My Anchor

I believe that compulsive eating is akin to suicide on an installment plan. Most self-admitted compulsive eaters need only attain a fraction of emotional or spiritual recovery before they see that compulsive eating is a violent act that springs from an unbalanced mind—cruel and unusual punishment.

It is insanity to return voluntarily to using a substance that reduced us to a state of “pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 30). A moment must come when our thinking alters and we accept help putting and keeping the food down.

I had to physically detoxify from my last compulsive bite before my thinking cleared. I saw that I still ate too fast and could plan better around ‘occasions.’ I was eating foods that gave me stomachaches, bad breath, or gas. I even ate some foods despite not liking the taste. Crazy, huh?

My food plan has changed, but my attitude remains the same. If something hurts or causes me guilt, doubt, or health risks, I give it to God. I must be willing to let go. I don’t need zing or bells to appreciate the gift of (only) enough healthy food. That’s just the voice of my disease in disguise.

I derive great pleasure from my food. I don’t eat from a limited selection of bland offerings. However, I accept I have limits that I treat with respect. My limits offer me an opportunity to pursue a spiritual dimension I might not have had as a normal eater. God may have used my condition to get my attention and then gave me OA so I could learn to live in a far more useful fashion.

The Tools give me structure and direction to get me through one day. They emphasize the central themes of connection with others, adherence to a food plan, and service to my Fellowship. They are my rock. I’d rather see my insanity play itself out by resisting making a phone call than wake up 20 pounds (9 kg) heavier one month without knowing why. If I am willing to bring God into my decisions, and reject the hasty choice to put food in my mouth, then nothing can make me eat compulsively again, no matter what.

The Steps are the road map to a better life. The Traditions and Twelve Concepts show me how to live well with other OA members. But the anchor that will always make me and other compulsive eaters feel better about ourselves is not picking up that first compulsive bite. It is the acid test that indicates whether we thought the food was God, or if we let God be God. Everything else is the fruit from that seed.

— Reprinted from Lifeline magazine