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Whittling Down to Normal

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“I ate when I was anxious, fearful, lonely, or tired” (Voices of Recovery, p. 254). I can add more to that list: I ate when I was excited, happy, with people, or wide awake. Food gave me confidence and allowed me to act happy in deplorable situations. I was in a job I didn’t like and a sick marriage, and my social circles were narrowing. Life was dwindling down to me and my best friend, food. This was not living; it was an emotional flatlining.

OA changed all that, but I can’t say it always felt so great in the beginning. My emotions were on high volume once I started experiencing them again. I went from deeply depressed to wildly elated. I had no idea how to keep my feelings in the middle of the road. I truly felt like I would die. Most of the time, I felt I was in the midst of an emotional toothache.

The Steps changed all that. I slowly discovered that all my feelings had a beginning and an end. The Tools of Recovery gave me some options, things I could do to abate those feelings: call someone, write about it, go to a meeting, or read in the literature how others have felt the same things and not only survived but thrived. I studied the Traditions and learned how to live with others and play nicely. All of these things transformed me.

Soon, the soul-ache of anxiety, loneliness, and fear were whittled down to what normal people must feel. I began to feel confident, experience real happiness, and seek social circles instead of isolating. It’s been a much better way to live.

— Gerri H.

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