Step One

We admitted we were powerless over food,
that our lives had become unmanageable.







Part 1
Part 2

Leader's Share and Step Questions


1—Step 1—Introduction—Unmanageability

(Some of this content is repeated from the Introduction, but I won’t do that every week.)

Welcome to the Working the Steps study for the first quarter of 2015! I am Cindy M., your leader for this journey, but really just a follower myself, a fellow traveler on this amazing journey of recovery, one step at a time. I am in great debt to many who have gone before me, and who are right now showing me the way—sponsors, sponsees, sharers on the loops, previous WTS leaders, many online friends with podcasts or recovery resources, and you. You may be a brand new beginner, or an old hand wanting a refresher in your recovery, or someone somewhere in between. Even if we consider ourselves recovered, or in strong recovery, we need every one of these steps in our daily lives.

Warning—this first lesson is long, with a lot of material to cover. Don’t let it overwhelm you—no other lesson will be this long, and with the remaining lessons I will give you the “essential” version first, with additional resources to follow. If you do just the essentials you can cover the steps sufficiently to get recovery, and that’s why we’re here!

In what follows from week to week, I want to give you my own take on the twelve steps, based on what I have learned in over eighteen months of recovery, after a lifetime of suffering this terrible malady of compulsive overeating. This study can be part of your daily recovery you share with your own sponsor, or you can make a “mini retreat” out of the study, following up on some of the many possible readings, podcasts, and other activities to enhance it.

In my own journey, I began with local face-to-face meetings in a short-lived attempt at recovery almost a decade ago, and some of the principles stayed with me, so that when I really came into the fold in June 2013, I was familiar with the 12-step approach. I followed the encouragement to “keep coming back” and found my recovery! The AA Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous) has resonated with me and has the approach I want to share with you.

You must commit to going through these steps, TAKING them and not just STUDYING them, knowing that I offer what has been offered to me and to others—the promise that if you follow the steps you will find relief, where relief never seemed possible before. I will help you take these steps for the duration of these lessons, preferably with the help of a sponsor, and, at the end of this series you should be able to begin sponsoring others yourself, carrying the message of recovery to others who still suffer, and maintaining a lifelong practice of these principles in all your affairs. And in fact you must be willing to do so, or you will lose your abstinence and your recovery—that’s a promise, too.

I lived for decades in a body that responded to my compulsions by growing to nearly twice its normal size. Now in recovery I know how to take life on life’s terms, most of the time, and I am approaching my normal weight again.

Step 1 and My Story

Desperation is where we have to start. Step 1 in Alcoholics Anonymous, which they ask us not to change the wording of, says this:

We admitted
We were powerless over alcohol—
That our lives had become unmanageable.

Let’s start at the end of that statement. My life had become unmanageable. At about fifty, after a quarter century of marriage and four great children growing well into adulthood, with a lovely home in the country and a good business I started myself, with financial security in my husband’s career, and with a faith that is supposed to be able to handle anything that comes at us in life, I should have been enjoying life.

Instead I was over 260 pounds at 5’7” and no amount of “carrying it well” could sustain that weight. In my forties I’d even approached closer to 300 than to 250. My ankles were always swollen, my feet hurt, I had frequent heart palpitations and occasional anxiety episodes, and that was even while following a regular walking program and eating a very nutrient-dense whole foods diet. I had begun in my forties to deal with some dark things from my past. I’d gone through a year or two when I cried at nothing at all, had to start leaving social situations, and began staying in bed during the day, sleeping away the misery. Meds helped with that problem but caused some of their own.

My marriage was suffering, because I could not be fully available to my husband—ashamed of my body and knowing he was not happy with me, either. In fact, it became one of the most difficult things in our life together. The days were very dark. As I looked toward menopause and expected declining health, I knew that my cholesterol and blood pressure were creeping up, and I expect my blood sugar was, too. The future was looking grim.

And I wasn’t looking so good myself. Our oldest daughter married in December 2012, and I had to put a brave face on it to do the mother-of-the-bride thing against all my lifelong hopes and dreams for that day. Yes, my dress was pretty, and I was closer to 250 pounds than 300, but it was all in the “such a pretty face” mode of things. I cleaned up well, but I had to grit my teeth through much of the day, bound up in my elastic undergarments and tottering on my aching feet.

