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Happy, Serene, and Sane

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I’m Annie and I’m a compulsive overeater.

There is a small group within the OA group I belong to (is that the right term for it?) that is working on a study of the book Drop The Rock.  This is not specifically an OA book, but it is an in-depth look at steps 6 and 7 in the 12-step program. The section we read last night was on step seven.  One thing that really popped out at me was the author saying something about needing to act as if he wants to be happy, serene, and sane.  He didn’t say that he needs to act as if he already is happy, serene, and sane, but that he has to act as if he wants to be happy, serene, and sane.

That just really stuck in my head.  This whole acting “as if” thing is odd to me.  I’ve been real good at acting “as if” nothing is wrong and hiding my feelings behind food.  So I am not totally convinced that acting “as if” is the right thing to do.  But what really got to me about this issue was the idea of acting as if happiness, serenity, and sanity are things that I want in my life.  Don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t need to act like I want that stuff.  I KNOW that I want it!  It’s the getting it that I am having problems with.

Food certainly hasn’t been the answer.  I might feel happy and serene at the moment I am taking a bite of something.  But as soon as I put down the fork, the feeling I am left with is anything other than sane.  And the surgery that I am planning isn’t going to bring happiness.  Health, now that is what I am shooting for there.  And I suppose I am hoping that being healthy will lead to a happier me.  But I am not expecting surgery to bring the happiness I want.

So I suppose knowing that I want to be happy, I might as well “act as if” I am already happy.  I don’t see that it will hurt.  In a way, it seems like a lie, though, to pretend something I don’t feel.  But if acting happy can “trick” my mind into believing I am happy, I might as well give it a shot.

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Additional Resources

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My name is Annie and I am a compulsive overeater.

I like to listen to Christian radio. My favorite station is Smile FM (you can listen online at www.smile.fm if you want to!). About a week ago, I turned on the radio just as a song by Mandisa ended. The DJ said something about what an inspiration Mandisa is to her. She talked about how Mandisa has been very open about her struggle with weight issues and her addiction to food, and about the book that Mandisa wrote about her struggles. Of course I came right home, looked up the book on Amazon.com, and ordered a copy for myself.

Along with it, I ordered a couple of other books for overcoming food addiction. The books I bought are The Emotional Eater’s Book of Inspiration, Food Addiction Healing Day by Day, and From the First Bite: A Complete Guide to Recovery From Food Addiction. Two of the books Food Addiction Healing and From the First Bite, were written by Kay Sheppard, a woman who has had her own struggles with food addiction. From what I understand, she discovered “a 12-step program for food addicts” in 1977, ten years after she went through a similar program for alcohol addiction. In the book, she does not (at least not up to the point that I have read so far) specifically name the program, but I am pretty sure she is talking about OA. Actually, in the beginning of the book she lists the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Kinda makes it easy to guess what food program she used!

In between the things I have to do for my family and my job, I’ve been trying to read these books. I swear, I need to get a handle on this. Now that it looks like my weight loss will happen in the very near future (like possibly before the end of May), I am totally devoting myself to a healthier life. No matter what surgery I have, if I don’t get my eating under control I will never, ever be at a healthy weight. All I will do is get right back up to the completely unhealthy weight I am at now. Only that will be even more dangerous because of the permanent changes I am making to my body.

Someone mentioned to me recently that thinking I could “beat” this addiction will only get me into trouble. So I guess what I want to learn to do is live with the addiction, without feeding it. For the rest of my life I will have an addiction to food. But if I can make it through today without indulging in the addiction, that will be a victory. And then once a make it through today, all I have to do is make it through tomorrow. One day at a time and I will make the progress I need in order to live a long, healthy life.

Reflections on Step One

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

And I apologize for not keeping up with this blog better. Funny how I can have the best intentions and still can’t do what I want. Sometimes life just happens. I am not going into all of the things that have “just happened” recently. The good news is that I have finished my First Step.

I am a compulsive overeater and my life has DEFINITELY become unmanageable. I am powerless over food. I do not have a “normal” reaction to it. I think the best way to put it is one bite is too many and a million bites are not enough. Can’t remember where I heard that, but it is so right. If I take one little bite, I will want more. And if I take a million bites, I will still not have eaten enough to quiet the hungry monster inside of me. I am a wife, mother, writer, church volunteer, friend, and daughter. There are plenty of things in my life that I can focus my attention on. Only problem is it is the food that demands the most attention from me. If you have more than one child, you know that it is the child who is the loudest and most demanding who gets the most attention. That is what food is like. Of all of these things in my life that I need to do, eating screams at me the loudest. And I just don’t know how to make the food quieter.

Working the steps of this program will help me learn how to ignore the food. At least that is my hope. It is my prayer. I cannot do this alone. There is no way I can possibly beat this addiction or learn how to live with it in a sane manner without some help. God is the one who can help me. I know this. That should make Step Two rather easy for me. I have already admitted that it will be by the grace of God alone that I can someday say, “I am Annie and I am a recovering compulsive overeater.”

I will get there. I will. I know it. Deep in my heart, I know that I can not only enter recovery but live a long life in recovery.

Temporary “Fix”

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My name is Annie, and I am compulsive overeater.
I found something that has helped me to control my eating. It’s a temporary fix, but for now it is working.
My wisdom teeth were pulled yesterday.
I had a nice breakfast, but after that it was liquids and soft foods all day long. And today, though I am technically allowed to eat solid food again, the pain in my mouth is so intense that I can’t eat much at all. It just hurts to chew.
And I am a little bummed today. I missed my OA meeting last night. It just completely slipped my mind until about half an hour after the meeting ended.

Quick Hello!

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Hi. My name is Annie and I am a cumpulsive overeater.

OK, so Annie is not really my name. But I figure if OA stands for Overeaters ANONYMOUS, then I don’t have to tell anyone who I really am! Just sharing my struggles will be enough, I hope.

So today I am feeling down. Went to my doctor yesterday to get a tetnus shot (scratched my leg pretty good on a rusty metal clothing rack). While there, I was asked to step on the scale. Oh how I HATE doing that! Hate is a strong word, and one I don’t like to use often. But when it comes to seeing just what I weigh, the word fits. It also fits what I felt as seeing the numbers 446 pop up on the scale–hate.

I hate the number.

I hate the stress I feel carrying all this weight around.

I hate the lack of discipline I have about getting the weight off and being healthy.

I hate that the number embarrassed me so much that I actually sent a text to my best friend and LIED to her about how much weight I have gained this summer. I told her I hade put on 15 pounds since my surgery in June. Before surgery, I weigh 418. So yeah, I am sure you can tell that there is more than just a 15 pound difference there.

This morning, I woke up still feeling bad about that. About the weight and the lie, which, by the way, I have not yet come clean with my friend about. Maybe I’ll send her the link to this blog so she willknow the truth.

Anyway, on top of feeling horrible over the weight thing, I am not feeling like a failure as a parent. My kids are 9, 6, and 3. All the older two want to do is fight with me and beat on each other. I asked them to wash dishes this morning, and plates literally began flying in the kitchen!!! Younger son threw a plate at his big brother. Older son picked up the plate and smacked his little brother with it. I just want to go back to bed, sleep for a few hours, and start the day over!

Since I can’t do that, I want to eat. I keep thinking of the foods in the freezer that I could make for breakfast, and the cash in my wallet I could use to buy a fast food breakfast…. And I know that is not a “solution” to my problems. That is only going to make things worse.