Deep Conversations

This is why I wish my internet friends lived closer. Brad and I talk online a ton, about everything. We talk about life, his kids, our jobs, my theater stuff, you name it, we have probably discussed it at some point. I’m one of those people that sometimes thinks best out loud. I’ll be talking to someone about something, usually about needing a course of action or a decision or something, and in the course of the conversation things become clear to me. Generally I love when that happens, when something someone says prods my brain in a way that me just thinking about it wouldn’t have.
Below is a conversation I had with Brad on Thursday. It has helped bring about a bit of a mental shift, which will be good, and has been needed for a long time. It’s a bit of a lengthy chat, but filled with so much good productive stuff that I didn’t want to edit it just because it felt a little long. (and since it’s my blog, I can pretty much do whatever I want.
Judy: I read a thing in an OA email that really struck me, and I’m hoping the meaning will be clear even though you’re not in the program too: “Every successful abstinent OAer began as a compulsive overeater. Every last one of them. I have looked at these superstars of OA as heroes forgetting that they had to begin where I am. It is not an exclusive club at the top. There’s room for everyone who wants to work the program.”
Brad: good. I’m glad that’s striking a chord with you.
Brad: you can redirect this conversation if you want to, but I was curious… have you fluctuated a lot in your life or did you get to this size in high school and have stayed for 10+ years?
Judy: umm, I was smaller in highschool, but not by much. I was probably the size I am now by the time I was 22
Brad: ok
Judy: I’ve fluctuated a bit in the last few years but it’s only been by a size or so, and I’m not even sure if that has more to do with the cut of the garment than anything else
Brad: gotcha. have you made any big runs at losing weight or have you not had a strong desire to do so before now?
Judy: yeah, I lost 25 pounds on WW a few years ago, right before my sister’s wedding. Gained it back and then some I think. Then I lost some weight last fall when I joined OA, but gained that back when I stopped going to meetings
Judy: but my deadline is here, and I’m still not ready for it to be. so the new deadline is next year, and if there isn’t significant progress, well… we’ll see
Brad: ok, just curious as to your path.
Judy: I have very little self discipline, which I’m pretty sure you already know
Brad: I don’t claim to know anything of that sort, but I had suspicions.
Brad: I know I’m the weight I am because of genetics… but I also feel like I’m very driven towards goals. I’d like to think that if I had a reason to be a vegetarian, or give up alcohol, or something I really liked, I could do it in the name of the greater good.
Brad: but I don’t claim to really know, and won’t claim to know
Judy: I’m not trying to make excuses by saying this, but my whole life, everything was always spelled out for me, which I’ve mentioned in the past. Discipline always came from other people, and so I never learned self discipline. And at this stage, I don’t really know how to teach myself that.
Judy: but I’m trying
Brad: that’s interesting.
Brad: I see you as so independent.
Brad: so it’s hard to imagine you as not self-disciplined… but when I think about things, I realize that’s true.
Judy: that’s what I project
Brad: well, I’m glad you’re making an effort.
Judy: it’s what I want to be and try to be, but it doesn’t always work.
Brad: whether it’s with finances or food, or whatever. making the effort is important. sticking to it is the hardest part though.
Judy: yeah
Judy: and I think that’s why I talk about things so much- because I care way too much about what other people think of me, and so I feel like if other people are watching, I don’t want them to see me fail
Brad: is that a motivator though? feeling like you disappointed others?
Judy: trying not to disappoint is the motivator
Brad: I’d only think it is a little bit, but not enough to make you succeed.
Judy: well, exactly
Brad: that’s not really wanting it though. Wanting it for yourself is most important… at least, I feel that way about the things I do.
Judy: I think maybe we’re saying the same things?
Brad: well, at any rate, keep up the OA, get your meds… try and integrate will power into each day. 🙂
Judy: there are things I want for myself, but they’re things I don’t know how to get for myself, whether because I don’t have the tools or because impulse control is not my strong suit and ends up hurting the overarching goal. It leads to a lot of false starts.
Brad: you’re doing great from what I can tell.
Brad: I see that. yeah.
Brad: I also think you can overcome it.
Judy: so the tool I try to use, that doesn’t always work is “I have to succeed at this or so-and-so will be disappointed in me or will see me fail”
Brad: hm, I don’t think that’s a very strong tool.
Judy: that’s sort of my point
Judy: I know that it’s not, but it’s the one I have. I don’t know how at this point in my life to get other ones. (which sounds like a cop-out or excuse but I’m not meaning it to be)
Brad: well, my personal experience has been that it’s easiest to find something like a walk/race to focus on, and then the other things come easier. For instance, training for a 5K. You can walk it or walk/jog it. So, when I had a race to focus on, I would make my lunches healthy because it was “for the race” and I wouldn’t want to exercise that day but I’d do it because I know how much it’s needed “for the race”. etc. The motivators of doing well in the race are to 1) receive accolades for doing a race of any kind 2) completing the 5K and not disappointing the people you told about it. And for me, it was about beating times, personal goals, etc.
Judy: if I’m really really honest with myself, deep down, I try and I fail and I start to think I can’t do it and so I stop trying, til I forget that I think I can’t do it and try again. It’s a bit of a vicious circle
Judy: (and I don’t think I have ever expressed that thought to anyone)
Brad: well, I think it’s probably more common than you think. you should share it at OA and see if you see some heads nodding.
Judy: maybe
I’ve never been terribly goal oriented. I make goals, but there were never consequences to not acheiving those goals. Maybe now that there are consequences (aging, health as I age, knowing that my life will always be this way and not liking the way it is), I’ll be able to keep some goals.