By June 2013, when I came into recovery via The Recovery Group, it wasn’t as bad as it had been, say, in 2007, when I first tried Overeaters Anonymous in a face-to-face meeting and with online resources. But in those days I had been angry-desperate, not humble, and I went through the OA Workbook for the steps mostly on my own, reading my Fifth Step to my husband (not the best idea). I had more shame and anger than humility, and it just wouldn’t last. When I came back in 2013, though, I knew that my life was only barely manageable, because . . .

I was powerless over food.

No matter how much attention I paid to buying the most nutrient-dense foods, to making green smoothies and giant lunch salads and healthy bean dishes and leaving off processed flours and sugars and oils, it kept coming to nothing. I periodically “lost it” either with overeating “healthy foods” or completely surrendering to all the usual bagged and boxed and drive-through things that cause us all such misery.

Ever since childhood, when I soothed the wounds of a heart broken by family strife and destruction, neglect, and emotional and sexual abuse, I did it with food. Sweets, especially, and comfort foods—the crunchy, chewy, creamy, smooth—sweet, salty, fatty. If it was calorie-dense, I wanted it. It was as if my body required the biggest “hit” of calories I could give it in a particular food.

And once I had some of a particular food in this category, I couldn’t stop eating it, at least not until I’d had 500 calories, or 1000, or 2000. Most of my overeating was in the afternoons, and I sneaked things into my private supply. As a child I’d buy a long sleeve of cookies from a kid selling them for a fund-raiser, and eat them all on the bus on the way home. At home I could eat more than my share and have it not be noticed—I was one of six kids.

As I became more independent in college and adulthood, I had more control over my food, and a busy schedule and peers watching kept me under 200 pounds until after my first baby was born. But with each pregnancy and year or more of nursing I put on about twenty pounds. Then another baby, another twenty pounds net gain, and so it went. My life was unmanageable because my food was unmanageable. I was powerless over it.

And oh, how I tried to exert power over it! I was always on the healthy, do-it-myself track, with pay-and-weigh long enough to get the literature and figure out the new plan, with the nutrient-dense approach that allowed me to eat whatever I wanted in the quantities I wanted (lots!), always gaming the system, figuring out how to “follow the rules” and still stuff the food into that empty place in my soul.

In June 2013 I came calmly to the realization that it wasn’t going to get better, not really. I wasn’t going to be able to get below 250 pounds long-term with any of the ways I’d been trying, short of constant diligence. I was always teetering between the latest mini-binge and the genuine hunger of a strict plan designed for someone weighing about 75-100 pounds less than I did.

I admitted.

I saw myself in the stories I heard and read about other compulsive eaters, other addicts, alcoholics. They, too, had unmanageable lives made so because of their dependence on the substances and behaviors that they used to manage their lives. To take that first step was to step outside the tight little crazy circle of addiction to recognize it, just for a moment. It’s not a decision or an action as much as a realization, saying out loud what is manifestly true in our lives.

How about you? Are you ready to take a look at your life and deal with it in a mature way, so far as you are able? It can be scary, but we’re right here to share the journey with you.

Below are your questions to answer for this assignment. Please respond to these, copying just the portion of the lesson that contains the questions and adding your answers. We welcome you to share them on the list, but if you are more comfortable keeping them private, please feel free to do so. If you have a sponsor (highly recommended!), send your answers to your sponsor and ask him/her to reflect back to you about what you’ve written. This is a STUDY, so the idea of the questions is to start your thinking, not just to have you “fill in the blanks.” I didn’t get far with recovery when I was dutifully just filling in the blanks. But when I came with my life fully open and came willing to do what it takes, to follow instructions, I did much better.

This week I’m going to ask you just to explore the unmanageability of your life. Next week we’ll move to the food part—the physical allergy and mental obsession—and the admitting part.

Your Assignment

Let’s explore how your own life is unmanageable in the grip of our malady. If you’re well into recovery now, take us back to where you were before, and if you’re just starting this journey, tell us where you are now.

Feelings—What negative emotions do you feel on a day-to-day basis, or that crop up suddenly and make you feel you cannot control them? How have any of these manifested themselves in particular behavior patterns for you, or single events? Suggestion: think of a particular scenario that has made you feel your life is unmanageable and identify the feelings that accompanied that situation.

  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Irritation
  • Nervousness
  • Apprehension
  • Fear
  • Indecision
  • Sense of Doom
  • Negativity
  • Criticism
  • Greed
  • Neediness
  • Hopelessness
  • Apathy
  • Dependence
  • Something else?

    Behaviors—What evidence do you have that your life is unmanageable? What have you done that, seen from the outside, would lead someone else to consider you’ve got a problem?

