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Blessed with Willingness

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In 1993, I sneaked into my first OA meeting. My shame told me you were all just crazy fat people, even crazier and fatter than I was—what could you possibly do to help me?

Twenty years later, my home group was reading “Rozanne’s Story” (Overeaters Anonymous, Third Edition, pp. 7–22), and it struck me that Rozanne was inspired to create our OA path to recovery from compulsive eating after learning about Gamblers Anonymous.

Many addicts struggle because we think our disease is all about a certain substance. But if that were true, then abstinence could be achieved just by putting down that substance. Addiction is tricky: Compulsive gamblers are not addicted to money; they’re addicted to the act of gambling. I am not addicted to food; I am addicted to eating. My disease is about my relationship to food. Relationships are my real problem—not just with food, but with money and people too.

Food was just the sodden blanket I used to keep that three-legged addict monster under wraps. I had been fat, very fat, thin, and very thin, both in and out of program, but I had never been free of obsession and compulsion. I was still trying to control my food and weight. To me, food plans were just diets with another name, and food was still the enemy.

It wasn’t until five years ago that I finally hit bottom. I ended up in the hospital with acute pancreatitis—the doctor had never seen enzyme levels so high. Unable to eat for a week and paralyzed with pain and the fear of death, I finally followed through on my Step Three decision. I prayed, “Dear God, I cannot control my weight. I cannot control my behaviors around food any longer. You have to do it all. You have to tell me when, where, how, and what to eat every single day. You have to make me feel okay to be just the way I  am—fat or thin. Please help me love and care for this body you have given me.”

Abandoning myself totally to my Higher Power was terrifying (it still is), and I had to start praying vigorously. My mantra came from The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous: “As we become aware of what our eating guidelines should be, we ask God for the willingness and the ability to live within them each day” (p. 23).

My God-given guidelines now include trusting God, listening to my body, eating without distractions, choosing only the most nourishing food, savoring every bite, eating just until satisfied, asking, “What am I really hungry for?” and observing and correcting my food thoughts and behaviors with no judgment, only curiosity.

It has not been hard to follow these guidelines, because I have been blessed with the willingness and ability to nourish and honor my body. Today, I have a wonderful relationship with food. In fact, all my relationships are wonderful, including my relationships with God and myself. I am free of food obsession and the compulsion to overeat. Thank you, God. Thank you, OA.

—Karin H., Volcano, California USA

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