• Welcome to Promise of Recovery!

    This website expresses the opinion of OA members and not OA as a whole. Thank you for visiting and keep coming back!
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email...yay!

    Join 66 other followers

Fun Acronyms!

These are some acronyms that are commonly used in 12 Step programs as endearing mottos about recovery.  I’ve changed them a little to fit OA…so I hope you like them!  A special “thank you” goes out to Anner-Bananer for helping me!

F.I.N.E.

[I’m] Frustrated, Insecure, Neurotic, Emotional

F.E.A.R.

Face Everything And Recover

N.U.T.S.

Not Using Tools/Steps

E.G.O.

Edging God Out

D.E.N.I.A.L.

Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying

H.A.L.T.

[Don’t get too] Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired

H.O.P.E.

Happy Our Program Exists

H.O.W.

Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness

A.  S.P.O.N.S.O.R.

Abstinent Smiling Person Offering Newcomers Suggestions On Recovery

G.O.D.

Good Orderly Direction

B.I.G.  B.O.O.K.

Believing In God Beats Our Old Knowledge

S.L.I.P.

Steps Losing Its Priority

A.C.T.I.O.N.

Any Change To Improve Our Nature

P.R.O.G.R.A.M.

Person Relying On God Respecting Abstinent Meals  

A.  S.T.E.P.

Abstinent Solutions To Every Problem

K.I.S.S.

Keep It Simple, Shnookie

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

Autonomous For The People

“Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or OA as a whole.” –Tradition 4

The recovery program of OA is filled with paradoxes.  Autonomy is another one of them…and so I shall do my best writing about it without my head exploding.

We each have individual autonomy in OA.  That means that I can choose to work the steps of OA as suggested or we can try to make up my own way – which I have actually done before – something of which I now call “Lauren’s Anonymous”.  I did not stay abstinent for very long – maybe a week?  Probably less than that – it wasn’t pretty.  I don’t suggest “Lauren’s Anonymous” to anyone.

Anyway, every person gets to do whatever they are going to do in OA and is allowed to do that until they directly affect other people in the program.  This is when members who have long-term abstinence and have worked the steps will jump in and explain the function of autonomy.

The same goes for each individual group.  For example, the Saturday Serenity meeting is at 10AM and the Monday Focus on Abstinence is at 6:30PM and they are two separate groups.  Each autonomous group voted on these two different meeting times.  They did this completely independent of each other.  (I’m not sure why that is relevant but I hope you come to both meetings.)

The paradox is that we all have the right to be individuals in OA and each OA group deserves that same freedom…MY HEAD IS ABOUT TO EXPLODE…and so we can do whatever we want to do…ABOUT TO BLOW…until it impacts others and their rights regarding autonomy.

Okay, I made it.  Phew!  I’m not sure why this tradition is so difficult for me to write about.  After a couple years in recovery I started to scratch the surface at genuine comprehension of this tradition.  It is all about love, forgiveness, freedom, and change.  It seriously makes my head nearly explode to think about the depth of this tradition.  See, no person can force another person to get recovery.  A genuine willingness to surrender is essential to genuine recovery.

I love you all!  Please comment on this if you are willing to talk about Tradition 4!  I love hearing back from everyone.  You help me grow and evolve so much…see you at the next meeting!!

Group Purpose

“For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscious.  Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.”  – OA Tradition 2

The first time I ever entered a 12 Step meeting I learned all about Tradition 2.  I went to the restroom only to find it had no toilet paper.  I returned to the common area of the club house in search of toilet paper and asked, “Who’s in charge around here?”

The stranger I asked literally said, “A loving God.”

WHAT???

Ha!  True story!  Don’t worry, though.  I did find the toilet paper and all was right in the world again.

The 2nd Tradition of OA is all about the “group purpose”…and in all reality the group purpose is simply to pass the message of recovery.  That’s it!   So, whoever is collecting the donation basket, or ordering literature, or replacing the toilet paper is doing so voluntarily and in a role of a “trusted servant”.  That sounds like utopia, right?  Eh…

The sticky part is the “group conscious” area of this step.  Sometimes people want the meeting run this way and not that way, or at this time and not that time, or whatever.  For this situation I would like to refer to the OA 12&12 because it does a great job of breaking down how the collective individual needs come into being the consciousness – or awareness – of what is best for the group as a whole.

