Intersect with Recovery.

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Sunday – Zoom3:00-4:00Voices of Recovery
Monday – Zoom5:30-6:30OA 12&12
Tuesday – Zoom6:30-7:30Daily Meditation
Thursday – Zoom5:30-6:30Abstinence
Saturday – Zoom10:00-11:00OA Brown Book
Saturday – Zoom11:15-12:15AA Big Book
Zoom.com meeting code: 167 092 413Zoom dial in#: +1 312 626 6799pwd: 016228

Spiritual Insurance…

“Perhaps we didn’t believe that our compulsive eating was a spiritual problem, or we felt that God was concerned only with more important matters and expected us to control such a simple thing as our eating.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 15

This may seem like an unusual lead-in to relapse, yet for me, this is where relapse begins.  As a COE, bulimic and anorexic, relapse can certainly be seen as all about food.  Yet for me, that is the culmination of relapse.  There are many symptoms of my disease before a food relapse that reappear and or worsen.  A food relapse means my symptoms have returned and my physical functioning is decreased. Sometimes symptoms can worsen, but my physical functioning is not affected; this is not considered a relapse.   For me this means that I can be doing everything I know how to do in my recovery and life’s circumstances may throw me a curve.  That curve may cause me to struggle.  Struggle is not relapse.  Ultimately struggle is a part of me getting stronger, provided I do not struggle alone.  In my recovery journey from C.O.E. I am learning to pay attention to the underlying problem – i.e. spiritual – of my disease. 

My symptoms seem to have a hierarchy:

Spiritual relapse

  • Denial
  • Stopping whatever spiritual practice has worked for me

Emotional relapse

  • Anxiety
  • Intolerance
  • Anger
  • Defensiveness
  • Mood swings
  • Isolation
  • Not asking for help
  • Not going to meetings
  • Poor eating habits
  • Poor sleep habits

Mental relapse

  • Thinking about people, places, and behaviors I engaged in before abstinence
  • Glamorizing my past eating behaviors
  • Lying-not limited to, yet especially about, food and food behaviors
  • Hanging out with old “using” friends.  For me this usually involves impromptu eating out or cooking foods I have experienced as being difficult for me.
  • Fantasizing about food
  • Thinking about relapsing
  • Planning my eating relapse [bingeing, purging, restricting, bizarre eating rituals or diets] around other people’s schedules

Physical relapse – This is where it actually becomes all about food.  Once relapse is here it can be so much harder to back up or change directions.  Although it does take practice, I am learning to pay attention to the signs before I get here.

With the holidays and COVID there is ample opportunity for me to unconsciously slip back into relapse.  There is also the opportunity for me to use the tools of recovery.  Am I willing to go to any length?  I need the spiritual insurance. Today I am.

I Accept… I Want… I am Willing to… I Can…

My HP set upon my heart to put into words a reflection on some fundamental questions that would give me a “status report” of myself. I shared this idea with my sponsees and was Blown Away by this response! She allowed me to share it here.  Enjoy!

I ACCEPT

I am person with strengths, weaknesses, challenges, habits, traits, character defects, joys, and sorrows.

I accept that the life I am living is mine and I have the opportunity and choice every day to live my life from a place of contentment, acceptance, and gratitude or I can choose to live the day (or moment) from a place of worry, angst, anger, arrogance, and isolation. Every moment I remember that I do have a choice, I accept responsibility for that choice as I make it.

I accept my shortcomings and my missteps and mistakes as part of my humanness. I accept that there will be times when I don’t see them, when I don’t accept them, when I am captured by them – falling away from my truest self and from the Divine presence and influence in and around my life.

I WANT

I want an ever-growing relationship with and reliance on my Higher Power, that Divine presence and influence.

I want to experience every day a spiritual life of practice that is alive, radical and unstoppable.

I AM WILLING TO

I am willing to get back on the conveyor belt, back in the river, back in relationship with this work when I fall off or fall away.

I am willing to not give up on myself when the turn-around times are long or bumpy.

I am willing to turn myself back over to my Higher Power each day, to feel the gratitude which that small action affords me every time I consciously make that decision and take that action.

I am willing to observe myself honestly and with kindness in order to know my shortcomings and ask for help/relief in order let them be polished by that Source into useful resources on my journey.

