Hi to All!
I'm Cait, a compulsive eater, binge eater, grateful to be living in recovery today and grateful for this opportunity. This WTS is the way I worked the steps my first time in 2008 and I found it to be a great way to do it.
LET'S GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER
I'll post my "recovery story" below and I hope you will also introduce yourself and tell us a little about your recovery.
We basically have 12 steps to cover in 12 weeks. I'll be sending out a new email each Monday, and I'll re-send it each Thursday. I hope you'll share your responses with the group.
GET A SPONSOR
TRG recommends that you do these steps with a sponsor. We have a WTS Sponsor Coordinator, Shlomo, who will send an email in the next few days explaining how you can obtain a list of WTS sponsors. These are sponsors specifically for this study. If you already have a sponsor you are working with, you probably don't need a separate sponsor to work with you on this study, but of course that's up to you.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR READING: I recommend you get these books"Alcoholics Anonymous" (The "Big Book") (this book can be read free online and there is a free audio version also:
"12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous" You can purchase this book from Overeaters Anonymous or other booksellers
For each step I recommend you read the step discussion from "12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous," which you can purchase, or read free online at www.aa.org/pages/en_US/twelve-steps-and-twelve-traditions and other locations.
MY RECOVERY STORY
Spoiler alert - I am not an authority on this 12 step program and I am not fully recovered. I am "just another bozo on the bus." My recovery is a work in progress. I will share with you what I have - my ESH - Experience, Strength & Hope - and I hope you will share yours. I do persevere with this program and that is my most valuable accomplishment - I have "kept coming back" for over 8 years.
In 2003 I lost over 100 lbs with WW, but, as had happened so many times before when I lost weight, I found my overeating problem was still with me. Just going to WW and submitting to the structure of that program was a big deal for me, as I had always prided myself on "doing it on my own." But after the thrill ride of the weight loss was over, I was in a new mode of trying to "maintain" my weight for life, and the struggle was much more difficult than losing the weight had been. The motivation was not enough. My weight went up over 30 lbs and I was afraid I would just keep gaining. I was yo-yo-ing between dieting and bingeing. I was constantly trying to play drill sergeant, mean mom, tough coach to myself, but I couldn't stick to the plan, the rules that I kept making and trying to enforce. I didn't identify my problem as COE, but as binge eating and an excessive love of food. I knew some things about my eating, having tracked my food for 5 years. I had concluded that my basic eating plan was good for me - it was the bingeing and compulsive snacking on both wholesome foods and unhealthy foods that killed me. But I just couldn't stop!
Finally in early 2008 I got on a binge that went on for weeks & I was really desperate for help. I was also approaching my sixtieth birthday. I was in despair over this struggle. I had recently read some books that had a spiritual element, and had been participating in a spiritual study group for a while, and I had a revelation that I had made food and eating into a god in my life. I began praying and meditating with these issues in mind. It came to me that my 60th birthday was a special event and I should do something special for that event, for that year. It came to me that 60 was five 12's. I wondered if there was any special significance in that. One evening I was googling about these numbers and I was led to "compulsive eating" "12 steps," and to TRG.
Over the past 8+ years of working the 12 steps, I have changed, grown & learned, and it just keeps getting better as I keep practicing. As they say in recovery, "More will be revealed." It never gets "old." I'm never "done." I got a sponsor through TRG and this relationship has been very nurturing and supportive. My 12 step practice is to read spiritual & 12 step literature most mornings, pray & meditate in the morning, evening and at meals and at other times, I do service here, I sponsor and am sponsored, and I use my Plan of Eating. As a result of this program, my efforts and my Higher Power's work in me, things have changed in my life. The progress has had its ups and downs, but I have persevered and I am so grateful I did.
I've had ups and downs in the 8+ years here. My abstinence was improving each year until last year, and then I was in a downward spiral until the end of last month, when I hit bottom. I listened to a podcast where the speaker said it took her 9 years to get consistently abstinent. So for me it has taken 8-1/2 years. She also said she had to "Give up what I want to get what I need." That really resonated with me. So it's taken 8-1/2 years. So what? I spent over 50 years overeating compulsively day after day. It shouldn't be so surprising that it takes a lot of practice, repetition of the new ways, of the 12 step footwork, to make progress against the "weight" of all those old ways of eating, thinking, feeling, acting. It just "took what it took til it took" for me to accept that I have to do whatever it takes to remain abstinent. Since last month I've been abstinent, and I haven't been continuously abstinent that long in almost 2 years. I am so grateful. Certainly it hasn't been roses, roses, and I've come close to breaking my abstinence a few times, but I've remained abstinent. In desperation I've tried making my abstinence definition more restrictive, several times, but that never works for me. I track my food and my abstinence is a simple clear line of no more than X amount of food in a day. I have my Plan of Eating that I do my best to adhere to each day. I have my Action Plan to deal with snacking and going to bed around 10 pm each night, which I do my best to follow each day. I haven't done these things perfectly but as best I can, which is well enough, and the more I work it the better I do.
I am so much closer to my Higher Power than before. We have a real relationship and it is growing. We spend time together. I listen, not just talk.
I still learn more every day about my patterns, emotional eating, trigger foods, trigger situations, trigger eating behaviors, trigger emotions.
Most of the time my healthy Plan of Eating, which has changed over time, attracts me and I enjoy my meals and do not fear food. Most of the time I am not obsessed with food and eating or my weight and body, and if I am, I can redirect it with God's help. Most of the time, the thoughts of overeating and eating trigger foods, and engaging in risky trigger behaviors are not attractive to me, or at least not as attractive as they used to be. When urges and thoughts of food come, most of the time I can deal with it peacefully, knowing that it is easier to say "I don't want to eat that way," or "No," than to follow the impulse to eat and then try to say "Stop." I know that whatever I practice, for good or for ill, gets easier to do. I know that urges are not requirements, they will pass if I allow them to. Now when I have urges to eat inappropriately, I often hear in my mind "That's just that old COE talking. It will pass." Most of the time I do not panic or despair when negative feelings, fears, obsessive thoughts intrude - most of the time I know deep down that they will pass if I allow them to, and I have tools I have become accustomed to using in these situations. Most of the time my emotions are more positive, and more stable. I am generally more productive in my work, and more patient, loving, helpful. I'm less "bossy" and opinionated and more tolerant in my relationships. Most of the time my eating is more consistent, moderate and healthful. This progress is a miracle, and an incredible relief.
Best wishes, and keep coming back. This does work. One day at a time.
Prayer + Practice + Patience + Perseverance = Progress for me.
"All we need is a key, and the decision to swing the door open. There is only one key, and it is called willingness. Once unlocked by willingness, the door opens almost of itself, and looking through it, we shall see a pathway beside which is an inscription. It reads: 'This is the way to a faith that works.' . . . . Fortunately, we who have tried it, and with equal misgivings, can testify that anyone, anyone at all, can begin to do it. We can further add that a beginning, even the smallest, is all that is needed. Once we have placed the key of willingness in the lock and have the door ever so slightly open, we find that we can always open it some more. Though self-will may slam it shut again, as it frequently does, it will always respond the moment we again pick up the key of willingness." Alcoholics Anonymous "12 Steps & 12 Traditions" page 34
The Twelve Steps
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