LEADER'S SHARE ~ STEP ONE|
"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.