I write this as the food is calling to me.” This quote from page 13 of A New Beginning: Stories of Recovery from Relapse strikes me as very intentional. The author has made a choice to pick up the pen instead of the fork. The story, “Caring for Myself,” first shares gratitude, then acknowledges the author’s need to do their part by using the Steps and Tools. What follows is a specific list of items the writer does for self-care, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

It seems to me that this quote and story format would make an excellent writing guide to use whenever food is calling. It could also be useful when we’re struggling with just about any negative feeling or situation, or any characteristic about ourselves with which we’re frustrated or feeling discouraged. So I tried it, and here’s what I wrote:

I write this as I am feeling rather down. I’m grateful for the time I have in OA, during which I’ve learned that a negative feeling is always a temporary state—part of recovery for me is that I retain a sense of perspective about my life, even when I’m not feeling great. I don’t find it easy to deal with negative emotions, but I do know I need to hang in there and keep trudging along, and it will pass.

When I came into OA, I was completely overwhelmed with negative feelings, which influenced most of my interactions. I had no idea about the concept mentioned in AA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions: “Nothing pays off like restraint of tongue and pen” (p. 91), and I caused a lot of hurt feelings as a result. My emotions were running my life: anger, fear, and guilt kept me from taking care of my responsibilities, and I kept turning to food for solace it never provided. I’m so grateful that this does not describe my life today. Knowing I have footwork to do regarding my own negative feelings brings with it a sense of relief and direction.

I can take care of myself emotionally by giving my feelings outlets that won’t hurt me or anyone else. Writing, talking with my sponsor, or contacting an OA friend are self-care for me.

I can take care of myself physically by slowing down, taking a walk, getting enough sleep, and cooking myself simple, healthy meals.

I can take care of myself spiritually by going to extra meetings, slowing down for some meditation, and getting out of my own head to see if I can go and help someone else.

Of course, there is always more I can do, but sometimes I need to do less. Something a sponsor taught me to do, especially when I’m not feeling well, is to scan the day ahead with intention: there may be things I need to add (self-care, creativity, time on a project I’ve been putting off, or an OA meeting) and/or things I need to cancel because I’m overcommitted or because I need that time for the items on the first list. The idea is to be intentional, thinking about what I need to do to take care of myself and my recovery today.

I love this simple question: What do I need today—physically, emotionally, and spiritually?

— Anonymous, Portland, Oregon USA

  • Eight Other Tools

    Here I sit, self-quarantined in the middle of a viral pandemic after returning home from t…
  • Learning More Each Day

    After several starts, I found myself knowing that OA was for me, thanks to the acceptance …
  • Surrender Happens 24/7

    When I came into OA, I was on the edge of a mental breakdown. I’d tried everything to stop…
Load More Related Articles
  • Low-Tech Outreach

    I am on my intergroup’s public information committee. We make flyers with a tear-off porti…
  • Available to Everyone

    Here are a few ways I carry the message to other compulsive overeaters. I print out OA’s C…
  • Radio-Active

    I was listening to a commentary about obesity on our local radio station. The commentator …
Load More By admin
  • A “Just for Today” Action Plan

    Usually, I spend part of my quiet time meditating on the Just for Today wallet card. One d…
  • Lesson for a Simple Approach

    I am currently three and a half years abstinent and working Steps Ten, Eleven, and Twelve …
  • Sharing Ourselves

    Did you know that the opposite of anonymous is “onymous”? How different would our lives be…
Load More In Tools & Concepts
Comments are closed.

Check Also

Low-Tech Outreach

I am on my intergroup’s public information committee. We make flyers with a tear-off porti…