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Old 10-25-2009, 10:49 AM   #1
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Staying free of my addiction today.

I've had to do a lot of thing and stop doing a lot of things in the daily quest to be free of my addiction. For me, addiction is the problem, things that I am addicted to are just the symptom. Before it was Alcohol and Illegal Drugs, then it was cigarettes, now it's carbohydrates. It's been a woman, a job, a hobby or a entertainment. Whatever I can find that will allow me to forget what is really bothering me, even for a short time, it's possible that I can and will abuse it.

Posting on forums like this is a suspect. I'm newly retired and it's not uncommon for me to spend most of the day just sitting here. It's not the worst of addictions, but if it keeps me out of the mainstream of life, it's damaging me and those I love.

I don't think giving it up completely is the answer, but rather finding a way to make it part of my constant re-engagement with humanity. This means that I have to really post about what I am feeling and thinking, not just bounce around throwing out jokes like I often do.

Hence this thread.

While I hope others will find it interesting and stimulating and will post what's going on in their lives and their recovery, I'll be posting here for me. It's what I'm going to do each day (I hope) to keep me honest, to keep me engaged, and to fend off the casual addiction of just knee jerk postings.

I'm hoping that because it's a little bit off the beaten path, it will just be a few of us reading it and that I can trust to post here thoughts and feelings I might not otherwise post on an open forum (Although, not anything I need to keep private!). I don't want to bore those who are not in recovery with my obsessions.

So here's post number one, may there be many more.
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Old 10-25-2009, 10:51 AM   #2
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So here's post number one, may there be many more.
Just not, you know, a really crazy number of more posts by me... that addiction thing again... OK... I'm done now.
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:29 PM   #3
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Hi Loo,

Like you I have cycled through a number of addictions, generally getting rid of one only to replace it with another - addictive behavior definitely seems to have been a coping mechanism for me. I have overcome them, one by one, and these days seem to be able to live pretty happily with moderation in all things and don't identify any addictions now - though I have one or two 'habits' that I keep an eye on (posting in forums being one of them!). I am trying to train my tendency for obsessiveness into a more productive direction.
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Old 10-26-2009, 03:03 AM   #4
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Hi Mogget,

Yeah, I'm working on that too. I have some very classical OCD behaviors that I'm struggling with, and it's the same with them.

I try to classify my obsessive behaviors into three types, Harmful, harmless and beneficial. Since I only seem to be able to replace behaviors and not eradicate them, I try to move them up the scale while replacing.

But sometimes I just have to live with them being harmless. My caffeine addiction has long bothered me. I didn't like being addicted and hated finding myself without coffee and having to hunt some down. I've quit several times and gone through the horrible headaches. Then relapsed just as often.

Then I suddenly thought, Why!? It's almost harmless. The process of withdrawal is probably more harmful than continuing the addiction. I try to keep it down, and if I find a reason to quit I might do it again, but not just because it's an addiction. I have to choose my battles.

Today I'm using that addiction to help train me into some new behaviors. I limit the number of cups I can have and to earn my second morning cup, I have to do my stretches and an hour walk. I have to have housework done to get my noon cup. I have to go to a meeting to get my evening cup. Later, as some of those things become habits, I might switch to something else. It's working for me so far, and if it seems obsessive, I'm OK with that.
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Old 10-26-2009, 01:22 PM   #5
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I like the idea of earning your coffee. I do that with my online browsing habit at work. I have to work for x amount of time, or complete a particular task, and then I am allowed to read a thread or two.

I envy you the decision to keep drinking coffee - for me it is actually a quite harmful one contributing massively to my anxiety attacks and insomnia - I have been coffee free for several months now and it is much better but I miss it so much.
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:03 AM   #6
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Yesterday I worked on my freedom from addiction by doing service work. Usually I'm inclined to keep it quiet, but this is where I can say things without being concerned about the Principle of Anonymity. I worked hard to help make a place where addicts can meet and join together and discuss their solutions, and it helped me.

To me, the Principle of Anonymity is not about keeping your name a secret. That's secrecy and I don't want secrets in my life. It's not about keeping the names and stories of others private, that's confidentiality, and I am a stickler for it, but it's not Anonymity.

To me Anonymity is the willingness to do something without expecting someone else to connect your name to it. It's about leveling your pride, and doing something for someone else and not telling them how great you are for doing it. So to me, doing service work for my local group is something I try to do without mentioning it except in certain conditions.

I do talk about service work to newly recovering addicts. They need to know about it, and they need to be led into it, and they need to know that old-timers still do service work.

