Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ready to Move On

Step One -- We admitted we were powerless over food -- that our lives had become unmanageable.

Oh yeah? I tried this before. I'm currently doing the "Love Hunger Workbook" and the doctors who wrote the book by the same name rely on the Twelve Step Program. Soooo I will do the same.

Some information about Step One*

The lack of willpower isn't what makes us compulsive overeaters. Am I really a compulsive overeater? Or do I just look at myself that way? I think it's the latter. This whole thing is a disease and it's threefold: physical, emotional and spiritual. Soooo to go on a diet isn't the answer is it? NO! So, we have to stop blaming ourselves or others for our eating habits. The disease does not stem simply from bad eating habits learned in childhood, nor just from adjustment problems, nor merely from a love of food, though all three of these may be factors in its development. It may be that we were born with a physical or emotional predisposition to eat compulsively. Whatever the cause, we aren't like other people when it comes to eating.

Normal eaters find pleasure and escape from life's problems in excess food. But they stop eating and don't feel guilty afterwards Compulsive eaters often have an abnormal reaction when we overindulge. We can't quit, we crave more and more. What we all have in common is that our bodies and minds seem to send us signals about food which are quite different from those the normal eater receives. No matter how long we abstain from eating compulsively, and no matter how good we become at facing life's problems, we will always have these abnormal tendencies.

Does that mean that we must abstain from all foods and eating behaviors that cause us problems? If we don't overeat we don't trigger the reaction that makes us crave more. But even this has proven impossible for us to do by our own willpower alone. It seems every diet or period of control is followed by a period of uncontrolled eating. That's because our malady was not just physical in nature; it was emotional and spiritual as well. We were obsessed with food, and no amount of self-control or weight loss could cure us. Because of the obsession, the day always came when the excess food looked so inviting to us we could not resist, and our firm resolutions were forgotten. Sooner or later we always started overeating again and gradually (or rapidly) the eating worsened until at last we were out of control.

The mental obsession was something we couldn't be rid of by our unaided human will. We have to go to a power stronger than ourselves. This is supposed to help.

We have to honestly examine our histories. Our eating and our attitudes toward food are not normal. We have this disease.

What about the rest of step one -- we have become unmanageable? We feel that we have regular lives, hold a job, have a good marriage, run our households with success, have friends who like us, then isn't it exaggerating to say we were incapable of managing our lives? We could use some help with the compulsive eating but with the rest of our life, we're doing fine.

Take a closer look at our lives helps us to take step one. Are we discussing our experiences honestly with any other compulsive overeaters? We don't realize how much we had damaged ourselves and others by attempting to manage every detail of life. Only after we began to recover that we saw the childish self-centeredness of our willful actions. By trying to control others through manipulation and direct force, we have hurt our loved ones. We ended up being demoralize when we tried to control ourselves unsuccessfully. Even when we succeeded it wasn't enough to make us happy. We hid from our pain by eating. We didn't learn from our mistakes. We never grew up.

Admitting we our powerless over food opens the door to an amazing newfound power. For the first time in our lives, we recognized, acknowledged and accepted the truth about ourselves. We are compulsive overeaters. We do have an incurable disease. As long as we refuse to recognize that we have this debilitating and ultimately fatal disease, we are not motivated to get the daily treatment for it which brings about our recovery. Denial of the truth leads to destruction. An honest admission to ourselves of the reality of our condition can save us from our destructive eating.

As long as we believe that we already know what is best for us, we cling to our habitual ways of thinking. Yet these ways of thinking and acting got us into the unhealthy, unhappy condition we were in when we came to OA.

In Step One, we acknowledge this truth about ourselves: our current methods of managing have not been successful, and we need to find a new approach to life. Having acknowledged this truth, we are free to change and to learn.

Once we become teachable, we can give up old thought and behavior patterns which have failed us in the past, beginning with our attempts to control our eating and our weight. We can't handle life through self-will alone. We grasp this knowledge intellectually and then finally we come to believe it in our hearts. When this happens, we have taken the first step and are ready to move ahead in our program of recovery.

*~~taken from The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous

I'm ready to move on. I've taken the first step.

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