I CAN

I can prioritize and cultivate my relationship with my HP.

I can study literature and resources that support that relationship with my HP, my relationship with myself, and my relationships with others.

I can stay connected to others who are traveling similar paths and rest in their wisdom and love, recognizing their importance in my life – revealing myself to them in honesty and humility and receiving their kindness, affection, and love.

I am willing to observe myself honestly and with kindness in order to know my shortcomings and ask for help/relief in order let them be polished by that Source into useful resources on my journey.

I CAN

I can prioritize and cultivate my relationship with my HP.

I can study literature and resources that support that relationship with my HP, my relationship with myself, and my relationships with others.

I can stay connected to others who are traveling similar paths and rest in their wisdom and love, recognizing their importance in my life – revealing myself to them in honesty and humility and receiving their kindness, affection, and love.

Virtual Meetings- Ya’ll Come!!

Sunday – Zoom3:00-4:00Voices of Recovery
Monday – Zoom6:30-7:30OA 12&12
Tuesday – Zoom6:30-7:30Daily Meditation/Writing
Thursday – Zoom5:30-6:30Body Image, Relationships & Sexuality
Saturday – Zoom10:00-11:00OA Brown Book
Saturday – Zoom11:15-12:15AA Big Book
Zoom.com meeting code: 167 092 413Zoom dial in#: +1 312 626 6799pwd: 016228

A Source of Strength

“This Power has in each case accomplished the miraculous, the humanly impossible…there has been a revolutionary change in their way of living and thinking.”    -Alcoholics Anonymous p. 50

There have been so many profound truths I have learned in Overeaters Anonymous that can be blueprints for living, but the most helpful one for me is this: for a person to recover from this deadly addiction of compulsive over-eating, there must be a source of strength fueling the process. Perseverance & great character alone won’t produce lasting success, nor meticulous food planning & exercise. The guiding force of the 12-step program is a solid faith in a Higher Power (whom I call God) who is big enough to move mountains & perform miracles. And that’s what happens as a person transitions through the steps relying on the daily strength from his/her Higher Power, who then enables this person to go to any lengths necessary to work these difficult steps.

This truth has been my experience for the past 3 years as I began going through the step process.  Many times my disease got so bad that everything in me wanted to quit. However, God would not let me. And one thing I began noticing as I went along was each time I failed & then eventually started again, I felt stronger & more hopeful. For about a year & a half this roller coaster way of life became my new normal. But I kept coming to meetings, using the tools & trusting that one day some sort of steady abstinence would happen. All the while I was investing a lot of time getting to know God & praying like I’ve never prayed in my life. Then a year and a half ago after stuffing my face with all kinds of decadent Thanksgiving food items & then wallowing around in guilt for a couple of days, God gave me the courage to try once again. And lo & behold, 19 months later my abstinence is still strong & living in recovery is beyond exciting, thanks to the grace & mercy of God who would not let me give up. This is not to say that there are no challenging days anymore, but I now have all kinds of OA tools to use that help me cope with the restlessness, boredom, etc. that used to cause me to eat. My mindset these days is I don’t want to waste another moment of my life pursuing things that don’t matter, when there’s a whole bunch of truly meaningful activities that have lasting value. For me, that’s a life worth living!

Compassion = Humility

“I pray that I will always be teachable and open to the experiences of others.”                                             – Voices of Recovery p.201

Before I walked through the doors of OA, I felt as if I was living the life of an imposter. The disease of compulsive overeating was having its way with me. I wanted to be kind, generous and compassionate towards others, but mostly I was raging inside. I was quick to harshly judge everyone, myself included. My compulsive eating behaviors helped flame the fires of rage and judgement. I could not stop the cycles of the disease.

Once I’d gotten a sponsor and started working the Steps, I began to experience some relief. I began to remember more often that there was no way I could possibly manage my disease or stop being an imposter. In the middle of working Steps 4 – 7, I found myself on the receiving end of unconditional love. It was being offered to me by my HP, and by my sponsor. Miraculously, as I continued with Steps 8 and 9, I also discovered that I did feel kindness and compassion towards others – very much so.