I will also talk about service work to someone who is struggling or feels their enthusiasm is failing. Nothing brings joy to recovery like helping another person recover, I will sacrifice my Anonymity in order to transmit that message.

Lastly I will put myself forward if it is required so that I can actually do the service, like running for an office in my Club or Group.

But yesterday was about sweeping and moving things around and putting out the trash. I don't have to tell anyone about that, except in that I promised to write here about what I did each day to keep free of my addiction, and yesterday it was service work.

I'll have to wait and see what I do today....
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:03 AM   #7
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I forgot I was planning on keeping this going.... Space head.

Yesterday I kept free of my addiction by working with others. Besides reading and posting on this forum, I was able to talk to several addicts of different drugs, including one sugar addict. We had a long open discussion about core issues while handing out candy to literally thousands of kids on main street.

We talked about spiritual recovery, biochemical issues and trigger situations and behaviors. Turns out I am not the only one in my circle who is testing out amino acids as an aid to reducing cravings and obsessive thinking.

Plus... Itty Kids in cute costumes! What could be better?
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Old 11-02-2009, 05:22 AM   #8
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I spent most of yesterday tending to my personal needs, shopping and such. I did help a fellow addict with his computer problem (Trojan) and made a meeting in the afternoon, but the rest was all about me.

Normally I start each day off with a moment of prayer, and a short period of meditation that I had been making shorter as the years move on. Recently though I have started adding a little time and effort back into that and it seems to be showing some benefit. There's no light shining out of my eyes, but I do seem to face the day with a little more peace and cheer.

Next I plan to add a little more time to the sparse minute or two I spend in the evening on reflection and contemplation.

What personal habits do you use to improve your mental/emotional health?
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:01 AM   #9
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I have a bad habit of eating too much of sweet sometimes. And it makes my health go wrong in all way down. It also increasing some weight as well. But thing is i don't know how to control this as i like eating sweet so i don't know i'm confused. Any suggestion how you stop eating sweets which increase weight ?
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Old 11-03-2009, 05:17 AM   #10
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If you post your question on the main board you will probably get many more answers. This thread is kind of hidden off to the side. But that's alright.

There is only one way to stop eating sweets, and that is to stop eating sweets. The method I used was to stop eating sweets for just one day. Today. Stop now and don't have any today.

Then, if that works, and you wake up in the morning after a successful day of not eating sweets, try to do it again. You can tell yourself that you can have everything else you might want, things with no sugar or low carbs like meat or salad, but today, just for today, you won't have any sweets.

Fortunately after a few days of this you might find that sweets are no longer such a temptation. But until then you will just have to do the hard work of not having sweets today.

Again, please feel free to post your question on the main board. I am probably just about the only one reading this thread. You can get many more answers on the main board.
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Old 11-04-2009, 07:20 AM   #11
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Yesterday was a busy day for me, I attended three 12 Step meetings of various types. I spent a long time talking to a very sweet girl who is caught up in something pretty bad. The courts are requiring her to attend meetings even though she never used drugs or alcohol. She just got a prescription because of surgery, and tried to sell it since she wasn't using it. But she's going along with it and getting it all done...
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Old 11-06-2009, 05:34 AM   #12
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So yesterday I got my divorce papers and I was all happy and stuff. This is often a good time for me to ignore my diet and eat off plan but I didn't, which is good. I did have to deal with a friend who's niece was withdrawing from pain pills and couldn't afford medical detox. Not fun, but it never was fun. I'm old enough that I remember detoxing from Dexidrine with a bunch of Heroin addicts in an abandoned house with holes in the roof and no window glass or screens. You don't want to know how gross the conditions were but some of those guys are still clean.

Things like this, bringing me back to where I was and could easily be again, really help me be grateful for today.
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Old 11-08-2009, 05:29 AM   #13
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It's been a quiet couple of days. I've really been spending a lot of time thinking and resting. I imagined that this would be more a time of celebration, but of course it's also a time to grieve for what was destroyed.

I spent most of Friday trying to work up a righteous anger so I could finally tell my ex-wife what I thought of how she causally threw away our son's family. But I couldn't. First, I know it's not all her fault even though she was the one who cheated. Second, I know it won't accomplish anything. It won't even make me feel better.

But, in a strange recursive way, it makes me angry that I can't get angry. I kinda wanted that innocent pleasure of telling off someone who richly deserved it. I had been looking forward to it and I felt I deserved it. But I can't. Seeking the pleasure of anger is one of my addictions.

