Monthly Archives: February 2015

“Starina!”

Star, status,  Sally Ettari a/k/a Sally Atari, Singer and Song Writer, Blog, Music, Guitar Twelve Step Recovery, Speaker, Concert Artist, sally.atari@yahoo.com, sallyatari.comWhy do I always have to be the “Star”?  

(A 4 am Conversation with God.)

Once again, I could blame it all on my genes and my environment! I was ‘the middle child’ among seven; finding ‘My place in the World’ (a Michael W. Smith Song) has always been a motivating factor. “Starina” is the (affectionate??) nick-name my daughter and her husband jokingly say to me (spoken in an acerbic tone) because they want me to visit them instead of traveling other places to sing or be a speaker. This week, an important  invitation presented itself  as the speaker for a women’s retreat in Maine arrived like a brilliant, shooting star. I was understandably thrilled and ready for the challenge!  But why should I have such a privilege?  Why isn’t it enough for me to just attend, to sit back and watch? Why do I put myself under so much pressure to be ‘up front’,  a leader? Why can’t I be content to be part of the herd?  Sit in the back of the room? I feel like I am ever trying to fit in and belong and it’s not enough to just blend in; why do I have this strong desire to stick my neck above the crowd? Is it ego? Self?

I look at others who stand ready to serve you, LORD, the ones who do no clamoring for position,  rank or status?

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Early will I seek you!

Wait, What time is it? 

One morning, upon waking up, I was bleary-eyed. (Because I suffer with ‘dry eyes’, I put eye ointment into both eyes before sleep that leads to a significant blurry condition in the morning.) I washed and dressed and went to eat breakfast and make Sally Ettari a/k/a Sally Atari, Singer and Song Writer, Blog, Music, Guitar Twelve Step Recovery, Speaker, Concert Artist, sally.atari@yahoo.com, sallyatari.commy lunch and finally, wide awake, that’s when I saw the stove clock. It said, 4:44! In the words of Charlie Brown, ‘AAUGH!!! What? “I’m exhausted!” That’s funny, I wasn’t exhausted ten minutes ago when I thought it was 5:30 AM? Our minds play such funny tricks on us!

Why is it so scary to wake up really early and then fret that we won’t live through the day because of anticipated exhaustion?! Yes, fret over what will happen if I don’t get more sleep. Well, I was happy to be up and have time to prepare my meals; my breakfast and lunch, my back pack and have time in God’s word and more – all in the course of a morning. I was tired long around 3pm and after finishing a full day of work, went home, crawled into bed and had a lovely nap! And it was all worth it!

As I’m reading in Exodus right now, I noticed that over and over, Moses is told to “Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: “Let my people go, that they may serve me.”” (Ex. 8: 20, 9:13). In fact, the words, “Rise Early” is a common start to instructions presented by God.

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What’s in Your Wallet?

Who are you depending on? Unknown

So much of my life’s decisions and actions were based on fear; a corrosive thread in my thinking. Just one example: What will people think? I’ve been basing my personal success on outer circumstances, in fact letting everyone and every thing define how I see myself.  If you think ‘I’m ok’, I must be Ok! If the numbers add up, I’m ok! If the audience is huge, I must be ok? I based my self-worth on the numbers, on what you thought and on what you said for my whole life! This is interesting because I’m seeing that here to, it’s about boundaries. Why do I give others so much power to define me? Why do I care so much what others think and what makes you a better judge than God as to how I’m doing? How can I be authentically me and stop being a people pleaser  and worrying about what other people think? Who am I depending on anyway?

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Step One, Admit What?

‘We admitted we were powerless over [food],   that our lives had become  Sally Ettari a/k/a Sally Atari, Singer and Song Writer, Blog, Music, Guitar Twelve Step Recovery, Speaker, Concert Artist, sally.atari@yahoo.com, sallyatari.comunmanageable!’

In Step One, we are asked to admit,  but what are we really admitting? For so long I lived a lie and pretended that I was fine, that everything was ok. When it was not! Who was I lying to? When I was in binge mode, I was sneaking and sliding plates under the coach or under sheets. Now that I’ve been getting well and on a clean food path for almost three years, am I being honest about who I am or what I have? People ask me, did you ever tell your children that you have hypoglycemia? Or that you have ‘an eating disorder?’  What do we have to admit to? That we are powerless? That we need help? “Lack of power, that was our dilemma!” (Pg. 45 AA Big Book) That our lives were a mess and our best thinking got us where we are?  In the song, Baby Steps on the ‘new’ album, The God of Second Chances, the refrain breaks down the first three steps. The lyrics are meant to highlight each of the first three steps.

Step one: ‘Admit it, I need you’.
Step two:’Believe, I will trust You’.
Step three:’Turn, I’ll come to You!’.

I’ve been thinking about the full measure of ‘We admitted. . . ‘ and I have a few thoughts. It all boils down to  honesty! Recently, while visiting my children, they of course, had ‘noticed’ at Thanks Giving, that I weigh my food at this point. There are certain things I must do daily that I can not put on pause while visiting my kids. I’m not normal and I’m tired of hiding it within my home.  One of my girls commented on my new lifestyle. The gist of what I heard her say was, “Mom, when you come to visit, you are spending a lot of time with OA.”  She asked me, don’t you think you are spending too much time in OA? Is it a new compulsion; instead of the food, you are focused on OA? Additionally, another family member said, “Who else obnoxiously carries a scale with them when they travel?” I was left wondering, ‘Why is that obnoxious?’ ‘Why would they make travels scales if others weren’t using them?’