“The group conscious is not the same as majority rule.  This conscious is an expression of the group unity spoken of in the first tradition, a common bond which grows among us as we each let go of self-will.” –OA 12&12 p. 120

The Traditions found in 12 Step Recovery is the method of WHY the groups work so well.  Tradition 2 asks each of us to put aside our selfishness and remember that OA gives us a chance to recover from compulsive food behaviors.  And with something like that in my mind, why wouldn’t I want to seek for answers that would benefit everyone there?

I love you all so much!  Thank you for giving me recovery.  See you at the next meeting!!

My Cankles

This post is going to open with a very important quote from our literature because if not I’ll never write it…

“Honesty is a key factor in our recovery from compulsive eating, and so we will want to develop this trait.” OA 12&12 p. 51

With that being said…

I have cankles.

Yes, my lovey friends out there in blog-land, I have natural-born cankles.  I’ve always had cankles and I will always have them.  It does not matter how skinny I get…my cankles are a part of my body that will never go away.  They were a genetic gift from one side of my family and they did not come with a return receipt.  Oye vey!!

I used to be ashamed of my cankles.  I hated everything about them!  Sometimes I would squeeze them and try to make them smaller.  Other times I would beg God to let me wake up cankle-free.  I only wore pants – never shorts – for fear that my cankles would be exposed.  I even listed my cankles as one of my resentments on my 4th Step!

Recovery has taught me that my cankles are not my character defect, rather my self-loathing of my cankles is my real character defect.    The OA 12&12 says it best, “In fact, poor self-image keeps us in bondage to self and thus makes it impossible for us to find true humility.” –OA 12&12 p. 59

So…I have cankles.  So what?  Recovery teaches me that cankles or no cankles, I am a beautiful person where it counts…inside.  And whether or not I have cankles isn’t any of my business until I have something nice to say about them.  I have to give my obsession for not having a perfect body to God.  If I don’t, I could relapse.  And it’s just not worth it.

So…I have cankles.

And that’s okay today.

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

Easy Breezy Step 8!

20120301-101759.jpg

(This is my precious Magnolya who I found compulsively eating catnip.)

It was brought to my attention that I haven’t posted on Step 8 (nor on Step 9, but this post is going to be on 8 only) yet. I apologize for that, as it wasn’t intentional and both of these steps are extremely important to recovery. “The Promises” read in AA meetings, and sometimes read in OA meetings, are discovered in the AA Big Book after Step 9 (AA Big Book Pg. 83-84). Therefore we can see that emotional freedom and spiritual growth are found from these steps. They are essential for longterm, quality recovery. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s look at Step 8!

Newcomers are often frustrated when they read the 12 Steps and see that two seemingly daunting writing activities are suggested of us to work the program. These two lists of which they cringe are the rigorously honest inventory of Step 4 and the list of persons we have harmed in Step 8.

Even I exclaimed, “No way! Two freakin’ lists?! #%*^+$!!”

Alas, my sponsor soothed my fears, for out she pulled the AA Big Book and read the following quote,

“We have a list of all persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make amends. We made it when we took inventory.” – AA Big Book Pg. 76

Step 8 is not as daunting a task as we imagine that it is. If we have completed a rigorously honest 4th Step then we are well ahead of the game for the remainder of our step work. Hoorah!! Our 8th step list is our 4th step list!

This is sometimes confusing, for how can my list of those whom I resent also be a list of those whom I owe amends? Let’s not forget that when we felt offended, hurt, or were upset by people, and we wrote them on our 4th step, we ususally found that we played a part in the situation. Somehow, someway, we always seemed to play a part in every resentment we carried. Let’s see what the Big Book says about this idea.

“Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.” AA Big Book Pg. 62

So, relax! Instead of two lists, the program only asks us to write one.

Phew!!!

I love you guys and gals! My friends and family in recovery rock! 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!

The Weight of Meetings

Meetings are a very important part of recovery in OA.  It is a tool that members use to connect with other members.  Usually, I make 2 meetings a week.  The other days I spend at my AA groups.  This week I wasn’t able to make my 2 OA meetings…and I can really feel the difference.

I’ve received some emails from people asking what, exactly, my reasons for being in OA are.  I’ve been asked, “Are you bulimic?  Anorexic?  Are you morbidly obese?  What ARE you?”

Well, lucky for me, the 3rd Tradition of OA states that, “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.”

No, I am not bulimic.  Nor am I anorexic.  Nor am I obese.  Seriously, folks, I got to the rooms of OA because I am an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous.  In 12 Step groups, the 10th Step is a daily personal inventory.  By doing my personal inventory in AA, I realized that I was exhibiting some abnormal and unhealthy behaviors revolving around sugary foods.  So, I stopped doing all the diets I was trying and I went to OA.

