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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!

Waves of Peace

I went to a great meeting last night.  One of the women there (who just celebrated 10 years of consistent abstinence) shared about how she was meditating and realized that she doesn’t talk about God enough.  She said, “My Higher Power saw me through all this time.  You’d think I’d mention that part of my recovery a little more often.”

Her share made me think about Step 3 in the OA 12 & 12.  Part of it says, “Once we compulsive overeaters truly take the third step, we cannot fail to recover.”  OA 12 & 12 Pg 27

This quote is clever because of one single word: truly.

In my recovery, I have made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God…but, how many times have I changed my mind?

I’ve caught myself thinking, “Well, I can control this,” or “I want the outcome my way,” and especially, “That’s not fair.”  The less I am willing to give control over to my Higher Power the more calamity and stress I will endure.

Food is but a symptom of my real problem – and my problem is a spiritual malady.  If ever I am wronged (be it real or in my skewed perception) and not working my OA program I am quick to grab for that sugary item so that I might feel better.  However, if truly I work the 3rd step of OA I get to find relief by living in God’s will.

“We have what we need any time we are willing to let go of self-will and humbly ask for help.”  OA 12 & 12 Pg 27 

Spiritual peace sometimes comes in waves.  It can feel like I’m splashing around at the beach as comes roaring a frothy tide, nearly drowning from a tsunami, or sitting by a calm and still lake.  The more I actively work Step 3 (all that means is to pray, “God, please help me do your will.”) the less waves I will have to endure.  I want my serenity to be gentle and consistent.  How willing am I to stop playing God and to start living recovery?

 Thanks for reading my post!  See you at the next meeting!

A Fork in the Road

Too bad life can’t be as forward as literally seeing ‘a fork in the road’.  If that were the case, I probably would have ceased fighting my food allergy a long, long time ago.  Unfortunately, most of the times I could have taken a different path I wasn’t even aware that another option was available to me.  I was so absolutely stuck in my compulsive eating that it had become normal for me.  Thankfully, I’m not alone.  My story is basically the same as everyone else’s story.  Hence the fellowship that is OA.

Although we might have varying symptoms, every person in OA has the exact same disease.  Better yet, we have a common solution to our shared problem of compulsive eating.  Since becoming abstinent and working the steps with a sponsor, I have come to learn that each day I am offered a choice of which path to walk.  Will I enter into my disease of compulsive eating and surrender to a day filled with insanity of my food addiction or will I surrender my will and life to the care of God and live in abstinence?

The program focuses on progress, not perfection.  OA does not lift me into sainthood and let me fall straight into hell.  All I need is a wee bit of willingness to live the program to the best of my ability, and only for today.  If I do, indeed, begin my mornings how the OA program suggests, then I begin the day walking the path of recovery.  Once on this path, I find it much more difficult to jump onto the path of self-destruction.

The OA program is a fork in the road.  It is a program that is designed for recovery of mind, body, and spirit, based on a daily reprieve from compulsive eating, and all that is asked of me is to suit up, show up, and give up.  This method is gentler than I ever thought it would be.

“[OA is the] easier, softer way.” –AA Big Book Pg 58   

Today I asked my Higher Power to remove my obsession over food and to relieve me of my compulsive eating.  It worked for me and it can work for you, too.

Thanks for reading my blog!  See you at the next meeting! 

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!!


I received an excellent gift last night and I wanted to share a little bit of it with all of you – my brothers and sisters in recovery.  And no, my gift was not the manikin dressed for skiing in the above picture.  That was used simply as a rouse to get you reading!  Well, and to show you how some Tampa residents don’t play ‘round when it comes to decorating they downtown…Booyah!

So, last night my sponsor met with me over at Starbucks and we talked for about 2 full hours.  I don’t have the words to describe the feelings that I experienced – the feelings that come from an intimate communion of two people who seek recovery.  Perhaps the experience is so intense that words just can’t fully capture the spirituality of the sponsor-sponsee relationship.

This morning’s meeting at Rainbow Recovery Club had several great topics being discussed.  One of them was how the word ‘Overeater’ brings out shame and embarrassment for some people.  I was one of those people until last night.  My sponsor completely normalized me as a member of OA.  She did this right in the middle of my talking, right when my cheeks went flush and I had begun to stutter, muttering out various parts of my powerlessness inventory to her.  In fact, it was right when I said, “I would get up in the middle of the night and eat a bunch of sugary foods.”

