless. I've already agreed I need extra power at my back to fight my corner, thus it follows that I need a bit of humility here and to ask for help rather than doggedly rely on myself and my own plans. Relying on my own self will, so far, has not worked.

My plan and outcomes so far:

Monday morning: don't eat sugar or chocolate stuff ever again.
Monday 10am: eats chocolate biscuit BUT ONLY ONE.
Monday evening: inhale sugar. Feel like shit. Promise to not eat sugar or chocolate stuff ever again from tomorrow morning.
Tuesday morning: repeat above etc etc

So this turning over of our will and our lives, for me is seeking help, accepting I need the guidance and support from my powers out there to help recover me. To be humble in asking for and accepting help. To allow myself to be guided. When I start to think *fuck you*, I know best, remember, if you did know best, you wouldn't be in this fucking mess now, would you?

Monday, 2 October 2017

Step two - power struggle

"We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

This bit always freaked me out. After all I am the most important person in in my life, right? What other power knows better than me? What the fuck is this so called "power" anyway?

RB positions it as HOPE. Hope that another life is possible, hope that you can change and transform your life. Hope, evidenced by other people, who have recovered from their addictions.

Our addictions have power over us, otherwise we would just stop. We admit in step one that we are powerless in the face of our addictions. So to deal with our addict selves we need something more powerful than ourself, to kick some ass, to have our back, to hold our hand.

This is the killer for me .... I accessed this power when I quit drinking without even fucking knowing I was doing it! THAT was the difference in this last quit! THAT was why it worked this time! YOU ALL ARE MY POWER. You in your collective support and wisdom and showing me a new way, and a better way. Revelation. Mind. Blown. 

RB indicates the power can be "a support group, made up of like-minded people. It can be an orthodox or traditional idea of God. It can be nature."  This blog, you darling readers, are my power. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

So I'm good with step two. I go me some power!

Saturday, 30 September 2017

I am a bit fucked

Chapter One "Are you a bit fucked?"

I worked through the questions in the first chapter tonight for step one. It felt weird writing answers to each question, but reading my answers below now I see I have created a pretty good summary of this problem with binge eating chocolate, sugars and processed carbs. As I got to the end of the questions I realised that this part of my life IS unmanageable. Putting all the issues together like this had really highlighted the impact it is having and how very unhappy it is making me.

I want to change my eating behaviour. I want to stop eating sugars and chocolate. I want to stop binge eating in the evenings in particular.

I am fearful that if I stop my partner will accuse me of being no fun and cutting out all 'enjoyable' things in my life. I think he already thinks this about me because I quit drinking and he did not. He does not see it as a problem and just an occasional indulgence in an otherwise healthily life.  He does not know about or see all the food I eat. I am fearful that if I stop this behaviour I will replace it with something else more harmful, like starting drinking again.

I get pleasure from eating chocolate, I love the taste and texture, but I cannot stop once I begin and am eating more and more, even though I promise myself I will stop, I never do.

If I don't change this behaviour I will gain weight. I may be at risk of diabetes. All the sugar will damage my teeth. I will become increasingly angry and unhappy with myself and begin to dislike myself and feel a failure. I already feel like a failure because I cannot seem to stop this behaviour.

If I change I I'll feel much better energy levels I hope and not the highs and lows of sugar dependency. I will sleep better and wake up not feeling hungover with all the sugar I have eaten the night before. I will be proud of myself for dealing with this addiction. I will be healthier, mentally and physically. I will stop gaining weight.

I am unhappy at home because I am angry at myself for binging like this and breaking promises to myself, and I take it out on my family. I am angry if they bring these foods into the house, and I transfer my anger about eating to my family.

I feel like my partner is an enabler of this behaviour became he is always buying foods like chocolate that are bad for me and I am addicted to. He bring to the house lots of processed carbs which I substitute for sweets when I cannot get them. So I end up binging on bread, crisps etc

I constantly set targets to try and control the behaviour but break them each day.  I go on diets all the time.

I think that I am simply bored and eat to occupy the time in the evenings. I seem to also feel I have a sense of entitlement, that I have quit drink, that I exercise etc and so I deserve sweets as a reward for my good behaviour.

I don't know why I can't stop except that I promise myself every day that I won't keep doing it, yet I do.

I am now so unhappy with this behaviour that I am willing to try anything to change it. I have tried and tried myself to make this change and I have failed every time, for years, to stop.

I admit I am powerless over chocolate and sugar binges and that my life in this area is unmanageable. I cannot, on my own, with my present understanding, consistently manage this problem.

The 12 fucks

I suppose I should warn any readers out there that the nature of RB's book (see previous post) means there will be fucks galore. So, err, fuck off, if that offends.

