To My People,
"Epiphany" - Webster's dictionary, 1. [religious holiday celebrated on] January 6; 2. "an appearance or a manifestation, especially of a divine being." My epiphany was January 6, 1980 and the "divine being" I saw was myself--a clear food-free self. Abstinence is the Windex on my windshield of life. Thanks to it, I see clearly and can drive myself places that I want to go. Today is my 23rd anniversary.
What's in a number? Grace, footwork, and mainly, more options and more experiences so that I don't feel like anyone can take my abstinence away from me. It's so important and sacred to me, but I want to write a bit about what it means. How did I get here? I do exactly what I did on Day One--I w & m 3 meals a day off the greysheet, nothing in between, call them in to sponsor, go to meetings, follow extra credit spiritual practices. Abstinence is the most important thing in my life.
Two nights ago, I dreamed I was qualifying and was sobbing with gratitude about what food meant for me today: "Pleasure and nutrition! Pleasure and nutrition! Imagine! For someone like me! Free at least! Free at last!!"
Food no longer means: a huge instatiable craving, a 50 lb. yo-yo for 20 years, shame, failure, diets, starving, hangovers, rewards, self consciousness in groups, foggy thinking at work, a love-subsitute, a career-substitute, confusion, hell, lack of a center, lack or priorities that I could stick to, and being out of focus physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. I don't live like that today. I have everything I need, and most of it is inside stuff.
I W & M'd the meals, yes, but it's a WE program and I want everyone in my home meetings in Cambridge, on the greynet, on the phone meetings, and anyone else who also does this odd and amazingly "worth it" spiritual discipline to pat themselves on the back.
After 23 years, I can say that nothing else matters (as much). It is the one thing I am proudest of in my life. I took it easy and when I was ready, HP threw various experiences my way and I didn't eat. Plenty of people get by on denial about their eating, but my first g.s, meeting ruined my denial with truth. If I can get it, anyone can. Anyone who does the drill will reap the rewards. It's not a program of shame or comparison or aerie fairie intellectualized spirituality. It's about action, attitude, honesty, and having food restored as a pleasure and nutrition!!!
Why me? Many many have stepped off the elevator, either on the bottom ("I can't do it; it's too hard and I'm too hopeless!") or the top ("I'm better now. I can handle it. I can always get back on.") The first excuse is reverse egotism (worse than everyone else) and the latter is the scariest one, and one I have heard recently. Too many people have tried to come back and testified that it's easier to STAY abstinent than to get it again. I believe them. Why gamble, I say?
I get much more than I put in, in terms of sanity, clarity, and joy. I am amazed and grateful to still be here.
January 6, 2003