During the earlier part of my disease I was an exercise bulimic. I was 14 and thought I was being healthy. I also severely restricted my food intake and would take Tylenol in order to stop hunger pains. I went from about 130lbs to 90lbs in less than a year doing this. I didn’t realize until I’d had recovery and my higher power had taken away 60lbs from me in return for following the OA 12 step program how drastic 40lb weight loss in one year was.
At some point, I didn’t have the time or energy to keep up that level of exercise and food behaviors had become worse. That was when I started sticking my finger down my throat to purge. That was my ultimate shame and, I knew then that I was sick; mostly because I really liked it. Sometimes I would just binge so I could purge. Sometimes I had not even binged and if I was upset I would purge to make myself feel better. It gave me a weird high.
Eventually it all broke down and I told my mom. I stopped purging and exercising but continued to binge. I was afraid to exercise or restrict my food because I didn’t want to get back into that old pattern. However I became a binge eater and gained 10lbs a years until I was Obese.
At some point the idea crossed my head that if I was going to exercise it needed to be for fun and not to lose weight. I thought long and hard and remembered as a child always enjoying being in nature on family hiking trips. So, my dad and I started hiking twice a month in January 2010. We set a goal of hiking the Chief in Squamish latter that August.
Later that July I moved from Vancouver and somehow ended up in the Yukon and we never did get to hike the Chief. I continued to hike and enjoy the outdoors and will be entering a two year program in college that starts with a field camp outside. I’ve walked 179 km in Ireland , backpacked the Chilkoot trail, completed a very challenging firefighter fit test twice all since. I’ve lived in a Cabin and chopped my own wood for 8 months. All of these things were only made possible by the spiritual , emotional, and physical recovery I have received through working the OA program.
This summer my higher power gave me the opportunity to hike the Chief with my father. This was a big deal for me and I had a lot of fears leading up to it. I have not given my amends to my father yet as he lives far away. I was hoping to take the opportunity to do it on the trip.
I was really disappointed because I did not have time to write my amends before I left. I thought I would bring them on the plane and write them there. However, I missed my first flight because I slept in and the second flight was delayed because of a power outage. I was really worried about disappointing my dad and it was not a good time to write an amends letter.
I still really wanted to squeeze the amends in somewhere on the trip but something happened on the hike. I realized I wasn’t ready. I was expecting my father to be anxious and worried about us being late but he was calm and nothing but loving towards me. He was no longer the person from my childhood who I held all these resentments against; this man whom I chased for approval. I realized I didn’t need this man’s approval because he loved me just as I was. I had been so busy living in the past that I did not see what was right in front of me.
Then another miracle happened. My father was struggling physically with the hike and I could see that he didn’t want to disappoint me. Something inside of me was able to find compassion for him as a man struggling with his own illness, aging, and trying to be good enough for his daughter.
I offered him my hiking poles and he took them. I took my time and walked behind him. When he apologized for being slow I only said remember all those times you waited for me when I was slow. Finally I was able to share with him that if it wasn’t for him taking me hiking and camping all those times as a child I wouldn’t have even had been interested in hiking. I also briefly explained how important it was to my recovery.
I said, “dad if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t even be here so don’t worry about getting to the top.” I think that is the first time I’ve ever expressed deep, honest and sincere gratitude to my father.
I’m so grateful that my higher power didn’t let me get my amends written because I have a lot of work to do before I can make an honest and sincere amends. I think this trip was a great start to a real relationship with this man who is my father.
~ Christine, YT