Sunday, March 18, 2012

Eye Surgery Fears > Chocolate Cravings

In 535 days of chocolate abstinence, especially the past 500 or so of them, I've been relatively free from obsessive thoughts about chocolate. Sometimes I see something, a candy shop window, an ad on TV, or an array of chocolate in a store, which triggers a momentary craving. But, for the most part, I'm blessed in my abstinence program with quick recovery after these stirrings.

Not true right now. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a little display of Lindt chocolate bunnies near the checkout stand at our local grocery store. I'm always drawn to bunnies anyway, and so picked one up to examine it more closely. Immediately I noticed it was not milk chocolate, which I never liked much and only ate in desperation, but dark! I noticed it was weighty, a goodly amount of chocolate. It's totally adorable with it's little, brown, crinkle-ribbon bow, and golden bell.

Adorable as the bunny may be, I could so easily chomp off its ears, devour it's nose, and scarf down all the remains of its plump little body in less than 5 minutes flat. I've been obsessing about Lindt bunnies ever since. Every time I go to the store, I can't take my attention away from them. I wake up thinking about them. After Easter, they will be gone, thank heavens, but until then, it's tough business.

Today, I'm asking why. Why am I obsessing about dark chocolate? Why is chocolate haunting me, calling my name, pleading with me to give up my abstinence, just this one time?

I have to think it's fear. Either that or the fact that my mom died 1 year ago today. She's been on my mind a lot these past few weeks. I am missing her and feeling the loneliness of not having a mom or dad any more. However, chocolate wasn't a problem for me around the time of her death. So why now? I'm back to looking at fear.

Oh ho, a thought just came to me... maybe it's both Mom and fear! In the next two months, I will be having eye surgery in both eyes, cataracts, stage 3. Yes, I've been doing the research and understand it's a common and relatively easy procedure these days. Plus it's almost 100% guaranteed to improve my vision, which has been deteriorating quickly. That's the logical, adult, reasonable way to look at it.

The little kid in me remembers Mom, when she had cataract surgeries many years ago. Mom wasn't one to complain about pain or inconvenience. She endured child births and surgeries without any sign of fear or complaint. But when she told me about her cataract surgery, her description sounded like the worst nightmare you can imagine. She told about the horror of her eye being clamped open, and being able to see the knife coming at her eye. I recall her saying she wanted to die then, and would rather be blind than ever have to go through that again.

Her surgery story has always stuck with me, as my worst daymare. So yep, memories of Mom, extra strong right now on the anniversary of her passing AND my own fears of the surgeries ahead. That's what is under the chocolate cravings. What to do about it? I don't know.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wind Scares Me

Skunk Cabbage, picture taken last week
 Our weather has been somewhere between January blizzard and March winds... some snow, quite cold, dreary, and the worst part for me... high winds. We are surrounded by tall trees, Doug Fir mostly, and live on the top of a ridge. The winds sweep up the ridge, gathering momentum it seems, and slam into our house, actually moving it and making horrendous noises. Eeeek. I have trouble sleeping when it's like this.

Must be age-related. I recall as a kid loving storms, the more violent, the more fun. We lived in MN during my school years. Tornadoes and thunder/lightening storms were not uncommon. Once, during college, I was visiting a friend who lived on a farm. We were out in the fields when a tornado suddenly developed. We hit the ditch none too soon, as it thundered over us in one exciting whoosh. Later that afternoon, we saw a large motor boat (6 passenger) wedged in the fork of an oak tree about 8 feet up. Still, I wasn't scared then, only excited and in awe of nature's force.
Same Skunk Cabbage, 3 days later

Seems fears have little by little been creeping into my life as I face turning 70 in 6 months. One of them is wind. Not breezes, mind you, but near gale force winds. And we've had a lavish of them lately. My walking partner and I walked in moderate gale winds today. The trees - alder, fir, hemlock, madrona, and maple - were cracking and creaking. Branches (ok, mostly not very large ones) were strewn everywhere along the road, and one good sized tree was down. Never was I so glad to get home, although with all the trees around our home, many of them a good 200' tall, it doesn't feel very safe inside either.

Skunk Cabbage in a creek
I'm writing about fear because experiencing it makes me want to eat, eat, eat... Comfort food... need comfort food, which to me is peanut butter and honey on toast or a big bowl of granola. Have not given in to it. Just for today, I'm acting as if everything is going to be OK. Just for today I'm writing about fear rather than eating about fear.


Gratitude for the day: at time of post, all trees around house are still standing; time to write; fabric; internet; walking partner; DB

I'm Baaaaaaack!

The book writing is a done-deal now, and thankfully I now have time to write (and read) for myself! For what it's worth, I wrote a series of posts about the process of writing the book, Part 4 of which tells the story of writing the current book.

During the 8 months, I went from a fairly comfortable size 10 jeans back up to snug 12s. Slowly at first, and then increasing my transgressions: eating more than my food plan (heaping my plate or having seconds), adding snacks, binging on chips, slacking on my walking program, not doing my toning exercises. The good news is: I did not eat any of my binge foods. I can still be proud of a year and a half of sobriety in that department.

Everything else is frayed at the edges. Snacking is, I think, the worst part... a hand full (or two or three) of almonds, a piece of toast with pb and honey or jam, a bagel and cream cheese... none of them counted as a meal. Yep, that will put the pounds back on a girl.... legs, tummy, thighs, and face... all showing the increase.... I'm wearing the snacks on my body.

Again, on the gratitude side of things, I have continued to go to OA meetings regularly. Without them, I'm certain my abstinence would have crumbled and I'd be squeezing into size 16s. Yep, that can happen very quickly. My OA group, small and steady, keeps me from unraveling completely. Bless them.

I don't know what to say about the state of my spiritual fitness. It seems shaken, or maybe frayed on the edges. I don't quite trust, don't quite believe, that there is a higher power out there somewhere (or inside somewhere) that will guide me and has my best interests at heart. OA says, "Act as if..." So that means I need to act as if my higher power exists and turn over my control, put myself in the hands of HP. Ooooh, that's a tough order. Act as if... Act as if... Just for today, I will act as if my HP, a force for balance and harmony, will guide me on a path of healthy eating and maybe even walking.

Well, I went to three of my favorite blogs tonight, revisiting dear friends for the first time in 8 months. It makes me happy!!! I'm grateful for their insights, inspiration and understanding!

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Other gratitude: skunk cabbage and daffodils opening their yellow glory even in the snow, quilting and beading, post-it notes, our purring kit-cat.