Greetings all from Felina, COE in recovery one day at a time.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your leader as we begin the WTS Study for the 3rd quarter.
I came into the rooms of Overeaters Anonymous in January 2009 in Greece. There wasn't a ton of recovery at the first few face-to-face meetings I went to and, in my desperation, looked online. I soon found and became a member of TRG. It has been an incredibly important lifeline, daily part of my recovery (especially when traveling) and a great gift to me personally.
I thank all those who keep TRG up and running and am so grateful!
I have been abstinent (no recreational sugar no matter what) since March 19, 2009, am down about 35 pounds from my top weight. Of course I want to lose more weight. Duh! That's part of my disease, I can assure you. I mention these numbers to qualify only.
I was raised in a home that was full of the disease of compulsive eating and addiction. And a very big part of my story is the body dysmorphia that began in me at a very early age, along with the obesity and compulsive eating. I remember having a cousin who was exceptionally tiny and petite and she was exactly my age. We were put into ballet classes (so the story goes, I have no recollection of this to be honest) when we were probably under 7 years old. Because she was so tiny, everyone commented on how adorable and cute she was. By comparison, I felt like a giant, clumsy oaf. I had the strange mental twist from way back then, and decided that not only was I going to hide her tutu (oops! Sorry!) but that I was fat and, therefore, unattractive, unlovable, undesirable. No one told me that, of course. But that is what my twisted childish thinking began to believe. When I look back at pictures of myself as a child, I do not see a fat kid: only a kid who wasn't as super skinny and tiny as other kids. And that is when the body dysmorphia disorder began.
I won't go into too many details about what it was like. Let me just say, it sucked. I was smart and used food and books to cope with the horrible awfulness of my home life. Incest and sexual abuse were present, so were alcoholism and drug abuse in my family, things I only became able and willing to deal with through the grace of recovery. After I left home, I achieved incredible things academically and professionally like so many of us do. But I could not keep it up for long. I had forged the weapon -- my disease -- that would almost eventually destroy me.
Despite the outside that looked pretty good, I felt deeply unworthy and ashamed all the time, and was completely emotionally and spiritually bankrupt. I always felt that I either had to be better than you (by being smart, hot, having money, being accomplished) or like the biggest piece of crap on the planet (because I was fat). I spent about 30 years in active addiction, waking up every single morning obsessed with my body and fat and food.
What happened? I got terribly, terribly desperate. For more than 12 years, I tried to "legalize" my favorite foods (chocolate, ice cream, candy, sweets in general) according to a weight loss book and guru who advised me to always keep a piece of chocolate in my pocket. She said eventually I would not be so interested in the M&Ms once they were "legal" in my mind. She was very, very wrong, my fellows! For I had passed the critical point of being an emotional eater to being a compulsive eater and addict: once I had one, I could not stop. (The doctor's opinion in the Big Book has therefore saved my life by telling me I have an ALLERGY of the body and an obsession of the mind that ONLY complete abstinence and working the steps will help).
I finally got desperate enough to join a bunch of other people like me, holding hands in a sad little room, and praying ... something I swore I was way too hip, slick and cool to do! I wanted to get the OA books, find the diet, and get the heck out of there. I did not come for the vanity though: I came for the sanity because I could not live with myself one more day in the disease.
I immediately got a sponsor and began working the steps. I worked them through the Big Book (especially the inventories in step 4), the workbook of Overeaters Anonymous and here on WTS.
My life is really pretty spectacular today. I have a new Employer and, as long as I seek to do his work well, my life seems to go exactly the way it is supposed to. I am not in charge today and I know it!
I am delighted to be able to share my love of the 12 steps and recovery with you on this journey. And need to mention a few things at the outset:
- Get a sponsor.
- The steps we will be working will be based on the principles behind the 12 steps. I am not so much interested in giving you tons and tons of assignments (I know I can't keep up with that!) but in giving you prompts to LIVE the steps in your life by practicing the principles in all your affairs. This is not designed to be a super-duper intense step study, but a fun, light, summer-time way to LIVE the program, NOT only write about it!
- Get a sponsor.
- A word about food: if you are abstinent, great. If you are not, get a sponsor and pray for the willingness to abstain. My personal belief is that, IF I honestly and faithfully work the steps and do the footwork required of my recovery, the food WILL eventually sort itself out. But I have to be honest. FIRST. If you are not willing to be honest, pray for the willingness to be honest.
- Get a sponsor.
- I will not be commenting on your work or replying to your shares necessarily. I will, however, read them all and, if there is a need for a clarification to the loop, will send an additional message. Your work should be shared with your sponsor and the loop. If you would like to talk to me personally, send me an email with "WTS Contact Request" in the subject and I will send you my phone number so we can talk on the phone or skype (no matter where you are in the world!). For many of us the phone is super-super scary, and this is a great practice for getting out of the isolation that kills us. I am one of you and would LOVE to help if I can!
- My share will go out on Mondays and, with help from the great team at TRG, again on Thursdays.
Your first assignment is to read step one in the OA 12 and 12, the AA 12 and 12 and The Doctor's Opinion in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and to introduce yourself to the loop this week, share a little bit about your story and what you hope to accomplish in the next 12 weeks as we Work The Steps together. You will receive the 1st step share next Monday.
This is a gonna be a great 12 weeks!
Looking forward to hearing from you all.
In loving service,
The Twelve Steps
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