When I was growing up, I was taught to pray in a very specific way. I was taught there was a format for prayer and that if you want to be blessed by god, you had to ask specifically for what you want. Not just asking “God please bless me to be healthy” but asking “God please help me lose 15 pounds so that I’ll fit into my prom dress on May 1st”. This kind of praying never felt connecting to me. Is it any wonder that after I left home and got out into the world, I lost any sense of god? Is it any wonder that in my mid 20’s I left the church I had been raised in and proceeded to reject all ideas of god? Believing myself to be above such debasing and devaluing concepts as trust in a higher power or faith, I lived the next 15 years without any concept of a higher power.
There’s a line in the Big Book that says if there was a devil, he certainly had me. I had more idea of the temptations of the devil than I had of a loving god. I got the idea growing up that I had to earn god’s love; that god’s love was conditional based on my performance, my perfect performance, of certain actions: specifically, obedience to rules and guidelines set up by the church I was raised in and my family of origin. The word ‘worthy’ was used a lot. And I did not feel worthy. I felt worthless, used, and unlovable. I sought comfort and enjoyment in food, and for brief periods of time, this balm worked to soothe my aching soul which was bereft of the light of god and the touch of a higher power. In the absence of light, the darkness is total.
What I’ve learned in this program is that a higher power must be personal to me. If you’ve got a mean god (like my original one was) then fire him and get a new one. I cannot ask for help from a power that doesn’t love and accept me completely, as I am right in this moment. This means letting go of my prejudices, pre-conceived ideas, and the thought that I know just what god is or what he’s capable of.
I’ve also learned that the point of working the steps is to have a spiritual awakening, a total psychic change that alters the way I think, speak, and behave in all circumstances of our lives. I am trying to align my will with god’s will for me. I am NOT trying to get god to change the problems I have in my lives, I’m changing how I respond to those problems. I am not trying to be able to eat normally and not suffer the consequences, I am gaining food neutrality and sanity. I am NOT trying to change the people around me, I are changing myself (or more correctly, allowing my higher power to change me) to be of maximum service to god and my fellows.
God is not a genie. I don’t ask him for what I want and expect him to grant my wishes. I ask to be a tool of his will, guided by a loving and all-powerful hand that sees everything and everyone. I seek to recover so that I may have usefulness and purpose in my life instead of selfishness and self-centeredness that plagued my former, unrecovered life. As I continue to recover, I continue to grow spiritually, mentally, and physically. What I am capable of today is leaps and bounds from where I was in the height of my disease but it is also miles from where god wants to take me and the joy and power I can have in the future.
Surrendering to my HP’s prompting, without any further ado. I know I’ll be blessed. I know I’ll feel so much better and feel empowered and freer after I do what’s been asked of me.
I’ve been in program long enough, been to enough meetings, to know when prompted by my HP to write, then write I shall. I don’t think I’ve ever dropped everything I was doing to write, but I get to it faster and faster these days. Because as mentioned above, I KNOW I’ll find more freedom, peace, and empowerment when I surrender and remain willing to go to any lengths for my recovery.
I still get a little hung up on having to remind myself that I really must accept people, places, and things, that I cannot control. Does anybody else have a problem when you must apply this to our family? Family situations are dynamic and difficult. BUT, my HP gratefully reminds me, difficult yes, but not impossible.
I’d like to think that I need to write about my family now and how they don’t appreciate me or follow my lead with love and kindness towards all – but I’m getting a clear message from my HP (as I just deleted the first paragraph I just wrote about my oldest son) that this writing assignment is about me, and about my character defects.
If I am to stay abstinent, I must accept that I cannot change people, even my own son. And, funny thing, if you look a couple paragraphs above, I didn’t use the word change, but, control. I think that is the message my HP is hammering home today.
Even my own son, gets to have his own path. I want more for him, of course. I want to lavish my love, help and support on him, of course. But he doesn’t want it. Not right now anyway. I miss him. My heart hurts. I picture myself now as I write this, wringing and twisting him into somebody he is not and does not want to be. If not for this writing, I don’t think that image would have come to me. I am powerless over who my son is or wants to be. For clarification I should mention that he is 41 years old.
All I can do, is to live well, and be well, one day at a time. Nobody is saying I can’t hope that some of my family members will want to come back into a having a relationship with me again. I can hope for that of course, that is who I am. This program has given me so much hope and so many examples of how people change and overcome. I am one of those examples. Most days, I can find gratitude that I yearn for unhealthy relationships less and less. That I intentionally take toxic family members in smaller doses.
I’m grateful I can have an honest conversation with my HP about how much my heart hurts, and how much I hope things will change. I’m grateful to hear that what my HP wants for me, is to have healthy, two sided, loving and caring relationships with all the people in my life, even my family. And, I’m very grateful that I can share this with all of you, my logical family.
