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Guest Post

I asked a recovery sister of mine, Megan (pronounced Meegan) H., to write a guest post for Promise of Recovery.  I am honored and humbled by the magnificent words that came forth from her pen.  Thank you, Megan H., for writing a wonderful guest post to share with our recovery family.  You are very special to the Tampa OA community and we love you very much.

Am I recovering?

Perfectionism is a demon that I only recently thought I may want to dispose of.  In so many ways, it has served me well—pushing me ahead in many things I’ve tried which lead to external praise yet internal conflict, even hatred.  A year ago I started this program by enrolling in a treatment center and then realizing what I’d done once I got there!  No more hot French bread??  Ever??  Seriously??!!  Well, actually, no more just for today.  See…I’ve got the lingo.  But I also have the fear.  Mostly the fear that I’m not good enough.  That because I have not had 365 days of perfect abstinence, I have failed.  People outside this program may roll their eyes at this idea because I’ve truly lost a lot of weight.  They think, fine, now have a slice of pizza.  You’ve earned it.

In the meantime, I’m working on steps 10-12 every night with my sponsor where I’m admitting things like purchasing and eating an entire bag of mozzarella cheese sticks.  How compulsive is that?  Or binging on raisins because they are the only sweet thing I can find and I’m dying for some sugar?  To me, this is really, really shameful.  Bad, embarrassing, offensive.  I’m a failure in my own mind. 

But thank God for sponsors!  Mine is an amazing example of recovery and there she is to redirect me to the solution in the Big Book along with loving and accepting the wild food beast I am.  She points out all that  has changed by being in this program.  Of course, the major weight loss, but along with that, a new freedom.  More health, confidence, less medication, more friends and support, and a new spiritual connection that I’ve clogged up in the past.  These things are here for me!  When I slip and slide, it does not automatically negate the hours of service, reading, praying, meditating, meetings and sharing that I’ve done.  I remind myself of this as I learn to love and accept who I am right now.  “And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.”   

-Megan H.

Thanks again, Megan H., for sharing your experience, strength, and hope with Promise of Recovery!  See you at the next meeting!

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Beautiful Paradoxes

If you can’t read the text, this busted car says, “Life is beautiful.” 

The longer I am abstinent, attending OA meetings, and work my steps…the more I realize that I will never ‘graduate’ from 12 Step programs.  This is one of the many paradoxes uncovered in recovery.  Some of the other paradoxes are

  • I must pass along the message of recovery to keep the message of recovery.
  • By abstaining from certain foods and eating behaviors I free myself from the bondage of food.
  • Although a feeling, serenity is not birthed from my emotions but from my actions.
  • Surrendering will win the war.

That last one used to drive me up the wall!  For such a long time I battled with diets, food, working out, body image, restricting, you name it and I have probably tried it.  Luckily, I learned at my first meeting that I wasn’t the only person who had such terribly perplexing emotional turmoil when it came to fighting the good fight.  Every single person in that meeting knew exactly what I was talking about when I described my compulsive behavior, emotional discontentment, and spiritual emptiness.

 I love my meetings…and I love all my sisters and brothers who make OA the wonderful family that it is!  Thank you for my recovery!  See you at the next meeting!

 (And a quick shout-out to Murphy for turning 33 today AND being sober and abstinent!  You are a miracle!)

All Good

We, at Promise of Recovery, have been jam packed with life over the past several weeks.  We apologize for the delay…

And that is going to be the topic of my post today!  My life ROCKS!!!  I’m so grateful for the OA program.  Well, I guess I’m grateful for the gift of all 12 Step programs.  It is only through recovery that I have found myself back in college (GO USF BULLS!!), hanging out with a wonderful set of friends (I ❤ Tampa OA!), love is knocking on my door, and Petunya’s asthma is finally getting under control.  But, more important, I feel a connection with my Higher Power that is nearly indescribable.  And I love that.

Before I began working a 12 Step program I felt lost and unlovable.  No longer is that the case!  I have a purpose in life today.

