The Recovery Group

Question Six

Dear Web Visitors and Loop Friends,

My name is Shana and I am a compulsive overeater. I am grateful to have found the OA program of recovery and part of my program is sharing it with others.

Please note that previous questions are already up on the web site and can be found at


A.) Re-read Step 1 ("12 and 12").

B.) Discuss the mental obsession that preceeds the first compulsive bite.

C.) Discuss and reflect on the idea that obsessing about anything will eventually lead to overeating.

In Step One, the first mention of mental obsession is discussed on page 22, "Our sponsors declared that we were the victims of a mental obsession so subtly powerful that no amount of human will power could break it. There was, they said, no such thing as the personal conquest of this compulsion by the unaided will." Then, on page 24, last paragraph, last sentence, "We stand ready to do anything which will lift the merciless obsession from us."

I was immediately struck by the strength of the language, "...merciless obsession," "subtly powerful," and "unaided will." Did I suffer from such a disease that I could never control it of my own free will and desire? Is this why I walked around each day wondering in such disbelief why I just couldn't stop overeating...and yet I couldn't. I was always so secretly ashamed and blamed myself for not caring enough, not being strong enough, not having enough self-control.

But the first question here is about the mental obsession that preceeds that first compulsive bite. Let me address this first, then. For me, the obsession is often precipitated by emotions that seem to become inflamed by feelings of impotence; that I cannot control every person, place or thing that I come across. I immediately want something to "fill me"; food is my drug of choice, of course. The mental obsession is that I WANT "something sweet" perhaps. The focus is then rerouted; I now have a mission to accomplish: finding and eating the binge food. Often I want "sweets" to assuage the feeling of loss, of hurt feelings, of not having my way. There are times when I want "crunch" to war against feelings of anger and resentment. See, I am an eater with a mission...I want NOT to feel.

This is where the second part comes in, the obsession that will eventually lead to overeating. So, once fueled with the food, I then can obsess about "why did I do that?!" "Omigod, I broke my abstinence", or "What can I eat next?" Soon I am feeling worthless and am well on my way to further the binge; perhaps even going for weeks, months and years before I can pull myself out of the pit. This behavior will take me away from what I am truly feeling unable to deal with, and plunge me into what I know all too food obsession.

I have come to see over the years that what I need to override always is the part,"...obsessing about anything will eventually lead to a binge." Obsession has nothing to do with food (my drug of choice); obsession in itself is a defect of character (I choose to call defects my "scars"). My way of dealing with life has been to fill in the dots...with food. This behavior leaves little room for Higher Power, greater/more creative thought, dealing with change, and living in the moment. Just alot of scars.

Unfortunately, for so many years, the pain and degradation that I lived with filled a place I knew well, was more comfortable was the pain that I could keep "under control" in one me. This anger and impotence turned inward became my shield; my cry of "Why me, God?" With the help of my twelve step program, where I deal with this disease of compulsive overeating and mental obsession, I can now ask my Higher Power to walk me through life with the gift of day at a time. The best part is that I am not expected to be perfect, but just to be willing to do my best each and every day.

So, this is question six. I hope to read your shares on the subject, as well, here on the loops.

Love in recovery,





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