Oh, God!  I was embarrassed admitting that to her.  I suddenly wanted to die right there, in front of my Higher Power and my skinny, sugar-free vanilla, light ice, no water, iced coffee.  Alas, thank the rooms of OA and my Higher Power that I didn’t die, for if I had, then I wouldn’t have experienced the miracle that came next.  I clutched my forehead and shuttered.  “Well,” I began, wanting desperately to retract my admission of eating in the middle of the night.  But, I couldn’t.  It was too late.  She had heard me say it.  And I was stuck (being not-dead and all), and so I dramatically said, “I know that’s weird.  I’ve never told anyone before.  It’s crazy, huh?”

And there sat my sponsor, staring at me with those tranquil ocean eyes of hers, and she said, “No.  I did that, too.”

WHAT??  I was shocked.  My chin dropped open.

“Yeah,” she said, as if she were telling me that the sky was blue, or that grass was green, or that clichés are terrible to use when writing a blog post.  “That’s very common for people who are compulsive overeaters.”

Next thing I know, instead of feeling humiliation for divulging my behaviors that derived from my food allergy, I felt humility.  A wave of peace and belonging overcame me.  No longer was I alone – isolated from guilt and horror from my compulsive eating.  Instead, I found that I was sitting with my kin.  We needed no blood relation, no genes to have that familiarity.  We were cut from the very same fabric.  I never again have to feel alone.

If you are a newcomer, it is strongly suggested to get a sponsor.  Find someone in the rooms who can walk you through the steps of recovery.  It is an experience like no other one.

And thanks for reading my post!  Keep coming back!

At The Start Of Each Meal

“Each meal began with the Third-Step prayer. I became abstinent with God’s help.”  –A New Beginning (p. 101)

For several years now my morning has begun with the 3rd Step prayer, saying what is written on pg 63 of the AA Big Book, “God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt.  Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.  Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.  May I do Thy will always.”

It is true!  I do say it!  Well, not if I decide to sleep in.  Then I say what is paraphrased from page 59 of the AA Big Book, “God, I give you my will and my life.  Guide me in my recovery.  Show me how to live.  Amen.”

That’s 100% for real!  I say those sentences!  Well, not if I sleep in and I think something else is more important than my spiritual condition (hey – sometimes coffee is a power greater than myself).  And then I say, “Thanks!”  And off I go, scatter-brained and self-centered, ripe and ready to dominate the world (insert maniacal laugh).

My first sponsor, Ms. Angel (you can read more about her here) drilled into me the importance of morning meditation.  Whenever anyone relapsed she pulled me over to them and asked, “On the day you relapsed, did you pray that morning?”  The answer was always, “No.”

Since joining OA, I have said the 3rd Step prayer much more frequently.  I have to.  If not, I find a hamster running around my thoughts and suddenly I don’t want to say the 3rd Step prayer.  Instead, I want to say “Lauren’s Prayer”… and that prayer begins with an “F”, has a “U”, then a “C, then a “K”, and ends with the word “It”.

I try not to ever say “Lauren’s Prayer”.  That prayer will send me back into my disease.  OA recovery is literally meal by meal and I have to remember to be ever vigilant of my disease.  By the grace of God, one day at a time, I have hope of remaining abstinent.  And that goes for you, too!

Thanks for reading my blog!  See you at the next meeting!     

A Skewed Self-Image

Step 7:  “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”

In the OA Workbook (which is suggested to be used while working the OA Steps along with a sponsor) several questions are presented in Step 7.   Two are

1)      What is my self-image?

2)      How does my self-image keep me from finding true humility?


…they say that the people who come into the rooms of OA are either homicidal or suicidal.  They say that the people who find themselves in OA have usually tried every single option to control the food by way of decades of yo-yo dieting, muscle-crushing exercise, binging and purging, restricting, and self-made promise after promise that “this time it will be different”.  Thus, by the time people walk into the rooms of OA they are literally in emotional shreds.  And I can attest to that!

