• 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

  • Advertisements

We Are All Made of Stardust

And yet my worries are so important...

And yet my worries are so important…

The picture above is from NASA and you can read about it here if you would like.

It is a picture of the galaxy Messier 63, though it is also affectionately called the Sunflower Galaxy. NASA took this photo just a few weeks ago.

In other news I am literally writing this at 4AM Eastern and I am just completely unable to sleep. I keep thinking about how irritated I became today – angry, really. I became upset over (more…)

Advertisements

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  (more…)

“Healing”

Stretching My Wings

Hello, dear brothers and sisters. Thank you for joining with me this evening as together we continue down the path of recovery. It has been several years since I last wrote in this blog, and that long stretch of time is something I am not proud of though it is also something of which I am no longer ashamed.  I send a warm and loving virtual hug to a couple of my beautiful recovery sisters (you know who you are!) for helping me to see that shame and embarrassment is unnecessary and only of the ego; which is yet another example of spiritual gifts that are of abundance within the fellowship. Regardless I did, in fact, walk around for years feeling ashamed, and so ashamed did I feel that I up and stopped blogging about OA. In a literal span of about 5 seconds I went from feeling fairly confident about the OA program to feeling like I knew nothing – NOTHING – and immediately I had convinced myself that writing a blog might do more harm than good for others. Again, bear with me as I take a moment to recognize my OA brothers and sisters who were unyielding with their support and love during these past 3 years. Thank you for continuing on with me, even after all this time, with your support and love. I would not be abstinent today without each and every one of you who have supported this blog.

Why the shame? Why the embarrassment? The story is long and complicated but after spending much of the past 3 years working the steps and traditions (with a sponsor) on all of the events that transpired I am able to abbreviate without appearing scorned and heartbroken. For the longest time I wanted to post about what was happening but each time I went to blog I began crying. And crying. And crying. The blog never got written, and the simple act of not writing the blog exacerbated my shame and embarrassment. Until today when I was asked, “What happened with the blog?” and the answer I gave made sense and felt good to explain.

There were so many various events that happened, and kept happening…I just felt defeated. I felt absolutely defeated. To begin with, I ask that if you are reading this and we know each other from the rooms, please know that these reflections are infused with love and gratitude for you. Even if we had tension between us at some point, please know that I love you as either my brother or my sister and I will always support you in recovery. Second, those of you that I have had the privilege of meeting through this blog (especially those who privately reached out to me during this time), please know that I have the upmost respect and love for you and every single word is written with my deepest and most sincere gratitude.

Here is the quick break down of what happened:

Summer of 2011: Impactful death

Summer of 2011: I got dumped

Summer of 2011: We got back together

Spring of 2012: We got engaged

Spring of 2012: I got dumped

Spring of 2012: Impactful death

Fall of 2012 – Summer of 2013: Sudden and significant amount of weight gain while abstinent

Fall of 2013: Thyroid condition diagnosis

On the surface there is nothing listed that appears terrible, but believe me when I was in the thick of this forest it was terrible! I felt shame because I “got dumped”, I felt shame because a few people in the rooms questioned my abstinence since I had weight gain, and I felt shame that I felt so undone, just to name a few.

I’d like to reference a quote on page 48 of the OA 12 & 12 that reads, “Nothing in us can be changed until we first accept it.” I have meditated on that quote and on this general concept extensively. Why? Because I want to change. I need to change. More important, if I want to continue recovery then I HAVE TO CHANGE. Like most of us, I sought change with a thirst. And for a long time I thought that I needed to accept that I felt shame in order to change, but that was not getting me anywhere. As it turned out, shame was the result and not the cause.

“Change” is a funny little word in recovery because while change is what we ultimately are doing, it isn’t descriptive enough at times for me. Let’s re-visit and “change” that sentence from page 48 real quick, “Nothing in us can be healed until we first accept it.”

The truth is that my heart hurt, my soul hurt, and not only did it hurt for valid spiritual matters but it also hurt because I had somehow become involved with a sliding scale of harsh judgements toward myself. In that quote the word “changed” elicits a sense of inherent wrongfulness, as if some part of me is horrid or ugly, because nothing is actually wrong with that part of me other than it is naturally grotesque. The word “healed” implies a basic sense of reverence for the part of me that is broken or sick, and gentleness and kindness are required for complete restoration, because it is beautiful even if it is unwell.

So that’s what happened. That’s it!

Brothers and sisters, we are beautiful even when we are hurting. I love all of you very much, and I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting!