Procrastination is fear in its "long form". When I put off some task or responsibility, instead of trying harder, I may need to examine my trust in God. Lack of Power and lack of faith in that Power is the root of my procrastination. When I turn to God and use the Spot Check Inventory as suggested in Step 10, I can uncover the real motive behind my resistance. I recently had a phone call that I needed to make but I continued to put it off. After getting quiet with God, the thought came that I "wasn't good enough." When I held this admission up to the light, I saw the bigger truth. I am enough with God. We can do what I cannot. Perspective entered my decision making and I was free to make the call and try my best, one step at a time.
Living each day as it comes with poise and peace of mind is a true desirable result of abstaining and seeking deeper connection with God. If I honestly face what is troubling me and do not sweep my disturbances under the rug, I will experience a new freedom and release from the burden of worry. When my anxiety is great, the Prayer of Relinquishment offers much relief and a renewed faith in my loving God. Here is how it works; If I follow the feeling of fear and dread to its final calamity, if I will picture the worst-case scenario and sit with my imaginings, I will see that God meets me there in my despair. He walks with me the entire way, step by step. Then, I am better able to release my crippling fear and pull my energies into the day ahead where God matches my willingness with purpose. The Power of God Goes Deep.
In the past, I have confused desire with power. One day I had a desire to stop eating compulsively. In the middle of a 4-month binge while still attending OA meetings, I put the food down. It’s a miracle, one day eating and bingeing-the next, abstaining from my alcoholic foods. I know that God placed the desire to stop in my heart and lead me to a sponsor who has guided me to the solution as presented in the Big Book. I went through weeks of with-drawl and erratic emotions; emerging ready to do the work of the 12 steps. My desire alone could never have carried me this far; 17 weeks of solid abstinence, amends and restitution. God’s Power combined with action makes this possible. God is inviting me in. I don’t ever have to eat compulsively again. OA meetings are a great place to feel loved and supported and to listen to recovering members tell their story. We don’t sell this program with ads from celebrities. Instead, we demonstrate the solution while our disease sells the program! OA is a program of attraction, not promotion. Its power lies in our admission that food has defeated us. We are all offered a way out and a design for living that works in rough going.
"We are like men who have lost their legs, we never grow new ones." I have a disease that tells me I don't have a disease. As I watch others leave the program to do more "research", I'm reminded that I too have tried that and was defeated every time by my obsessions and cravings. Today, one day at a time, I accept a disciplined eating plan that makes communication with my Higher Power possible. May I always remember that further research is unnecessary and may prove deadly.
While trying to write out my 9th step amends to my mom, I was hit with a wall of negativity in my mind. I realized in that moment, my stories around being abandoned by her and all the ways I’ve tried to dispute that fact, were stopping me from seeing any truth about what really happened. And in that moment a choice presented itself; (1) I can consciously believe that my mom is cruel and intentionally left me because I’m unlovable. OR (2) I can turn to God and accept His love, light and clarity while accepting my mom’s humanness as a sick person.
I have been doing some in depth amends work with a new sponsor. Going to a new level has brought me a closer connection with God. I haven’t felt sure of myself or even relief but instead, a steadfast determination to do the work required to bring about a Spiritual Experience, has entered my heart.
The phrase, “Keep going, I’ll help you.” Came to me in meditation. I will continue to climb to my new life. Thank God for OA!
Like so many, my recovery story began with food obsession and unwanted food behaviors and ultimately became more about my character defects. What started with a desire to stop eating compulsively, quickly became what I really needed was how to act upon life rather than reacting to it. As much of a pack of graham crackers got me here, it’s a much bigger, greater challenge that keeps me coming back, that keeps my heart and head in the recovery journey.
I am very thankful to have come to believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity. Having a God of my own understanding has been very key for my recovery. I can’t handle ANY of these life’s ups and downs, without the help and guidance of my Higher Power. At times, like my dog coming down with cancer recently, life feels completely unbearable. It is such a miracle of our program to actually accept this situation as an opportunity to learn and develop more trust with my HP.
Initially, I resorted to old behavior when I learned my girl was sick after coming home from a wonderful birthday retreat. I was pissed. I just had this amazing time in Chico and now I must deal with this horrible unpleasant thing? I resisted accepting, feeling my truth or the sadness of it and my reactions then to this life event was quite ugly. Just like before, when I was in the food, I was reacting to my loved ones very harshly and unreasonably. Thank goodness my HP pointed this out to me rather quickly. I do not want to be that old self; I like and appreciate my recovering self so much better. As what much of my HP shows me, I thought it was so awesome to discover my shortcomings, and how I could do much better.
