Friday, August 01, 2008

72 Degrees

Vital stats:

Day 22 of abstinence.
Thirteen pounds lost, from 262 to 249.
Room temperature: 72 degrees.
Outside temperature: 87 degrees, 40% humidity.

I have survived 80% of the air conditioner crisis and the new unit is holding steady . I have rarely felt as profoundly grateful as I have in the last week.

A total stranger overheard me wondering if it was a bum machine or the Edison-era electricity to blame and he came over with industrial strength extension cords & got it working on a different socket with the advice that I needed a real electrician to work on the fuse box. The Real Electrician finally came yesterday & in 10 minutes the A/C was plugged into its dedicated socket & having my computer & lights on was no longer a risk. I still have to have it re-installed with a sleeve & some major carpentry work to fix the wall, but I have had a refuge from the heat that was sorely missing.

I can't remember the last time I had three weeks of abstinence. I see it less a steel-willed thing than a grace bestowed without deserving it.

OK, maybe I deserve it. I do the abstinent shopping & food preparation, I stay in touch with my sponsor, I do meetings. But the willingness to do this is not mine.

Going through four days of a heat wave without the A/C definitely underlined what my weight is & also made it impossible for me to eat sugar, which gives me the sweats -- the last thing I need. And the difficulty of staying abstinent has underlined the need for simplicity in my life.

Like everyone, I tend to make huge lists of things I have to do each day. These lists become my task master as much as my food plan or sugar or the scale or the heat dominates me. No air conditioning, & then fragile air conditioning, meant I had to slow down. There was no way I was going to fold hot laundry or saute greens. I couldn't even see my computer well enough for serious writing in long stretches. I started taking things off my list that didn't have anything to do with basics: my 12-step commitments, finances, food. I was tired not only from the heat but from moving furniture every day and from the stress. It's taken me a week to begin to get interested in writing, cleaning, being social.

I like the lessons, however. My reaction to the heat bolstered my commitment to lose weight; the Crisis smacked me back to basics; crawling out of the Crisis has allowed me to choose what to put back on my list. I learned that I can't be overwhelmed or get what I want when I want it. It took 10 days to go from a 90-degree dark apartment to a cool, amply-lit apartment & I really tried to make it go faster & I'm not yet done. It took the time it took.

My first sponsor said when I began abstinence, "Put on the bedroom slippers." I didn't quite know what that meant but it's been in front of me a lot in the last 10 days. It's akin to those other expressions that raise the hair on my neck -- "be gentle with yourself," "be good to yourself," etc. This has been a time I had no other choice but to take it easy, keep things basic, be grateful -- very grateful. Cool air, lights, enough money to pay bills, going to Map Quest & figuring out that the no-frills distance of my dogs is now 5.5 miles a day. If I'd known that ahead of time, I would have flipped. I'm glad I did that investigation after I got used to walking to Henry's new apartment one neighborhood over.

I'd like to think that the Crisis Lessons won't fade. I'd like to think back on this time as one in which I had to be patient & in the moment & by being those things, I had to forgive my tasks of omission. If I can forgive myself for not working on my novel, maybe I can forgive myself some of the other gunk that's been plugging up my chi -- & my mouth.

Happy weekend, everyone!


Marian said...

Congratulations on the abstinence and the AC! And isn't it funny about that total stranger showing up at just the right time? I know that part of it is that New Yorkers are much friendlier and helpful than most people give us credit for, but I also think Higher Power maybe had a hand in that too.

Caffeinated said...

22 days of abstinence is a big deal. I'm so happy you got your air conditioning issues worked out, too... I've never met you, but you DO inspire me and I really appreciate your willingness to share the ups and downs through this blog. Just know someone in Seattle (a long way away from Brooklyn Heights, although I lived there for several years and I did love it, I have very fond memories and I miss it still) is thinking of you and cheering you on....

Natalie C. said...

Good to be nice to yourself. Especially since eliminating sugar can seem like a deprivation. (to me it does, unfortunately). You almost need to overcompensate with the self-love sometimes, right?

Helen said...

Congratulations on the poundage gone...that is a great amount in a relatively short time!! :-) For me, it's the losses that are really motivating...hope you find that too. And enjoy the AC...this summer my sister (in Harlem) gave up on airconditioning their main room and just settled for AC in the bedrooms. Everything is so old there...which is cool, but not chilly... ;-)

Unknown said...

Wow, I'm impressed at the way you turned what seems like a hellish situation into such a positive experience. Glad you're close to getting everything fixed for real, too.

Anonymous said...

You have carefully strung together 22 days of abstinence and are seeing changes in your body and your thought process. I know it's been hard, especially in the heat and with the AC problems, which makes it all the sweeter.

Anonymous said...

I am proud of you !!

Thank you for the inspiration


Anonymous said...

I agree, you are an inspiration -- it may not seem so, but know that you have admirers like me who are also struggling and who appreciate your ability to articulate the issues so well -- keep posting please!

Lori G. said...

I agree with the others; you strung along 22 days of abstinence with dogs, no A/C, crazy weather, etc.

Your sponsor is wise to tell you to put on the bedroom slippers. It's good to make plans. It's also good that you were able to not follow through on those plans and keep life simplier for you with everything going on. Patience is a hard lesson for me so I can understand.

You are doing wonderfully and I do admire you so much.

FunnyBits said...

The beauty of our blogs is the ability to look back and see where we were and appreciate where we are now. I know that our abstinence seems undeserved but you made a good point; you are taking the action. And, I know action in sweltering heat and a time of Murphy's Law is nothing short of a miracle.

I love you, you are so loved and so worthy of the grace you are experiencing.


Bea said...

I have been having hot flashes galore this summer. I also have been eating more sugar. Trust you to put two and two together.

Glad you are abstinent again. I am even more grateful you are receiving Help in your time of need. Amen. Lynn

Anonymous said...

Question. Doesn't OA put the focus on the abstinence and sobriety rather than size and weight? For me, that's like playing with fire to step on a scale.