Recovery Dance

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In my dance class tonight, I raised my hand and asked for help with a troublesome step sequence. The teacher spent a good three or four minutes going over it with me until I understood, and she had to explain it a few different ways before I figured it out. All my classmates were standing around watching and waiting. The teacher looked around and said, “Let’s all give Alison a round of applause for her focus with everyone watching her! Good job!” and everyone clapped. Of course, I was embarrassed, but it was nice that the teacher recognized my efforts.

On my way home, I realized that none of this would have happened without my recovery. First of all, if not for OA, I wouldn’t even be in a dance class—I’d either be sitting on the couch bingeing, or else overexercising to burn calories and punish myself for eating. (I wouldn’t have wasted my time doing something that didn’t burn maximum calories.) But even if I had managed to get to a dance class, before recovery, I would never have been able to ask for help in front of classmates who already understood a step sequence. My ego wouldn’t have wanted attention drawn to my weakness and imperfection. If a teacher came over to help me in front of everyone, I’d have been so self-conscious and embarrassed that I wouldn’t have been able to pay attention. Finally, if I didn’t get the steps perfect right away, I would have gotten frustrated with myself and been unable to hear and receive any help.

Because of recovery, I’m doing something that I enjoy. It doesn’t have anything at all to do with eating, or weight loss, or my appearance. In fact, we dance in front of a wall of mirrors, and because of my recovery, I don’t hate myself every minute that I can see my reflection. Because of recovery, I am able to admit weakness and reach out for help. I can listen to a teacher with an open mind, even after I thought I might not understand. And, because of recovery, I can appreciate and be grateful for this whole situation. It may be “just” a dance class, but it’s also fulfilling, something I’ve dreamed of doing.

If I can practice these principles of recovery in a dance class, it gives me practice in applying them in all my affairs.

— Alison C., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA

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