I eat compulsively, impulsively, emotionally, BUT more than anything, I believe I abuse food as a way of abusing myself. Somehow, somewhere, that was my childhood lesson… I’m undeserving of being taken care of, undeserving of respect… from others AND myself.
18 months ago, I woke up thinking I was having a heart attack. Thoughts of my life & what was happening … what WOULD happen if I died, raced through my head. I was a young woman, 53, but morbidly obese. This is the first time in my life I have ever said that about myself; morbidly obese.
I didn’t go to the hospital out of shame. I was (almost), in my irrational state, prepared to die in order to hide my shame. I laid awake all night, reassuring myself that if I stayed awake I would not die…. I did say irrational, right? I envisioned imaginary faces of hospital staff, showing their disgust at my physical condition; I could hear unspoken thoughts, “Of course you’re having a heart attack! LOOK at you!!”
The following week I found OA. I don’t remember much from the first night, mostly listening to people talk about abstinence. I wanted that SO bad. I wanted to not be afraid of food, to not be obsessed with food, and mostly, I wanted to not be afraid to live a life without food.
Alas, I did NOT surrender peacefully… actually I didn’t surrender at all! For someone who wanted abstinence so bad, I fought my higher power daily to prove what I knew all along. I was the one person on the planet who this program & the steps were not going to work for. I knew everyone “thinks” that, but I “knew” it… I was the one it WAS true for!
Do you know what happens when you have a tug of war with a power greater than yourself? You lose! In spite of myself, slowly my life began to change. I grieved and mourned a wasted life. I let go of what might’ve been, and embracing what was!
I risked the ultimate rejection by asking someone to be my sponsor. I survived completing my steps for the first time at my first OA Retreat (it was like a European Tour… 12 Steps in 2.5 days.) I embraced things people said, and slogans like: ‘the next right thing’ or ’I am enough’; and my personal mantra ‘ Just for Today’. I can leave food on my plate or throw it away. I can tell non-fellowship friends that I can’t attend something because it is just too dangerous for me.
I would be struck by lightning if I tried to tell you that my life is shrouded in perfect abstinence, but like the Big Book says (& the mirror at my gym) progress, not perfection!
Sometimes I borrow strength and courage from my group, and my friends when I forget how brave and resilient I am. Not only do they never forget, they have ALWAYS known, as for me, I’m taking this journey one day at a time!
~ Barbra, YT