The Recovery Group's
12 Step Community Newsletter
January 2009 ~ Volume 10, Issue 1
From the Editor
FROM THE EDITOR:
Dear Serendipity Readers,
It wasn't all that long ago that I was 230 plus pounds and extremely unhappy with myself. It wasn't all that long ago that I was buying a size 42 x 34 pants, in desperate need of a 44 x 34 pant size, but unwilling to make the purchase because I knew if I did the weight gain wouldn't stop there. I tried everything looking for that quick fix. Hoping against hope that something out there would make me "thin" without the hassle of giving up what I wanted to eat, when I wanted to eat it. Nothing ever worked like I thought it would simply because I wanted the results yesterday, I was too impatient for tomorrow and today couldn't end fast enough.
Compulsive Overeating was destroying my life and my health. At 230 pounds, I couldn't climb stairs without shortness of breath. My job paid the price because I couldn't move fast enough. I wouldn't play with my children for fear I would look funny to those who might be watching. I had horses but I was unable to enjoy them because pulling myself up into a saddle was next to impossible. Above all, compulsive overeating was seriously affecting my own self worth, which in turn, kept me bingeing on food.
I know what it is like to eat past the point of feeling full. I've felt those feelings of guilt and remorse that always come after a binge. I know what it is like to swear off food forever. To say that this time it will be different. This time I will control my eating. Only to find myself eating the minute that feeling of being stuffed was relieved by just the tiniest fraction. I know what it is like to feel the despair and hopelessness that this disease brought into my life as a result of my inability to stop compulsively overeating.
I also know what a miracle recovery can be physically, emotionally and spiritually. Granted recovery is a journey but it is a journey like no other. Recovery has taught me a lot about myself. Who I am today is not who I was back then. I am learning to love myself as I am, and by doing that, I am able to love others for who they are, one day at a time.
This month's Lifeline summed up my life and my hope for the year 2009, in a few short paragraphs;
May I always remember that today is all I really ever have.
Happy New Year To All,
Happy New Year, Dear Serendipity Readers, Have you ever ached for food but weren't hungry? I'm not talking about craving or overeating or bingeing on food. I'm wondering if you have had a need so deep for your drug of choice but the mere act of using it was impossible because you were already full. And so you lived with the ache of needing it until the time would come when you would be hungry enough to eat it. Or binge on it. Insanity.
There have been times in my life that whatever it is that food did for me was less strong than the compulsion ... Or the addiction. The desire for food I was unable to eat would give way to an uneasiness and I would find myself longing to be hungry so I could once indulge my overwhelming compulsion for food. This always led to overeating or, if the circumstances were right, a full blown binge. And because binges seem to beget subsequent binges, it would be just a matter of time before relapse reared its ugly head.
The above would make no sense at all to a civilian but I imagine there are many of you reading this who will understand exactly what I'm saying. I can see why the Big Book says the disease is baffling. All of the above and so much more can be summed up by these words:
This issue of Serendipity is devoted to a subject that most people think ... "if you have this, you have everything." Health! Compulsive eating doesn't just make one fat .. Or, in the case of anorexia, skinny. It affects our health. I don't know of a single illness or ailment that COE doesn't exacerbate in one way or another. I think we in the Recovery Group need to talk more about the health issues we confront as a result of compulsive eating. I live in a country where obesity is an epidemic, even among children. I hear stories from people who tell about going to their meeting and leaving it disheartened because they see men and women well over a healthy weight. I've been among them but felt at least I was recovering on a spiritual and emotional level ... And somehow, I justified the physical plateaus by saying "two out of three aren't bad." I don't do that anymore. I have found that when one leg of my three pronged stool is wobbly, it doesn't take very long for the other two legs to become wobbly too.
I hope that everyone who reads this will dedicate the year of 2009 as the year that they take better care of their health. Notice I didn't say go on a diet. I didn't even say lose weight. One thing leads to another and if we start really paying attention to our health issues, I believe abstinence and spiritual and emotional wellness won't be too far behind. The Recovery Group is going to do its part. If we learn more about addiction, the nutritional value of food, how to pace ourselves in today's fast world and how to "go within" and nourish that part of us that no one sees ... We'll be okay.
Here's to making this the healthiest year of our lives.
