Doing Step One, 100%.
We admitted we were powerless over food – that our lives had become unmanageable.
I heard, “I must do Step One, a hundred percent” in meetings and in talking to other members of Addictive Eaters Anonymous. In the literature, such as the A.A. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (page 21), it says:
Our admissions of personal powerlessness finally turns out to be firm bedrock upon which happy and purposeful lives may be built.
It adds that sobriety ‘will be precarious’ until we accept our powerlessness. Until I admitted I was powerless over food, I was still using self-will to try to control food and my weight, without success. Once I admitted and then accepted my powerlessness, the transformation commenced—physically, mentally and spiritually.
Being powerless over food hurt me and others.
The impulse to buy chocolate from vending machines was overwhelming. I had no power. Every day, I would tell myself I wouldn’t get anything from the vending machine on the train platform on my way home from work. Lo and behold, I would find myself feverishly pressing the buttons on the machine before my train arrived for the half-hour trip home.
My thinking around food was warped. I would justify my purchase of a particular large chocolate bar as making me feel close to my mum (who had passed away about eight years prior), as she liked this type of chocolate.
When I still had some ability to diet, I would crash diet before a holiday and lose an unrealistic amount of weight in a short time, which was unsustainable. I would then ruin the holidays, feeling tortured and miserable because once I started eating the “holiday food” I simply could not stop.
I called the time when I started to eat ‘the opening of the floodgates’. And then the weight piled back on. Since I went to extreme lengths to lose weight, the emotional impact of regaining it after the strict regime was unbearable, both for me, and, due to my behaviour, others around me.
I remember being on holiday in a lovely villa years ago, swimming like a maniac in a small pool, trying to counter the increase in food intake. I had no peace of mind or joy. Through my crazy behaviours, I spread my misery to those around me.
Accepting my complete lack of power over food happened slowly.
By the time I joined a Twelve-Step fellowship, I was obesely overweight and my life was unmanageable in all areas. But it still took three more years to completely admit I was powerless over food. In meetings, I discovered that I couldn’t overcome addictive eating by myself or through therapy. I was beyond human aid. Once I admitted, and then accepted, that I had no power or control over food, my internal battle with food resolved immeasurably. The warring inside myself, and the self-loathing from eating uncontrollably, began to transform into a more peaceful way of living.
I became willing to follow the suggestions from a sponsor in recovery. I trusted what she did to get well. This included getting sober from food in the same way as an alcoholic stops drinking. It was suggested I needed to live on a food plan and to have three food plan meals a day, nothing more, nothing less. To enable me to do this, I needed to ask for the strength from a power greater than myself. At this time, my transformation from obesity to maintaining a normal weight began, and so much more.
From powerlessness to sobriety, and a happy and purposeful life.
My sobriety from food, alcohol and pills is contingent upon my willingness and actions to grow spiritually. In Addictive Eaters Anonymous, I understand this includes trying to help another addictive eater. Every day, I look for opportunities to help others and to carry the message of Addictive Eaters Anonymous. Helping others was not my natural instinct. Being willing to and wanting to help, where possible has been a major part of the transformation experience of recovery. My willingness to write this blog was in the hope that it may help someone who reads it.
As time passes and I continue to change, I realise my thinking that I had power over food and control over my life was all an illusion. Now, I try to align my thinking with spiritual principles and I say simple prayers many times each day. I am grateful to experience a sense of peace that I never knew before the Twelve Step program. Addictive Eaters Anonymous saved my life.
Only Step One, where we made 100 percent admission we were powerless over alcohol, can be practised with absolute perfection.
A.A. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (page 68)
Replace alcohol with food in this sentence, and you’ll see my experience.
-Member, Addictive Eaters Anonymous
For more information about Addictive Eater’s Anonymous (AEA), visit www.addictiveeatersanonymous.org or call (657) 999-3303.