A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Self Acceptance

Anyone who tentatively approaches recovery from any kind of addiction is told that first you have to accept yourself as you are.  That is what the Higher Power does and if the Higher Power can do it, so can you.  And you must because it is the basis of self love.  For the most part, I do accept myself as I am, but there is one area where I resist:  my obese weight.  God has placed a voice in my mind, a man’s voice and this voice says that it is a sex addict.  Sex addicts, like most using addicts, are immature and they focus in on physical appearance.  So this voice often attacks me for being obese. He says he has multiple lovers who are all physically beautiful.  He does not dwell on their sexual sicknesses.

Actually, he doesn’t dwell on them much at all, but they are the measure by which he measures me. From what I can tell he and they are “beautiful”, self hating addicts who probably have eating disorders that lead them to be underweight.  They see sex as an expression of “love” when the reality is more like they use each other to avoid dealing with themselves and their problems.  I do not want to be like them.  I am very resistant to the reduction of love to mere appearances.  This is not the man that I would choose to be in a love relationship with because he is not capable at this point of loving himself or anyone else.  But my connection to him and his insistence on the superficial aspects of relating to me hurts me.

Unfortunately his sick, sexually addicted way of looking at women in particular is mirrored in our culture.  He has a lot to hold onto to preserve his orientation.  TV, films, magazines and countless teenagers and young women all trying to present a prefabricated image of what it is to be an attractive woman.  The irony is that many of these women who obsessively attach to the superficial are not able to accept themselves even when they do reach an “ideal” weight.  Regardless of how they look, they do not feel beautiful inside.  Inside I feel neither beautiful nor ugly; I am just myself and I like and love myself inside.  Outside I usually like myself, too, but not always.  So this is my Achilles heel and my sex addict voice attaches to it with a certain relish.  And I believe God is using my obesity as a lesson to me and to this voice in my mind, whoever, whatever it is.

As I said in a previous blog, Love is spiritual in its essence, not physical.  How many people have you loved dearly who were physically imperfect?  I think most of us would say most of us because the fact is that’s the way we come.  We are imperfect beings.  Physical imperfections are the least of it.  But for obsessive, controlling individuals trying to erase or deny their physical imperfections, minor things become major things and hook them into horribly addicted patterns that too often cost them their very lives.  I did decide at a certain point in my illness when I was reducing my meals to one or two a day that I would rather be fat than anorexic or bulimic.  I was not willing to train myself to become obsessively compulsive with my food and treatment of myself.

It is my heart and mind, my spirit that is most valuable to me.  As for my body, I am so grateful that I can walk and that I have relatively good health.  So many people are suffering within their bodies due to various ailments.  I have nothing to complain about.  More than that I know the Higher Power loves me just as I am.  I will continue to try to eat right and get some exercise, try to do my part, but as to the rest of it, it is what God wills and in God’s time, not mine.

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