MONTHLY HAPPENINGS AROUND TRG
FROM THE ADMINISTRATION:
TRG Administration is especially busy at the beginning of a new year. Each trusted servant has been asked to either continue in their job or switch to a new job for the next year. As always, there are openings for those who know how service will help their programs.
A new step study is starting -- Shlomo led the last one and Dawn will be leading the 1st quarter study. Studies from 1996 through 2008 are on the web site -- www.therecoverygroup.org/wts/.
Newcomer's orientation has been changed from three month to two month sessions. A new one will start January 1st. If you are new to OA or to TRG, we recommend you complete the orientation. You will learn the answers to the most frequently asked questions -- how to get an online sponsor, how to attend an online meeting, how to share appropriately, etc.
TRG Administration would like to wish all members a recovery-filled year. The program does work if you work it.
Yours in Recovery,
FROM THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:
The Recovery Group Executive Committee would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for being a part of our recovery home this past year. We are looking forward to this coming New Year and have been discussing even more ways in which TRG might support our 12 Step Journey of Recovery.
It has been another busy month in the Executive Committee. A total of 442 posts have been generated while discussing TRG business.
A few of the business matters acted upon were the appointment of a new Meeting Administration Coordinator and five new loop Coordinators, a two month format for the Newcomers Orientation Program was approved and the Trusted Servants list for 2009 was generated.
We wish you the very best in the New Year ahead as we all travel the road to recovery together.
TRG Executive Committee
From The Loops:
Many times we are asked by newcomers to The Recovery Group ... "what is a loop?" Loops are support groups and those who join them are called "loopies." We have many loops of just about every kind imaginable. If one can only join one loop, it should be a 12 Step General Sharing loop. Many prefer to be active in two loops, a general sharing one and another with a special focus in addition to their eating disorder. A third loop isn't really a "loop loop" because it's not specifically for sharing ... it's a study, a workshop, an orientation. You can find all our loops and their missions here. By clicking RECOVERY and ODAT, you can find our general sharing loops and our special focus ones.
The Recovery Loops are world wide and serve compulsive eaters who speak many languages. A special thanks to translators who make it possible for many resources of TRG to be available to all. After all, recovery is a special language ... A language of the heart.
From The Meetings:
Recovery Meetings are held every three hours around the clock beginning at midnight Eastern time. Dedicated meeting leaders volunteer to lead the meetings and many special focus and foreign language meetings are held. All regularly scheduled meetings are registered by Overeaters Anonymous and reflected on the OA website at www.oa.org. If you would like more information about meetings or to volunteer to lead a one hour meeting each week, please contact Terri and/or Tracy, the Recovery Meeting Coordinators at MtgAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org. If you would like to attend a meeting, here's the doorway.
TRG MEETINGS ~ CLICK DOORWAY
Midnight, 3, 6, 9 AM Eastern Time
TRG'S SPONSOR PROGRAM
Sending a big "thank you" to all of the TRG Sponsors who were so willing to share their recovery with others during the year 2008. We realize that many of our sponsors have reached their capacity so we are sending out a call to the larger TRG Community to please consider becoming an online sponsor in the New Year.
We will have many newcomers who will be in need of a sponsor. As they begin their journey in working the steps in January when the first quarter of "Working the Steps" begins online. If you are ready to give back to others what you have so generously received please let us know at:
Remember you can sponsor up to the level of your own recovery. If you have worked the first three steps you have that to share with a newcomer.
To become a TRG online sponsor, here are the requirements:
1. We will need a short bio for our Sponsor Biography Directory. In a short paragraph or two simply tell a little about your recovery and how you sponsor. Please send it to us at:
We have included a few sample bios at the end of this post to assist you in your writing if desired.
2. Once we receive your bio we will be adding it to the TRG Sponsor Bio list that is provided to TRG members who are seeking a sponsor. Your name and email address will also be added to the Sponsor Directory.
3. In addition, we will be adding you to our Recovery Sponsors loop. This is a loop where prospective sponsees can write looking for a sponsor. They can write to Recovery Sponsors in place of or along with requesting the Sponsor Bio's. When a sponsee writes to Recovery Sponsors, we encourage you to contact them if you feel it could be a match. To respond to an individual simply choose "reply"And your response will go directly to their address.