When I first went to OA I did not want to be there.  I had just left a 5 month stretch of Weight Watchers and had begun Atkins.  WW PointsPlus program was what I had tried.  Counting was a nightmare and I constantly picked sugary foods to count my points with.  Worse, because I couldn’t leave sugary stuff alone, I had begun to really hate myself.  Atkins – I hadn’t given Atkins enough time to declare if it works or not but, by day 4, I was not feeling right and I knew that I was going to crack and eat something other than protein very shortly.  I shared with the OA group what I was doing and how confused and hopeless I felt.  “When I look in the mirror,” I said, “I cringe and I just hate myself.”

Everyone just nodded, and several suggested to me, “Keep coming back.”  After the meeting I spoke with one of the women and she advised that what I felt was normal for a newcomer.  She said, “As compulsive eaters, we have a very warped perception of our bodies.  I’m free from self-loathing today and you can be free, too.”

See, I don’t know about you, but my problem goes way beyond a little dieting.  I have to get into RECOVERY to feel (and see) results.  Losing some weight (for me) is not enough because  I have a completely warped sense of reality.  Food is but a symptom of my real problem and my real problem is ME.  The 12 Steps focus on my recovering and, when closely examined, we see that the word ‘food’ is only used one time – in the first step – and the rest is focused on my emotional and spiritual recovery.

Steps 6 & 7 are the meat and potatoes of recovery.  “If you think you are a compulsive overeater, give yourself a chance for recovery by trying the OA program. Our way of life, based on these twelve steps and twelve traditions, has brought us physical, emotional, and spiritual healing that we don’t hesitate to call miraculous.  What works for us will work for you, too.”  -OA 12 &12, Intro

See you at the next meeting and if nobody has told you today that you are loved…then hear this, “YOU ARE LOVED!”

Don’t Call Me Gaga…

This morning started off like basically every other morning…get up from bed, get down on my knees to ask my HP to remove my obsession, get up and feed my cats, and then get down to work.  However, in the middle of my deepest, most impassioned prayers I had a lightning bolt thought of “OMG I haven’t yet watched the entire beginning to Lady Gaga’s song ‘Marry the Night’!  AHHHHH!!”

And so, as the good lil’ recovery junkie I am, I wrapped up my morning meditation real quick-like and rushed off to my computer.

I am so happy I did because I came across the above image of Lady Gaga that reminded me of myself.

Some days are easier than others.  Yet other days are so filled with hope and promises that I just can’t image life without my 12 Step groups.

“Abandon yourself to God as you understand God.  Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows.  Clear away the wreckage of your past.  Give freely of what you find and join us.  We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.  May God bless you and keep you – until then.”  -AA Big Book pg 164

I love you all and I’ll see you at the next meeting!!

Which “Step 3” is for me?

Which “Step 3” is for me?

United States Medical Licensing Examination’s Step 3:  “Assess whether you can apply knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science essential for the unsupervised practice of medicine.”

New Kid On The Block’s Step 3:  “It’s just you and me.”

A quote from OA’s Step 3 Explanation:  “As we continue abstaining, we find we can depend upon God to eliminate our yearning for the kind of eating that harms us.”  OA 12 & 12 pg 23

Hmmm…let me think…


So, the very first time I heard this, it actually sounded like the Peanut’s school teacher talking, “Whaa, whaa whaa whaa, whaa.”  I mean, in all seriousness, I had no idea what was being discussed.  Which was odd…because due to being in another 12 step group for exactly 43,072 hours (wow – thanks really cool iPhone ‘12 Steps’ app for doing the math for me!) I was fairly knowledgeable regarding Step 3.  But hearing it about food was completely different.

Something I love about OA is that literally every person who walks through the door is different from me, yet we are exactly the same.  Everyone has a different ‘trigger’ and yet everyone is the same because we all have a ‘trigger’.  For example, at a meeting I went to recently, I sat next to a morbidly obese man and a skin-and-bones anorexic woman.  Both had been abstinent from their manifestation of compulsive eating for months.  The obese man shared about his weight loss while the anorexic shared about her weight gain – and both considered themselves and each other a miracle!

OA’s Step 3:  “Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as we understood him.”

Hmm…that doesn’t sound as scary as…

“Step by step, ohh baby, gonna get to you girl!” – NKOTB

See you at the next meeting!

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!