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My Whole Sum Value

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Most of my life, I have lived in the extremes of my insanity. I have starved myself, used pills that are known to cause heart attacks, exercised for hours daily, and binged to the point of purging. I thought if I looked a certain way, weighed much less than I did, and acted nice and polite, then others would see me as having it all together—someone they would want to date, be friends with, or hire. I thought that because I was obese, I obviously could not be lovable, kind, smart, pretty, or a person anyone would care about. Everything I attempted to do to fix myself was a form of punishment and abuse because I truly saw no worth under the fat. My compulsion to hurt myself was just as bad as my compulsion to eat. All that, because I thought my outside was more valuable than my inside. My outside added up to my whole sum value.

It has taken me years of continuing work on my threefold recovery to see just how crazy my thinking can be. Right now, I am finishing an in-depth look at my Sixth Step. After giving my horrible, terrible Fourth Step away, I found out I am neither horrible nor terrible. For my Sixth Step, I’d concentrated more on my character defects than on being entirely ready to have them removed. Like my Fourth Step, my Sixth Step had consisted of me berating myself. But after completing my writing and reflecting more on the Sixth Step, I was shown again that what I thought was a food problem was really a “how I think about myself” problem.

With my sponsor’s help, I had a look at the good in me too. At one time, I felt there wasn’t any, but today, I see it all, my defects and my assets. They make up all of me, and all of me is worthy and good enough. These together are my whole sum value. I do not have to prove this to anyone. My job today, which is sometimes difficult, is to be me, my true and authentic self. I have to do the best I can, accept that my “good enough” is enough, and love myself. I won’t please everyone, I will never be perfect, I won’t always have it all together, and when I don’t, I’ll have another Step for that: Step One. Followed by Steps Two, Three, Four . . . I will never graduate! Thank goodness.

— Stephanie A, Chandler, Arizona USA

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