I was confused and afraid, I didn’t know what to do quite yet. Talking things over with another fellow, and spending time with my Higher Power, gave me the serenity to accept this painful situation, the courage to change what I was going to be called to do, and a calmness to trust HP that more will be revealed and eventually I would know what to do. It was also then that I realized, thankfully, that I wasn’t the only person going to lose Harlow, my dog. Harlow had some where along the line became more my sweethearts’ dog than mine, and he was losing her too. It was actually he who I was lashing out at the most and I am grateful to have promptly made amends to him and with HP’s help adjusted my behavior towards all of my friends and loved ones.
We have this amazing fellowship and a partnership with a God of our own understanding for exactly these reasons. To help us live life. I am so very grateful that I could go through this experience, being present, being kind to others, loving my dog to her last breath, feeling the weight of the beautiful love for this creature and to accept the pain of the loss of her, and to stay abstinent.
It’s a tall order to ask an addict to feel such things. Thankfully, we don’t walk the road alone and afraid. I can with confidence more and more, know that I’ll be okay. I don’t have to fear life, or food, or feelings. I can rely on a power greater than me and I can pick up the phone or any other of those 9 tools and get through a situation that used to baffle me.
I heard some great things at a meeting yesterday. To look for God in everything, every day. Isn’t that the truth? Little mundane and great big impossible things. I’ve been back in OA just two days shy of one year now and I’ve had many opportunities to work on developing my relationship with my Higher Power. I can’t stress this enough to newcomers or members struggling; take the time and make the effort to create a God of your OWN understanding. So many of us have this God like mine from our childhood that added to our shame and thoughts of not deserving the good things in life. More and more as I walk in this recovery journey, my Higher Power is ALL about love. And that is what keeps me coming back.
I want to learn how to love better and more. I’m a loving creature. I love helping people. Recently I’ve been to some meetings where I see fellows doing an amazing job carrying the message, and I want to partner with them and my HP on how I can do that too. This recovery journey is way bigger than me and my needs; it’s about carrying the message. I can’t just keep all of these wonderful changes to myself, I hope that sharing my experiences, strength and hope, can help another fellow. It also matters very much that I can better love my friends and family out of the program, even more so. Living life differently in recovery has given me better, stronger, more real relationships with my children, friends, and family.
I had an epiphany one of these past couple of days, that my disease is fighting to stay the same, always. It does not like losing ground. My recovery is accepting, finding courage to change the things I can, while life is evolving. Life will always be evolving. My disease will likely always be fighting to stay the same. Without this program, our fellowship, my HP, and the tools, I just don’t stand a chance.
Grateful Recovering COE
I went and weighed at the doctor yesterday. Why is weighing an issue for me?
Probably because every time I have reached a healthy body weight in my life I have gained it back.
But, at this point in my life I have said goodbye to fear!!!!!! I will not let fear of relapse rule my life. I live in recovery because I live in a belief, trust and faith in a God Who always loves me and always gives GOOD gifts!
I am grateful to be aware of needing to do this exercise. I am grateful that it is my experience that good will come from writing down my feelings and thoughts around how I have treated my body and how I still don’t fully appreciate all that I’ve put it through. I have hope, that I will accept my body as she is today, as an incredibly resilient, humbly forgiving, powerful and able mechanism.
My furthest memories related to my body stem from what I was told by family, of what a needy baby I was. My Mom had four other kids ranging from 10 to 2 already and couldn’t be bothered with the amount of care I needed as a preemie. I took at least an hour to drink just a couple ounces of milk because my esophagus wasn’t fully developed yet when I was born. My family didn’t tell me this story lovingly. My family was very good about teasing and poking fun. I don’t know? Maybe it’s a common thing that the baby of the family turns out crazy hard and tough as a result of such teasing. In any case, my memory is I felt like a bother. It didn’t help that my nick name was Boo Boo and to hear stories of how my Mom didn’t want me so she jumped out of a car when she found out she was pregnant with me. I don’t know if that story is true. Heck, I could have made it up!
My next memory is an actual memory, but I’m reminded that our memories are rarely factual, but based rather on how we felt at the time. I had a closer relationship with my Dad. He was fun. He loved the outdoors, fishing and hunting, off roading. He didn’t get along with my brother too well, so I got to be sort of a surrogate son. My Dad did the best he could with what he had. I’m not sure why, but I always gave my Dad more grace than my Mom. My Dad would always comment on my scrawny “frog” legs. So, I always felt kind of ugly, or less than growing up.
Fast forward now to 17 and pregnant. I was so dismayed when my body decided she couldn’t continue to play racquet ball and softball and I had to get in bed 100% of the time so my almost 10lb baby could go to full term. That was tough. 17 and in bed. I could just look at an orange and gain a pound.
As an adult, I began right out of the gate to neglect you and push you beyond your limits. I didn’t eat right. I did drugs and alcohol to excess. If I wasn’t drugging or drinking, I was overeating. I didn’t rest. I worked too much and I so didn’t see any other way. I thought I had to live this way. Much of my adult life I allowed men to use and abuse me sexually. Again, I didn’t know there was any other way really.
