Courageous and Vulnerable

I found OA after my therapy group ended, shortly after I had had a nervous breakdown, lost my cat of 19 years and mourned the first anniversary of my mother’s death.

After a binge one night, I felt I was in hell. Then I thought of OA, found the phone number and called to find a meeting. I went to my first meeting a few days later. I’ve been abstinent since then, staying within two pounds (1 kg) of my goal weight.

I’m starting to eat more slowly and to enjoy it more. I am making new friends. Talking with others is becoming easier, and I’m less shy and more apt to initiate contacts. I’m finding people fun and comforting. I’m less critical of others and of myself, accepting an imperfect me. I’ve found a warm, caring and enthusiastic sponsor. I feel this will be an important relationship. She will be a mentor and buddy in this adventure of recovery, of learning to function without compulsive eating. She has taught me that unrealistic expectations may engender resentments.

In OA my emotions are valued and fostered, even if they scare me. I learn it’s necessary to feel them, rather than drugging myself with food, stuffing the pain out of consciousness. A goal may be to be “courageous and vulnerable.” I feel I’m a valuable person, I’m worth saving, and I have something to offer. I can be a support to others, an example and a good listener, useful even because of my troubled past and transgressions. I’m able to better appreciate small things and big things like a vacation.

I’m getting rid of an old illusion of self- sufficiency, replacing it with nourishment and the strength of OA’s welcoming Fellowship. I enjoy the increased phoning and email, which enrich other friendships as well. Living alone makes it easy to isolate. Paradoxically, daring to experience loneliness carries with it the seed of the remedy; feeling the hurt permits healing.

My concept of my Higher Power is harder to put into words. It is an experience rather than a being. It brings into my life balance, health, wholeness, conscience, emotional growth and recovery, and self-nurturing rather than self-punishment. My grace is “Thank you for nourishing food.”

I value my meditation for the calm and insights it brings, even to my violin playing. I’m trying more prayer, starting with spontaneous thanks to God during the day. I had abandoned prayer for years, not trusting God because of painful family and health experiences. Fourth-through-Seventh Step work has given me a new lease on life, and I avoid incurring future amends through missteps.

I’ve decided that while others may self-destruct, I won’t. No matter what happens, no matter what the anxiety, I will not overeat. No matter what the heartache, I will not undereat.

~ D.D., Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA
Reprinted from Lifeline Magazine, March/April 2012