C.S. Lewis differentiates between pleasure and Joy, saying that many people search for temporary pleasure thinking it will bring them Joy. But pleasure is a sensation anyone can feel. Joy is a character trait that requires strength and persistence. Giving into pleasure almost prohibits the attainment of Joy. However, once you develop Joy, pleasure is a natural consequence.

So really pointing out my wife's flaws to her might bring me pleasure, but it wouldn't bring me Joy, and I want Joy.
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Old 11-09-2009, 10:59 AM   #14
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I think my brain is tired.

All this thinking and worrying and planning some well justified retaliation and cancelling all that and starting over... it just makes me weary.

The last 24 hours have been just me vegetating. I puttered around the apartment, I chatted with some friends, I played a video game, I watched a show on Hulu, I tended my little indoor garden (yum, scrambled eggs with fresh onion greens from my windowsill!)
I started (or re-started) an old favorite hobby of mine (UltraHal). Really kinda busy, but nothing important or time sensitive at least.

Carrying on the same today, no big plans until noon tomorrow. Rest. Not like I need rest, but rest is good anyway.
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:21 AM   #15
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Turned out that yesterday was a big day for me to really think about how sugar is an addictive drug. I watched most of "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" on You Tube and that got me started. I also had to think about my caffeine consumption. I've been thinking about quitting, especially since reading this one thread about how coffee makes people "happy" and how they won't be giving it up for anything. I used to talk about Pot that way.

Then I noticed (again) how many times people say (on this board) things like "I have to have my fruit every morning" or "I couldn't live without my veggies". Not that there's anything wrong with fruits and veggies in moderation, but when people start putting imperatives in the sentence, like "have to", I start wondering.

Then I went to a meeting where this one guy spent 15 minutes talking about how he was an alcoholic and not a drug addict. Seems he only did drugs when he ran out of alcohol.

Completely oblivious to the fact that Alcohol is a drug. But here is the real kicker.

He spent the whole time eating one little sugar candy after another. I thought to myself, this guy has never had to face his addiction at all. When ever he was out of alcohol he switched to another drug, and when he quit alcohol he just replaced it with sugar. Fine for him I guess, because he's not really fat or anything, but it really put the onus on me to face what addiction issues I might be facing.

Because it's all about me using substances to satisfy a subconscious urge that the substance will never really satisfy.
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:15 PM   #16
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Very good OA meeting last night, partly because I was not the newest newcomer and so the embarrassing focus was off me, but partly because the subject was good, the discussion was good, and the newcomer was very curious about the program.

Followed up with that AA meeting that passes around various bowls of sugar and cookies! It's so obvious to me that so far I have never even felt the least bit tempted! There's too much irony on those cookies!
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Looweewoo View Post

Because it's all about me using substances to satisfy a subconscious urge that the substance will never really satisfy.
Same here. I can quit alcohol for a month or whatever if I want to but then one day I will just want something, and since I don't abuse any other substance I always go back to alcohol. I think I need to satisfy something in my head, and ever time I go back I hate myself the next day. I think I just have an addictive personality. Why cant I get addicted to exercise

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Old 11-13-2009, 09:51 AM   #18
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People do get addicted to exercise, but it sounds like too much work to me.

I'm working on resentment today. While I am not sure I completely believe the emotional rationalizations for drinking that many people in 12 Step programs talk about, I do know that my habits tend to lead me towards medicating my unpleasant feelings.

That means there are only a few ways to proceed.

1) Go ahead and medicate my feelings. Not going to happen today.
2) Squelch my feelings. I'm afraid my history has convinced me that this is not a sustainable method. They always turn into depression, and I'm not going there again if I can help it.
3) Distract myself from my feelings. Sometimes this works. If I go for a walk or read a book I often find that whatever thoughts were bothering me will not return. But like squelching my feelings, there may be a price to pay. Some feelings pass, others are there for a reason.
4) Actually deal with my feelings. Feel them, acknowledge them. Do what I can to correct any irrational feelings by searching myself for anything I might be doing to cause the problem. Then express and appropriately ventilate the rest.

Unfortunately, the last method seems to be where I'm at... I find myself wanting to do the right thing... and we all know how painful that can be.
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Old 11-15-2009, 04:13 AM   #19
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These last few days I have found myself paralyzed by two fears. Because of a relationship problem with a person who is still actively learning from their addiction, I found myself unable to act appropriately without a lot of agonizing first.

This person screws with me, on purpose, but I have to deal with them. I can't just walk away. So, somehow, I did something forgetful, put myself at their mercy again and had to ask them a favor.