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!

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!)

The Lifeboat

“Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the compulsive overeater who still suffers.” – OA Tradition 5

Sometimes I venture out in a boat on Tampa’s glorious bay and enjoy the beautiful scenery.  Although my trips are lovely and spiritual, I seem to have a strange compulsion to peer over the side of the boat and into the water…and fear falling out to a doom of shark-bait madness.

Is there any reason for me to fear falling off the side of the boat and dying?  Is some strange and mystical wind going to come and shove me off the side and plop – fall directly into the mouth of a vicious shark?  Doubtful …but I still insist upon staying near the center of the boat, lest I forget myself and slip and…whoosh!  Over the side of the boat go I!

Recovery is like that for me, too.  I like to stay in the middle of the boat for fear that I might clumsily forget to pay close attention to my program and find myself flailing about in the murky waters of relapse.  My safety is found when I pay close attention to the direction of my program, when I focus on my relationship with God, when I attend meetings, and use the tools provided to me in OA.

Tradition 5 provides OA groups with this very same degree of safety.  It retains the singleness of purpose at an OA meeting – which is only to pass the message of recovery.  If we did not have this tradition we would have complete chaos.  Meetings might have beauty consultants, dietitians, or other unrelated-to-recovery professionals granted access for purposes other than recovery.

See, the reality of recovery is that a person “who still suffers” isn’t necessarily a newcomer.  It could very well be the OA member who has the longest amount of abstinence in the meeting.  So long as the group adheres to Tradition 5, anyone and everyone who attends will receive the message that recovery is real and does work.

…which is something you have all done for me.  Thank you for reading my blog!  I love you!  See you at the next meeting! 

Dis-Ease

Woah!  Disease…Dis-ease…

I did not come up with that, however, it is awesome and so I thought I would write a little about dis-ease.

When I first came into recovery I was filled with dis-ease.  I felt nervous, fearful, and angry.  If I wasn’t busy crying, I was screaming and yelling and carrying on.  A part of me had awoken; and a part of me had died.  There is no internal pain known to mankind as that of the [insert mood-altering substance here] addict who is coming off the sauce…and I ain’t talkin’ alfredo sauce…although for some us food addicts…it could very well be that, too…

We all come in hurting.  If we didn’t hurt so badly then we wouldn’t seek recovery.  The OA 12&12 really drives it home in the quote

“We ate to sate the fears, the anxieties, the angers, the disappointments.  We ate to escape the pressures of our problems or the boredom of everyday life.” –OA 12&12 p. 5

Okay, I’m taking a quick second to mention that the next sentence is just unbelievably hardcore.  It reads

“We procrastinated, we hid, and we ate.”  -OA 12&12 p. 5

This translates to, “We were dis-eased in our disease.”

The second part of Step 1 is all about my dis-ease.  For those of us who are unsure of what I mean by the second part of Step 1, I am referring to “that our lives had become unmanageable”.  Unmanageability is an open word that incorporates all the feelings of dis-ease that we have when we are newcomers.

The reality is that once the food is removed all the emotions are left there…which is why it’s important to go to meetings, get a sponsor, and works the steps.  The promises are real and they come true every day for people.  If you are struggling with compulsive eating, just keep coming back.  The promises can come true for you, too.

I love me some Tampa OA!  Come check out the new ‘Monday Keep Comin’ Back’ @ 6:30 PM over at Rainbow Recovery Club!

“Must”

“Clearly, if we are to live free of the bondage of compulsive eating we must abstain from all foods and eating behaviors which cause us problems.”  OA 12&12 p.2-3

It’s easy for me to declare that I am powerless over some things…like XM playing “Moon River” about three times this last hour – hey!  I am not the DJ!  I’m also able to quickly accept my powerlessness over stubbing my toe on my treadmill – hey!  Life happens!  And also if one of my preciouses has a hairball and relieves it on my carpet – hey!  That’s what kitties do!  So, I’m powerless and that is that, right?

Kinda…because I can always change the channel, pay more attention to where I’m walking, and give my cats whatever that fur-ball juice is that helps them to excrete hair.  And what that means is that I’m powerless over everything except that which lands on my side of the street.

This concept is also true regarding my powerlessness over food.  Abstention is of utmost importance because without it I have no foundation for recovery.  The above quote from the OA 12&12 is talking about my side of the street when it comes to compulsive eating.  It declares (and I mean that it STATES AS FACT) that to get peace I MUST stop the chaos.

BLLLLLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH to that!  (Just kidding, sponsor Erin!)

