Step One: We admitted we were powerless over food - that our lives had become unmanageable.
Welcome, I congratulate you for your willingness to get well, I also truly am humbled, for blessing me to walk along side of you, "together WE get better!" WE is the first word in our Twelve Step miracle journey, because it confronts the isolationist in us, a gentle reminder that WE need a community to get well in, because isolation is deadly for the addict. I am so thankful, & humbly blessed you are part of the "WE" on this happy road to destiny & recovery! The only requirement to get well is a desire to quit eating compulsively! I will ask you just to bring along one more thing; a "Willingness" to get well. Simple willingness is such a major key to unlock the door to your freedom; abstinence & serenity. I love the fact that recovery begins the moment one compulsive overeater begins talking with another. Let's talk. By the way, my name is Linda F, & I am a real low bottom, compulsive overeater, anorexic, in recovery one day at a time. I have maintained a 230 pound weight release in Program for 5 years. Although I am not yet where I would like to be, I certainly am very thankful I am not where I used to be! I would also personally and publicly like to give a big thanks to Mari who has made getting well for me on this Loop and in these rooms! Mari thank you, you are a life saver! Also thanks to All who give service here, & for those who have given service in the past. You have paved the way for all of us to have a safe place to get well and recover. I am forever thankful.
Your Part will be some reading and answering the below questions related to this Step. (It is highly suggested to work the Steps with a trusted Sponsor whom you feel safe to be honest with. I know my Sponsor continues to be invaluable to my Program of Recovery). If you are not yet willing, pray for the willingness to be willing. First the willingness will come, then the ability!
(Suggested Reading for Step One: p 1-7 in the OA 12 Steps and 12 Traditions along with p. 30-43 in the AA Big Book).
Our Daily Goal: Abstinence. To get well & carry The Message.
What is abstinence?
I must say when I came into Program I asked 10 different people what abstinence was, each person would tell me, well I eat this & this much, the next one would tell me what they ate, and the next,etc., I could never get a concrete answer on what abstinence is, so how could I get it (abstinent) if I don't know what it is? So I did my own research, let's be willing to get abstinent together, shall we?
Abstinence is: The action of refraining from compulsive overeating & compulsive food behaviors, while working toward a healthy body weight. This is "HOW" we eat.
Food Plan is: One of the nine spiritual tools we use which helps us abstain from compulsive overeating. These are the foods we eat to help us deal with the physical aspects, and help us along in our physical Recovery. Healthy foods, at healthy times, in healthy amounts. Our Food Plan this is "WHAT" we eat.
Compulsive Overeater: "By definition, 'compulsion' means an impulse or feeling of being irresistibly driven toward the performance of some irrational action." Therefore compulsive eating & compulsive food behaviors means irrational eating, or irrational food behaviors taken as a result of an impulse or feeling that feels irresistible." Sound familiar? I am one of them. "Acceptance is the answer to all of our problems today." If you are still not yet convinced you are a compulsive overeater, you can always do as The big Book suggests, and pick up your favorite food, sugar or white flour item, and see if you can quit eating or moderate on your own. If not, you are just where you belong. Welcome Home. You are not alone & there is a solution!
STEP ONE: "We admitted we were powerless over food, that our lives had become unmanageable."
The spiritual principle for Step One is honesty.
"Denial is a form of dishonesty." Hiding is a form of dishonesty. I was dishonest, & yet had no awareness of it. Honesty isn't just a given. I started reminding myself when I came into program, that honesty begins on the plate! I would ask myself, is that really just a bite, or did I just eat a bag or a box? I started truly living the principles I also became willing to practice them in all of my affairs. I would, & continue to daily ask myself, just how honest am I? (especially around the food).
"Truth" always remains the same however, honesty changes with awareness!" What a big "aha" for me, because if I am not honest, with myself or others, then in reality, I am in "DENIAL" or; Don't, Even, Notice, I, Am, Lying! (the acronym for Denial). Denial is a deadly state to be in. I lived in denial for many, many painful years, & it almost killed me, literally! So as we work Step One together, let's be willing, or ask for the willingness to put into practice asking ourselves each day, each meal or snack, how honest am I? This really started a big spiritual change in me, in my food, & resulting weight release. I am so excited to get started on this journey with you, honestly!
This is where I learned the 3 A's in Recovery: Awareness, Acceptance & Action! Once you have an Awareness of something, you can then get into Acceptance of the thing, and take the Action, in our case the spiritual Action to change! I need change and m now ready and willing to go to any lengths to get it. Are you yet willing? I ask myself that alot, and if the answer is no, I pray for it and it always comes;first the willingness then the ability.