Now the books main premise seems to be taking the AA 12 steps and turning them into RB speak, and accessible language, for the uninitiated not only to understand but to connect with in their lives, interpreting scary things like God and higher powers along the way. The two versions of the steps are given below. I'll use a separate post for my first step, but I thought it might be useful to see this below for context. Each step is dealt with within a separate chapter and at the end of each chapter there are exercise questions to work through. It was thinking about where I would write my answers to these question that made me decided to use my blog as my own personal workbook.

AA 12 steps:

1 We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
2 We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3 We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4 We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5 We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6 We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7 We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8 We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9 We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10 We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11 We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12 Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practise these principles in all our affairs.

Russell Brand's reworking of the 12 steps language:

1 Are you a bit fucked?
2 Could you not be fucked?
3 Are you, on your own, going to ‘unfuck’ yourself?
4 Write down all the things that are fucking you up or have ever fucked you up and don’t lie, or leave anything out.
5 Honestly tell someone trustworthy about how fucked you are.
6 Well that’s revealed a lot of fucked up patterns. Do you want to stop it? Seriously?
7 Are you willing to live in a new way that’s not all about you and your previous, fucked up stuff? You have to.
8 Prepare to apologize to everyone for everything affected by your being so fucked up.
9 Now apologize. Unless that would make things worse.
10 Watch out for fucked up thinking and behaviour and be honest when it happens.
11 Stay connected to your new perspective.
12 Look at life less selfishly, be nice to everyone, help people if you can.

So I'll be cracking on with number one soon. In the mean time. I am pondering this from the introduction, so resonant with me:

"Do you have that sense that something is missing? A feeling in your gut that you’re not good enough? That if you tick off some action, whether it’s eating a Twix, buying some shoes, smoking a joint or getting a good job, you will feel better?  (Hell fucking yeah!) ..... each addictive pursuit has been an act of peculiar faith that the action will solve a problem."

This so perfectly sums up my experience. I seek to use material goods, and addictive substances, to fill a gap, a hole, a longing, fix a sadness. I am amazed that I ever thought that would work. I have no idea why I became an addict in this way, and why drinking and eating became my chosen "solution". Maybe I am about to find out.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Are you a bit fucked?

Probably, yes, if you are reading my blog.

Anyway, the question comes from Russell Brand's new book Recovery: Freedom from our Addictions.

Now RB is a pretty marmite person, we seem to love or hate him ... I personally will always have a big soft spot for someone that wears their addictions on their sleeve and talks honestly about them.

I ummmm'd and ahhh'd about buying his book. I feel pretty recovered regarding my drinking. I KNOW I am utterly fucking powerless in the face of it and work on my sobriety with this in mind. I suppose I do my own crude and incomplete 12 steps when it comes to my drinking without any reference to the official steps.

I don't see myself as an alcoholic, but I am an alcohol addict. I do not have a disease, just an attraction to addictive substances the more I consume them. (No shit!) For this reason I have avoided AA and it's 12 steps and Russell's book uses the 12 steps ....

However I have become increasingly addicted to bad foods, sugar, chocolate etc. over the past couple of years and so thought I'd give the book a go to see it it can help me free myself from this binge eating addiction cycle. It also may well give me a better insight into my past drinking. So I will be blogging my way through the book and exercises and letting you know what I think and how I get along.

But I haven't started reading it yet .......

Love SP xx

Sunday, 20 August 2017

I got me back

I don't post as often anymore. Simply because I just am sober. I have some distance behind me now and so my normal day to day life doesn't feature drink and doesn't, now, feature me thinking about drink.

When I go out, less now than I used to, I notice I'm usually not the only abstainer. People who I used to hold the bar up with, now drink less, or don't drink at all. My 3am procecco girl no longer drinks more than half a glass all evening. My university wing girl, she of many unspeakable debauch nights, often drinks sparkly juices, not coping with the hangover now. Others just "don't feel like it" tonight. Another friend has started to read the usual books on not drinking.

Yet more old timers and booze buddies still drink, but less, and are no longer proud of the gargantuan volumes they neck, but are rather conscious of the tick tock of the booze bomb and go on about knowing they need to cut back. They ask me how and why I did it, through genuine interest rather than lining me up for a takedown.

When I am thinking about drinking now, this puts a stop to any further thoughts .... everyone around me is slowing down, cutting back, acknowledging their excesses as negatives, or simply quitting. If I started back up again, I would have found my friends have moved on.

Just because you've always done something, doesn't mean you always have to.

My friends are moving on and I am too. I am about to change my career. This new job move is a big change. A risk and an unknown. One I feel confident about though. You see I quit drink and I got a life back. I got choice back, and I got bravery back. I got me back, and as long as I've got me by my side, I can do anything.