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Helpful Voices

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I’m an addicted people pleaser. I don’t want to make anyone upset, inconvenience them, start a conflict, or rock the boat. My drive to get along has caused me to lose my voice. I’ve made some headway, but I have a ways to go. Recently, I realized how it has hurt my recovery.

A few weeks ago, I went through a major struggle—you could say I went into battle with my anorexia. During this time, I waffled about whether to stay in OA or turn to my restricting skills to lose the extra weight I was carrying. The amazing part of the battle was that, while my head was being hijacked by my eating disorder, whom I call ED, I had developed such good program practices that I continued attending meetings, doing my morning readings, meditating, responding to outreach calls, and making outreach texts. A small voice in my head kept telling me to continue my practices until I was positive I was going to leave OA. What I failed to do was to share about this in meetings or share my whole truth with my sponsor.

I feared I’d be a burden to anyone who had to listen to my struggles, and I was afraid that compulsive overeaters would find my anorexia behaviors trivial. I was afraid my sponsor, who is a compulsive overeater, would feel overwhelmed and leave me because she couldn’t relate. Basically, I let ED talk me into trusting only him and keeping my struggles a secret.

After spending an entire OA meeting thinking how much I was going to miss everyone because I was sure I’d be leaving, I finally opened up to my sponsor and shared the war that was going on in my head. I shared ugly tears (the ones with rivers of water and snot). She became my HP with skin on as she asked me the two questions that turned me around:

Have you ever lost weight a healthy way?
No, so of course I’d be scared and turn to what I do know, which is restriction.

Are you trusting your HP?
I wasn’t. I was praying for help to do my will and not HP’s will. ED had me believing that a reasonable meal plan would take too long and that he was the faster answer. So, I had prayed for weight loss.

Today, I’m back on the right track. I’m sticking to my meal plan, and I have been gifted with some weight loss. When ED tries to tempt me, I turn to my HP and ask her to help release the voices in my head. I have come to realize that, had I shared my struggles, I might have helped someone else who was struggling. And I would have definitely helped myself get out of the secret corners of my mind.

As hard as it feels right now, I have to come to believe that my voice is just as needed in meetings as everyone else’s. Together we get better.

— Kym, Aloha, Oregon USA

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