The subtitle of this blog is 'walking the neighborhood and the Twelve Steps'. If you're not familiar with the Twelve Steps, bing it and learn a little. The Twelve Steps I work are those of Al-anon. The original Twelve Steps are for Alcoholics Anonymous. There are other Twelve Step groups, from Alateen, to Overeaters Anonymous, and groups for Gamblers, Sex Addicts, and others I'm sure.
Why do I include the Twelve Steps here? Well, years ago, when I began my walking journey, I was also beginning my Twelve Step journey. I had family members who were in treatment for substance abuse and I was overwhelmed, in a great deal of emotional pain, 75 pounds over weight, addicted to sugar (and food in general), and had no spiritual life at all. I hoped there was a God and that S/He would help my beloved family members.
As I began to work the Steps with the help of others who attended the same meetings I attended, I began to learn about a Higher Power and how that HP acted in my life and in the lives of my loved ones. At first, I was skeptical. I was, at best, an Agnostic. I had never needed or accepted emotional support from anyone and wasn't about to now. I was too strong and too smart to turn my will over to anyone/anything else!
But, there it was. Two family members who were foundering, lost, in pain, and in severe need of help that I had no idea how to offer.
I put my dog on a leash and walked out in the cold, the rain, the snow. I walked twice a day. I walked because I was running away from my pain. Little did I know that I was running (by walking) toward solutions for myself. Since the Steps teach us that we did not Cause the disease, could not Control the disease, and could not Cure the disease - what was my role? What was I to do?
I walked and began to talk to God as though He was right there next to me (because I was advised to do so by a very smart person). The conversations were often not very pleasant. I was angry, hurt, sad, overwhelmed. I was PISSED!
You know the saying - No Pain, No Gain? Well, it's true. There will be no change (gain) unless one is in enough pain to seek help, a solution, or at least a road map. There I was, large and in charge of my own life - and watching it crumble around me.
Those walks saved my life - and my relationships with my family members. I can't say God talked back to me - but things began to change. Walking itself began to improve my physical health - and certainly improved my mood. Walking in cold, blustery, icy, gray winter weather is not fun. But, it is WONDERFUL!!! The gift of that day, each day, was immeasurable. My family members began to get better. They began to learn how to take care of themselves and to live without the false God of drugs and alcohol.
I walked my way right into a new life. A life with a Higher Power who I still fight with from time to time. A life with family members who were slowly learning how to live without the false strength of outside agents - to rely on their won innate strengths to deal with whatever life threw their way. I was learning to live without the false need of sugar and too much food - an attempt to fill what had been a black hole of pain, despair, and self righteousness.
The joy of walking off 65 pounds was mine! The understanding that my Higher Power was working in my life to do for me the things which I could not do for myself. For a person like me, that alone was a miracle. Forget the 65 pounds. Know that I was one who ruled the world around me with the power of my own will, my anger, my intellect, and my forcefulness. I could steamroll almost anyone to get my way. But steamrolling makes you no friends, makes people want to avoid you, makes the black hole grow exponentially every hour to Edge God Out. That's called EGO.
Once I learned that I didn't have to have ALL the answers - that it wasn't up to me to run the world - those 65 pounds dissolved from my body and were lifted off my shoulders and my spirit. No Joke. No Coincidence. No Other Possible Reason.
I walked for a year that way - hoping that things would get better. Setting a goal to walk to the grocery store ONE MILE from my front door. Leaving the house when my teenagers were fighting with me or each other. Refusing to referee or offer solutions. Who was I to tell them what was right for them to do? I did not abdicate my role as a parent. I removed myself from their decision making processes so they could grow up and not need me to sort things out for them.
Whatever happened during that year (and there were ups and downs, I can assure you), at the end of it, I had learned some very valuable lessons:
1. I could walk a mile.
2. I could ask God to help me with any problem.
3. I could find solutions for my own problems on my walks because I was walking with my Higher Power even when I was yelling at Him (and that was not a rare occasion).
4. I could improve my eating and lose weight. Notice I did not say diet or some sort of magic no more craving. I am, above most everything, a realist. One of the reasons I would never drink alcohol or take drugs is because, no matter how bad reality might be, I prefer it to the fuzzy brained result of imbibing alcohol or drugs. I was a control freak and needed to be sober to be in control.
5. I could have - and did have - a better life.
So, now you know more about me than you need to. My point is not to inform you of the details of my life. My point is to encourage you to find your own solutions to whatever ails you (and we all have thorns) - and that asking for that help is neither a sign of weakness nor an easy way out.
Doing for yourself what no one else can do for you is a very valuable insight. Take care of yourself. Nobody but your mom cares about you more - so do what's right for you.
These insights are what made me word my 100% Guarantee exactly the way I did. It's the facts of life as I know them. You don't need all the gory details of my life to prove it to you. Improve your own life one step at a time.
Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.
4 hours ago