MY ADMISSION THAT I AM POWERLESS OVER FOOD/SUGAR, AND THAT MY LIFE HAD BECOME UNMANAGEABLE:
"The Bottom" ( p.21) in the AA Big Book talks of the bottom as "utter defeat, moral bankruptcy, absolute humiliation. They say when you are down on your knees you can then look up! Also I know when you are at the bottom, you have to quit digging!
I began my life as an anorexic, and restrictor. To the point of getting IV's in my neck, because all of my other veins had blown from self starvation and dehydration. I suffered greatly in childhood from trauma & from great sexual abuse, so food was the only thing I thought I could control. (I know I put that sexual abuse in a pretty little box there, however it is violent and ugly, We will get to more of it later on). However I grew up in what seemed to be a very normal loving Christian home I had a great Mom & Dad, they just didn't know about such things. I had no idea of the "mental obsession so subtly powerful that no willpower could break it," (p.22 AABB). I had no idea just how deadly this disease is! (If I am able to do anything here for you, I hope it's going to be to smash home the reality of this deadly disease)! I have been through the wringer and hope to spare you death as an end result). I put myself through further trauma and stress. I grew up in silent tombs of pain, hiding as best I could from the world, painted on a smile and did the best I could. Music became my saving grace, my outlet, passion. I loved singing & playing the piano at churches because I love God and Jesus (My Higher Power). I sang at weddings, all affairs, parties, concerts, solos at school, this made me happy. I moved from a small town, after ruining and destroying every area of my life as a young person, & moved to Las Vegas to pursue a career in Music. I opened and headlined in all of the Hotels and Casinos and opened for a lot of stars. My Band and I made a great Name, and I sold several of my original songs to the Stars, and put out a CD (tape back then), and did very well. Had a recording Studio, and all was going well. However my anorexia was always present. Every boyfriend and friend would ask me when do you eat? or did I eat? I would pretend at eating; move food around on my plate, run the conversation and go home happily anorexic. I had to do this just to control my weight and life! Then I contacted the rarest form of pneumonia, "legionnaires," along with blood clots on my lungs, surgeries on the lungs, severe lung scarring, COPD, emphysema, and asthma (for a girl who never smoked), along with losing lung function; well this resulted with me being on oxygen 24/7. That was a pretty tough blow for a girl who was a professional singer, pianist, musician, & singer/songwriter whose life was rooted in music! Needless to say, I lost the ability to perform which was my passion, my escape and career! My father had passed away & my mom asked me to move to her little town in another state, where there isn't even a Walmart. (Culture shock to say the least). I put up a good fight as long as I could. I sang and played at a few festivals & churches. However my lung problems & Dis Ease persisted, it seemed I had a choice, walking or breathing? I couldn't do them together. It was excruciating, I would smother and gasp & pant for air, for a single breath, like a dog. I sat down.
Just like the Big Book talks about, "It all begins with a thought," so the downward spiral into picking up the food. My Mom asked me, "would you like this wonderful carbohydrate,,, fat rich supper? (not naming the food, as of not to trigger someone) or will you just have rabbit food like always?" Like I said "the thought crossed my mind," no one will ever see me again, no more fancy gowns, dresses high heels, & I haven't eaten in 30 years. I said yes to the food! Just like that the eating disorder of anorexia flipped to me now being a low bottom compulsive over eater, in one thought! So the binge of a lifetime began!(By the way did you know BINGE stands for: Believe, I'm Not Good Enough?) I fell for the lie of believing I am not good enough, and ate myself up to way over 700 pounds yes 745. That was me! Asking my poor son if I was that size? you know the size of a 140 pound woman? When I was 140 pounds, I believed I was the 745 pound sized woman. Yes suffering with body dysmorphic disease! No concept of what I looked like or my size. My life was now living in a Hospital bed, oxygen 24/7, connected to the bi-pap machine at night. Two wheelchairs. Nurses in the home several times a week. My life got so small, & I got so big I didn't recognize myself! I lived to eat. I didn't eat to live. Talk about denial. I didn't even really think I had a food problem. Just a health issue. One night I asked my mom if she would like this, and this or that for supper, and she said, "Linda, do you know it is 2 o'clock in the morning and you're talking about supper tomorrow?" That was my first clue I had a food issue. Now what?
