~ FROM THE RECOVERY GROUP MEMBERS ~
Progress Not Perfection
I wish I knew why, after all these years in program, I'm still not always able to get my
food right, and how I could have put on some of the weight that I had lost. Why is it that
I still struggle with abstinence when others have years of back to back abstinence? I guess
the truth is that my journey has been different from others, and one of my very worst
character defects is perfectionism, so it becomes the easiest thing for me to compare
myself to others, or have these unrealistic expectations of myself and my recovery,
which I am never able to meet up with.
In the last year, especially, when I have had a great deal of chronic back pain and
subsequent depression, I almost went into relapse, and isolated a lot. I hardly phoned
OA friends and was on the pity pot a great deal of the time. But one of the things that
really helped me was that I always kept coming back. I still went to my f2f meeting; I
still read loop mail and sometimes even shared. But I felt that my life was a mess and
the sloppier my abstinence, when I had it, became, the more I would beat up on myself
for not getting it right once again!
Somehow or other, the willingness has slowly come back to try and take some shaky steps
back to the freedom I always have when my abstinence is back intact. I found two new
sponsors - one online and one f2f - and it was through these two special people that
some of the answers have come. All the time that I had been angry at myself for my
failures, I had actually failed to see the progress I had made. Only in speaking to
another person, could I see that even when I had had slips, I still hadn't crossed
that line and eaten certain trigger foods that I hadn't eaten in a long time. It
was as though I had recoiled from them as if it were a hot flame, as it says in the
Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Surely that was progress! Even when I felt very
angry and resentful at my ex husband when my grandson was born, and perhaps my body
language showed that, I was able to be civil to him for my son's sake, which I had
never been able to do before. My relationships are definitely better, although not
perfect, and I don't always have to be right. I am able to tell my children that I
love them, something that I had never been able to do before program. No matter how
dishonest I have felt my food become, I am still able to tell another person that I
am struggling, rather than being in denial and living in shame and guilt over what
I ate, as I used to do before program.
One of the exercises that my one sponsor gave me was to write a list of debits and
credits, ie the positives and the negatives in my life, and surprisingly enough,
there were a whole lot of positive things that I was doing which more than balanced
up with the negatives, that I kept using as a whip to beat up on myself. I think all
this is teaching me that I just need to be more gentle on myself, remembering that
this disease doesn't get better overnight. All I need to do for today is to do the
footwork and leave the rest to my Higher Power. If I do what has helped countless
other compulsive overeaters, I will get better one day at a time.
Unfortunately it'll be in God's time, not mine, but it will happen if I work at it.
Rewards of Abstinence
- Confidence instead of desperation.
- Assurance versus hopelessness.
- Fortitude instead of trepidation.
- Tranquility versus chaos.
- Self-respect instead of self-loathing.
- Simple human dignity versus pity and contempt of all associates.
- Self-assurance instead of bewilderment.
- The ability to face self versus a guilt-loaded mind.
- True friends instead of desperate loneliness.
- A clean pattern of living versus an aimless existence.
- Ability to choose not to overeat instead of the need to eat.
- A home and happy family life versus a house and a desperate family.
Happy, Joyous and Free
It is early morning . . . I sit here gazing at the snow covered landscape that God has
smile at chubby squirrels who frolic on the branches. I am content. Warm, comfortable
in my little apartment. It is the perfect time for reflexion and gratitude.
Hello everyone, I am Danielle and I am a compulsive overeater.
Today's musings have taken me back over the almost 50 years of my life.... The last
half of my life has been interesting to say the least and I am mostly pleased with
what I see, thanks to this program and the wisdom it has afforded me. I have tried
to be the best Danielle I can be, and to always do the "next right thing"....
I remember waking and being full of hatred and resentment mostly for myself frequently for the people who surrounded me. As I would ponder the days miracle diet and how by "next summer, winter, fall, spring" I would be thin, I would already be a failure in my mind. Hating the "fat clothes" hanging in my closet, and hating the fat person who would be wearing them. I raged against the unfairness of my life, the cheating husband, the poverty, the fact that the "whole world had it better than I." I lived on my pity pot. I loved that pity pot and wore the victin cloak convincingly. Every morning would be greeted with anxiety and depression.
I was close personal friends with, amongst many others, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers,
and a gosh awful protein diet where I would pour what can only be described as "barf
in a cup" as I forced it down my throat in my search for happiness. Easier to deal
with than what was really going on. Of course I failed, never was thin, and hated
myself all the more.
Suicidal ideation became my hobby. How and when. What people would say at my funeral -
I would show them.... I had even decided on what should be written on my tombstone.....
"See I told you I was sick" .... Bitter to the end. I would shed tears at the sheer
poignancy of the scene. My, how I took myself seriously.
