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Facing the Negatives

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Step Four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Life is much different than I ever imagined it would be. And I’d have to say that, up until recently, that hasn’t been a good thing.

As a kid, I was smiley and talkative: I loved people and loved any opportunity to chatter away to anyone and everyone. When I think back, I don’t think many people had much of a problem with me. In fact, if I think hard, I can remember there were several adults who loved my gregariousness. But that never stayed uppermost in my memory banks.

What stayed with me?

  • My aunt, who made it clear she didn’t think I was too bright. If I was playing with her son and we weren’t getting along, she’d say, “Go play with Cheryl, you’ll learn something.” Cheryl was my older and much smarter sister. Or so I came to believe. After all, why would my aunt say that if it wasn’t true?
  • My piano teacher, who told me she didn’t like me and that I was “irresponsible.” I was only 12 or 13 at the time. (She thought Cheryl was the bee’s knees.)
  • My Grade 13 calculus and algebra teacher, who told me I would never succeed in math and sciences in university, even though my grades were good. And I thought, “He must be right; he is the teacher.” He’d been Cheryl’s teacher too.

I have spent many years dealing with the pain of these so-called truths, wondering what was wrong with me and feeling like a failure. I always felt “less than.” I’ve spent my life doubting my abilities, comparing myself with others, and always coming up short. I now know these resentments and feelings fueled my need to comfort and numb myself with food.

As I work through Step Four, I am learning a lot about myself. I’ve learned that I’ve long been angry, resentful, and jealous—before, I didn’t even know it! I worried all the time that people would find out the “truth”: that I was dumb. Thanks to the program, I no longer have to eat over it. I’m starting to work through my resentments and fears. It’s not exactly fun or easy. But I can face it now. I no longer need the help of my false friend, Food.

I have been in the program for four months and have three and a half months of abstinence. At last check, I’d lost 23 pounds (10 kg). I have a lot more Fourth Step work to do. It scares me. And it gives me hope. I have a lot more to learn about myself. I’m looking forward to getting free of the shackles of my self-imposed prison.

I have hope that life from here will be joyful and I will experience freedom. I have the Tools, a sponsor, and an HP whose love is unending and who wants the best for me. I have the fellowship of OA: a community that loves me, accepts me with no judgement, and understands me.  Such are the gifts of the program . . . and the beginning of a different life. Now that is a good thing.

— Bobbi W., Canada

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