  • In your home, with the people who live with you?
  • In your closest relationships—spouse/partner, children, parents, siblings, friends?
  • In your work—authorities, co-workers, customers/clients/students, service people?
  • In your religious and community activities—church/synagogue, 12-step group, professional or hobby organization?
  • In your presence in the world—traffic, shopping, doing errands, interacting with neighbors?
  • Online—interactions on social media, in correspondence with any of the above people or strangers, time-wasting or obsession with porn/food-porn/games/etc.?
  • With your Higher Power or a God/god, maybe one you don’t know or want?
  • Anything else?

    Problems—What things in your life do you feel you have little control over but that affect you? Some of these may be in the above list, or they may seem not to fit. Try to think here not of ways YOU misbehave but of ways others or inanimate things misbehave against you.

  • Government bureaucracy? (Tax problems, for example)
  • Finances?
  • Machinery and other inanimate objects? (Cars fit well in this category)
  • Weather?
  • Animals?
  • Other addictions/dependencies that complicate your compulsive eating problem? (Shopping is a familiar one for COEs)
  • Something else?

    Explore these categories with your responses, leaving off any that don’t seem to apply, and share with us if you will. I look forward to reading your answers!

    Resources For You

    Our recovery depends on our unity as a fellowship of those with a compulsive eating problem. With that in mind, I want to provide a list of various resources for you to consider. If one works for you, wonderful. If it offends you, let it go.

    To find answers to all kinds of questions related to recovery from compulsive eating, go to this site map for The Recovery Group, the sponsor of this study: www.therecoverygroup.org/map/sitemap.html

    To get some additional testimonies about the devastation of compulsive eating (over-, under-, or something else), consider the recordings at www.oalaig.org and www.avision4you.info (particularly the “Special” tab and “Step 1” talks).

    To read the passages I will direct you to in the “Big Book,” Alcoholics Anonymous, go to www.aa.org/pages/en_US/alcoholics-anonymous, and to see the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, go here: www.aa.org/pages/en_US/twelve-steps-and-twelve-traditions. For a brief two-page document summary of the key passages of the Big Book from www.aabacktobasics.org, download here (or find the link about 2/3 of the way down on the previous linked page): www.aabacktobasics.org/Back%20to%20the%20Basics%20of%20Sponsorship/B2B%20of%20Sponsorship-2%20pg%20Summary-208.doc.

    To learn about options for a plan of eating to support your recovery and help you define your abstinence, you should work with your sponsor and/or a health care professional who understands our particular challenges. This is a “hot topic” for many in our fellowship, but in my experience the ones most calm about plans of eating and abstinence are those who have real recovery. My own plan of eating has changed through my recovery, and I have found wisdom and healthy patterns for myself in variations on a whole foods plan: healthy vegan/vegetarian at one end of the spectrum and more primal/lower-carb on the other end. What’s amazing is that once we have recovery in our heads and hearts, we can actually calmly evaluate our plans of eating to find what works best for us, always willing to reconsider. If a food is a non-negotiable, chances are it’s a problem! With that in mind, consider these possible (and possibly conflicting) resources:www.anonymityone.com/faq102.htm, www.oa.org/newcomers/tools-of-recovery/, www.foodaddictsanonymous.org/faa-food-plan, and www.therecoverygroup.org/foodplans/index.html.

    To understand your options for Step 4 inventory, explore these sites, from simplest to most complex. I find that using different approaches each time helps expand my idea of what should be in my inventory and what I need still to work on. www.aabacktobasics.org/, www.austinrecovery.org/Portals/0/Documents/RecoveryResources/12Steps/step_4.pdf, http://oabigbook.info/, 12-steps-recovery.com/library/12steps/4step/.

    To get answers to questions about the Working the Steps study in particular, go here: www.therecoverygroup.org/wts/faq.html

    Plan for the 12-Week Study

    1—Step 1—Introduction—Unmanageable
    2—Step 1—The Food and the Mental Obsession
    3—Steps 2 and 3—Hope and Decision
    4—Step 4—Paperwork Part 1
    5—Step 4—Paperwork Part 2
    6—Step 5—Unburdening to Another
    7—Steps 6 and 7—Another Decision
    8—Step 8—Cleaning House
    9—Step 9—Out on the Town
    10—Step 10—Maintenance
    11—Step 11—Acceptance—Life on Life’s Terms
    12—Step 12—Taking the Steps on the Road

    Please write me privately at OneDayCindyM@embarqmail.com if I can answer any questions as you work through the study. I want it to be as helpful a study as it can be, and your feedback helps me do that!

