Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Making mistakes and the courage it takes

Recently, I posted about people I've either met at meetings or in my personal life who insist that their symptoms are far worse than mine and use that as an excuse to tell me why RI wouldn't help them. After I had posted it, I realized I made a mistake and that it could be hurtful to those people and so deleted it. Instead, I'd like to offer encouragement to anyone who feels that they could not be helped by RI because it seems too "simple" or "easy" and uncomplicated in today's world of complicated solutions to our problems or that it's not working quickly enough for them. For many years I attended a meeting led by a very dear woman who often spotted at meetings that "Recovery is simple, but not easy." What that meant to me is that though the method itself is uncomplicated, it is not easy to spot on our symptoms because it requires a certain type of introspection that can be painful. It can be difficult to admit that our symptoms are average and that they aren't dangerous because some of us were told for many years either by professionals or friends or society that our symptoms are dangerous, that we should find a way to get rid of them immediately and if they come back, that's bad news. When attending our first RI meeting, we hear that "symptoms are distressing but not dangerous" and that "they'll rise and fall and run their course if we don't attach danger to them." We might hear that we are taking ourselves a little too seriously and think, "But my problems are serious, my symptoms are dangerous, and if they don't stop, I'll (fill in the blank with any number of desperate measures)." Basically, at our first meeting we might experience a challenge to our ideas of how the world is supposed to be. RI challenges us to change the way we think, to change our thoughts about ourselves and how we see the world. That can be scary, but it's worth it in order to reduce our symptoms to the point where we can not only solve our own problems and be what Dr. Low called "self-led" but we can change our thoughts and ultimately change our lives.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

RI and Overeating

I started this post a while ago, but recently decided to overhaul my diet. I know I am not the first person to use RI to help control my eating habits, but I rarely hear anyone talk about it at a meeting, so I thought I'd share my ideas here.

When I started attending Recovery meetings, I was at least 40 pounds overweight. I overate because of depression and anxiety and also as a result of the side effects of some medication. I wasn't exactly moving my muscles, either.

After attending RI meetings for a month or so, I found myself in another program's meeting. At the break, a box of cheap cookies sat on the table next to the coffee. I eyed it. They weren't my favorite kind (oatmeal with icing), but suddenly, I felt hungry. I started to reach my hand toward the box and then I realized that I could control my muscles and not take the cookie. I could bear the discomfort of not eating the cookie. There was no danger if I did not eat that cookie, which I really didn't like in the first place.

I applied this idea to many other eating situations. It worked. I also started moving my muscles more often and began to lose weight. I changed my diet further, and that helped, too. It took several years, but I lost about 40 to 45 pounds (I stopped weighing myself at a certain point but am certain I gained more afterward).

So, if you are dieting and trying to stop eating foods that you know to be unhealthy or fattening, look at some the Recovery tools you already use for other situations. I'm not saying these will help with an eating disorder, but these tools are very effective for controlling those overeating muscles.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Attention Newcomers

Hi. It's been a while since I last posted anything here. I've been busy with work, married life, child rearing, etc. This in itself is amazing because when I started attending RI meetings almost 13 years ago, I didn't have anything to keep me busy.

I was recently married but my nervous symptoms interfered with the harmony at home. Shortly after getting married, I had a pretty bad setback that preceded a short hospitalization. My hubby and I were arguing a lot of the time, too.

Enter RI. A friend of mine tried it and claimed she wasn't having as many problems with angry outbursts. So I attended a meeting.

I hated it. That's right. I thought it was ridiculous. Nothing I heard made sense to me. What was this "angry temper" and "fearful temper" these people were talking about? What was spotting? To make matters worse, no one would answer my questions. They made me wait till the end of the meeting, and even then, I didn't get satisfactory answers. I was told to attend more meetings. The nerve.

Then I had my "setback," although that's not what I called it. But sitting on the hospital bed one day (or night) I realized that RI was my last chance. So I took it.

I attended meetings three or four times a week, sometimes more if I could (after all, I had nothing else to do, being unable to work). This was before spot sheets were allowed, so I learned the spots by repeating other people's spots. And I read the book as if it was the best thing ever written. And to me, it was. I underlined everything that applied to me, over and over again, and wrote notes in the margins. I still have the book. In some places, it is hard to read the printed words because of all the highlighting, underlining, and note taking I did.

The gist of all this? Keep coming back to meetings even if they bore you, you don't understand the format or the Recovery language, you're too tired, too scared, too depressed. Please keep attending meetings, as many as you can each week, at least for a month, maybe longer. Buy the books and read them: "Mental Health Through Will Training," "Selections," and "Manage Your Fears, Manage Your Anger." These three books replaced all the self-help books I bought in the previous decade. I still don't buy self-help books because everything I need is in these three. Go online. Join a chat or online meeting. Post an example on the discussion board. Go for it. You never know: you might end up with a whole new life, or at least a better one.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...