OA Step 4

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

I feel like I’ve been doing this for 20+ years.  I know my faults to a tee; however, I don’t seem to have been able to do anything about them.  I think they’ve even gotten worse since I’ve become a parent.

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I think I’ll still cry a ton when I actually sit to write down my inventory all at once.  I like to think that I’m generous and empathetic, but with each passing year I feel like I get more and more selfish and insecure.  I still feel anxious around people, which keeps from from making or maintaining meaningful connections.

At Friday’s OA meeting (my first in several weeks), I shared and felt like no one really shared in my pain.  But one woman wrote that she was available to sponsor, so I texted her.  After a day she wrote back that we could talk about her sponsoring style.  I’m curious what it will be like.  I don’t think I’m ready to email someone about my food every day.  I think I need to focus on my spirituality and faith in my HP.  Because I don’t see how I can abstain without some sort of HP…

Right now I just feel like I want to eat myself to death.  I’ve also been drinking more.  I really am struggling with taking care of the kids and chores after work.  I just want to eat or drink and make it go away. I hate having to sleep on a camping cot in my daughters’ room to help my youngest go to sleep.  I hate that my oldest has eczema in her school pictures.  I hate that my hips and feet hurt so much, four years after starting PT for plantar fasciitis and one year after starting PT for a labral tear and 9 months after arthroscopic surgery.

I got a new job that relieves my financial anxieties and difficulties, but I’ve been in a 5-week limbo before I start.  I’m mostly excited, but also sad and scared.  I’ve been at my old job (3 positions) for 12 years.  Like a cocoon, while I dealt with my mom’s suicide and my not wanting to have a wedding because of my size and weight.  But of course I’m still not happy, and most days I still want to die…

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OA Step 3

3. Made a decision to entrust our will and our lives to the care of the collective wisdom and resources of those who have searched before us.

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I’m so tired of trying to lose weight and not binge on my own and being unsuccessful.  I need help from others who have entrusted their will to the OA fellowship and have been abstinent.

However, I’m very independent, selfish, and prideful.  If I achieve something, I want the credit for it.  And I want other people to see me as “doing a great job.”  I care a lot about what other people think of me.  But weight and food are two areas where I’ve always struggled.  It’s time for me to do something different.  It’s time for me to surrender.

OA Step 2

2. Came to believe and to accept that we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity.

This is a tough one for me.  When I was in my teens and twenties, and even into my thirties, I thought I could lose weight on my own.  I knew a lot about nutrition, I could do it if I just set my mind to it.  It was a question of willpower.

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In my late twenties, I accepted that I would need some “help,” but that I would still need to do a lot of work on my own.  I tried diet books, Weight Watchers (4 different times), and Jenny Craig.  I paid for meal planning services to make shopping a cooking easier but still keeping it healthy and interesting for me and my family.

Now I’m 37 and I’ve finally realized that I can’t deal with my addictions without an HP–the fellowship of other sufferers who attend OA meetings, follow the steps & traditions, and use the tools to manage their addictions.  After two and a half weeks of reading some texts, attending meetings, and listening to some podcasts, I already feel calmer.  (I’ve also started a new anti-depressant cocktail at the same time…damn you confounding variables!)

I need more than just me.

 

OA Step 1

As part of OA, we have to work the 12 steps.  I’m using an agnostic set of steps, using the OA fellowship as my HP.  I haven’t picked a sponsor yet, and I’ve only talked to a couple of people briefly.  I think part of my disease is isolation and my social anxiety.  I judge myself (and sometimes others) too harshly.

I wanted to write down my thoughts about each of the steps over the next few weeks.

1. We admitted we were powerless over food—that our lives had become unmanageable.

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I really do admit that I am powerless over food.  It consumes me.  I think about it every few minutes, it seems.  I really can’t manage it and it feels like it interferes with my emotional health, my physical health, work, school,  my relationships with my friends and husband, and my kids and home life.  I don’t believe in god, but in a way, food has been my god, and has ruled my thoughts and actions for so long.

Even though I’ve managed to get a meaningful job and get promoted twice, get married, have kids, and get accepted to a graduate school for the second time, I still feel like my life is unmanageable, because I still obsess over my body image, my weight, and food.  I feel like I haven’t been able to live up to my potential because of my compulsive eating and the shame I feel about it.  And that’s linked to my depression, anxiety, and poor self-esteem, which has caused me such grief over the last 20 years–really my whole life: 37 years.