Here is the real deal…and I’m not making any of this up.  It comes right from our literature that was written by people who have tried everything to not be compulsive about food.  “As long as we refuse to recognize that we have this debilitating and ultimately fatal disease, we are not motivated to get the daily treatment for it which brings about our recovery.” –OA 12&12 p. 6

Yikes!  But, what’s the “daily treatment”?

12 step recovery!  Yay!

Thank you for reading my blog!  I love all of you!  Shout-out to Tampa Bay OA!  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!!!

Eating Dreams

Dreaming of Whiskas and Catnip...

Sometimes when Petunya dreams she twitches her sweet little toes.  Other times she clinches up her beautiful legs, as if she is chasing something.  Often she makes mumbled cat sounds, cracking open her lips and popping her voice box, communicating something through her subconscious.

Such a natural state to reside!  REM, where the dream is reality and the body literally functions as if awake.  Everything is the same, for our breathing and our heart-rate is consistent with that of when we are wide awake…yet we are not, and we snooze in a world parallel to reality.  Sounds fun, huh?

Sure!  But not when I wake up in a cold sweat, wondering if I was just where I swore I was…see, I remember last night’s dream all started because I was walking through the International Mall.  I suddenly stopped at the candy store in the International Mall and debated for a while whether or not I was a compulsive eater.  I thought, “Am I really addicted to food?  I mean, I’ve gone a little while now without eating sugar products, like candy and dessert foods, so I should be good, right?  If I were really addicted then I wouldn’t have made it abstinent for any length of time, right?  But then, I am obsessing over eating candy or not eating candy right now…oh, Jesus!  Maybe I am addicted to sugar!  If so, what’s the point in fighting it, anyway?  Hmm…”

And then suddenly I was at the register, buying a bag of those blue-and-white-shark-gummies.  I recall feeling anxious and fretful, yet determined, and I specifically remember thinking that because I never liked eating blue-and-white-shark-gummies, why would I not consider them an abstinent food?  I mean, hey – I abstained from eating them because I didn’t ever like them so they don’t count in my non-abstinent foods, right?  I took a deep breath and decided that surely they didn’t count.  If I never binged on a specific food because I didn’t like the taste then even if it was candy it didn’t count, right?  The clerk interrupted my rationalization by telling me the cost – something like $6.29 – and I looked up and there before me was my OA pal, Anner-Bananer!

“OMG,” I muttered, “Ann, it’s not what you think.”  I still handed her my card, though, and she smiled as she swiped it.  Oddly, she didn’t seem to notice I was buying candy!  Then she asked, “Will you be at the meeting Wednesday night?”  I think I said yes, but I can’t remember what happened with Ann after that.

My memory rekindles later as I am again walking through the mall.  I saw the Coach store and thought, “Oh, I certainly should go in!  I have a Coach bag, after all.”  And so I went in, with my bag of gummies, and I looked at bags and chewed and, while relishing the flavor, pondered honesty and abstinence.  I kept thinking about the gummies, and how they tasted great.  I constantly was worried about running out of them, and if they violated my abstinence, and why mentioning it to my OA sponsor was a probably bad idea.  I thought, “She’s busy anyway, right?  Yeah, it’s not a big deal.”

And then, right as I decided that I would NOT tell my OA sponsor, I looked up AND THERE SHE STOOD!  She said, “Hey, Lauren!”  Guilt and shame and terror engulfed me.  I felt such despair.  How could I have ever convinced myself that blue-and-white-shark-gummies don’t violate my abstinence?  It’s candy!  It’s all sugar!  My disease had won – I was lost and alone and destroyed.  I fell before my sponsor, handed her the bag of gummies, and begged her not to fire me.

My sponsor was so kind and loving to me in my dream.  Truthfully, she is always like that.  My sponsor loves me.  And not just in my dreams, but also in real life.  So, I’m not quite sure why I was so convinced that she would reject me in my dream.  Anyway, for some reason I feared she would cast me aside and hate my guts.  But, she didn’t.  She hugged me and told me that she loved me and asked me if I was ready to surrender.

And this was the moment when I woke up.  I jolted upright and thought, “Am I ready to surrender?”

Eating dreams are normal.  Scary, but normal.  Some say they keep us on our toes and in-check with our program.

But for the grace of God I am not at the International Mall today, debating gummies and abstinence.

Thank you, my brothers and sisters in recovery, for passing the message to me!  I love you all so much!  

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Follow Lauren L’s Recovery Tweets!

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