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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

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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

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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

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  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

Letting Go Absolutely of Old Ideas

I had a victory today that I wanted to share.   I was dreading a doctor appointment because the last time I was there, I did not feel heard.   My old self would have gone home and binged after my appointment to make myself feel better.   This behavior would spill into the next day, and the next, and the next to the point where I did not even realize what I was doing.   It would become second nature. I would wake up a month later and wonder to myself, how did I get here?   How did it get so bad? And then I would try to reign it in and control my compulsive eating with various diets or fasts and it would work for a bit, but then ultimately fail. And the cycle would repeat itself again and again with the next event and the next.   This cycle applied to any situation where I felt I needed to control the outcome but could not.   So, it did not even have to be a doctor appointment not going my way, it could have been any situation good or bad where I believed I needed a perfect outcome. I co

Emerging From Covid and Feeling Unanchored

"Today I know that change is constant."  Voices of Recovery p. 327 This is true whether my life is smooth or bumpy. In either case, I remind myself of our slogan "This too shall pass". Right now (today, with no prediction for tomorrow) my life is neither smooth nor bumpy and yet I feel a sense of discomfort as I (and others) come out of Covid isolation. When my confinement began there was no choice about what to do or not do. That was set for me by the very nature of quarantine. I just had to find solutions to small problems like shopping, getting to OA meetings and exercise. But now, the "out process" feels big and I feel unanchored. There are so many options to consider that are not so easily available in contrast to Zoom and conference calls. I have to go places, drive, reapportion my time, etc. This is doable but hard. Of course, I need change nothing. This is certainly   an option. But if I do decide to make changes, I want to be selective about what

Reflections on "Dr. Bob's Nightmare"

What I wrote after finishing “Dr. Bob’s Nightmare” in our Big Book writing meeting:     This is a shocking story, partly because it points out so strongly the vulnerability to alcoholism that brilliant and highly accomplished people can have.   For decades, Dr. Bob just couldn’t get it that he was permanently disabled from drinking sanely.   He went to immense effort to make sure he could drink by arranging every detail in his life to make the habit sustainable.   That effort became more massive at every turn, and the certainty of its failure grew ever more massive, too.   I did an equivalent thing with my addiction.   It went from being a way to please my boyfriend to being the ruin of every important thing and almost every important relationship in my life.   Only my parents were still there when I hit bottom, and they let me know I was causing them nothing but grief.   All the while, I wanted desperately to stop my disordered eating; and I investigated every spiritual and secular av