My reaction was to laugh it off, but inside, I was not laughing. What I wanted to say was, ‘ I have an eating disorder; Didn’t you get the memo? There are certain things I have to do. If I had Cancer, I would have a different set of requirements. If I had renal failure, there would be another set of treatments.’  I didn’t say any of this. Would they believe me? Cancer and my eating disorder, are both killers? I was on a fast track to heart disease and diabetes at least! Everything appeared normal until I stepped up my game; now I’m required to make four phone calls a day (I did try to sneak off like superman and find a phone booth but there were none in the neighborhood!) and weigh and measure everything. I have felt like I was cliff-walking through life lately and as my last two binges (the last scene of the crime) were at my daughters’ house, I was paying attention to taking care of myself and my food so that I would not have a personal catastrophe; a binge.

So what am I admitting in step one? That I’m not like other people? (Pg. 30 and 31 AA BB) That I’m not normal when it comes to food? Yes! I’m not happy that I am not normal when it comes to food but I’m saying it, “Uncle!”

As I grow in acceptance and surrender to the truth, I can admit that I have an eating disorder, that I am lactose intolerant, that I have hypoglycemia (recently diagnosed) and need to eat small meals and can’t wait to eat breakfast until 1:00PM; a peace about my truth is settling in. I don’t want to hide it anymore. I admit it. If I can finally be honest with me, then maybe I can finely be honest with you and all those around me and live my truth.

Sally Ettari a/k/a Sally Atari, Singer and Song Writer, Blog, Music, Guitar Twelve Step Recovery, Speaker, Concert Artist, sally.atari@yahoo.com, sallyatari.comSo just what am I admitting? The problem of food, apart from the allergy of my body, is a symptom. The real problem is the hole in my soul. That I need God. I remember the morning after I was laid off from work a few years ago, I was visiting my children. I didn’t want them to know I was laid off because I didn’t want them to worry. I awoke very early, at four AM. I prayed and cried (no, I wept!) to God. Then, I determined to meditate and give God a chance to respond to my prayer. I sat quietly. I remember asking God, ‘What would you say to me?’ In my heart, I heard only three words. “YOU ARE MINE”. Music started rolling around in my head.

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Land Ho!

It all started with ‘Boot Camp’.

After many phone calls with people asking , ‘How do I put the food down so I can do the steps? Any suggestions?’ And so, I created boot camp. It’s a Big Book intensive designed to get people reading the AA Big Sally Ettari a/k/a Sally Atari, Singer and Song Writer, Blog, Music, Guitar Twelve Step Recovery, Speaker, Concert Artist, sally.atari@yahoo.com, sallyatari.com Book systematically and highlight the first three steps. Boot Camp consists of a daily reading, listening and writing assignment. The sick, suffering and struggling addict is instructed to read about two chapters daily, for three days, of the AA Big Book, then listen to a special edition from the web site, A Vision For You (avision4you.info).  Finally, each day includes a writing assignment designed to challenge the student to identify their God concept. In the words of Pg. 72, “We have been trying to get a new attitude, a new relationship with our Creator, and to discover the obstacles in our path.”, the goal of the assignments are to get the student really thinking about what their God looks like? What would they like their God to look like? And so, boot camp prepares the fertile soil of the mind. I’ve done it so I know it’s hard work and requires some discipline, some thing hard for a lot of addicts. (Pg. 88) It doesn’t have to be completed in three days but it should be completed in no more than five days and should be done in the order its written as this produces results.

So, after giving boot camp to a lot of people (I have no head count but would guess that at least 200 people have done boot camp. Suddenly, about 18 people came to me within two or three days asking, “I just finished boot camp. Now what do I do?” One of them was a dear friend who said, “Why can’t you sponsor all of us?” To which I responded, “Yea, Right!” She proposed to set up a line, a telephone conference line, and encouraged me to read and teach the Big book to every one interested. So we began a few days later. Within four days, with 20 people on board calling, texting and emailing me their food and questions, I was swamped! I started to pray. Suddenly, recovered people who heard about ‘The Life Boat Project’ came along side and asked if they could help. In three days, all 20 people had a sponsor to take their food and meet with each of them for about 15 minutes, three times a week. A calendar was developed and we completed step 12 in three months (pausing in the middle of the class for about a month for step 4, 5, 6. and 7. When we were finished, 15 people were recovered.

These 15 people became the sponsors of the next life boat that launched just under a month later. This time, 50 people (in fact 52 was the number for a few days but right away, a few dropped away.) got started on the journey heading for the land of recovered. When all was said and done, about 37 were recovered.

Before each journey, in fact, on the first night of each life boat, (We met three nights a week for two hours a night for three months.) I told this story. It’s an allegory of sorts, a visualization of the process of taking the twelve steps.

“Picture yourself sitting on a beach, covered in sand and wet and sticky, even a little pickled in salt water. Stand up

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