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Zoom meeting ID: 869 6341 0195

passcode: 016228

phone#: 312-626-6799

Sunday – Zoom3:00-4:00Voices of Recovery
Monday – Hybrid: Physical+Zoom5:30-6:30OA 12&12+Abstinence Book
Tuesday – Zoom6:30-7:30Daily Meditation
Saturday – Hybrid: Physical+Zoom10:00-11:00
11:15-12:15
OA Brown Book
AA Big Book

Just for Today…

“Just for Today” – OA Slogan

“Just for today” has helped me get through some not so easy days. When it seemed like I was going backwards, it helped me to remember that all I had to manage was today. I do, however, find it helpful to look back to see how far I’ve come every so often. Especially when I am feeling tempted to look forward to see how far I have to go. It helps me to pause and see I DO have some recovery. As long as I keep coming back I’m always progressing. I don’t have to tackle the week or my life right now. So here’s to living just for today.  

Welcome to Club Weakness, Welcome Home!

  • “God, grant me the willingness to see my imperfections as a means of getting closer to others and to You.”  Overeaters Anonymous. Voices of Recovery (p. 86).

Why is it that it is so hard for me to admit it?  My weakness is that I am a compulsive overeater, and a person who does not fully accept these imperfections of myself.  I would rather cover it and hide it (or think that I am hiding it anyway).  This is me.  I am powerless over this enemy because this enemy is me.  I lived in this isolation that my weakness brings to me for a long time.  It goes something like this. . . 

“Nobody else struggles with this kind of thing, I am out here alone, all by myself”. 

But then suddenly, I came into a group of people and the first thing that they say is, “Oh, you have this weakness also?” 

A little nervous and perhaps for the first time I say, “Y-e-s?”, and I begin to wonder what their reaction will be. 

“Oh, that is cool, we all have that here.  Hey, welcome home!  Isn’t being a compulsive overeater just the worst?” 

And they go on to make it sound as though, it is just an ordinary thing and you soon realize, that where I thought I was alone, there are a whole bunch of people just like me.  In a weird sort of way, we all are here on our own little island of “weakness” and someone hands you the group tee-shirt and all of the sudden, they snap a group photo and now you’re a part of a family. Welcome home!

Membership requires your confession (Step One) but that is down the road a little way; being accepted by this group is based solely on being present, just showing up, and it happens the very first time you come.  They even go as far as to say, “That confession part, if you need to wait for a while before you say it, that is totally fine with us, just keep coming and hang out with us, we promise you’ll have a place here with us.  Welcome home!”

At first, you’re thinking, I know I am kind of a weird because I am this way, and therefore all these other people must be weird too, but as you listen and spend time with them, what you find is there are some pretty amazing people in this group from all walks of life, in all types of situations and circumstances with pretty cool stories, and one thing that they all have in common with you is that they fight that same weakness that you have fought with.  Being with them then starts to feel like home! 

A wise fellow once said that two are always better than one and that a three-cord strand can’t easily be broken (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).  That’s the beauty of this thing, we don’t face it alone.  Can a ragtag group of people who are flawed and defective, really fight against something this big that you have lost to most everyday of your life?  Can they really help you overcome it?  You bet that they can!    

“How?”, you might ask, well first of all victory is not found in these people’s skills or abilities.  Victory comes about only because of their weakness.  When I am weak, then and only then, is it that I am strong.  Why, because my Higher Power, has overcome the weakness that I can’t overcome.  And so, people like David, Jennifer, Barbara, Rick, Richard, Al, Michelle, Becky, Connie, Margaret, and a host of others around the world have found that their Higher Power or as we call him, “HP” has helped them to overcome.  “HP” He is the leader of this bunch of this rag tag group of folks.  They can tell you how HP helped them, and if you’ll let Him, HP can help you as well. 

Our group then, is a collection of weak people who have come to understand that a power greater than themselves can move on their behalf and they can be set free from this weakness.  We don’t live on that island alone, rather we all share life together in our weakness and marvel in the power and strength that our Higher Power has.   As we like to say when we invite folks to join us, “Welcome to Overeaters Anonymous, welcome home!

Becoming a Grown-up

“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” – Step Three: The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous

This is a grown-up honest decision and when I first came to OA I was anything but grown-up or honest. I had been making decisions for years only to break them, most of the time on a whim. It went on for longer than is comfortable to admit out loud – Years! – before I finally truthfully surrendered and turned my life over to my Higher Power.

When finally, I came to a place where I could no longer keep pretending, I got on my knees and handed every bit of my out-of-control life over to my God. I had learned so much in OA but, unless I could honestly and in my grown-up mind make this decision, I was cheating both God and me. Pretending was not cutting it any longer, and I wanted it all. All that OA promises, and all that God promises. With my sponsor, my friends in OA, a few trusted friends and, most of all my God, I finally took this step.

I wish I could say everything clicked and I faced no more challenges or setbacks, but that is not my story. I can say that for every challenge and setback, as well as every success and triumph, my God and my fellow OA friends are there with me laughing, crying, cheering with me.

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.