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A Flower Simply Blossoms

A flower simply blossoms, never once concerned with its appearance.

A flower simply blossoms, not once concerned with its appearance.  Who am I to question mine?

My program has changed a lot over the years, and that change is something that I don’t discuss much.  Mainly because I receive such varying responses when I do share the truth about how my program has evolved over the years and no longer do I seek approval from fellow OA members regarding my program.  In the beginning I kept my food plan very strict, and extremely ridged.  I ate food that was weighed and measured at every meal with absolutely nothing in between.  I kept to a specific portion of specific foods and the truth was that….I loved it!  I did!  It was great!  I felt great and I had what I considered an easy food plan in OA.  But then, about 2 and ½ years into my OA program, I became very ill.  And I was forced to change my food plan.  This was very scary for me because I felt so safe in eating my food plan exactly how I was eating it.  Boom…then came hospitalization, major surgery, and I was pushed out my comfort zone and into the OA program I have now.

One of the saddest things about my life (and when  I write that I literally mean one of the saddest things, where if I step back and imagine I am someone else I feel deep compassion for the person actually who is myself) is my body image.  The years that I have wasted in thinking my body is ugly is an absolute travesty.  And I know I am not the only one on the planet who has gone through life with this mindset of complete insecurity and loathing toward my body (or your body, but you get my point).

It didn’t matter that I was on a strict meal plan; I wasn’t losing weight due to what has since surfaced as a major thyroid disease and I kept thinking that as soon as I was skinny I would love my body.  It didn’t matter, too, that I was on a strict meal plan because I hated looking in the mirror.  And it didn’t even matter that I dated someone who was smoking hot, because I hated my body.  It doesn’t even matter that now I am married to the finest, hottest, most loving and kind person in existence…I HATED MY BODY.

This reality of hating my body was a major problem in my recovery and at that 2 and ½ year point, when things started to fall apart, that sh*t needed to get resolved and FAST.

That’s what I want this blog to talk about.  I want this blog to pass on the message that body shaming is a spiritual sickness that causes spiritual and emotional disability.  For many of us, when will the day come when we can genuinely look into the mirror and see how truly beautiful we are?  When will the day come when we fully experience events, or even moments of embrace, and we don’t withhold or feel self-conscious?  When I used to hug people, I would try my hardest not to clinch up my sides, and I would be very aware of what area of my body they were touching.  As we would hug, I would wonder to myself what my back or sides felt like to them and if I felt fat.  Do you know what I missed out on?  I missed out on the love that they were extending to me during our hug.  I missed out on the f*cking love.  NOTHING IS WORSE TO MISS OUT ON IN LIFE.

It has only been recently that I have truly begun to crack the shell of my body shaming.  Friends, I am 37 years old.  37!  I want to live a full life!  And I know all of you out there want to live a full life, too.  Working these OA steps with a depth of fierce honesty and soul searching is the only way I have ever even begun to end the cycle of body shaming.  I kept relatively quiet about it for my first few years in OA, and I never really got honest with my support network about how deep the root of body shaming grew inside of my soul.  Part of that was the climate of OA, but most of that was me.  Some of it, too, was that I simply was not mature enough to understand what I was actually missing out on.

If you, my dear brother or sister, have felt this way then I want to extend my hand to you.  If you hate or have hated yourself the way I have hated myself then I want you to know that you are not alone.  Please keep coming back, keep working your program, keep going to meetings and just remember it is only one day at a time.  It gets better.  Sometimes it hurts, and the pain is so bad, but it truly does get better.

Last night I dreamed that I was naked and looking in the mirror.  Usually when I have this dream I look at myself and think I am disgusting.  But last night, for the first time in 37 years, I dreamed this same dream except it had a different ending.  In last night’s dream I looked at myself and I thought I was beautiful.  Thank you, God, for this program.

No person in this program is able to receive a gift that another person is not able to receive.  The program does not promise that I will be skinny; it promises that I will live a life free from bondage.  The promise of recovery is not that I will be a size 6; it promises that I will be joyful.  It does not promise that I will get the body I always thought I wanted; it promises that I will love the body I have.

I love you all so much, my dear brothers and sisters in OA.  Keep coming back and I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting!

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