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Blossoming Faith

I lovelovelove talking to people about the 12 Steps in recovery.  One of the most interesting conversations I have with recovery members is with someone who is working Step 2 for the very first time…and especially the one who arrives in OA already fitted with a set of religious or spiritual convictions.  These are the members I especially love to chat with.

You should have heard me go on and on when I first came into the rooms of OA.  I said, “I believe in God – a Power greater than myself – sure, I’ve already got one.  I’m way past Step 2.”

My sponsor chuckled and guided me to page 15 of the OA 12 & 12.  It read

“We religious ones had trouble because we believed in God’s existence, but we didn’t really believe God could and would deal with our compulsive eating.  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.” – OA 12 & 12 Pg 15

I went back to my sponsor and said, “But sponse, I’ve prayed real hard to God that I be skinny but I’ve always yo-yoed.  Prayer doesn’t work.”

To my surprise she replied, “So, you’ve been asking God to just take off all the fat on your body while you continue to eat whatever you want?”

Hmmm…I had to take some time to think on that one.

The next day at an OA meeting I sat next to a woman who had fought her disease of bulimia for over two decades.  After she shared with me some of her heart-wrenching story, I said, “That’s amazing you even have a throat left.”

She frowned.  “I don’t.  It’s all scar tissue.  But, what I do have is a 90 day abstinent chip that I picked up last week.  I’ve never made it more than a week without purging until I tried this program.  I’m recovering.”  She patted my knee.  “It’s all about action.”

And she was right!  Step 2 is about having faith that the actions others before us have taken will work for us, too.  Coming to believe in a Power greater than ourselves happens when we stop debating whether it works or not and we just start doing it, pretending that it does work.  Then, after taking action and seeing that it works, we begin to truly believe.

The key to Step 2 is willingness to have some faith.  That’s all.  The miracle of OA is available to any and all people who have a food issue and desire to stop eating compulsively.

“Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone.  The only condition is that he trust God and clean house.” –AA Big Book Pg 98

 

See you at the next meeting!  It works if you work it so work it ‘cause you’re worth it!!

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Insane in the Membrane…

I wasn’t keen on the idea that I was ‘insane’ when I read the 2nd step of the OA program…

Step 2:  “Came to believe a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

I told the OA’s that I wasn’t insane…I just had an eating problem!  They smiled and nodded and told me to just keep coming back.  One of them even told me that with time I would become more honest with myself about food…and that really pissed me off!

Upset, I stormed into my home and shouted, “Honest about food?  Whenever have I lied?”  I pet my cats, took off my coat, and sunk into my thoughts about how at the next meeting I would really give it to her.  How dare she say I’d become more honest with myself, implying that I hadn’t been honest with myself in the first place?  I huffed and huffed, and next thing I know I was standing in front of a bag of yummies with my hand reaching inside for one.

I stopped and stared at it, for neither had I intended to eat anything nor was I hungry.  In fact, I wasn’t certain when, how, or why I had pulled this out of the pantry and stuck my hand inside.  It was as if I had done those actions while in a fog of rage at that OA woman.

Well, to prove that she wasn’t right and I was completely sane I withdrew my hand and put that bag of yummies right back into the pantry.  And I walked away.  And I sat on my couch and stared out the window, completely obsessed over whether or not eating that one yummie was insane or not.  After several minutes of debating, I decided that eating that yummie was not insane because I wanted to eat it and besides I was going to the gym later so I could tack on an extra 5 minutes of cardio to burn off those extra calories.  I stood up and proudly walked over to the pantry and I ate that yummie.  I ate ONE yummie.  And then I put them back into the pantry, said “No more of you today,” and I walked away.

Thirty minutes later I was back at the pantry, staring at the bag of yummies.  After I ate that one yummie, something happened inside of me that I could not define.  It was as if a demon had birthed itself right in the core of my essence – a hungry demon at that – and it wanted more of the sugary substance.  I felt like a compulsion had taken over my body and I was beginning to lose the battle of reason…because something kept telling me, “Only one more won’t hurt you.”

Now, I could very well continue this story and say whether or not I did, in fact, mow down that other yummie.  But, that is not the point of this story.  See, everything that I did during that short period of time in relation to food was what made me insane.  My insanity has to do with how I used food for comfort, my obsessive thoughts over eating it or not eating it, the concept that I would ‘tack on extra time at the gym’, and then returning to the food even after I intended to be done with it.  All of that was insanity!

Later that afternoon, the OA woman from the meeting called me, asking how I was doing.

I said, “Oh, I feel pretty much insane.”

She didn’t respond and the silence between us felt terribly uncomfortable.  Finally, and in one of the kindest voices I’d ever heard, she asked, “Did something happen?”

Tears welled in my eyes…what was I to tell her?  I couldn’t possibly admit the war that had raged inside of me, and all over a stupid little yummie!  I took a deep breath and, right as I was about to tell her a lie, she said, “You know what, don’t worry about it.  Just keep coming back.  You’ll figure out if you are a food addict or not on your own.  The food will show you, because if you’re like me, it’ll make you crazy!”

And with that, she said goodbye and hung up.  Stunned by her words, I stood with the phone to my ear for several seconds after she had hung up, listening to the dial tone.

The next day I went to an OA meeting and said, “My name is Lauren L and I am a food addict.”

Thanks for reading my post!!  I love all of you – my brothers and sisters in the program!  See you at the next meeting!