Here are a few sample bios you may find helpful in writing yours:
We also have a website that has all of our past "WorkingTheSteps" on it. You may what to check it out for additional help.
WTS ~ Working the Steps:
Please check out this website to find out about our Sponsor-Sponsee-Talk Loop:
To become a member just scroll down the website page and click where it says "Join Us."
OA offers a very helpful pamphlet on Sponsoring and also one on being sponsored. You can order them by going to this website:
Looking forward to receiving your bio.
With love and JOY in service,
(The Satisfaction of Rendering Service)
As the new year begins, you will be receiving mail asking you to consider giving service to others via various trusted servant positions now open in our community. These unique opportunities can take as little as 15 minutes a week to many hours a day. They can require basically no technical skills to many. Requirements will depend on the specific job but the main requirement is to have the desire to quit eating compulsively and to serve others. Please contact TRGODAT@aol.com or
One of our Trusted Servants sent me a quotation recently that I think is appropriate to use as we begin 2009 intent on filling every slot we have open with the most dedicated, tenacious, loving and hard-working men and women on the planet. You may want to highlight the words below and keep these heartfelt wishes close to you each day of the year.
Come join TRG's Trusted Servants. It could well be the best job of your life.
In loving service,
NEWCOMER ORIENTATION BEGINS TODAY
Session One of the OANewcomers Orientation begins today, January 1st, 2009 and it will be 8 weeks in duration. We will cover everything the newcomer needs to know in depth during the upcoming eight weeks:
The Basics and the three aspects of Recovery, the 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions, Sponsorship, Literature, Meetings, All about TRG: Website and Services, Service, How to Share, and A Plan of Eating. The Newcomer will receive questions on each topic and will respond only with their answers to the Orientation Session.
The 8 week Newcomer Orientation is held every other month:January 1st , March 1st , May 1st , July 1st, September 1st and November 1st.
We also have a "sister" general sharing loop, NewcomersToRecovery, where the newcomer can "let their hair down", a safe place to find love and support.
Parts 3 and 4 of the Orientation Program are our Newcomer Meetings and a Sponsor Program.
All Newcomers with a desire to stop compulsive eating are more than welcome to join us!!
Love In Recovery and Service,
BIG BOOK STUDY
The Recovery Group is pleased to announce the 2009 registration for those who wish to participate in a daily study of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Beginning on January 1st, members can have their choice of three different formats for discussions about our beloved Big Book.
BIG BOOK STUDY
Each day in our Big Book Study Group a leader will take you through a section of the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book. You will find the Big Book itself on our website by chapters as well as a link to the latest edition of AABB.
The Big Book Study Loop is a study group which has as its mission to provide an additional area of recovery and support to COEs who appreciate the AABB, lovingly known as The Big Book. For OA members who want to thoroughly explore the Big Book from beginning to end we would be happy to have you join us.
BIG BOOK FRIENDS
In a warm, friendly environment, join other Big Book friends as Ray, the Big Book facilitator introduces weekly topics, shares his personal experience relating to the AABB and asks questions of the members so that they can share back to the group.
Copies of the Big Book are on our website or you can purchase one at your local meeting or by ordering directly from AA or OA.
BIG BOOK ONLINE MEETINGS
Please contact Linda, the Recovery Online Meetings Coordinator to request a schedule of all our 12 Step Meetings including special Big Book Meetings.
BIG BOOK WEBSITE
This site includes the following:
Mission of the Big Book Study Loop
2009 WTS ~ WORKING THE STEPS STUDY
On January 1, we will begin the first quarter of the 14th year of WTS. Each quarter, there is a different Step Leader who guides a large group through a study of the Twelve Steps. As the leader shares his/her experience, strength and hope, the members of the group share back. Day in and day out for 90 days, the steps come alive in WTS.
Dawn B. will be the Step Leader of the next study and she and WTSAdm cordially invite all of you who would like to work or re-work the Steps to come and join us. You will find links at the close of this letter which will give you a link to join as well as a link to our past WTS Step Studies. As you read our past leaders' shares, you will come to know them ... And you will find men and women just like yourself who know the struggles and the joys of 12 Step Recovery.
