A Story of Recovery:
I spent the majority of the afternoon planning a vacation my mother and I are taking, a process that has been a step in my recovery toward practicing better communication. I haven’t had much practice in this area, as I am single and have lived alone through the majority of my recovery. My present roommate is helping me practice kind communication, but I am a newcomer when it comes to saying what I mean instead of saying things in a mean way.
Today my mom and I spent an hour searching the computer and trying to book our vacation. My mom kept telling me what to do, but the computer wasn’t acting fast enough to keep up with her directions. It was a miracle that I was able to calmly state that the technology wasn’t keeping up with our demands. I let her know that if she wanted to, she could take over and manage the keys. I didn’t yell, blame, shame, or walk out of the room like a teenager. Instead, I thought about how I talk with my sponsor and my fellows. With FA as my foundation for living, I am living a life I couldn’t have created. We are now registered to go to a sunny vacation spot near a river, at a place with a kitchen and all the other amenities I need to maintain my abstinence. I am going to be with my family who I adore, thanks to FA recovery.
I am filled with awe and gratitude that anyone wants to be on a vacation with me. It wasn’t that long ago when I was miserable and a downer to be with. On one of the last family vacations I took before coming into FA, I was over eating and sneaking food and eating it in the bathroom. When my mom and dad questioned what I was doing, I denied that it was a problem or made up some excuse (like I got stung by a bee and was craving sugar). My food addiction led me to places of true darkness. I was bulimic, a binger, a starver, an obsessor, and a scared pile of nerves. The only way I knew how to relax and let go was to eat. At one point I was throwing up seven times a day, taking laxatives, wearing overalls all the time, stuffing myself to the gills, and yelling at everyone who questioned me about my food. No one knew what to do with me and it was during these hopeless bottoms that I reached points of utter despair.
I haven’t taken a vacation on my own in a while, other than to go to FA conventions and camping. One of the reasons I haven’t been on any big vacations is that I haven’t managed my money well. Also, I’ve been scared to leave the safety of my quiet, safe, and work-centered life. I’ve also been scared about working Program out of my “element.” I have let fear keep me from living the abstinent life I know God wants me to enjoy.
The gift of FA is that through all of the uncomfortable feelings and all the decisions to be made in planning this trip with my mother, I didn’t think about eating! I had eaten my lunch with my parents an hour or so before we sat at the computer to plan. I was energized mentally with a clean weighed and measured meal in my belly and brain. I thought about how I’d stay abstinent on the trip. That’s it!
I used to take my anger and self-hatred out on my mom. Now my heart is full, because I treated one of the dearest people in my life, my mom, with dignity and grace. Today I embraced the opportunity to truly participate in the planning of a family vacation. I didn’t wait for everyone else to do the work. I chipped in. I gave back. The rewards of this abstinent life I am living are gratitude, peace, humility, grace, and freedom from self-centered pride. I look forward to preparing for this vacation with an attitude centered on my recovery as I continue to practice clear, honest, and healthy communication with my loved ones. I hope God knows how much I appreciate all these blessings. I have a feeling He does.