While change is a part of life, some changes are more unexpected and more jarring than others. After a period of abstinence, I came to expect that good things would happen to me. It was a major attitude change., and it altered my perspective.
But sometimes, just when things get into a nice rhythm, something comes up that demands my full attention or I have an unpleasant encounter with someone, and I find myself falling back in to old patterns of ingratitude or resentment. As with the food, I must be conscious of this habit.
I've realized lately how much I rely on order in my life. Putting boundaries around my food opened new horizons in other areas, and I began to invest more of my energies into maintaining and developing structure wherever I could.
What I didn't take into account it that life is flexible and ever changing, and the more structure I project into it, the less predictably it behaves. I live in a world with people in recovery, and each of us is as likely to be be in transition as the other.
Many of my problems arise when I expect people to behave in a certain way, and they don't cooperate. The next thing I know, I'm upset. Often I feel I have information that could help them. I believe I know why they are the way they are. This does not help the situation.
This attitude is behind many of my relationship issues, and it has to go. So I've begun asking people about it, and I've learned that I'm not the only one with this "gift" (surprise). I started asking God (and others) for help, I write about it, and I meditate on how I can let go of this need to be in control. The answers are coming . . . slowly.
A long time ago, someone told me that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. If I focus on how I can make the most of this day without hurting myself or anyone else, I will be living within the contract I made with my Higher Power when He granted me the choice of whether or not I ate compulsively that day.
I can ask questions of others rather than assume information not in evidence.
I can be patient when under stress and give God the time He needs to present me with answers.
I can stay rested and committed to working the tools each day to keep me focused.
I can do service, but I will do it without expectation, as a function of gratitude.
I will share my journey, so I avoid the tendency to isolate or fall into old habits of keeping secrets or minimizing my feelings. I will work my program.
Changes will come again, and I hope to see them as opportunities to move away from characteristics that limit my usefulness.
- N.R., Ipswich, Massachusetts USA
This story first appeared in Lifeline, September 2002, p. 5, copyright Overeaters Anonymous, Inc.