DAWN'S 12 STEP BIOGRAPHY:
I am honored to have been asked to lead the WTS Step Study this quarter. I came to the Fellowship via the Internet so consider it an important and vital tool to my recovery. I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater and have been in OA for four years as of March 2009. I was 400 pounds at my heaviest and had sleep apnea and constant pain in my hips, knees and ankles. I could not fit into normal clothes nor plane seats nor booths at restaurants. I wore no make-up, didn't do my hair and wore clothes that were either all black and baggy or so outlandish I stood out for a mile.
When I first came to OA, I was about 350 pounds. I was gaining fast as I was bingeing on a diet I had been on for two years. I was a virtual recluse with only one friend whom I had taken hostage and a separated husband who had thrown me out for another addiction. I hated me and everyone else.
I have - through working the steps, surrendering to a Higher Power, being as honest as possible, having a sponsor, a food plan, exercising, using the telephone, attending meetings, writing, doing service -released 175 pounds. I came into OA angry, bitter, resentful and lonely. I am now, one day at a time, none of those things.
I can now walk, dance, fly, scuba dive, run, skip, swing and laugh without the fear of being too big. I have a Higher Power who loves me. I have many friends whom I love dearly and I am continually working to release more of the emotional and spiritual malady which keeps me overweight.
I have daily contact with my Higher Power and am working through the denial and fear around my past in order to allow myself to become a healthy body weight. I am grateful to this program without which I would be dead today. It is as simple as that. OA saved my life.
I am blessed to be alive today thanks to OA and I look forward to walking with you in the next 3 months as your step coordinator.
Walking with you!
SPOTLIGHT LOOPS OF THE MONTH
THE RECOVERY DIVISION
To provide a safe and positive place, where people working the 12 Steps of OA, from all levels of recovery, can gather and get recharged and inspired so they can face the various challenges in their lives.
WHO WE ARE:
The OA Recovery Loop is a fellowship of members of The Recovery Group. Our focus is on recovery, and how we use the 12 Steps and Traditions of OA, as well as fellowship, to find recovery.
Our mix of recovery, provides a rich tapestry of fellowship. "Oldtimers" share their ESH (experience, strength, and hope) while providing a living example of how sanity can prevail. Those new to the program, or continuing to work the steps, share their "aha" moments with us, and remind us of just how far we have come ... And how important recovery is.
The people of OA Recovery Loop are "real" people, with "real" problems who are finding "real" solutions.
WHAT WE DO:
As in face-to-face meetings, we provide a daily topic on which members are invited to share, helping us to focus on the various aspects of our disease, so that we may continue to grow in our recovery. You are invited to share on that, or any topic concerning your recovery.
Difficulties are discussed, but in the context of discussing our disease, insight, how you apply program tools, traditions, etc., in overcoming these challenges rather than just venting.
You are welcome to introduce a topic in which you have been struggling; however, our members are discouraged from offering advice or engaging in crosstalk.
There are no dues or fees for members; we are self-supporting by dedicated volunteers. The OA Recovery Loop is not affiliated with any public or private organization, political movement, ideology or religious doctrine; we take no position on outside issues. Our primary purpose is to abstain from compulsive overeating and to carry the message of recovery to those who still suffer.
We hope that you will take this opportunity to join us, as we share our wisdom, our fellowship, and our recovery.
THE ODAT DIVISION
There is every possibility that you are struggling with food issues and that you have become severely isolated. There is the possibility that you are in pain because you're sick and tired of blocking out the world by staying inside ... Yet you may not even realize why you do it. If you're here, it may be that you are hurting so much that you're just about ready to give up.
Through our very private and special place, we offer you solace and peace. We offer you anonymity and safety. No one will be in this group unless they have experienced life as a compulsive eater and as an isolator. We ask each member to introduce themselves and tell their stories upon arrival here ... And newcomers should expect to hear back from some of the most wonderful human beings on Earth.
Isolation members may use a program based upon the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. We belong to a group called The ODAT Group and our mission is not to replace face-to-face meetings but the reality is that our disorders make that sometimes impossible. We treat the food and weight problem and we acknowledge the isolation issues not as a lack of willpower or a defect, but as a disorder that can be arrested.
