My pets have always been important to me. I was socially awkward and an only child. Other than food, my closest relationships were with pets. My dog and cat were my best friends, my main sources of joy and comfort for many years.

Early in my OA recovery, my pets gave me valuable insights into my eating behaviors. Although I was abstinent and refining my plan of eating, I killed my goldfish through overfeeding and watched my cat get fatter and develop diabetes. I overfed them to compensate for my own discomfort and food issues in early abstinence. I had to examine what food was doing for me and to me, and the process of looking deeper benefited both me and my pets.

Recently, my beloved cat Suki taught me another lesson. She is very attached to me and constantly wants attention. Though I love being loved and needed, I often found myself getting irritated by her interruptions while I worked on tasks I thought I needed to finish immediately. But when I would look finally into those needy green eyes, I could see that I was in a state of extreme self-will. No project of mine is so time-sensitive that it cannot be put aside for a moment of love.

I recognized I’d also been doing this with people in my life. When I’m “too busy” for my family, sponsees, or friends, I am in a state of ego-driven self-will. My cat taught me to take a Third Step pause and realign myself with HP’s way for me: to get out of self, be in the moment, and do the loving thing.

I consistently need to practice self-love and self-care by keeping my food in order. Then I am granted the gift of being able to give lovingly to others.

— Anonymous

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