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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 😊
Montana Overeaters Anonymous