I have an embarrassing amount of support in my life. I have several separate groups where I am accepted, supported, even loved.
- I have the Jubilee Spiritual Community, my funky unchurch (it’s sure not your gramma’s church) here in Asheville – which in times past has been more vital to me, but still is important as a base of many friendships and a venue for my poetry and stand-up comedy. I am out about my bipolar disorder there. I know that I am loved there – and that there are many people (some of whom also go only seldom or not at all) whom I genuinely love.
- I have the Asheville Movement Collective ecstatic dance community, where people share not just dance but often become real friends. When you are all making yourselves vulnerable together by taking the risk of authentic movement, intimacy tends to spring up.
- I have the Magnetic Minds depression and bipolar support group: these are really my people and it feels like my real mission is to and for these people. This extends to wider circles of bipolar people, whom I reach through this blog and through the online healing community which I am developing for people with bipolar disorder.
- I have my grocery store community: our staff and staff-and-customers overlapping communities offer genuine support and at times even love.
- For the last several months, I have been passionately involved in the Sun Soo Tae Kwon Do community. In a couple of weeks I am going to the birthday party for an eight-year-old girl, who apparently thinks I’m her grandfather for the way she has adopted me. Need I say more about community? I’ve been averaging four Tae Kwon Do classes a week.
So why do I want one more community? Because my overeating and sugar addiction have not been helped by these other communities. So I need Overeaters Anonymous. I went to OA for a few months about a year ago. I had some good experiences. I overall ate better. Sometimes, when I was pulled towards sugar or compulsive overeating, I managed to call one of my OA friends and was able to stay straight. But I left dissatisfied, and I think there were two interwoven reasons:
- After a couple of months with a “food sponsor” who then moved away, which really kind of worked for me, I never got a sponsor. Except for that transitional sponsor (we signed on as a trial, then when she decided to move away she wanted to lighten up her commitments, I couldn’t find a sponsor who would work with my limits: I don’t want to weigh and measure my food. I don’t want to submit a food plan for each day. I need more spontaneity or I will totally act out or leave. It really did work for me to report every evening the food I ate that day. Just this took a lot of discipline. This accountability boosted my moment-to-moment mindfulness of my eating and helped me to make better food choices.
- I never immersed myself in the 12 steps, which is where the spiritual transformation happens. To really work the steps, you need a sponsor – so these two problems interface with each other. I have an intuitive feeling that the steps can be very powerful for me – could maybe be exactly what I need next spiritually.
So I went to an OA meeting on Saturday morning and another Monday evening. I’m going to target two meetings a week – not enough, some would say, to do the job but quite a stretch goal in the context of my very busy life. I didn’t speak at the first meeting aside to introduce myself, but did see a couple of people there who I could picture being my sponsor. At the meeting Monday night there were a couple of other prospects. I got both of their phone numbers and actually approached one (a friend of mine from other circles) about whether we could meet and talk sometime. (She gave an enthusiastic yes.)
I do know that after several weeks depressed, yesterday (four days into my new food regimen, which I will describe in a separate post) I started to feel good. No mania that I can see yet, but feeling good. Is it getting away from sugar, off of wheat, off of caffeine? Maybe all of this. Maybe also my new meds, which I have been gradually increasing for several months now. I may never fully know.
Oh well, that’s enough for now – more to come, I’m sure.