The 12-step program offers recovery for the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of compulsive eating. This same program offers insight to the need to socially isolate. We are not therapists nor are we a professional diet club. Our organization does not endorse specific food plans or diets and there are no professionals among us. In our 3D lives, we come from many places and life styles ... But in our recovery home here in cyberspace, we are bonded by the knowledge that we have a problem we did not ask for ... And that we do not want. Our food problem is exacerbated by the shame and anxiety heaped on us as we live our lives isolated from those we love. But we also know deep in our hearts that we will get better.
Our mantra is One Precious Day at a Time. And we affirm to ourselves daily that what we could never do alone, we can together.
THE DISCOVERY DIVISION
KIDS AND COKIDS
For those of us with children who have eating disorders or issues, the COKids Loop provides a welcome place to come and share our fears, hopes, what's worked for us, what questions we have. COKids is one of the first loops I joined in TRG because of my younger daughter and her eating disorder. It was wonderful to gain needed perspective by reading the coordinator's very helpful shares and to write about what was literally "eating" at me in the case of our daughter. COKids Loop welcomes any of us who have a child who overeats, undereats, excessively diets, or otherwise gives us cause for concern. This child could be your son or daughter or your niece or nephew, grandchild, someone you counsel or teach, perhaps a neighbor's child. We each have a lot of wisdom, strength, and experience to share, and COKids Loop is a great place for this. We are also looking for one or two coordinators for this loop. If you have an interest or would like more information, please contact me (Athena1442@gmail.com)
COKids Loop is designed especially for youngsters with eating issues/disorders/concerns. This loop is a safe place for a child up to teenage years to come to express their thoughts and feelings. (there is another TRG loop for Teens) Please let the young person in your life who could find Kids Loop healing know about it. Members have shared on many topics of interest to them ranging from school to their hobbies and interests. There is one adult advisor on the loop; the other members are youngsters.
If you've found us, it could very well be because you have something troubling you. And possibly it has something to do with weight. You may be overeating, eating the wrong kind of foods or even undereating. We are part of The Recovery Group and we understand eating disorders. Practically every member here has had the same painful experiences you may have had as a result.
You can get help for your eating disorder. By joining with other children who have the same problem as you do, by listening to what they have to say, by sharing some of your experiences with them, you will be amazed at what can happen.
Kids and Discovery is a place for you to talk about life, family, problems, joy and hope as well as eating disorders. This is YOUR Loop.
We want you to remember something ... What you kids cannot do alone ... You CAN do together.
You can join us by sending a blank email to:
You will be welcomed with open arms.
COKids is a group in cyberspace dedicated to children ... Children who compulsively overeat ... Or who show signs that they may. We'd like to tell you a little about our Child's Journey to Recovery.
COKids is an organization of not just parents and grandparents of children with eating disorders, but also therapists, teachers, relatives and close friends of these innocent victims of our disease. We in COKids share with one another in a private discussion group the problems children encounter as a result of compulsive eating.
One purpose of the group is to determine ways to help our children recover from this disorder at an early age so that they will not reach adulthood hampered by this disease.
Another is to provide a forum using the advancing technologies of the Internet for the children themselves to interact with one another in supervised discussion groups of their own. A companion list called KIDS is available to these children.
You can join us by sending a blank email to:
RECIPE OF THE MONTH
BEEF AND VEGETABLE KABOBS
Dietitian's tip: Marinating meat before grilling not only adds flavor but also reduces the chance that cancer-causing substances will form on the meat during grilling. Marinating also helps keep meat from burning and charring.
1/2 cup brown rice
In a saucepan over high heat, combine the rice and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Add more water if necessary to keep the rice from drying out. Transfer to a small bowl to keep warm.
Cut the meat into 4 equal portions. Put the meat in a small bowl and pour Italian dressing over the top. Put in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to marinate, turning as needed.
Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or a broiler. Away from the heat source, lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source.
Thread 2 cubes of meat, 2 green pepper slices, 2 cherry tomatoes and 2 onion wedges onto each skewer. Place the kabobs on the grill rack or broiler pan. Grill or broil the kabobs for about 5 to 10 minutes, turning as needed.
Divide the rice onto individual plates. Top with 1 kabob and serve immediately.
Peace in Recovery,
MY ANNUAL EXAM
I went to the doctor for my yearly physical.
