Ruby on Breaking Through, Recovering and Letting Go of Fear
Thank y'all so much for supporting me on my journey! I truly do not know what I would have done without all of your support and prayers.
A few people were mad and very ugly to me about my weight gain. I am sorry I disappointed people; that was never my intention. I have no excuses! The truth is, my addiction took over me again. I am actually so happy y'all got to experience this with me, because so many of you have asked me how I stay motivated. This season you were able to watch me go through the hardest time since my journey began! You saw me battling my beast, and I struggled just like y'all! I went downhill so fast, and I was oblivious to what was happening to me. This season was the hardest for me. My life was in a storm that turned into a tornado, into a hurricane, into an earthquake that shook me so hard I believed I would never get back up!
Let me say again how sorry I am again about failing all of you! And believe me when I tell you no one can say anything worse to me than what I have said to myself.
This battle has been going on with me since I can remember, and that starts at 13. I've tried every diet known to man! I began this journey to find out two things: Why was my weight the only thing in my life I couldn't get control over? And why was it controlling my life and so many others' and at the same time killing us?
The journey so far has taught me this is NOT about being lazy, gluttonous, stupid, etc. Something is controlling us! We are blinded by its power mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
I am finally going to OA, and this is what changed my mind.
Tennie, her friend Cathy, her daughter Karen and Georgia and I went to the 40-year reunion of Willingway. We started talking in the car about OA and AA, and Tennie asked me if I prayed for God to help me. I told her I felt bad praying for God to help me, because it's my fault. I am the one eating the food. I brought this on myself.
Tennie said, "An eating disorder is a disease like any other disease. No one caused it, it's not a character defect, and you are not weak-willed. It is an addiction that is treatable."
Everything in me tells me this is true! I live it!
What happens is I keep hearing or reading how this is our fault. And when I do fail, some people who are supposed to be there for me walk away and act like I do not exist. They are truly so mad at me! But after that amazing weekend, I do not care any longer who is mad at me, and I pray they never have to deal with any kind of an addiction.
I want to share with y'all what I found out!
A man who has been sober for 37 years told of how he was speaking to another man who asked him to explain the steps. The first one was, "I admitted I was powerless over [fill in the blank]."
Then he went to the next step, and the other man stopped him and said, "You forgot the second part of the step, the part after the dash. It says, ‘My life had become unmanageable.' "
Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh, I cried like a baby, because that is what happened with my life. My life became unmanageable. I had never heard that part! OMGOSH! My addiction had caused my life to turn upside down!
Then he said the book Alcoholics Anonymous talks about a "phenomenon of craving."
I asked Tennie what that means.
Her response: "The craving does not start until the substance is put into the body...When we remember how the food tastes and how it made us feel, that is all we think about, and we become obsessed with it. Physical craving becomes overpowering. Once the substance is in our body, we want more."
I started to get it!
Another person who spoke that weekend talked about the "lost child," and that was how I felt. Both speakers had me wanting to read the book I rejected for so long and to start going to OA.
I asked Tennie to explain what OA was to her, and why she believes it works. What do they have that is different from diets?
She said, "Overeaters Anonymous is a fellowship of like-minded people with the same disease we have. Recovery is when one suffering person reaches out to another because they identify with the disease and all the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that go along with the disease...Overeating is never about the food but is about what is going on inside of us. If we could have stopped eating on our own, we would have; in OA we are not alone. Diets are a temporary fix."
OH MY LORD, I am getting it finally! My next question: "Why should we read a book about alcoholism?"
Her response: "Yale University came out with a study in which they were able to show that food affects the brain the same way cocaine and alcohol do. Alcoholics Anonymous teaches us precisely how to recover, step by step. We have a spiritual problem in which we make the food our god and give all our power to the eating disorder. Since the ED is a spiritual problem, the solution must also be spiritual. The book teaches us how to live and to enlist the aid of a power greater than ourselves."
My Breakthrough With Paula
I said, "I don't want them to show it," and this is why:
I have an older brother, John, who is mentally challenged. He is the light of my life! Since I was 13 years old I have taken care of him; I took him everywhere I went.
There is so much guilt that comes along with having a child or sibling who has special needs when you are the normal one. In my teens, when I started driving and going off with my friends and wasn't with him 24/7, it became very hard for him. So I ended up taking him to as many places as I could! I had to deal with kids calling him retarded, making fun of him. Then his sweet tears of innocence! He asked me almost every day, Ruby, why can't I read like you? Ruby, why can't I drive? Ruby, why can't I do this or that?
The guilt of all that was killing me, and I didn't even know!
I would say the right things to make him feel better about himself, and I'd show him all the things he could do. I watched him earn gold medals in the Special Olympics, where he played basketball, ran and bowled. He was born to be an athlete! I would watch him do all these things, but his mind could only let him go so far.
I didn't realize how much I was carrying inside with my brother. No one can understand what it's truly like to be a parent or sibling of a child with special needs. No one can truly prepare you! How can they, when so much of it deals with your heart?
I was a teenager perceiving this. But even as an adult, you still feel the guilt. YOU carry this unique, special person, this gift from God. They're the only children who know how to love unconditionally and forgive and forget as God does! But even knowing all this we still have to learn more patience than ever before.
I still do not have my memories of childhood, but I know I had to feel the same feelings. Also, the stories I hear from my parents and siblings that I was always taking care of John, making sure he was happy all the time. I would get in anyone's face, no matter how big, if they tried to make fun of him or hurt him! They say John followed me around nonstop.
