I'm Tami, and I'm a COE, grateful to be recovering one day at a time and being restored to sanity from this disease.
How I've struggled with this step and all the changes it's required of me. Working this step has required that I examine my traditions and beliefs that held me back or caused me pain. When I became aware of how unmanageable my life was and that this step called it insanity, I understood that on an unconscious level, but it's been a long process to find the insanity, accept it and then to change it.
By the time, I came to OA, I no longer believed there was a perfect diet, my objective was to find inner peace. I was a capable and intelligent woman, I just did not understand why my will power wouldn't work. I came to see that it had nothing to do with my will power, my own strength, or my intelligence, but more to do with my total reliance on food and my defiance of God.
I didn't understand how irrational it was to turn to food to fill the bottomless hole in me, but I did know I was emotionally and spiritually bankrupt. I could see the connection between my unwillingness to admit this to myself and my isolation and depression, because it was impossible to hide.
The biggest insanity was how I had assigned so much of my power to food in my life. I accepted that food had very little power in comparison to what my HP and I could do when I cooperated with this Higher Power. As I learned to risk trusting this HP, food began to find it's rightful place as I let go of my need to use it to harm myself. Looking back, there was a transference of looking to a lower substance, food, to help me to a Higher Power that would and could help me, if asked.
Before, I prayed for God to fix me instantly. The miracle I was looking for was that God would fix me so that I could continue to eat as I always did. When that "miracle" was not delivered when demanded, I became angry at God and stopped talking to God. I came to see that this was defiance, and that what was needed was reliance. My prayers changed from demanding to be fixed, to humbly asking, "Show me how to change....." Now, I was asking the right questions and with reliance.
Other insanities I needed to change was judging my feelings as good or bad, and the bad ones were to be ignored or pretend they didn't exist. I also had a Punishing Parent image of God that I in no way wanted to come to seek a connection to. I felt that asking for help was a sign of weakness, when in fact, it is availing myself of the Power of the Universe. I thought having problems was a punishment, and not that they were opportunities for spiritual and emotional growth as they are faced and a solution found.
In time, I began to humbly ask for cravings to be taken and I learned that God could do for me what I could not do for myself. I experienced a serenity that was divine, far greater than what food had given me. The first time I took the risk, and asked for help, the cravings were gone almost instantly. It was my experience of a benevolent God and it became easier to ask the next time!
I've come to appreciate what a good teacher that pain can be in my life. The pain is a signal that something is not working and needs attention. At least now I am alert and can think it through without food interfering with my connection to my HP. The second step has helped me to look to my HP to be restored to sanity.
In time, I've come to see that I have many needs that food cannot even begin to fulfill, no matter how much I want it to. As I let go my chokehold of the addicted foods, then other ways to fill up the hole in my soul and to nurture me came to me. If I was tired, I would rest. If I was bored, I would tackle a procrastination project. When I felt bad, I would pet or play with my dog, or hold and talk to my grandson. I learned when I needed affection I could request a hug, or make a phone call to one of my loved ones. When I was angry, I could take a walk and think it through. I began to turn to God when nothing else would do it for me. And what I learned was that I was becoming a participator in my life again, without using food to fill my needs that it was not designed to do and could never do. I began to be restored to sanity. I continue to seek sanity for myself as I contintue to work this step and uncover my attitude. Mostly, it is a commitment to love and take care of myself with my HP's guidance, one step at a time.
I treasure this connection to God, now, and when I am tempted to eat a binge food, I know that I will feel disconnection to God. The thought of being disconnected to God and myself is an unbearable thought now. There is no bite of food worth that. I think this may be the ultimate restoration of sanity for us....to stay present in our lives and aware of all that goes on.
Without the previous chaos in my life, the subsequent peace, serenity and intuitive connection to God would not mean so much, nor would I work so hard to keep it. And for this reason, I am thankful and grateful for all of my past. It has gotten me to this place today in recovery. And this is a miracle everyday of my life.
No one works the Steps perfectly. Those who see growth and change, are those who do not give up. I hope you will commit to this journey for a lifetime, because there is so much ahead for us and growth takes time. I can do anything for this one 24 hour span of time, that if I thought ahead would totally discourage me. I do my best, and then give the results to God to do the rest. And tomorrow, I commit to doing it again. ODAT.
Thank you for taking this Recovery Journey with me this Quarter of the Step Study. I am excited and hopeful for all of us. It is not the easier softer way, but nothing else worked for me.
Blessings, Tami WTS Step Study Leader
STEP TWO ~ QUESTIONS
1. How would you define sanity and insanity as stated in the second step?
2. Do you think that came to believe is a one time occurence?
3. How do you define your Higher Power without using deity names? Describe this HP.
4. If you do not believe in a Higher Power, are you willing to "act as if" you are getting help for your life?
5. Do you have any definitions of a HP that does not work for you and makes you want to return to the food?
6. Have you asked God to remove your fat but allow you to go on eating whatever you want?
7. How do you feel about replacing your old ideas about God with a faith that works?
8. Share how you take care of yourself without turning to food?
9. What tools of the program do you use that work? A slogan?