Head Games

I came to program because I had finally lost my excess weight, well below my “goal weight.” Yet I still felt awful. The ever-perceived solution to my problems had failed. For most of my life, I had fantasized about a day when my body would morph into something straight from the cover of a magazine. But once I reached the “right” number, I began focusing on the defects left behind. That was when I began to look for another solution.

I wrangled with Step One for many months. I felt powerful over food; after all, I had succeeded at limiting my calories to 1,500 per day for a few years (astonishing since I also exercised two or more hours per day). I was in control, or so I thought.

The “aha” moment came when I realized that inside my head, food called the shots. Okay, so I didn’t indulge all those crazy urges. But the more I white-knuckled past them, the more they tortured me. I would spend 20 minutes window shopping in the supermarket’s bakery department, proud for not putting anything in my cart. Food was all I thought about. I wasted so much time and energy counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing. The voices in my head berated me for not having, doing or being enough. Guilt was my constant companion.

Program has taught me to love and accept myself and the world around me. I am grateful that today when I look in a mirror, I can smile instead of flinching with hatred, looking away. This is a small miracle. Now most days the hamster on the wheel running calculations in my head is quiet thanks to abstinence, working the Steps and using the tools. Even though I’m not perfect today, I am definitely good enough.

I have to thank my Higher Power, sponsor, loving OA family and OA for being gentle with me as I continue to have “aha” moments that enrich my life and bring me closer to the person I want to be. Today I barely recognize the person I used to be. What a blessing!

~ Tara L., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA
Reprinted from Lifeline Magazine, March/April 2012