    Cindy M

    TOP OF PAGE



    2—Step 1—The Food and the Mental Obsession

    Welcome to Week 2 of the Working the Steps study for the first quarter of 2015. I am Cindy M., a grateful recovering compulsive overeater, privileged to share with you my own experience with the Twelve Steps of recovery. If you haven't already, please go to Week 1 of the study to catch up with us.

    It is possible for you to “work the steps” by following this study alone, and a simple approach to the steps is a good way to find relief from deep addiction. But eventually I think we all need to get back to the original source of recovery for many hundreds of thousands of hopeless drunks, gluttons, druggies, and other miserable people. That source is the book Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book), linked in Week 1 and always available online at www.aa.org. The companion Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (12-and-12) is also available online and provides much more than is possible for me to share here with you. Accordingly, each of these lessons will link to the most key elements of the readings in these books, though I encourage you, if you’re on the “mini-retreat” plan for this study, to take the time to read all of both books, as well as other 12-step recovery resources recommended by those you trust.

    The Food

    Now that you’ve completed a list of the ways in which your life before recovery is/was unmanageable (Week 1), we’re going to link that list more closely to the food, the substance you identify as causing you trouble. First, go to your response to Week 1 and, with each item, jot down how that particular bit of unmanageability connects to your problem with food. In each case you will likely find that the stress of the unmanageable thing leads you to comfort yourself with food, or causes you stress because it is accompanied by food (Thanksgiving Dinner, e.g.), or results from your problems with food. Yes, it’s possible for us compulsive overeaters (COEs) to have problems that don’t seem to have anything to do with food, but see what you discover.

    Do that now—go to the Week 1 list of unmanageable things in life and trace out the connection of each one with food:

    --What sends you to the food?
    --What puts you in the environment of problematic food?
    --What results from your problems with food?

    What IS that thing, that gnawing hunger, that obsession, that makes me—and you?—eat like that? Or maybe your problem is eating more than is healthy and then obsessively purging or maniacally exercising. Or refraining from eating altogether, starving while obsessing. It’s all compulsion over food. And just as we need to change the language of the AA book from “alcohol” to “food,” perhaps you need to change it from “overeating” to “purging” or “starving.” And sometimes we’re a carnival of these behaviors—a little of this, a little of that, whirling around in a crazy nightmare.

    And why has life come to such a place for us, that it seems unmanageable for us while others seem to cope pretty well, at least most of the time?

    For me—for you?—the key is that second line of Step 1—“We were powerless over alcohol.” For us it’s food.

    Lawrie C., of www.oabigbook.info and a leader of this WTS study several years ago, says that the problem we have with food is that “We can’t stop once we’ve started, and we can’t stop from starting.” In other words, we’re drawn to the food, and once we have a little, that’s not enough to calm the obsession but only makes it worse. Another way of putting it is that it is an “allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind.”

    Lawrie mentions that some people can overeat and come to a point of saying, “Whew—that’s enough!” Some COEs joke that Thanksgiving is a COE-awareness day for normies—on that day they binge as much as we’re used to as a matter of course. I found that the “that’s enough” impulse really kicks in for me, as it does for Lawrie, with alcohol. A half a glass of wine, sometimes a whole one, or a whole beer or one mixed drink—that’s all I ever want. I don’t like the way alcohol makes me feel, and I know when to quit. Some people are like that about food, if you can believe it! If this illustration doesn’t work for you, think of something else you tire of that some people have real problems with – gambling, shopping, sex, video games . . .

    Allergy of the Body

    You can read lots of information about the COE experience with particular food substances, and it always seems to come back to carbs, fat, and salt in varying combinations. If someone seems to want to binge on protein, it’s probably not tofu and chicken breast, but battered and deep-fried, sugared, and salted. In the carbs area, sugar and refined starches (grain and starchy veggies) are most problematic; and things heavily salted and otherwise flavor-enhanced (MSG, e.g.) are particularly attractive to us. Some COEs find they have a co-sensitivity to alcohol and need to stay away from that. No matter what food it is, and even if we have discovered we can “binge on anything,” we can discern our allergy of the body if we find that having a little of the substance MAKES us long for more. It’s as if the substance is a catalyst to a chemical reaction, and in a way it is—dopamine, blood sugar, and no doubt other bodily reactions. We’re such sensitive people, don’t you know? :)

    What foods do you find make you physically anxious, longing for more, so that you feel a deep need to keep eating them long past full, long past when you’ve had your share? Share a list here, trying to see patterns and commonalities in them.