Usually what will happen is that they agree to do it, then dither, forget, postpone, apologize, wait for me to bring it up again a week later or so, then tell me that they never had any intention of doing it and that I was a sap. Normally I would have excluded this person from my circle long ago. But I can't. It's family.

So I'm stuck between the fear of being made a fool of again, and the fear of looking like the bad guy again. I want to give her another chance to be reasonable, because people should never be out of chances, but I also don't want the drama in my life right now.

This would be the perfect time to bi-locate so I could follow both paths at once. On one side I would just handle it myself and forget her. On the other path I would trust her and see if she comes through after all.

For now I'm just delaying, not saying anything unless I can be polite and kind, and waiting for my brain to make up it's mind. Lots of deep breathing, long walks, prayer and meditation.
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:55 AM   #20
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Hey Lou! Re: forum addiction: if you use Firefox, look into LeechBlock. It worked for me for about a week before I turned it off.
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Old 11-16-2009, 12:11 PM   #21
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I'll tell you, Loo, I'm a food addict. I let food and drink clog my mind and alter my judgment. I am grateful I have not only a trainer but a good friend hold me by the hand when I cried and support me through a rather dark path I led myself towards.

I'm not good with joining groups or fellowships. I needed someone to listen and give me the constructive criticism. I can take it and I can do it.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:33 PM   #22
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Loo, I have read all the posts in this thread, and I want to say how I appreciate your eloquence and your openness. I have much in common with you, in that I have always been an addictive personality, and my addictions shift from one thing to another. I used to smoke dope all through my teen years, and began drinking way back then, too. I had a very disturbing family life, and when my neighbor/best friend drowned at age 11, I began to look for escapes. I found plenty of them.

Even now, I struggle with those urges. Last week, I was watching a TV program on LSD, and thought to myself that I would love to try that. Even now. I kicked cigarettes a few times in my life; the last time was in 2001. I have had "dry spells" from alcohol, but have not kicked that habit entirely. I was sober for 2 years and 7 months, but caved when I was faced wutg what seemed like an impossibly difficult threshold to cross. It didn't make that transition any easier, but I somehow felt I deserved it.

I've never been to a meeting of any kind. I am a bit of an antisocial person. I spend most of my time at home, alone with my dog. I am currently not working. This site is the most interaction I have with people, and I am happy to be here. Still, I know it only keeps me "hidden." It's what I'm comfortable with. I need to get out of my comfort zone.

The 2 years and 7 months of sobriety happened like a miracle. I had always attributed my ability to abstain during that time to God and only God. It had nothing to do with will power. The desire was just lifted from me. I loved sobriety. I was set free. I thought it was over for good.

In fact, when I was 21, I had my first experience with being delivered from addictions through God. I stopped drinking and smoking dope all at once. Like this last time, I had no desire to do those things anymore.

But, as life went on, I began to drink a little here and there; mostly to loosen-up in order to get the nerve to hit the dance floor with my then significant other. After I graduated from nursing school, I began to dabble in smoking cigarettes again. When I met and fell in love with my late husband, (and later found out he smoked pot regularly,) I began smoking dope again. It was always in the house. If I had known he smoked pot, I would have never gotten close enough to him to love him. It was that much of a problem for me.

So, not to steal your thread, but I wanted to tell you that you are not alone, in any sense of the word. And I admire your ability to bare your soul here, for us to read. I'll be hanging around, and reading your thread. If you want to converse, let me know.

Peace
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:34 PM   #23
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Well, Cheryl, first of all it's not my thread. I'm just the guy who keeps it going. The whole idea was to hold the door open for when others wanted to join in.

I recommend meetings. Whether you believe in the process of not, whether you agree with the particular meeting's philosophy or not, just getting up and going out and being with people who are doing the same thing you are is of vast importance.

I believe that most addictions are exactly the same. There are at least three major aspects and unless you address all three you will not recover. One is the obvious physical response in the brain. Not the getting high, as sugar and tobacco addictions demonstrate, but the self-regulating function of the brain that gets habituated to something and then stridently demands that we keep the supply constant. Only abstinence can mediate this craving, and of course there are tricks to make it past the worst of them.

Second is the Mental aspect. We tend to build up an obsession around those things that our brain demands of us, and that obsession can send us back to the addiction even if we have been off for a few days and our brain chemicals are leveling off. One way to short circuit this obsession is to be around and be held accountable by others who are walking on the same path. We also need to break our antisocial pattern (which is quite common, BTW) or we tend to sit and stew, which leads us back to the obsession.