I was convinced that God was a judgemental, stern man, who was disgusted with me,
and had far better things to do with his time than look after some worthless creature
such as I.
And then I walked in through these doors. What a bunch of kooks you all seemed to be.
Hugging and talking about some mysterious Higher Power. Accepting everyone no matter what size.
In my intellectual superiority it was clear to me that I coudn't possibly be one of you.
And there was no diet! How the heck was I supposed to lose weight without a diet?????
Luckily God believed in me at a time when I didn't believe in Him. So, thanks to a
comedy of errors, and in spite of myself, I stayed.
I listened a lot but heard nothing, the inner voice was laughing at you. I had never belonged
anywhere and felt that I certainly didn't belong here.
So I did what people said I should do, played the game and yes lost the weight.
I was a star. A popular speaker and a well-liked sponsor. I revelled in the
notoriety and basked in the glow of your admiration. And I went to bed believing
I was the worse fraud ever. I had become an expert in justification, and called
this "acting as if."
One particularly difficult day (we all have them), I announced that I was going to take shower. This
proclamation was met with . . . nothing. The dog had thrown up, one of the children was
teething, the other had a stomach virus with all that entails, and the eldest, well she
was a teenager and I had been ducking hormones all day. I had dropped a plant,
slipped and landed on my butt, and was in a particularly frenzied state.
So off to the shower to hide. As I disrobed, the middle child started knocking on the
door. "Mama I want you!" Couldn't my #@# husband even do this one thing right??????
I verrrrrry dramatically raised my hands to the sky and said "Ok God, if you're so
hot. . . you take this 'cause I can't do it anymore."
That's when the miracle occured. A calm came over me, as if I was being enveloped in a
warm soothing oil. I can't describe it any other way, it was warm, it was soft and it
poured over me from my head to my toes. God had somehow annointed me. All of the
stress of the day, all of the anxiety of a lifetime had left. I felt a calm which
had been unparalleled in my life. I took my shower and came out of that bathroom a
And the hard work began. I started attending meetings in earnest. I read the books,
studied them, and applied the principles to my life. When the feelings became too
much to bear, I started seeing a therapist. It took almost a decade to get to the
bottom of things.
I was thin, healthy psychologically, heck I was cured . . . and no longer needed the
Program. LOL. I guess I hadn't dealt with that whole EGO thing yet.
I walked out of the rooms and now know that I was basically signing my own death warrant.
We, the children and I, survived years of hard times. We got through by the skin of our
teeth. God first threw little pebbles at me . . . you know, losing the house and having
to move . . . I could handle that . . . who needed God?
Then the boulders began hitting. My daughter's best friend was murdered violently while
she slept. My child was broken and turned to drugs and alcohol, which of course led to
violence. And it was all I had to hold her together - us together. I was layed off,
we lost our house, my father died, etc. etc. But we survived!
Recently I was sitting here, feeling very depressed. All of my weight and then some
had come back (I weighed well over 300 lbs! and even at 5'9" I could no longer
"carry it well." I was isolating and had gone back to suicidal fantasies.
The children are grown and living on their own, my family is sober (for the most part)
and combined have more than 30 years of sobriety and service in the
Rather than let my thoughts get the better of me, I asked myself when was the last time
I had felt good about me and my life? I realised that I needed a meeting.
Hadn't been to one in more than 5 years. But knew that I needed one now!!!!
Thank God for the Internet. I wanted to find out when and where. What I found was
you. I jumped in with both feet. Attended an on-line meeting right then and there,
and became abstinent. Struggled with my definition, since I had aged and changed,
become an insulin dependent diabetic, but worked the bugs out, and fell in love with OA
So here I am, happy to be alive, seeing the beauty in my life and appreciating every
single one of you. So grateful to be here that I - who is rarely at a loss for words -
can't find the words to express it adequately.
I am abstinent and have already shed a lot of weight, safely and happily, I have a
wonderful sponsor, have made some wonderful new friends and am back to greeting the
world with a smile when I awaken.
Life is good, one day at a time . . . thanks to OA and all of you.
With love and appreciation,
My name is Linda Lu, I live in Soldotna, Alaska. On October 29, 2001 I started the
H.O.W. food plan. It has been an adventure ... that I pray I will continue for the
rest of my life. One of the first things I noticed was less joint pain. The next
was clearer thinking. And then at the end of thirty days, I noticed I lost
20 pounds. [tears of joy]
Well, it is almost 90 days now, and it is just getting better. I have started
using the cook book, and as service work I cook recipes from it and give them as
gifts (like the muffins on page 6,
yummm! I use stevia as the sweetener). But I could not do this alone. Without
my higher power working in my life I would not have made it through Halloween,
Thanksgiving, or Chirstmas without one bite of a refined carb. I am now 35 pounds
lighter and 150% happier!!! I thank spirit for the people who brought this plan into