    --Your Problem Foods

    Now, from those foods in that list, what do you see in common? Consider these variables:

    --Concentrated sugar calories, far beyond what might naturally occur in fruit, for example.

    --Concentrated fat calories, particularly in high-fat dairy or meat products, or in oil-added fried foods and snack foods.*

    --Concentrated salt or other flavorings, like “intense” flavors of snack chips.

    --Particular combinations of the above with other foods. For me, refined white flour is not a temptation on its own, but add sugar or fat and salt to it and it becomes a problem.

    Of the foods you’ve listed above, is anything in particular your go-to sedative food, or energizing food or drink? Do you feel your mind alter when you take it in, or do you feel a real sense of withdrawal if you have only a little or if you’ve become accustomed to it and then lose your supply? I’ve heard many podcast speakers say it’s the thing that makes us say “Ahhh!” when we have those first few bites.

    --Mind-altering?

    --Withdrawal symptoms?

    Puzzles—do you find that the circumstances make a particular food a problem for you? For example, can you have cereal for breakfast just fine but overdo it if it’s a late-night “snack?” Speaking of late night, do you have a particular time of day that is a problem for you?

    --Time, place, circumstances?

    For many of us COEs, it’s not just the food substance but the volume that causes problems, and that begins to cross over into the next aspect of our addictive problem . . .

    The Obsession of the Mind

    I do seem to have a need to feel full. I feel anxious if I don’t. Perhaps I still need more recovery on that issue, but I find that a carefully-structured plan of eating (POE) enables me to feel satisfied with the reasonable exchanges of foods that I live by. But how in the world am I able to live by this plan of eating that in the world outside of recovery is pretty much just another diet?

    It’s because my mind has been calmed, my empty soul filled. We’ll get to that soon, but let’s look at what life is like before recovery, when we are ruled by both an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind.

    One of the most useful concepts in recovery for me has been the idea in the chapter “The Doctor’s Opinion”:

      They are restless, irritable, and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks—drinks which they see others taking with impunity. (Big Book, p. xxviii)

    Have you experienced this? The sense of “crawling out of your skin” that you can quiet with a trip through the drive-through or through the kitchen? Some of that is physical, the allergy of the body, but much of it is psychic, the mental obsession. Once we’ve reinforced our relief by finding that yes, indeed, that ice cream does the trick, we are perfectly placed to fall for it again, and again. Because it’s not just a little bit that does the trick—it’s a lot. And then some more. And more. And then we’re pushing 300 pounds, or heart failure from exercising or starving it off.

    We have a mental problem, one that we’re using physical substances to ease, and it works temporarily, so we keep going back to it. But in the end we come to the end of ourselves and realize it’s only working to take us to the grave, or to a life that is little better than the grave.

    --Are you familiar with the mental obsession that gives you restlessness, irritability, and discontent, and you’ve trained yourself to “treat” it with food? Explain a bit about that.

    --Is it a new concept to you that your problem with food is more than just a problem with food?

    --Are you afraid you might have to give up something important, a food you can’t do without?

    Once we see ourselves as having both an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind, and as we look at the wreckage of our lives, the unmanageability of them, we are ready to acknowledge, to admit, that we’re powerless, that our lives are unmanageable. Are you there yet?

    We admitted
    We were powerless over alcohol—
    That our lives had become unmanageable.

    --In your work this week and last week, you’ve been coming to the point of Step 1 above, a realization. Do you admit this powerlessness over food, and the resulting unmanageable life?

    Answer honestly the bulleted questions in this lesson. Just copy/paste the material from the lesson into an email to the group or to your sponsor.

    Congratulations! You’ve completed Step 1! Next week, Steps 2 and 3—Hope and Decision.

    Please write me privately at OneDayCindyM@embarqmail.com if I can answer any questions for you as you work through the study. I want it to be as helpful a study as it can be, and your feedback helps me do that!

    For Those Who Have Time: Reading and More of My Story

    For Step 1, read in the Big Book all the Forewords and “The Doctor’s Opinion,” then move on to Chapters 1, 2, and 3. In the 12-and-12, read the Foreword and “Step One.” (Or try the smaller readings suggested by Back to Basics—also linked in Week 1.) Note that this is the longest reading assignment of the whole study.