So when I told Paula I was mad, I was mad at the fact that my brother John was born this way! I was mad because I have to live with it every day. Every time I talk with him he asks, Why can't I read, drive, do this or that? For me to finally say I was mad and felt guilty was a HUGE breakthrough for me! I've carried this load forever and could never admit the way I felt—it would make me a bad person!
And the reason I couldn't let this all play out on TV is that I would never hurt John, and he watches every one of my shows over and over again. If he heard this, he would be hurt and never understand.
But I found out through all this that it is OK to feel, and to voice the way you feel!
My mom was the best mother; I feel so blessed to have her! She did the best—and better than best—with what she was given. She had a mentally challenged child, and the doctors told her for months he was normal. No one can ever prepare you for all the emotions that will come with this, and the daily tasks!
When I said to my mom, "You know what I am talking about," it was regarding something she told me about one of our friends involved with a special needs child who wanted to get pregnant and have another baby.
My mother said to me, "I hope she doesn't have another baby."
And I asked why.
She said, "Because it will only take away from the baby having enough attention or the parent being there."
WOW! WOW! She didn't even know how powerful her words were! When I repeated them to her, she was in shock and heard herself and saw for herself. My mom still carries so much guilt that does not belong to her. She is the best woman you could ever know. She is amazing!
My mom grew up with a mentally challenged sister, and Jeanie truly was an angel, a gift from God! (I will tell her sister's story to y'all one day.) And then my mom has a mentally challenged child, my sweet beautiful brother John. Then my sister ends up having a mentally challenged child too, my sweet Karen, who is too sweet for words! They all three love beyond expectation and only see the good in people! The mentally challenged never judge another human being,even when they are treated badly. Their love is the kind of love we should all have. The love that can change the world!
(By the way, they were not born like this; they were all born normal, and accidents happened at their births. This is when you trust God and believe!)
I have received many emails from mothers with special-needs children. Please hear me loud and clear: You didn't do anything wrong, and you are doing the best you can! God is not punishing you for something, either. If God was punishing you for something you did or did not do, we all would be punished! Life is just happening to us. Thank God we have places now we can go to for help, groups and hotlines! Use the Internet, call churches and organizations that can help you. You do not have to carry this alone any longer.
So as you can see, I have had many breakthroughs. But I still have no memories of my childhood, only dreams. I have finally committed with Dr. Jane to try EMDR. I do not know what made me forget 12 years of my life, but I do know that each day I am closer to finding out.
Tennie McCarty, Paula White, Dr. Jane Weilenman, Rosie O'Donnell and Oprah are some of the strongest women I know. They all have been so supportive of me and have been there to help me in many ways. They have helped me see what I cannot see, but the most important thing is to not fear!
Secrets kept, secrets hidden, are so bad. The pain is so deep! The ones who have secrets kept from them still know, even though they can't remember—because the body remembers. All of your senses remember! So the pain they feel they can't begin to explain, even to themselves, and before you know it they are overindulging in alcohol, drugs, food (or starving)…just so they can numb their feelings.
The ones who know and keep it a secret do the same to numb and to run away from their feelings.
Secrets are evil, they will destroy us!
I get so many emails from people who carry secrets. It is time to free yourself from them all! I beg you!
A lot of us do not want people to think we have issues or problems. Guess what, we ALL have issues, problems and baggage! This is life! If someone portrays like they do not, then they are a wounded soul. Pray for them so they can be free!
Once again, I am so sorry I let me and y'all down! I am on a journey to find out the truth and get healthy and beat my addiction. You watched me fight and win—and lose. Now you will watch me come back!
These kids made T-shirts with one of my favorite quotes, which I had posted on my Facebook page. That touched my heart so much! The shirts say,
"A SETBACK IS A SETUP FOR A COMEBACK."
For every one of you who told me you gained half your weight back or more and said you gave up until you saw me do the same, I want to share some words from Dr. Jane:
"Relapse is part of recovery. Recovery does not go in a straight, ascending line, but will have valleys along the way. It is important to remember what triggers the valley experiences and to remember your long-term goals, but most importantly to follow each step of your short-term goals, which will help you climb out of the valley and back onto the right path up the hill or mountain.
Recovery is about steady progress, but due to the nature of the beast (our own emotional and psychological issues...our "shadow"), the beast sometimes causes us to take two steps backward before we are able to take three steps forward.
The bottom line is to never give up, and to find the purpose even during the relapse or valley experiences. Everything has a purpose in helping us obtain our goals. It is about the journey, not the destination!"
I am making my comeback and want y'all to make yours with me! I do not care how many times we fail and believe we can't do it.
Today is a new day, yesterday is gone! We can't go back and correct or fix it. We can't predict tomorrow, so we have no control over it! What we have is today! Today is your new beginning! Today is the day you start your new life. Take it each day! One day at a time! Please go to OA, AA, NA, etc. in your town. There is a bond there and friends there you will make for a lifetime. They need you as badly as you need them!
Click here to find a meeting near you! If you need to, start with phone meetings or online meetings, but try to go in person. Paula White has incredible podcasts, CDs, DVDs and books. Please go here and email or talk with Tennie McCarty (1-800-588-4673 or 1-325-572-3843). She is there to help you and has her family on call 24/7. Watch Tyler Perry's movies; they are truly inspirational and funny, and I love him because he has a message and shows you a way out. I just saw his latest movie, Madea's Big Happy Family. Madea talks about secrets and what they will do to you.
Do not fear! Fear will only keep us frozen in time! It's time for us to go to the edge and fly to our freedom!
I love you with all my heart.