July 11, 2011
I remember about 10 years ago hear somebody on television talk about food addiction. It didn’t occur to me at the time that I had that problem.
He quoted ”Imagine being addicted to the very substance that sustains you”.
I don’t need to imagine because I am and it is very difficult.
If you just give up food that can be as bad and dangerous as overeating. I think this is why people in other fellowships who find themselves in the rooms of Overeaters Anonymous find it so difficult. You have to literally let the tiger (the tiger being your addiction) out of the cage three times a day. Even the way I eat a normal meal has to be done carefully.
I found it so difficult to understand abstinence. It took a lot of work with my sponsor to define my own abstinence and even today when I am 12 stepping others into the programme defining their abstinence can be difficult.
Nobody wants to give up any of their trigger foods and although I tell them it is one day at a time, it is still hard.
My first attempt at abstinence was pretty much eating anything that wasn’t what i termed ‘bad’ for me. Which I couldn’t sustain even with my higher power.
Then you have people in the fellowship with different eating behaviours such as anorexia and like myself bulimic so part of my abstinence is not purging after eating.
Then you will get off shots of OA for example OA HOW. OA HOW follows a ‘diet’ called grey sheet and involves weighing and measuring EVERYTHING and not eating anything containing flour or sugar.
There is so much controversy in OA. My take on it is that OA claims to not endorse any diet plans and has no opinion on outside issues. So members are free to do whatever suits them. However isn’t OA HOW doing the very opposite?? Yet there are specific OA HOW meetings. I don’t understand this and it has been an issue raised a lot. Some argue that some OA members need the structure of OA HOW. In my opinion if they need that structure OA HOW offers they should have their own individual food plan. It is something that really makes me very cross. But I have no control over this. I really feel it damages the fellowship though, and also people. By having OA HOW meetings it is endorsing the OA HOW food plan.
I have seen fellowship friends and also sponsees really confused over OA HOW and it breaks my heart to see them get out their scales in restaurants or not even be able to get a drink from a shop cause they can only drink sparkling water or still water. Taking all their own food with them when we stay in a hotel or go out for the day. To me this isn’t a bridge to normal living but maybe this is just me. Usually though they realise that OA HOW is just another diet and that dieting and exclusion of food groups leads them to a binge.
My abstinence has to be realistic. It is also individual. I know from experience that OA HOW telling me what I couldn’t eat was very welcoming. But why have traditions if they are to be broken, why have are own 12 steps and 12 traditions when certain meetings ignore them. I can only hope and pray that one day the rest of OA world service will see this and then so many people wont be left confused about the whole entire fellowship.
I am grateful I managed to see past the what I consider the darker side of my fellowship and have found the miracle that is OA. It stands to reason that I am protective of my fellowship and I hate to see people fall foul to the grey sheet.
But as my sponsor always points out, everyone is our teacher and we can learn from them. I have learnt that I want to live my life like anyone else. My whole life I had to eat differently from everybody else. I know and accept that I will never be able to eat like others however I can have some normality in my life one day at a time if I continue to work my programme cause I am living proof that it works if you work it.
Opinions expressed in this entry are my own personal opinion and do not reflect those of Overeaters Anonymous.