My name is Annie and I am a compulsive overeater.
My sponsor suggested that I work on Step Three. YIKES. That means Step Four is next. Though she has said that she has an idea for how I can do that, too. Anyway, I had already answered most of the questions in the 12 and 12 Workbook. I just thought that I should type up all the answers here and share what is in my head. The things in bold are taken word for word from the workbook.
STEP THREE QUESIONS
In what ways am I willing to adopt a whole new attitude about weight control, body image, and eating?
It’s not really about weight control anymore. Yes, I love seeing the number on the scale go down. But I view that lower number as an indication that I am getting healthier. I have spent much of my 35 years at an unhealthy weight. I am excited to be on a path toward better health.
I am willing, probably for the first time ever, to look at food as fuel for my body. It’s not a reward for good behavior or a way to comfort myself when things are not going my way. I am willing now to view food as nothing more than a necessary part of healthy living.
What has my attitude been about food and eating?
Food has always been a source of pleasure for me. I’ve also used it as a reward, a way to celebrate the milestones in my life. Social events at church often revolve around food. Family gatherings revolve around food. Food has kind of been a part of the family or a close friend—and it would be rude to ignore the food by not at least tasting it.
Am I ready to give up self-will regarding food? Explain.
Self-will got me to this unhealthy weight. I am out of control, and I know it. Without help, there is no way that I am going to be able to live a healthy lifestyle. So yes, I am ready and willing to give up self-will regarding food in order to be healthy and sane.
How do I feel about completely turning my life over to a Higher Power for guidance?
First, I am going to say that I dislike the term “Higher Power.” I guess understand why OA uses the term. For me, the ONLY “Higher Power” is God. And He is the One I am willing to turn my life over to.
I grew up in a Christian home. I’ve been going to church for as long as I can remember, even when I didn’t want to go and when I wasn’t sure that God really cared about me. For the past ten years, I have learned more and more every day how to rely on Him and give my life over to Him. How do I feel about completely turning my life over to God? Like it is the only way to really LIVE.
Do I have eating guidelines? Will I ask God for the willingness and ability to live within them each day? Explain.
Oh, I definitely have eating guidelines! I’ve had to adjust my eating habits in the last few weeks because of my surgery. Right now, I am not able to eat pasta, bread, rice, or fresh veggies. I don’t get hungry, but I know when I need to eat because of how I feel (shaking, headachy, etc.) And I can’t each much at a time. My tummy just won’t hold it.
I have been asking God for the ability to stick with those guidelines. I especially have problems when it comes to liquids. It’s been hot where I live, and I get so thirsty. It’s hard to remember that I need to sip and not gulp my drinks, and that I have to drink them very slowly. When I don’t, I get sick. I have to ask God for help to control the gulping impulse so that I don’t get sick.
If occasionally the obsession returns, how do I get through these times without overeating?
The obsession has come back. It’s so annoying! I know I am not hungry and that it isn’t time for me to eat, but I can’t stop thinking about the food. I handle it by writing or sending an email to someone in my support system. Recently, I took the step of asking someone I trust to be my OA sponsor. Having her to talk to helps me feel like it won’t be so hard to beat down those cravings.
How do I reach the decision to turn my will and life over to a Higher Power?
I think I reached that decision the moment I realized that my eating is out of control and unmanageable. There is no way I can handle this on my own. It is only by the Grace of God that my addiction hasn’t killed me already. I know that only He can lead me through this addiction and lead me to a healthier life.
Am I willing to earnestly seek God’s will for me and willing to act accordingly? Explain.
Yes, I am. Like I said above, I feel like I have little choice. My own will is leading me down a dark and dangerous path. I trust God to lead me where He wants me to be, even when I don’t think He and I want the same things! Through reading my Bible and talking to Him daily, I am willing to earnestly seek His will for my life. I don’t know exactly what He wants for my life, but I know that as long as I make the conscious effort to nurture my relationship with Him, He will reveal it in time.
On a side note, I’ve heard the comments that if God intended for me to be thin, He would have given me “the willpower” to follow a diet and exercise plan without the surgery. That seems a lot like saying if He intended me to not be depressed He would have led me out of it without the medications or if He wanted my blood pressure to be normal I would not need to be on medication for it. The surgery is working. I am losing weight and gaining energy, not to mention confidence! If it was just about being thin, I don’t think the surgery would be doing anything for me at all. I think the surgery is a tool for me to use to get totally healthy. And I think God for leading me to a surgeon who could show me the most effective way of using this tool.
What can I do when I feel unstable?
I think I touched on this a bit already. Besides my OA friends, I have a strong support group of family and friends I can lean on. I have the tools of OA, and will especially lean on my sponsor and writing to get me through the unstable moments. As much as I want to deny that I am in any way unstable, I can’t hide from the truth. I feel that I have a firm grasp of where to turn when I feel unstable so that I don’t have to get into the food.
Why do I need to follow this new path?
Because I want to live! My food addiction has led me to a weight of well over 400 pounds, high blood pressure, borderline diabetes, and numerous other health problems. The surgery I had can address a lot of the physical aspects of the addiction. But I need to address the spiritual and the emotional if I want to learn how to leave in peace with the disease of compulsive overeating.
What do I do when I face indecision?
Pray. Prayer, writing out my thoughts and feeling, and discussing what is going on inside my head with outs in recovery will help me more than anything else I can think of.
What will it take for me to really work Step Three?
I need to let go and let God. Sounds easy, but it is not always simple. I trust God with my life. Now I need to put some action behind the words.
Lord, I love You. And I need You. This disease is scary. Without your help and guidance, there is no way I can grow and learn how to live. I ask You now to take control of my eating and exercise habits. I am giving You all I have and all that is beyond my control. You can help me to focus only the things You think are important. Not only can You do it, Lord, but I trust that You will. Thank You for being there for me to lean on. Thank You for loving me enough to want to help me with this.