OBESITY IS KILLING US
With rates of adult and childhood obesity increasing, authorities view it as a serious public health problem. Between 1980-2000, obesity among adults has more than doubled; obesity among adolescents has tripled. In the U.S., obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death after smoking. A poll is being taken in the Recovery Group and it is interesting to note that of approximately 2000 men and women, 78% so far, state that their weight is affecting their general health. If you would like to participate in this poll or to view it, click here. If you are a member of one of the Recovery support loops, this first week in January would be an excellent time to share with your fellow members how you are finding solutions using the 12 Step Program to reach and maintain a healthy body weight. It has been proven over and over that being a healthy weight is not a diet ... it's a lifestyle. Many doctors and nutritionists now use the BMI (Body Mass Index) to categorize the four classes of weight. Please ask your own doctor or nutritionist to determine your individual classification.
THE GOOD NEWS
There is some good news ... Actually some great news. Did you know that just by losing a small amount of weight is likely to produce almost immediate health benefits. In addition to just feeling better about yourself, losing as little as 5% of your body weight is likely to show improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.
For example, if you weigh 200 Pounds, a 5% weight loss equals 10 pounds, bringing your weight down to 190 pounds. While this weight may still be in the "overweight" or "obese" range for your height, this modest weight loss can decrease your risk factors for chronic deiseases related to obesity. So Remember Modest Weight Loss = Big Benefits.
GOOD MORNING POEM!
I would love it if you let your knees kiss the floor
TIPS FOR BOOSTING YOUR E-MOTIONAL HEALTH
(1) Authentically Express Yourself
(2) Remember: All E-motions Are GO[o]D
(3) Learn to Forgive
(4) Learn to Accept the Unacceptable
(5) Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude
(6) Practice Optimism
(7) Make The Mind/E-motion/Body Connection
(8) Improve Your Stress Management Skills With Biofeedback
(9) Practice Random Acts of Kindness
(10) Let Love Radiate
(11) In-JOY Life
(12) Stay Connected to The One in All
Dr. Cindy, behavioral health & addictions expert, is a health psychologist from America's heartland where she practices her own unique brand of E-motional medicine. Highly regarded as a vibrant motivational speaker and compassionate counselor who comes from the heart, she is regularly featured as a health and wellness expert in print and on television. She is perhaps best known for her ability to keep it real with her down-to-earth, authentic style.
COMPULSION AND EXERCISE
Hi! My name is Carrie, and I am a compulsive fill-in-the-blank. I've done every shameful behavior mentioned in the OA 12x12 and tried every diet and drug to lose weight. I am grateful today to be at a "normal," healthy weight; and to be physically strong, healthy, and fit—but it took me a long time and lots of work in program to get here.
Part of my recovery has been admitting that I am a control freak. Because I lacked trust in myself and everything else, I was desperate to control everything, and of course couldn't control anything—even myself. When I began dieting and exercising when I was 20, I wanted to control my body shape and weight. I thought having a certain appearance would make me happy and make life easy. I remember after I had been lifting weights for a little while, I saw a bulge in my arm—I did a double take in the mirror! It was a bicep, and I had never seen a muscle on my body before. This bicep was like a taste of a drug that I could never get enough of. No matter how much I worked out or dieted, I would never be six feet tall or have longer legs or weigh 120 pounds with a "perfectly" defined body. It's not my body shape. Much of my recovery has been accepting the weight and body shape that I have. Compulsive dieting led to bingeing, which led to compulsive exercise, which led to hunger, which led to eating, which led to dieting, which led to.... Well, you get the picture. My healthy weight and body are simply not what I had dreamed of as I was growing up.
A wonderful example of how I turned a healthy practice into a practice in compulsion is yoga. Yoga has now become a method of prayer and meditation, as it is meant to be; but when I started doing it seven years ago, it quickly became a method of weight loss and body control. I became obsessive about doing it a certain number of times a week and for a certain amount of time. Then, I became frustrated when it didn't feel spiritual! Another example is running. I began running simply because I never had been able to do it growing up. I was the slowest one in the class. I soon fell in love with jogging on trails in nature—another meditative practice. After some time, I felt I needed a goal... And decided to train for a marathon! When I began to run over nine or ten miles, it just became a practice in pain. Eventually I quit training, feeling defeated.