And real quick, before I wrap this up, if you ever think that the promises of recovery can’t come true for you, please be advised that everyone is ENTITLED to all of the promises…so long as we remain in recovery and are willing.

Thank you for my recovery!  I love all of you very much!!  See you at the next meeting!

A New Light

“[Newcomers] need to understand that food is not our problem – the compulsive behavior is.”  – Abstinence p. 27

I remember my first time in OA, hearing that my compulsive behavior/eating was my problem.  I wanted to blame particular foods, spices, sauces…well, basically anything edible.  Somewhere inside of me, I wanted someone to tell me to remove a particular food or ingredient and then I would be forever cured!

That was not the case.  It was far from the truth.  I grieved the knowledge that I ate for one simple reason:  COMPULSIVE EATING WAS MY DRUG.  This concept does not negate the other truth that, for many compulsive eaters, particular foods causes an allergic reaction that propels them to overeat.  In fact, it completely supports the notion that compulsive eaters have a disease that is manifested within the body of a compulsive eater.

The A.A. Big Book describes “the phenomenon of craving” in the chapter The Doctor’s Opinion as, “the manifestation of an allergy which differentiates these people, and sets them apart as a distinct entity.”

I would like to take a moment to expound on this idea because something happened to me last Wednesday that scared me.  I met up with some friends in OA for dinner.  I drank two glasses of diet soda…only to find out later that the restaurant had accidently used regular soda instead of diet.

At first I didn’t care.  It really wasn’t a big deal…I got some diet soda and went about my business.  My friends and I ate dinner and continued on being merry and serene.  But then…about fifteen minutes later…I felt a sugar high come over me.  It felt kinda good and I began to fret.  Did this mean I was going to binge?  Had I accidently lost my abstinence?  Was I bound to an evening of massive sugar consumption?  Was all hope lost for me?  I sat in my chair and worried that my stint in OA was over…for good…and I was destined for relapse…I saw my tombstone read, “An OA at heart, though from sugar she never did part.”

OH SH*T!

Hey – I never said I wasn’t dramatic!

Anyway, I happen to be sitting directly across from my step sponsor and my food sponsor.  I told them how I was feeling.  Soon enough my body felt alright…it was my mind that kept obsessing.

This taught me a very valuable lesson in my recovery.  IT REALLY ISN’T EVER ABOUT THE FOOD.  I know for a fact that for me sugar is a trigger to my compulsive eating behavior.  However, ingesting sugar or not ingesting sugar is NOT the end-all-be-all of my recovery.   Life happens and, if I continue to live free from the bondage of food, life will continue to happen and something as scary as accidently drinking a bunch of sugar in soda might happen again.  That’s living life on life’s terms.  And that is okay today.  It’s not about the food…it’s about my willingness to surrender, trust God, and clean house (and I don’t mean my apartment).

I’m still abstinent, folks!  I did not go home and eat a bunch of sugar!  Thank you for my recovery!  I love all of you so much.  See you at the next meeting!

Sleeping On Step Work

My preciouses do more for me than just snuggle-buggle late at night.  I have learned A TON about unconditional love, God, forgiveness, and patience from them.  Most of all, though, they seem to remind me about things I am doing…or better yet…the things I am NOT doing.  ARG!

Here we see Magnolya doing what I have been doing with this blog for about a month now:  sleeping on my step work!  This blog was created to pass the message of recovery (mostly to myself so I don’t forget it) and I haven’t been passing much around.  It is an important part of my recovery to talk about the program because when I am not doing that I am forgetting everything people have taught me.

“The principle of service which underlies OA’s twelfth step can now guide our actions both inside and outside the program.” –OA 12&12 p. 106

This single sentence has many important lessons for me.  The first is that I had no idea that the word ‘twelfth’ has an ‘f’ in it.  Did anyone else know this??  Anyway, the second is that my recovery is based in service.  This fact begs the question of me:  What am I actively doing to live recovery?  Am I reaching out to the newcomer?  Am I involved in service positions for the group?  Do I even bother to hold the door open for the person behind me?

