~ FROM OUR RECOVERY GROUP MEMBERS ~
~ ABOUT FAITH ~
(Editor's note: Faith is Serendipity's new assistant editor. Please welcome her with open arms!)
"My name is Faith and I'm a COE/Bulimic, gratefully recovering one day at a time. I'm blessed to be the parent of a loving, beautiful six-year old daughter. In my spare time I enjoy painting, sketching, creating mixed-media works of art, writing speculative fiction, crocheting for charity, watching Pre-Code era, foreign and independent films, and listening to jazz/blues.
My road to recovery has been a long and familiar one. For more than ten years I have lived in denial, alternately convincing myself that all I needed was a bit more willpower or worse yet, ignoring my problem altogether, even though I knew that there was in fact a serious problem. About two years ago, I found my way into an Al-anon meeting. It was in that fellowship that I learned about OA. After much contemplation and and many online meetings, I found my home here at TRG in the Pagan ODAT loop about three months ago."
~ A HOTJ STORY ~
"Hi, I'm Mary, a compulsive overeater and the Coordinator for The Recovery Group's HOTJ - Heavyweights On The Journey to recovery. I want to tell you my story.
During my childhood, when was I growing up, there was always lots of food around and I never gained weight. When I did start gaining, I was doing it to show my mother, who had a controlling personality. My father, who I always thought had a dry sense of humor, was verbally abusive. I didn't see him for four and 1/2 years because of his verbal abuse about my weight.
I came into OA on June 5, 1999 weighing 311 lb. at my top weight. I had been diagnosed with degenerative disk disease in my lower back and my doctor did not even have a brace for me to wear. What got me here was that Memorial Day Weekend when I had a severe headache. I ended up in the ER twice that day. Saturday, I was sitting in my friend's apartment watching TV and my right arm started shaking. I called my doctor and he asked if there was a history of stroke in my family. When I told him there was, he told me to get to the hospital, right away. Nothing was found. A week later I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my neck, with a slipped vertebrae. I have it everywhere but my hips and elbows. I am always in some degree of pain with my back.
I lost the weight (101 lbs.!), but took my will back and went into a full blown relapse for nine months. I then got a sponsor, and slipped and slided for another six months. At the time, I was involved with my neighbor, who moved in with me. It was a bad situation, but I wasn't going to listen to anyone. He was doing drugs and denying it. Two years ago this month, my landlord stopped the police from raiding my apartment since he knew I didn't do drugs. If he hadn't, I would now be in jail. He evicted my roommate, and moved me to where I am living now. I made amends to him and to my friend for the way I had acted.
Today, I have let go of 113 lbs. I can walk up the hill, on good days. I have 22 months of abstinence, and 20 months off sugar, as of January 20. I am actively doing service. I am currently the Chair for my Intergroup. When I came into this program, if someone had told me that, in this time frame, I would be the Intergroup Chair, I would have thought they were nuts! I came to know that I could do it after I had chaired a Step-a-thon.
Well, that is it for now. It works if you work it.
~ RECOVERY WRITERS' SERIES ~
~ Recovery Inspirations ~
In this column we bring you shares from Recovery Meditations, Odyssey,
Danny's "Letters To God", Journey to Recovery, Reflections, The
Promises and many others. This month we continue to bring you
selections from "Odyssey, A Personal Journey", the journal of a man
who began his journey to recovery at the weight of 725 pounds. He has
shared his extraordinary journey with us, and we are grateful recipients
of his experience, strength and hope. (Note: if you wish to read all of
his Odyssey, the entire collection can be found at:
I recently did my first "outside" program where I told a bit of my
story. My 30 minute talk ended up being 45, but no one seemed to mind
much. There were laughs and tears, and lots of hugs afterward as people
came up to me to say how much they could relate to my story. It was
very satisfying to know what I had to share was of some value.
This was my first "overnight" away from my home in many, many years.
Sleeping in a regular hotel bed for one night proved uncomfortable
after the initial 3-4 hour nap I took the first night, falling asleep
at about 7:30pm and missing my evening snack at the facility. I toyed
with the idea of going out for something at the nearby convenient store,
sure I could find something appropriate, but decided that missing one
snack would not be fatal, and testing myself at that point would not be
wise. I had not done enough preparation for the "just in case"
situations... and sure enough I had one. What I will do next time is
make sure I have something with me in case what I had planned to do
doesn't happen. Fortunately my mind set was such that I didn't spend
the next day trying to "make up" for the meal I missed, I just forgot
about it and moved on. New behavior for sure.
I was able to spend about 1.5 hours with the therapist that I saw while
at the center, and it was great to visit with her. While most of the
staff had changed, I did see one very important person who was
instrumental in getting me admitted two years ago, and got a quick smile
as she came out to see me, and didn't recognize me right away. She
asked if she could help me, and I said, "Yes, you can give me a hug!".
The moment of recognition was wonderful, and we shared a long heartfelt
hug, then sat and talked for a few minutes before she had to resume her
duties. It was very gratifying to see her joy in the changes in me.
Shortly after the program ended, my wife and I drove home, 2 hours in
the rain, and I collapsed in my chair sore and tired from so much
activity. It took me two days to fully recover, but it was well worth
I went for my walk the next day even being so tired, and have continued
to do so, getting up a little earlier because it's once again starting
to get hot in Florida earlier in the day now.
I have been cutting down a stand of Australian pine trees in my back
yard, and it's starting to really show the progress now. I have
regained about 30' of "yard" so far, and have all the small offshoots
cut. I am now ready to down the medium sized ones. Also started
trimming back the Downing Jasmine bushes that have been taking over the
front yard, and climbing up the Orchid tree, so hopefully when that
tree blooms again, it will once again fill the front corner of our
The vegetable garden is looking good; someone is putting it in as a
cooperative garden so we'll be having fresh veges soon. :-) The back
yard is filled with plants waiting for placement; it looks like a
veritable Garden of Eden back there now...very uplifting to look out
and see that each morning as I walk past heading out for my walk.
God is good!
My program is continuing to be the focus of my life. My sponsor came
over on Sunday and we worked on some step work together... she is great
at pointing out to me the changes she sees, usually which I do not...
so it's a humbling thing for me. It makes me so grateful to be
working this program and to have a sponsor who loves me enough to be
honest and open with me. She came to my talk with my wife and afterward
she gave me a big hug and said, "I really love you!" She is such an
inspiration to me. She works a very strong program, so I know if she
thinks I'm doing okay, I'm doing Great! :-)
Challenges of raising a 12 year old had gotten to a very tenuous point
again, so more stringent boundaries have been placed, and seem to be
doing the trick. My tendency is to be too lenient, too inconsistent,
and too over-indulgent, a bad combination for setting good limits..
And she suffers because of it, so this week has been going remarkably
well in comparison. I pray for continued guidance and strength to
remain vigilant with this. I try to remember she is only 12 and not
ready for much still... I am trying to instill in her a desire to "want"
to learn, to have a passion for something, which she does of course;
it's just that reading all day doesn't seem to be enough to me... ;-)
Sigh, oh well, that's MY perception; it will all work out, I trust.
My weekly OA meeting is tonight, someone is telling their story, so
should be enlightening.
I continue to have the reprieve from my food compulsion, a joy to be
sure. I am truly grateful for that and thank my HP daily for the gift.
I'll keep taking myself into the light of this program; it gives me the
reassurance I need to continue doing the daily work of this plan of
love and hugs,
"Odyssey, A Personal Journey"