Today I am still a compulsive overeater, even on the days when I am gifted with abstinence and sanity. This morning, I decided to read several of the entries in Voices of Recovery that spoke about compassion. I knew they would help me remember! I took my time reading each of them and quickly noticed a common thread – humility. For me, I know that I can’t experience authentic kindness, generosity or compassion towards others or myself without humility. As it says on page 201 of Voices of Recovery, “I pray that I will always be teachable and open to the experiences of others” so that I might live a humble, gratitude-filled life – where kindness and compassion can continue to grow.

Personal Recovery Depends on OA Unity

I am writing this entry as we are well into our second month of self isolating and social distancing during the covid-19 pandemic. The groups and meetings I attend are virtual, and I’m deeply grateful for them. Without my OA family banding together to support one another I don’t know how I would be doing at this time. My personal recovery- which for me is defined as refraining from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors- depends on my relationships with my Higher Power, my sponsor, the steps and literature, and other OA family members. Many times, my higher power speaks to me through other members on the phone and in meetings. I need to hear the message of recovery. What has also been revealed to me recently is that I also need to be continuously, actively working the steps with my higher power and my sponsor. Actively, for me, means writing. My disease does not take vacations, and I can’t let my recovery take a vacation either. Without the unity of my groups and friends in OA, I would not be able to experience personal recovery. I am so grateful for the love, support and patience of the members who walk ahead of me on this journey. Thank you for sharing your experience strength and hope with me so that I may find personal recovery. Thank you for gently repeating the solution and your experience with working the steps. Thank you for loving me when I could not love myself. Where would I be if members worked the steps, reached their goal weight, and graduated? I would have no one to look to for guidance. I pray that I may carry the message to the new comer and returning members who still suffer as patiently, kindly and gently as it has been carried to me. Always to extend the hand and heart of OA to all who share my compulsion. For this, I am responsible. Keep coming back ‘cause it works if WE work it.

9 Tools…

“Many of us have found that we cannot abstain from compulsive eating unless we use some or all of OA’s nine tools of recovery.” – The Tools of Recovery pamphlet

After several years in OA I can finally say I am abstinent.  I cannot say the exact moment that it finally clicked for me, but once it did, WOW!
*Looking back I can see that going to meetings, listening, and forming relationships started softening my heart and changing me from the inside.
*Reading OA literature started me thinking and questioning my choices and the life that I was living.
*Writing helps me to see the person I had become and beliefs I was holding that did not serve me well.
*Reaching out by text or phone calls was a humbling experience for me.  It started opening my heart and mind that it was not just about me. That I was touching other people who were stuck in their own battles and lies with compulsive overeating.
*Serving others by leading meetings, setting up, or cleaning up keeps me feeling a part of the group.  It also lets me put myself out there in a loving, safe environment.
*Spending time with my HP sends me inward, changing how I see myself, others, and the world around me. Letting me know that I am never without hope and help.
*Sharing with my sponsor pushes me to start trusting and believing in personal relationships. Something that I had no longer believed myself capable.
*Working the steps gives me daily direction.  They show me how to live humbly with my Higher Power at the center and looking for ways that I can touch others, especially those that share my compulsive overeating.

Hope.


“You never have to compulsively eat ever again.”  – Anonymous
 
I recall a moment when I was first in the rooms of OA and a recovering member declared this in a meeting. It was so powerful and crashed over me like a wave. Such hope and promise! I am feeling this hope and optimism on the cusp of the turning of the calendar. 
 
I do not have to compulsively eat ever again. 
I can choose to surrender. Allow the feelings to simply be. Lift the desire up to my Higher Power. Remind myself of the Truth to quiet the lies the disease whispers in my ear. 
I no longer am alone and can text an OA friend. 
The desire will pass. I will not die. 
Use the tools of a food plan and an action plan to keep me in safety. 
Maintain daily practices to stay spiritually connected. 
Relax. 
 
May your journey today be one of peace and freedom!

I Shall Continue

Today I shall continue to lean into program,

To exercise even when I don’t feel like it,

To relax into abstinence and not fight it,

To pause and experience life instead of rushing thru it,

To focus my attention on gratitudes and positive thoughts even if it seems naive,

To be mature when maturity is called for and to be childlike when childlike wonder and play is called for,

To reach out for Power & Strength when needed instead of trying to go it alone,

To be in balance with what I have to do and what I want to do and to leave *space* for the unexpected,

To live!