“Participate or Isolate…That is the Question”

Just as Hamlet contemplated his existence with the question “To be, or not to be” in the famous Shakespearian soliloquy, we overeaters must contemplate our disease with a similar thought, to participate or to isolate. F or many of us our disease is one of isolation. It wants us to stay home on the couch with our food at the ready. But we must not give in to that desire if we wish to recover from compulsive eating. One powerful weapon in our arsenal is part icipation. Participate by working all the steps, participate by working the tools, participate by giving service, and participate by attending events. All of these methods of participation require fellowship with others. We cannot do any of these things without some degree of reliance upon one another – thus ending our isolation. Participation gives life to our recovery – isolation only strengthens the disease. The pandemic has given us all the most urgent and understandable reason to isolate. It has affected all of us to one degree

There Is No Wave

I really want to eat something that tastes good right now. I am opening up kitchen cabinets in a frantic search for something, anything to put in my mouth to distract me from the crazy uncomfortable feelings.  The urgency to compulsively overeat feels like a swelling wave coming to drown me. The only thing that can save me from certain doom is to take a giant breath and dive under, aka  taking that first bite.  I want to dive under. I have to dive under or I am going to drown.  A faint voice (HP) tells me not to dive. I do what the voice says, reluctantly. I stay above water, panicking, getting  ready to choke to death as the wave hits my face... but before it can reach me miraculously, the wave dissipates. That's when I realize there is no water. There is no wave. It's all in my head.  Compulsive thoughts and feelings are a lie. It's all my disease. A magical thing happens when I don't do the thing I THINK I have to do to survive. That feeling passes and I am fine.  Th

What I Learned at the 62nd OA Birthday Party

Attending the 62nd OA Birthday Party felt like a spiritual supercharge, a re-vitalizing way to start off the new year. The meetings were held via Zoom for safety reasons, of course. Admittedly, zooming the entire weekend for a total of 25 hours was exhausting, but it was doable with breaks and in the end was totally worth it. [Aside: I had the fortunate pleasure of attending my first OA Birthday party in 2020, in person, oblivious to how much the world would change just 2 months later.] I took a ton of notes this weekend because I heard so many things I needed to hear:  God is in the PAUSE.  It stands for Postpone Action Until Sanity (or Serenity) Enters. That's a crucial one for me right now. I've just added pretzels and non-whole wheat crackers to my abstinence list. Those are the foods we always have around the house and are so easy for me to reach for when food thoughts pop into my head-- usually around 3:45 when I get home from picking my kids up from school, or when I do

Step Two

Step Two-  “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”  Recently I was asked to share on Step Two. Not my favorite step, it’s the one I sprint by on the way to Step Three, the really exciting one. So I had to take another look at it.  I have always disliked its use of the word “sanity.” I associate insanity, spoken with a wink, with the bundle of amusing eccentricities I like to think make me an attractive personality. Interesting, not ordinary. Another, more contemporary meaning seems to be “unusually advantageous,” as in “Their prices are insane.” “The party, the movie, the choice of appetizers was insane.”  If you have ever come near someone actually suffering from a mental disorder, you know that insanity is neither charming nor advantageous in any way. It is usually terrifying, painful, and desperate. In fact, it comes close to describing what I feel when my eating is out of control, when it is painful, maniacal, relentless, a situation of “in

Perseverance: The Principle of Step 10

I link the number of each month to a Step. Then that’s the Step I focus on for the whole month. So, this month, October, is my Step 10 month. I read the Step in both the AA and OA 12 & 12 and ponder the relevant principle.  In the OA 12 & 12, Steps 1, 2 and 3 are summarized simply as “I can’t; God can; I think I’ll let God!” (page 17, 2 nd edition). Similarly, I think “perseverance” can be simplified to “Keep coming back.” Simple but powerful. It’s the only thing I’ve done perfectly in OA. But it has been enough to keep my “membership” intact. I set myself a task this month to see if perseverance could prevail. Other than writing my food down each day, I don’t use the tool of writing consistently or often. So my “perseverance” plan is to write the answer to each day’s question from the For Today Workbook . As I write this, it’s October 12 th and so far so good. What if I forget to write one day or I’m just not willing to? Does this mean I failed, i.e. that I didn’t perse

It's Not About the Food

The wisdom that resonates with me today is, "It's not about the food." As I have heard in these virtual rooms, "It's about the build up of human emotion." Last week I found myself doing something I hadn't done in months-- thinking obsessively about and craving recreational sugar. When I finally told my sponsor about it, she helped me cut through the mire I was tangled up in. She said "It's not about the food" and told me to write about what was going on in my life. Writing isn't new. I journal daily and had already written about the things that were making me anxious. But when my sponsor says "write about it," I know she means do a 10th Step on it and that's a much longer process.  Begrudgingly, I set about doing a 10th step on each issue, using the spot check  inventory from p. 84 of the Big Book as a guide. F irst, I stated each problem, then went down the list of shortcomings one by one; selfishness , dishonesty , resen

What Have I Learned In the Program

  Here's another selection from one of our beloved, late program members: Rickicism No. 13 Since the most prevalent symptom of my disease is to forget what I must do each day, it becomes critical to my personal sense of well-being to start out on the right foot. Consider this contrast in approaches: A person wakes in the morning, goes over to the bedroom window, looks up at the sky and says, "Good morning, Lord!" Alternatively, but using essentially the same words, another person awakes in the morning, goes over to the bedroom window, looks up at the sky and says, "Good Lord, morning!"  It therefore becomes vital that I start out each day with a reasonably clear objective in mind in terms of my program. Mainly, it is to do some stretching and exercise, eat an abstinent breakfast, and get to a meeting at some point during the day, although frankly, mornings are best for setting the tone for my daily activities.  So I inquire, what have I gained or lost from the p