Step One

We admitted we were powerless over
our compulsive behavior with food
that our lives had become unmanageable.


"Unmanageable" was certainly not a word that I would choose to use in describing my life prior to joining OA; to admit that I was not in control would have caused much choking and gagging as the words stuck fast in my throat. There was much pride in the way I had conducted my life, however, in reality, I was far from being the helmsman, and I believe that deep down I knew this, but would never declare this to myself let alone another living person.

I took pride in being independent, since that was all I had to keep me company through childhood. I was raised in a family where nothing of a personal nature was discussed or disclosed. As the only daughter I was expected to fend for myself whilst my younger brothers enjoyed the undivided attentions of my mother and the leniency of my father.

I prided myself of the fact that I never gave my parents any cause for concern. I was the model daughter, well apart from one "small" misdemeanour: I was overweight, the subject of school bullying and a source of entertainment for the local rapists and sexual offenders, subsequently I disappointed my parents in not achieving normality during my youth and adolescent years. They in turn never let me forget the dissatisfaction I had brought them and I spent my time with them trying to find some small way of appeasement.

Pride was my biggest downfall; followed in quick succession by independence and stubbornness. Although I enjoyed being around people, I didn't feel comfortable relying on them. After all I never let me down, like I had been let down by others. Having said this, I have to admit that in thinking I have all the answers, I am letting myself down and not giving myself a chance of recovery by another means. After all, how many years must I keep trying the same thing before even I would come to realize that my methods are not working?

Must I become exhausted and empty before letting go of the steering wheel!

Even though at times I could not tell which was ruining my life more, the food or the speed at which I seemed to be running towards the wall, I have to say that in my heart of hearts I always knew that food was held in an artificially high-ranking position for my liking.

Food dictated how I felt about myself, food soothed my fevered brow, and food provided shelter from the marauding hoards. Food remained on my mind morning, noon and night. Frequently I would climb the stairs to bed in some feeble effort to halt the compulsive and abusive consumption of food.

Whilst it is true I prided myself in the things I did, there was no love for me as a person; my achievements and who I was, were two very different things. I feared failure and so would spend copious amounts of time calculating the success rates of events throughout my life. If I saw any chance of failure then I simply wouldn't try. If I felt that I might blot my copybook then I would turn away. I never risked anything!

Ironically there was one area of my life I was prepared to risk every day by simply getting out of bed, although there were days when even this proved impossible and too risky. This was the area of food and my ever-increasing weight problem. I would spend unbelievable quantities of money seeking that miracle cure. I would invest time and effort seeking the dreams of other people. I was on a new diet every Monday for as long as I can remember. Some diet classes saw me enter through the doors on more than one occasion as a returning member, only heavier than my last visit. Every day was a battlefield. Every trip to the supermarket, a minefield, every trip to the doctors a barbed wire fence over which I would climb. People's faces and what I read into them became like invitations to binge, their words and what I made them, like daggers and of course the food the binding for my wounds.

Because I actually hated who I was and the real me was locked inside having cried her last tears, I simply didn't care what damage I did to my body with all the diets and fasting I put myself through.

Even today I have to be really careful that I make sure of my motives before trying some hair-brain activity or another, since I have seen myself slip into this self-abusive mode several times, always imagining myself as adventurous, but in reality I am welcoming the opportunity to punish myself. I know I have such a disregard for myself or can have on a bad day and that this is like a wide open door to allow the self-abusive nature of this disease a foothold.

Whilst the old Sue Grace lingers from time to time, the new one is recharged on a daily basis. Until I was able to look back at my life with open eyes and an honest heart I was not ready to let go of the old and welcome in the new.

Every child will tell you, that if you mix all the colours in your paint pallet together, you get muddy brown, no matter how many colours you choose. One on top of the other will always come up brown. If you want a different colour you need to clean the brush.

This step is all about cleaning our brush so that we can paint a different colour in our lives.



Step Two

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