After a couple of years in program, the way I looked at exercise changed with the way I looked at dieting. First, I accepted my body as it was and is. Then I got food abstinent—refraining from compulsive eating and bingeing, and substances that trigger these, but no particular food (this is my abstinence). Then I looked at my physical activity. If my goals are no longer to change my body shape or size, then what are they? My goals are to be as healthy as possible and yes, to challenge my body to become stronger and more flexible so that I can enjoy activities and health well into my senior years. Keeping these goals in mind, I thought about what I really loved to do. I do love to lift weights because it brings me pleasure to see the musculature of my body and to be able to lift heavy bags and bundles of wood. Being strong is just plain fun. I do love to run because I love the feeling of running along a trail. I love to be fit so I can go on long hikes, and I like to sweat and feel I am cleansing my system, and that means doing cardiovascular activity. I also want to have a strong heart for many years. I love to do yoga because I feel such a strong connection to HP and because it inundates my body with oxygen and makes me feel limber and serene. I do NOT love competing, or feeling like I have to be the strongest or thinnest or fittest woman in the room. I do NOT love conforming to some distorted ideal of what a woman should look like, whether a fitness model or runway model. I do NOT love having a plan or system such that, if I miss a work out, I feel like a failure or that I have to "make it up."
Being healthy and fit in recovery means listening to my body—taking a day off when I'm hurting badly, doing slow work when I'm tired, and yes--challenging myself when I'm up for it! As a compulsive everything-ER, I can't just switch my compulsion from one addiction to another and think that it will "fix" me. The other compulsions will always be there just under the surface. I must do everything to the betterment of my program and spiritual practice. Thanks to working the program around exercise and food, I accept and even love my body as it is—and I am rewarded by reaching beyond the limits of what I thought I could do before, but only in HP's time.
Thanks for listening and being here!
By Joseph Trimachi
In the midst of all my madness,
FROM OA'S LIFELINE
LIVING IN NEVER-NEVER LAND
At a recent OA meeting, a friend mentioned the word “footprints.” My compulsive overeater mind heard her say “food prince.” This made me realize that a food prince was exactly what I once had. Being terminally unique, I always wanted to be a princess, and a princess needs a prince, right? Food had been my prince for many years, so why not a food prince (FP)? FP was always there for me. FP took care of me and made me happy. FP fulfilled me when I was lonely and soothed me when I was sad. FP rejoiced with me when I was happy and became my best friend. I loved FP. Food was my purpose in life; I lived to eat!
Sadly, the story does not have a fairy-tale ending. A time came when FP did not make me happy. The results of eating extra food made me unhappy. I was fat. I wanted to be the princess, have a fairy-tale life and do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. I wanted the world to be just the way I wanted it to be. I did not think the laws of the universe should apply to me. I should be able to indulge my fantasies and not be responsible for the consequences.
Finally, I reached a point when I hated the effect of the extra food on my body. I could not fit into my size 18 jeans. I could not cross my legs. I couldn’t walk up or down stairs without getting exhausted. I wore only loose and shapeless clothes. I was very uncomfortable in my body.
That was why I came to OA—because I had a little (60-pound-plus) weight problem, and I wasn’t happy. That was when food started to become less of a prince to me. I no longer thought of food as a lover and friend, but as sustenance to my body. I no longer expected food to take care of my every need, and I began to take care of my own needs. I sought professional therapy and worked the Twelve Steps to find out who I was. Sure enough, I am not a princess, and food is not a prince.
The journey that is my program is much better than a fairy tale. It has not always been smooth sailing and happy times, but it has been reality. It has given me my life and shown me sanity. I don’t have a food prince today. I have a Higher Power that is much better than FP ever was. I have the Fellowship of OA to support me, and I have my sponsor to guide me. I no longer live in a make-believe world because my world is much better than I could have imagined. I’m maintaining a 65-pound weight loss, and I’m comfortable with my body for the first time. This didn’t happen magically or overnight, but it is a miracle. I have been working this program for 11 years, and I know that I will continue for the rest of my life—if I want to keep my recovery. With the help of my Higher Power, I am abstinent today. OA has no fairy tales, but amazing miracles. I am eternally grateful that I found my miracle in OA.
P.T., Bartlesville, Oklahoma USA
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