That brought me to Step One. With that simple awareness that I had a food issue, the chains of denial fell away and I was scared! I finally had to face that I was dying and bound to if I couldn't change. I told myself, I will just "be" anorexic again, and get this weight off. So I attempted to fast for breakfast, didn't happen, lunch, nope, supper, no.. didn't make it, ok I will "TRY" again tomorrow. After a few days of that I realized the anorexic in me had been temporarily overpowered by the compulsion to overeat! So instead, I turned to the only power in my life that I knew still worked and that was God, because Him, and Him alone was keeping me alive one breath at a time! So I turned to God and asked Him to free me from the chains of death surrounding me from my issue with food, and started a "Diet," I had managed to get about 12 pounds off, that was a huge accomplishment for a bed ridden, super morbidly obese 745 pound woman on oxygen 24/7. It was a miracle, and gave me the glimmer of hope. I avoided people like the plague. I could drive but never went in anywhere. The gasps, stares, glares and rude comments just sitting in the van, encouraged me to stay seated, what would they think if they saw me take the 12-15 steps I could take? I had been inside of a restaurant & Walmart, driving the little battery cart 2 times in 12 years and the looks, laughs, jeers, pointing, "oh my God's!! The reactions, the things people went out of there way to say to me and my little precious son as I did, lead me to total isolation. My real life sister was also dealing with her weight and overeater issues, and was getting physical therapy to walk again, and going to OA. I met her little 120 pound physical therapist by accident, because I happened to drive the van over to my sister's house, they were outside walking! Miss Tammy the little physical therapist said she had heard so many nice things about me, & that she would love to come help me get up! My hopes even grew more, and so did my faith in God. I said yes! It was my Birthday, and my sister came over and after a "splurge" asked me if I would go to an OA online Meeting with her that nigh?! I told her what, after my splurge day? My Birthday? Besides I could never see myself living a life of no sugar & no white flour! (I had weaned down from a 6 pack of some liquid suar drink, to one a day, but none? No splurges)? My sister told me OA had changed! There was no longer a no sugar, no white flour rule! The only requirement now was a desire to quit eating compulsively! Well I certainly had that desire finally, & could use all the help I could get! That's the very night I entered the rooms here of OA, and for the first time in my life, knew I was not alone! There was help, hope, 12 steps to lead me right out the hell I was living in, & there was a solution! I was home! Welcome Home!
STEP ONE FROM THE OA TWELVE STEPS & TWELVE TRADITIONS: (p 1-7)
I was so happy to learn there was a solution that works, a program of Recovery;12 steps & 9 tools! A fellowship where we can share the healing power of love. Our disease is threefold, or that 3 legged stool;physical, emotional & spiritual. When I learned it was a disease & I could quit blaming myself and others, I was so relieved. I was definitely not like a normal person when it came to eating! The cravings and signals from the food definitely triggered off the overeater or anorexic within me! (I have been triggered into both behaviors). Abstaining from all the foods & behaviors, making that Alcohol Food List for my Sponsor; the foods I am willing to fully abstain from, continues to save my abstinence and life! The mental obsession & twist had completely overtaken my life at 745 pounds! I had little space for anything or anyone else. Yet I had not yet seen how that was selfishness childish, willful or idolatry.. denial much? (If you do not yet see this, God or your Higher Power will lead you to it, along with your trusted Sponsor & Meetings). We never grew up, we hid from our pain! I have learned for every excess pound of weight on my body, it is a pound of pain, I have tried to manage on my own! The controlling, habitual ways of thinking & acting, truly lead me to an unhealthy, unhappy existence. I am a Christian, a true Jesus girl. I cannot deny happy peace filled moments even at 745 pounds I have a beautiful son, a wonderful husband, a beloved Mother & family. I still loved to laugh, sing, play the piano, art, I had a wonderful relationship with God, Jesus, Holy Spirit. I just put food in front of ALL of everything! Oh how that makes me cry to say that! I had not connected any of that until I came into this fellowship. How could food master me? How could I put food before the people I say love so much I would die for? Or how about The One who died for me? Oh this leveling of my pride makes me bawl with the reality of how cunning and baffling this disease is & how tragic are the affects and effects on my family, friends and even self. You may be an atheist, agnostic, wiccan, yogi,etc, etc, it's all good. You may have the good witch of the wizard of Oz as your higher power (my second sponsee did). The good news is this Program of recovery, The 12 Steps, The 9 Tools they work for everyone as we work them! This a whosoever will may come Program, so please know that my Higher Power is the God of my understanding. Bring yours here. Our solution is spiritual, not religious. I do not have a religion, rather a relationship with God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. I say this only NOT to injure or deter anyone from working these 12 Steps and 9 Tools. They will save your life, if you just be willing to "DO" the work. We can't handle life through self will alone, (or I would will myself to be a 120 pound, healthy, 22 year old singing star, with my 22 year old happy, same husband, same son, bizillionare, the list would go on with what my self will could be), you? First we grasp the knowledge we can't handle life through self will alone in our minds, then our hearts. We need God's help here! (or your HP) Once this happens we have take Step One, and ready to move in the Program of Recovery.
STEP ONE FROM THE BIG BOOK OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS: (p.30-43) More about Alcoholism
(whenever I read the Big book I use the word Compulsive Overeater, food addict, and use all words related to my specific disease instead of the alcohol words. This may or may not help you).