In the rooms of OA I learned that my obsession to try different diets to lose about 20 pounds wasn’t normal.  It was compulsive behavior.  I realized that once I ate sugary food, I always went back, even if I was trying to avoid eating more of it.

Therefore, I went to OA.  Since then I have been abstinent from those sugary foods.  For the record, my abstinence is truly a gift from my Higher Power, the Fellowship, and the rooms of OA.

So, to answer the question of weight loss:  Yes!  I have lost weight!  But, weight is only a symptom of wellness or sickness.  My weight, though lower, is not what OA suggests I focus on.  OA suggests that I look at whether or not I am in right relations with my Higher Power.  Do I love me?  Yes.

Thank you, OA, for helping me learn how to love myself!  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! 

Recovery Is Not A Diet

Today is a great day to reflect on the truth that no matter how much abstinent time I have acquired in OA, no matter how many steps I’ve worked, friends I’ve made, or weight I’ve lost (or, respectfully, gained), I will always have the compulsion to act out in my food allergy. Most days this concept baffles me. While my lingering compulsion is abstract and easily deniable, some things smack my face right back into reality. For example…

I couldn’t even believe my email ‘inbox’ this morning! It was the most perfect reminder that my life outside the rooms of OA is unmanageable and…well, crazy. It’s totally and perfectly nuts. Here is the list of emails in my inbox as of 1/9/12:

  • BIGGEST LOSER: Ashley lost 183 lbs! The next Biggest…
  • WeightWatchers.com: PointsPlus® 2012 is here! Come back…
  • Atkins Special Savings: Dear Lauren L, Where have you been l…
  • No-Diet Weight Loss: Loss 30+ pounds with no diet and no e…
  • The Dr. Oz Diet Plan: This week you can re-join for FREE and…
  • The ACAI BERRY Diet Works: An amazing little fruit that only grows…
  • JennyCraig.com: Mariah Carey lost weight with Jenny C…

I mumbled, “Wow.” That was all the response that I had for having an inbox filled with those emails. It made me sick to look at them. I felt a sensation that I hadn’t experienced in quite a long time. It was a blend of defeat, bitterness, loneliness, and desperation. Worse, those were all the feelings I often experienced when cycling through diet after diet, sometimes being successful and other times flunking right from the start. Regardless, the weight always seemed to come back and, no matter how skinny I got, I never once liked my body. I never could figure out why I was plagued by horrible nightmares of yo-yo diets and negative feelings – and I even hated myself for hating myself.

I started deleting the emails like a clicking maniac. One, after another, after another…click click click. And then, I saw one other email, right below all the diet advertisements that (for the record) I had voluntarily signed up to receive before I started working the OA program. And that email was from a woman who attended a meeting with me just last week. Hope and awe entered me and with a swiftly beating heart I opened that email. It read:

Lauren,

Hey, girl! How are you? Thanks for what you said at the meeting. I agree that my spiritual fitness is totally everything. It trips me out, like, when I think about all the dieting stuff I ever tried. I feel so free today. How cool is it that recovery is not a diet and yet, thanks to the program, I’m successful at losing weight and I’m happy? Haha! I love OA. Let’s get coffee soon.

Love,

[Anonymous]

Thank you, my brothers and sisters in OA! You keep me abstinent and teach me how to trust my Higher Power. I love you all so much! The promises of OA are true and real! Thank you for my recovery!!

Our Common Welfare

In Voices of Recovery (which is one of the OA approved daily refection and morning meditation books) the January 5th entry really moved me.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about the topic.  It was about Tradition 1 of OA, citing, “Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon OA unity.”

The entry discusses how every person has their own recovery program in OA and that OA needs to remain respectfully individual because everyone has individual triggers.  A certain food that might jump-start my compulsive eating might be okay for you to eat, just like how a certain food that might harm you is okay for me to eat.  Our commonality is not based in a blanket abstention; it is based in our common compulsion and our common solution – the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of OA.

Who am I to judge what is right or wrong for my OA fellows?  It is not my place to carry ‘my message’.  I am to carry the OA message of recovery.  Thankfully, “The program is broad enough for all of us to do whatever is necessary.” – Voices of Recovery, Pg 5

I love all of you!  See you at the next meeting!

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Follow Lauren L’s Recovery Tweets!

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.