    My Unmanageability--For me, a particular event from about 2002 stands out in my mind. I was over 280 pounds and miserable, unwilling or unable to see the reality of my life that was reflected in a bad photo taken of our family at my husband’s workplace Christmas party. Was I really that big, that swollen and stupid-looking, that victimized by my own body? Were my children really that uncomfortable, my husband that ashamed-but-stoic? Christmas rolled around again and the tension was building because I didn’t want to be in a photo again, and my husband went to the party with the children and I stayed home, eating, no doubt. That’s unmanageable.

    That evening would certainly send anyone to the food for comfort, wouldn’t it? Well, certainly it would do that for us COEs, making our problem worse! That’s the irony of the thing. And at the party all the seasonal treats would call my name and I’d either indulge because I was “allowed to” because it was the holidays, or I’d control myself and then compensate when I got home, dulling the aching need with food. And that way of coping over the years had gotten me into that situation in the first place. That’s unmanageable.

    As I shared last week, many times I’d gone on diets or come up with new “ways of life” to solve the problem. In my particular case I avoided the diet pills (took one over-the-counter one once and got so jittery I never took another) and medically-supervised approaches (too much shame involved in going to the doctor for “that problem,” too much fear involved in contemplating surgery or drugs with nasty side-effects), and I was “too smart” to do dumb fad diets. Oh, I was SO smart—very knowledgeable on nutrition, sometimes tacking toward low-carb and sometimes low-fat, sometimes on the path of the vegans and sometimes heading primal. I calculated and charted and journaled and fasted and prayed and ground my teeth. And then I ate.

    My Food--Always, in the end, I ate. Maybe it was the low-cal breakfast and lunch that didn’t nourish me enough by 3 p.m., so that I succumbed to real hunger and then the obsession kicked in and I fed my hungry soul. Maybe it was the healthy, satisfying way of life that was helping me take off a few pounds over a month or two, but then it was Valentine’s Day, or Easter, or someone’s birthday, or Halloween, and the special things are available a month or two ahead of time, so we might as well get started with the “season,” because all normal people need to feast, right? And once I had a piece or two, it was, as they say, “off to the races.” I couldn’t stop. I’ve always said that I can’t eat a single donut because the combination of fat and sugar and air always makes me hungrier than before I ate it, and no number of them will satisfy that inner emptiness.

    My absolute favorite binge foods, the ones I couldn’t imagine living without, the ones that set me going so I couldn’t stop, were Oreos, malted milk balls, other chocolates especially with caramel/nuts/coconut, tortilla chips, potato chips with dip, artichoke dip in a bread bowl, a casserole made by the ladies in my church—“cheesy potatoes.” There were others, but these are the top of the list. My vulnerable time has always been mid- to late afternoon, and secret or too-abundant stashes of my problem foods gave me both security and temptation I could not resist.

    Would you agree that for me sugar, refined carbohydrates, and fat—combinations of these, and sometimes with salt—are the food ingredients that cause me problems? As for textures—creamy, chewy, and crunchy seem to be the ones for me.

    I can’t eliminate all carbohydrates and fats, of course, nor all foods that are creamy, chewy, or crunchy. Instead I need to figure out which of these are problematic for me. In part of my recovery I found that whole-grain versions of grains worked fine for me, or mostly-whole-grain versions; and if I used small amounts of fat (like butter in which to cook my eggs), I was fine. But if I added a little too much cheese to those potatoes, I was off and running. As my recovery has progressed, but my weight loss slowed, with the help of a new sponsor I began to realize that my plan of eating relied too much on carbs, and I started switching out exchanges of starch or fruit for protein. I’m still in process on that. I am currently (January 2015) just under 230, 60 pounds below my highest weight, and about 40 pounds below the weight I started recovery with in June 2013. I still have about 60 pounds to go.

    My Obsession of the Mind-- Have you ever fixated on a particular food you haven’t eaten yet, but that’s in your future? What about that birthday cake waiting for your celebration? Or a family member’s? Or the birthday of the person the stranger next to you in line at the bakery is buying a luscious cake for? That’s a bit of the obsession. I used to buy two cartons of malted milk balls at Halloween time, or two bags of robins’ eggs (same thing) at Easter, so I could hide one in my closet and have all I wanted from that while doling out amounts to my kids from the public container, hoping no one would discover my stash. Sometimes I had to go back to the store and buy more. That’s an ugly obsession. And it was mine.

    *Even raw nuts that have been pre-shelled are concentrated calories—have you ever tried breaking open a walnut in the wild?!

    Blessings in Recovery,

    Cindy M.






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