Thursday, September 16, 2010


I haven't posted anything in a week, and I'm sitting here wondering why. The obvious answer is that I have wanted to avoid the self-reflection and critical thinking that go along with writing about my deepest, darkest fears and secrets. Keeping up the lie I've been telling myself for a long time now - that everything is okay, that I am not, in fact, a food addict, that I will wake up one day and be able to control portions, etc. - takes far less effort than does a "searching and fearless moral inventory," which is what OA and other twelve-step programs recommend. The searching and fearless moral inventory doesn't come until a later step, and I am waterlogged at step 2 right now (more on that in a moment), but I guess I feel like until I begin that process, I will not understand my own recovery in concrete terms. Everything will be abstract.

According to The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, step 1 is as follows: "We admitted we were powerless over food - that our lives had become unmanageable." Now, you'd think that by entering an OA meeting, a person has tackled step 1. But the truth is, I have been attending meetings regularly for a little over a month now, and I'm just now coming to terms with the fact that I am powerless over food. It's so easy and so seductive to think and believe that I am not, in fact, powerless, which is an uncomfortable and strange state to be in, but that I simply haven't learned to control myself. I'm starting to get it now - I have no fucking control over food, certain foods especially. It is cunning, baffling, and powerful, just like the OA literature says. I don't know that I completely believe yet that I am powerless, but i'm working on it. I'm getting there.

So maybe I'm not yet to step 2, which is: "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." Yeah, no, I'm not there yet. Maybe I'm a special case, because I've grown up in a religiously lax household, never being made to believe in much of anything spiritual. I'm also a devotee of logic, rationality, practicality - even though I have a creative writing background and my career field is social work, I've always relied on science to tell me the "hard facts," the inalienable truths. I guess you could say that if I can't see it, I've rarely believed in it.

But I have come, in the past several years, to understand that life is not a big, random mess of chaotic atoms bumping against one another in the ether. In order to make sense of my life and the lives of those close to me, I have begun to imbue certain turns of events with meaning. I don't really believe in coincidence, for example. I believe that everything happens for a reason (or at least I want to believe this). Is it coincidental, for example, that my best friend and my mom both went searching for love online and both found partners who ended up living a block away from them or less? No, I don't think it is. I think that the universe works in mysterious ways. So in the few times that I've prayed in the last few weeks, following the advice of fellow OA-ers, I've addressed the universe, the Life Force Energy, the cosmos as God. That's where I see him/her/it/them.

So maybe I've acknowledged, in some situations, that there is probably a power greater than myself. I've even gone so far as to contact that power and ask to know its will for me. And I must say, the couple of times that I've gotten down on my knees and prayed to know God's will, it's occurred to me within mere hours of the prayer itself what God's will is. I don't hear divine voices speaking to me, but I do have realizations, or a-ha! moments, if you will. God does speak to me, somehow.

But can I acknowledge and truly believe that this higher power can restore me to sanity? I guess I'm dealing with a lot of doubt and shame and guilt and all manner of other [largely self-imposed] obstacles. Should I pray to God that I begin believing more strongly in God? Does that even make sense? Sheesh.

I recently purchased some OA literature, and among my purchases was a small white book called For Today. September 16's short "for today" thought is this: "Just as truth freed me of my obsession with food, so it can free me of other living problems. I am not afraid to seek the truth." If I repeat this enough out loud, will it be true?

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