this all or nothing shit has got to go

people in the program (that means AA, kids) often talk about how they have black and white thinking — all or nothing thinking. i think lots of other people have it, too. but it seems particularly predominant amongst addicts/alcoholics. here’s how it works in several arenas:

i’m the best person in the world, i’m better than you, i rule, i have the best ideas, you can’t teach me anything … OR … i have no self-esteem, i’m the worst person ever, everything i do turns to shit, no one likes me, i will always be a failure.

that’s kind of the basis for it all. but it can manifest itself in a million different forms.

i will date anyone, i kind of sleep around, i’m a total flirt, i settle for anything, i am totally codependent, i have no boundaries … OR … i will become a nun (even though i’m not catholic or super buddhist), i will never have romance or sex again, i will never trust anyone in my life ever, i will never be able to connect with someone intimately, i will never bother to consider anyone as a romantic interest, i have no interest in dating.

i completely watch my weight and am on a constant diet, i never let myself have any treats, i’m obsessed with being skinny and thin and i constantly berate myself for being fat, i am always trying to do things to make myself thinner, i am always wondering if there’s another way i can lose weight, i am always trying not to eat … OR … i eat whatever i want, i am always eating a fuckload of sugar and candy and chocolate, i eat even when i’m not hungry, i have too many meals a day, i never exercise, i do the least amount of activity possible, i am a total sloth.

i spend my money recklessly, i buy things i don’t need, i don’t watch my spending, i bounce checks sometimes, which means i have to pay ridiculous fees, i offer to buy other people things, i buy things i can’t afford, i buy too much of one thing, i use money and shopping to make me feel better … OR … i still have clothes that i wore in high school, i only shop at thrift stores, i wear things that don’t really fit me or that are worn and stained, i feel like i don’t deserve new or nice things, i save and reuse things over and over again, i keep things that could be thrown out and bought again instead of letting them clutter my life.

lately, i’ve been praying for the willingness to stop eating sugar, to exercise, to eat right and take care of my body (and also to work on my 4th step, but that’s beside the fact). and i find myself eating more sugar than ever. part of me thinks that’s me getting the willingness by making myself fucking sick. it’s like when i quit smoking. i just prayed for the willingness every day and one day it was literally removed from me. but i will say that at one point i just decided that i was fucking powerless, and that i was going to smoke as much as i wanted whenever i wanted. cause clearly, it was NOT up to me how or when to quit. cause i couldn’t do it on my own, cause i was trying and failing miserably.

so, i think that’s why i’m eating sugar like a fucking freak. but the other day, i went on a walk for 20 minutes and it was nice. and that’s what i mean by the all or nothing has to go. because i’ve been getting prompts from my higher power to walk or get out and do stuff and i blow them off because my mind tricks me and says, “but you’re only going to walk around the block two times.” who fucking cares!?! two times is so much better than NO times. but there’s that perfectionist part of me that says, “until you are riding a bike for 5 miles a day and walking for one hour, do NOT exercise. repeat! do not exercise. also, do your yoga CD, too.”

and, DUH! i’m not going to be able to do that all right away. it’s going to come slowly. but that’s my crazy ass perfectionist brain. and i heard someone say in a meeting yesterday that “if i’m striving for perfection — perfection is without flaw. and the only thing in my world that’s without flaw is my god. and if i’m striving for perfection, i’m trying to be my own god. and then i’m trying not to be human, and i’m not leaving any room for god.” big stuff, there. she has 6 months. and that’s why it’s SO important for me to listen to EVERYONE in AA. everyone has something to teach me.

anyway. the all or nothing thinking has to go. and i thought i’d just share that.


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