And with that I shall leave you, my lovely friends, with one last quote from all 12 Step books that sums up 12 Step recovery like nothing else does…

“We”.

Thank you for my recovery!  I’ll see you at the next meeting…and don’t forget about the new ‘Monday Keep Comin’ Back’ meeting held at Rainbow Recovery Club at 6:30PM!  I love you all so much!!!

It’s Official…

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THANK YOU TAMPA BAY OA FOR REPRESENTING STRONG AT THE OA STATE CONVENTION!!!

A special shout-out for my girls and guy: Anner Bananer, Natalia, Rump Shaker Shana, Jen M, my sponsor Erin, Alexis, Melissa, Jen W, Millie-Vanillie, Andrea, Judith, Stan, Whitley

See you at the next meeting!!!

Support Network Post

I had an amazing experience the other morning.  Before attending the OA meeting (Sat 10 AM Rainbow Recovery Club) I met up with several of my OA friends at the local Starbucks and we did something amazing:

We sat, talked, laughed, and loved each other as if we were all sisters.

Isn’t that great?!  Now, let’s get real for a minute, ‘cause I know what some of y’all are doin’ right now…

Surely, a couple of my readers (Yes, I have read your emails!   Thank you for contacting me!) are thinking, “Oh Lord, not more hokey ‘We-covery’ stuff.  I can’t take it.  Doesn’t Lauren L know that I am suffering over here?!”

Yep, I sure do know that!  I suffer sometimes, too.  Guess who it is that lifts me out of my murky mire when I don’t have enough humility to call upon my Higher Power?  That’s right.  It’s my OA family.  Just with a single smile and a hug they pass to me the message that recovery is possible.

You know, it’s true that I am all about my recovery network.  They keep me abstinent and they keep me honest.  If you haven’t come to an OA meeting, or if you have come and then rushed out before meeting anyone, please just keep coming back.  The promises are true and they can come true for you, too.  Together we can do what we could never do alone.

See you at the next meeting!

I Love My Sponsor!

“In this Fellowship we begin to learn right relations with people who understand us; we don’t have to be alone anymore.” – AA 12 & 12 Pg 116-117

Those in our Fellowship who work with a sponsor know exactly what I mean when I say, “I love my sponsor!”  …and no, she hasn’t slipped me $20 to write that.

This evening I spent about two hours with my sponsor.  We laughed, cringed, drank coffee, and talked about really important and interesting stuff…ME!  Ha!

Yes, folks, it is true that my sponsor will sit across from me, all peaceful and patient, listening to my insanity as I go on and on about myself.  She nods, smiles, sips her coffee, and then says something really brilliant and sane that I could never think of, like, “That belongs to God.”  Or, “Nobody gets to be the rooster in OA because we are all equal.”  Or, “Try praying for him for two weeks and see if that helps you with your resentment.”  And most importantly, “I did that, too.”

Working with another food addict brings me to a spiritual place that I hadn’t ever ventured while outside of the rooms of OA.  During the time I was stuck in my disease I felt alone.  I was certain nobody would or could understand.  Go figure how surprised I became when I first began working with my sponsor and she identified with me!

My sponsor has an excellent grasp of the OA program.  She lives, breathes, and walks the principles and spirituality of OA.  If I honestly tell her what is going on inside of me, she can relate and share with me her experience, strength, and hope.  Instead of my one (and usually warped) perception of my drama, I can hear a suggestion for a solution that will actually work.

Are you new to OA?  Sponsorship is a great tool to use.  Look for someone who has a recovery program that you like and ask them to help you!  See you at the next meeting! 

Gratitude Post on ViR

Wow…thank you to Kendra with Voice in Recovery for giving me the chance to write a guest post on gratitude…if you haven’t read it yet then please click here.

Thanks again and see you at the next meeting!

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