I was in such denial in my disease, I didn't want to admit I had a problem either. I was truly living a delusion. My mom would say let's try this fad diet, high, low carbs, & fats, every name of the diets I would try.We tried them all, they would work for a time, then a worse relapse. That's just it, trying puts the responsibility on me. Willingness puts the responsibility on God. I have quit trying to diet, now I am just willing to eat and exercise in a God honoring way one day at a time, one moment at a time, til I get a day! This has revolutionized my life! This is the "I can't step! I can't control my eating. Plain insanity, the thoughts and lack of proportion, or portions I say. There is a a solution here and it is that we must enlarge our spiritual life. We must or we will die! I was truly the jay walker, I would take a hit to my thighs with every extra fat, a hit to my stomach with every extra carb, a hit to my arms with sugar, you get the picture. I just truly walked into the wringer! Your brain & body may not be as damaged as mine, and I pray not! However if self knowledge alone has not stopped you from the Binge or compulsive overeating you qualify to have the potential to get as sick as I did, and the weight is just a symptom. The reaction, the obsession in our minds, and the allergy in our bodies. The reaction is abnormal for us Isn't it ironic that allergies can make you swell up? An allergy, is an abnormal reaction. I notice I am allergic to mosquito bites, dust, etc, I certainly stay away from them,my reaction is like a poison. I realize now there is nothing more dangerous than the addict who loves the taste of their own poison! Why won't this knowledge alone keep us from the compulsive foods and behaviors? Simpy put, because knowledge alone, avails us nothing.
It is up to you if you are ready to go to any lengths to get well or what your bottom & weight will be when you get there. I pray you are now willing to go to any lengths to get well. If you want what we have; abstinence, serenity weight release, you must be willing to do what we did to get it. I had never put up the first defense against a Binge. I used food to sate the pain, to celebrate, to medicate, to have something to do, food became my date, my fun, and so much more! I had no awareness that food was the "good girl drug." I certainly did not have the nerve to slam heroine or cocaine in my veins, but I could do damage to a bag or box of something. Ultimately to myself and loved ones!
I was pretty fearful when it came to the part of the outlining of the spiritual principles. What if this Program went against what I believe? I had my own beliefs and relationship with God. Jesus and Holy Spirit. I was truly beyond happy to hear we could bring our own God/Higher Power of our own understanding! I was downright joyful to know I needed more God and less of me!When I heard I had a God shaped hole in my soul that only God could fill, I was relieved to know what was missing! There was never enough food, nor the right food to fill that hole. I have faith God is more than enough, and He continues to show Himself faith full.. a feast! Enough is even a feast in the presence of God! I had never connected my food with or to God, nor seen it as a spiritual issue.I never thought the God who spun The Heavens & The Earth, Sun & Stars, had time to care about what I eat, or how! As I did, my life, food, and weight began to drastically change! I had been in Church all my life. My Church never preached about gluttony or sloth. I went to a Christian High School, College, never got that sermon. When I found out I was 100% helpless apart from divine help, I knew I was in the right place, because it had been God alone who had kept that 745 pound woman alive! Now I had to enlarge my spiritual life and trust even God could pick me up, and heal me. However spiritual Action is required! I had to and have to pick up my sick bed and walk every day; Work the steps and use the Nine Tools, as abstinence is based on our daily fit spiritual condition. "There is virtually No other solution!" I know now my soul lution is in the hands of the hands of the Man who stilled The Water, not food, sugar, white wheat, or a treat! God can and will DO for me what I can not DO for myself. (Please use your Higher Power). This is the beginning story of a 745 pound woman's healing journey. This is how I came to Step One.
Now your part: this is a spiritual plan of action to get well. I always remember "faith without works is dead." Also our recovery is based on our daily fit spiritual condition. It takes spiritual action to get a spiritual miracle. I need a miracle, so I am willing to take the spiritual action!
(Suggested Reading for Step One: p 1-7 in the OA 12 Steps and 12 Traditions along with p. 30-43 in the AA Big Book).
QUESTIONS FOR STEP ONE:
1. Would you share your admission, your bottom. or how you are powerless over food and how your life is unmanageable when you are in your dis ease and in the food? Or are you not there yet?
2. What is so scary about telling the truth? Also how are you doing on being truthful & honest even about your food?
3. How are you doing grasping the knowledge you can't handle life through self will alone in your mind, then your heart? Also, what does that look like to you?
4. Do you admit you have a disease; a mental obsession and allergy of the body, do you see it now? Do you fully concede that you cannot try harder, pull yourself up from the boot straps and get well, or what will it take?
5. How are the consequences of this disease making you unhappy and those around you?
6. On a positive note, would you share your take away, what you have learned about Step One that will help you get well?
Great work and willingness! I look forward to reading all of your shares and learning from you, as "together we get better!" I humbly thank you so much in advance for allowing me to be of service!
God bless n prayers,
Linda F <3
The Twelve Steps
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