Third is cultural. We live in a society that drinks regularly. Many of us take pills frequently, nearly half of us smoke and almost all of us eat way too much sugar. Going to meetings, building friendships and a social circle of people who do not drink or whatever, can move us to a society that supports our chosen way of life. I cannot stress how important this is to long term sobriety. Being high has to seem unnatural to you, and that only happens when you normally hang out with folks who are never high.

And of course, I believe there is a spiritual aspect to our recovery, but that's for you to decide for yourself. While many people seem to think that 12 Step meetings push a certain religion over others, I have never found that to be the case myself.

Either way, welcome to the thread, good luck with whatever life changes you hope for. And for anyone reading this, please feel free to join in.

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Old 11-16-2009, 07:09 PM   #24
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I've done the meetings and fellowships and I could not stand it. It did nothing for me. One good friend out of a 1,000 people has helped me in a way that the meetings and fellowships never could. YMMV.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:21 AM   #25
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Looweewoo, what you say has the ring of truth to it and I know you speak from experience. I will seriously consider going to a meeting. Maybe it will open doors that I don't even realize are shut. I know there is an OA meeting every Saturday at the nearest hospital to me. AA meetings are in various places. I've looked into them in the past year. I went to the online AA site, and tried to participate, but it was like one huge open discussion room and it was hard to break into the conversation and be a part of it. It felt like trying to learn to swim by jumping into a swift flowing river.

When you go to the OA meetings, how do people react when you tell them you are on Low Carb or "Atkins"? I find it is the most misunderstood way of losing weight on the planet. I'm a bit tired of trying to explain how great it really is, and refuting misconceptions.

Thanks for explaining so much of what "the process" is all about, and how I would benefit. I'm going to take it to heart.

Later, friend.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:09 AM   #26
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Stats: 420/275/220 - 6'2"
WOE: Carnivore/T2 Diabetic
Start Date: Restart@350 09/17/09 The best is yet to come!
I was happy to find that at OA meetings, specific diet plans were not encouraged as a topic of discussion. I didn't feel like defending my way of eating to a bunch of strangers who may or may not have been educated on the subject. I just wanted support. The group I go to is small and is 100% about support.

That does leave me wanting to talk about LC but that's what I come here for.

The only concession I make to my LC diet is that instead of saying "I'm a compulsive over eater" I say "I'm a carbohydrate addict". No one seems to mind.
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Old 11-17-2009, 01:12 PM   #27
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Well, that's a relief to hear. Maybe the one near me practices the same method. They should, since they are all affilitated.

Carb addiction is so true. I never really knew it was mostly carbs that were keeping me captive, but once you break free from them, and eat basic, healthy carbs on a limited basis, it becomes very clear. All my binging and late-night scarffing are completely gone. I feel balanced and healthy now. I feel wonderful!

Doing the next right thing truly is the answer.
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Old 11-17-2009, 02:52 PM   #28
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OMG I'm such the "program police"... for those that are not familiar with twelvth step recovery... I've got to put in my opinion here (and also the opinion in much of our literature) that while the fellowship is important it is the twelve steps that provide a sufficient substitute. So please don't expect relief from the fellowship alone.
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Old 11-17-2009, 04:34 PM   #29
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Of course not. I never would. I don't put my trust or faith in people. Life has taught me that much. It's all about the steps, and leaning on God. But I agree with Looweewoo that the fellowship and the accountability must be a very valuable component. It's easy to feel like you're all alone in your addictions until you meet others who are right there in it, with you. Frankly, I could use some sober friends. Not only do I need the help, but I have help to give to others.
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Old 11-17-2009, 04:39 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CherylB View Post
Of course not. I never would. I don't put my trust or faith in people. Life has taught me that much. It's all about the steps, and leaning on God. But I agree with Looweewoo that the fellowship and the accountability must be a very valuable component. It's easy to feel like you're all alone in your addictions until you meet others who are right there in it, with you. Frankly, I could use some sober friends. Not only do I need the help, but I have help to give to others.

O hon! I'm sorry I wasn't aiming that at you. Its just this crazy general need that I get to post that in recovery threads...

When I was at the end right before my bottom I had literally NO FRIENDS. That is a huge gift that recovery has given me pretty much from day one. I often say that friends were "done unto" me within my first few weeks in the program. I hooked up with some girls who were getting sober too. I'm still close to two of them and one of them is practically my BFF.

Along the way I have built countless rare and priceless relationships... two of my sponsees are so dear to my heart they are like family.

I am sorry it sounded like I was discounted what you were saying! Yes of course you deserve friends! I know it can be difficult but some openess and willingness and some meetings I think you can find them.

Hang in there!
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