I might have started to get a glimpse of self-care when I found Al-Anon about 18 years ago in 2003. I started a journey into a twelve step way of life begrudgingly thinking it was something else I had to do for my youngest son. I became grateful quickly that counselors for my youngest son kept directing me to Al-Anon. It was when my youngest son went into rehab that I stopped abusing alcohol, it was a requirement. I wish I could say that I did it perfectly 100%, but I did not. By that time, I had long long since given up drugs thank God, but alcohol would rear it’s ugly head every so often and through my youngest’s treatment I realized I was a dry drunk. It was then I got into the food full time.
I didn’t find OA until 10 years further up my road to recovery, in 2013. I’ve never been so grateful to get off the vicious cycle of abusing my body, mind and spirit with such shitty food, shame and guilt, morbid reflection and remorse. I got in, got abstinent and loved the program and all that it offered. I lost the first 50lbs rather quickly, and then the next 35 or so more slowly. I enjoyed the weight loss thoroughly with hiking and pushing pushing pushing myself to extremes.
About 2014 if I recall correctly, I started having some pretty serious vision concerns. It was then I learned that before I had lost the 85 or so lbs, I had type 2 diabetes and it had damaged my eyes. There’s a reason why type 2 diabetes is called the silent killer. It does all this damage before you even know you have it. I was pissed. I had done all this work! I had overcome by the grace of my HP overeating! I had lost all that weight and was enjoying the fittest version of myself ever! How could you (my body) betray me? I cussed at you. I cussed at my pancreas. And I kicked type 2 diabetes ass.
In January 2015 my sister was murdered by my nephew. It was very ugly. After I hadn’t been able to get a hold of her and sent the police to check on her, my nephew killed himself. I had a lot of guilt and shame about encouraging my sister to have her son come and live with her after she had lost her husband and was recovering from bladder cancer. It was at her memorial service where I picked up smoking again. I had been an on/off smoker for years but had three years of not smoking under my belt and so was quite devastated to have picked it back up. I remember sharing at OA meetings often I was more afraid of relapsing on cigarettes than food. Today I have equal respects for my recovery from all substances and am mindful of using ANYTHING! Shopping, sex, food, alcohol, and yes cigarettes. I am now as of this date have 562 days nicotine free. I have lung problems now and I fear future more serious lung issues because of years of abusing nicotine. But it's out of my control and I can't change the past. I will consciously work with HP on healing this remorse of hurting you and stay hopeful always that our lungs may in deed not get any worse.
In 2018 I broke my wrist and the week the cast came off that very swollen arm, I started having serious colon issues. With a diagnosis of Crohn’s, I had a ginormous amount of fear of needing to take heavy biologics. Gratefully, I had began a relationship with the most wonderful man I have ever met in 2017. With lots of work and dedication to an Auto Immune Paleo diet and supplements, I kicked Crohn’s ass. Thank you, dear body, for working with me. It was remarkable, how much better I accepted this diagnosis. Unfortunately, in 2018, due to many circumstances, I left OA and that’s a whole ‘nother story.
Dear body, all this to say, I am sorry. I write this now to encourage others to do so too. It is through this program I can have awareness of needing to clean the slate and put the past to rest. I have treated you poorly. I knew no other ways, healthy or sane, at the time. I certainly do now. I have tools and I am willing to use them. I have a fellowship. I will make a living amends to you my dear body. I do love you. I am grateful for what we can do. We may not hike the way we did, but we are heading in the right direction and will continue, with HP’s help to get better and do better.
This week I received another kind of bad surprise about my mental health. It took some time to process. I feel like I am a positive, productive person and my doctor just told me that my mind and body are suffering from stress. I have to tell you; my first reaction was just a huge amount of shame. Because I live a charmed life. I live an easy life! But writing this one year into a pandemic, why would I think that would not be catching up with me just like it is to almost every human being on the planet? Also, in this last year I moved in with that wonderful man after having lived alone for almost 20 years and then lost my employment. Lots to deal with and accept. One day at a time, I have hope that I can handle life on life’s terms, and that I also one day will accept myself, body, mind, and spirit, as I am. I want to BOTH feel and BELIEVE that I am enough. I want to feel good about who I am and that what I offer to my loved ones, family and friends is at least in proportion to all that they bring to my life. I can’t heal these wounds that I’ve inflicted upon myself, and what a gift discovering that is! I can work with my HP and my HP and I together will grow to love my mind, body and spirit just as I am.
I have received so much already just almost 11 months back into the program. I’ll keep coming back. I’ll keep picking up the tools.
Laurie M Grateful Recovering Compulsive Overeater 😊