Category Archives: Step 2

My Insanity

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I’m Annie and I am a compulsive overeater.

For over a week now, I’ve been stuck on a particular question in my 12 and 12 workbook. It’s question #5 on Step 2, “How have I not acted sanely when….” It’s a good question, one that is supposed to make me think honestly about my life and my food habits. I’ve had a hard time with it, because I don’t think I have been in some of these particular situations. Sure, I’ve yelled at my kids, but I don’t think I’ve just yelled at their need for attention. I can’t think of a time I have been possessive of my husband. I’ve never limited my social life because of my eating—I’ve just never been much of a social butterfly anyway, preferring small gatherings in the homes of friends. My eating habits never affected that. And honestly, my eating has never driven me to draw the drapes, disconnect the phone, and hide in the house. So I really don’t know what to say about this particular part of the book.

Only one part, the part about being more comfortable with food than with people, really seemed to apply to me. I’ve always been shy. It takes me a while to warm up to people and feel comfortable enough to talk (though once I start talking, it’s hard to get me to stop. Just ask anyone who attends weekly OA meetings with me!!) But food—now that is a different matter. I’ve never met a food that made me feel shy. Sure, there a few that I don’t like (tomatoes come to mind here—ick!!) but I’ve never felt shy around food. Just the idea that I would be more comfortable with food than people is insane.

I can think of other times when I have acted insanely about food. The most recent would be this past Sunday. It was Easter, and boy had there been lots to eat. The men at church made a wonderful breakfast for everyone and then when we got home from the service the smell of my baking ham and cheesy potatoes filled the house. I was good, though. I ate enough to satisfy me but not so much that I was stuffed. When it was dinner time, I wasn’t really hungry so I just had a protein shake. But then my husband and kids went to bed. Things have been, well, tense with me and my husband lately, ever since the blow up about needing him to go to that nutrition class with me. That night, he went to bed early and I was not in any way tired. Yet I felt horrible about being alone. I don’t know. I guess I just wanted to spend some time with him. All I could think about after he went to bed was the leftover ham and cheesecake in the fridge. Food can’t really talk, I know that. Yet it seemed like they were calling to me. I even went into the kitchen and looked at them. I wanted so badly to eat something but I was scared. I was scared that I would start eating and not stop until every last bit was gone.

I ended up with a protein bar and a glass of ice water. That kept me from feeling hungry and kept me from overeating. It didn’t hurt that my 3-year-old came down stairs after a nightmare, just wanting to cuddle with his Mommy.

Honestly Irrational

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As I look with complete honesty at my life, how have I acted in an extremely irrational and self-destructive manner where eating is concerned? (The Twelve-Step Workbook of Overeaters Anonymous, page 11, question 1)

Hi. My name is Annie. I am a compulsive overeater.

And I am going to talk about specific foods while answering this question. Thought I’d better warn you about that. If your disease is triggered by the mention of certain foods, you might want to stop reading right now. I don’t want to hinder your recovery. At the same time, I have learned that my recovery process is easier if I don’t avoid certain words in my writing. So….

Let me pause a moment to let those who don’t want to read this click to another page….

OK. Now that the only people reading are the ones who aren’t offended by the names of food, I will begin.

Ordering breakfast at McDonald’s. That is the biggest “irrantional and self-destructive” thing I can think that I have ever done. My “normal” McDonald’s breakfast order consists of a steak, egg, and cheese bagel, hashbrown, orange juice, 2 sausage McMuffins withoug egg, 2 breakfast burritos, and a large caramel frappe (or cappuccino, if it is winter.) And yes, that is what I eat. The “good” part of that (if any of it can really be considered good in anyway) is that on the days I eat that, I won’t lunch. I’m not proud of it. I think the only person that I have ever told about that was the psychologist at the bariatric clinic. And it is not something that I do often. Though I must admit doing it just once is one time too often. I haven’t done it in over a month.

But, oh, my mouth is watering at the thought. And at the same time, I want to beat myself over the head. WHAT could I have been thinking???? That is more than enough food for three people. How could I think that would be an acceptable breakfast?

I’ve been “irrational and self-destructive” in my lunch habits at times as well. One time, I ate 3 cheese sticks, 3 stuffed jalapenos, ½ a pound of turkey, ½ a pound of roast beef, and ½ a pound of genoa salami for lunch, then followed that with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. I’ve been known to eat an entire bag of chips in one sitting. And if I buy that much and I can’t it all at once (believe it or not, that has happened one or two times in my life), I will hide the left overs in the back of a cabinet or the bottom of the fridge so that no one else knows they are there. That way I can enjoy an unhealthy meal again the next day without having to share a bite with anybody.

Yep, my attitude toward food is definitely insane. And I don’t think that even my shrink, as awesome as he is, can point me back toward sanity here. God, it is all in Your hands.

My Resolve

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My name is Annie and I am a compulsive overeater.

Went to a rare Thursday meeting last night. It’s a weekly meeting, it’s just rare that I ever go! But since I wasn’t feeling well on Monday, I went. I can’t stand going a full week without an OA meeting.

And I think that God had a reason for me to be there. Last night, we read from The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous. Here is what I wrote in my journal at the beginning of the meeting, as soon as I realized where our focus would be: “Step Four. This is by the scariest step for me. I am afraid to look very closely at myself. I am afraid that I will find that I really don’t like who I am.” What if I look in there and find a person more worthless than I feel on my worst days?

I know that is not going to happen. At least, I know it in my head. It’s just getting that idea to move from my head down to my heart that is giving me fits.

As we took turns reading from the book, one particular line grabbed my attention. “The self-analysis we do in step four is essential to our recovery from compulsive eating” (Twelve and Twelve, page 30.) I highlighted that line in my copy of the book and I made this note beside it—so that’s why I can’t move ahead!

So long as I neglect this step, nothing is going to change. I have to stop ignoring step four if I want to gain any ground in my battle. And let me assure you, I DO want to gain ground here!

The more we read and talked, the more this one thought came into my head—I need to complete a step four inventory before my surgery. I still don’t have a surgery date, so part of me is thinking, “I have plenty of time to do this.” The absolute truth is, though, that I don’t know how much time I have. If I keep putting off this step, I will never do it.

For months now I have looked at my sleeve gastrectomy as a new beginning. Today when I logged on to the OA site (which, by the way, I almost never do—I think this is the third time in the year I’ve been attending meetings that I have logged on) I read a small bit from For Today. Page 248 says, “Nothing that happened yesterday or that may happen tomorrow is more important than NOW.” If that isn’t motivation to work on me NOW instead of waiting for the surgery to start my new beginning!

So I am making a pledge today. I WILL work through steps two and three in The Twelve-Step Workbook. As soon as I have completed that, I will work on my step four inventory. Actually, I will start working on my inventory as I work through those pages of the workbook. Different shortcomings and defects are being shown to me every day. I promise to myself (and to you, my readers) that I will write them down as I face them.