Monday, April 25, 2011
I've been researching Overeater's Anonymous. I am a researcher by nature and education. I have to read and study on my latest interest before I delve into it. When I complete that research, I then entrench myself into the subject matter. I keep studying and perfecting what I do. It becomes a compulsion. It seems to me that I get addicted to that "thing". I've been researching Overeater's Anonymous after watching Ruby this weekend. Everyone told her that she needed a 12 step program. I've written about it before. And I am going to be as honest as possible about my reservations. Please keep an open mind when you read the following.
I am having a problem with the word "God". Now, I don't want to offend the readers who have a connection to a higher power and may categorize themselves as members of a specific religious group. I read a lot of healthy living blogs that are very religious based and am not offended or turned off by the way they conduct their daily lives. As a Catholic, I have a faith in my God. I was raised by a parent who made sure to take me to Church every Sunday--to Catholicism school every week for my rites of passage as a Catholic. Since leaving home at 18, it hasn't been a practice; not even during special occassions such as Easter (yesterday). I don't want to be a hypocrit about religion and practice. I want to keep this blog and my life in a neutral plane and not promote one side over another. For example, Yoga, to me, is not a spiritual practice of worshipping a higher, external power, but an internal power that connects the body and mind. But I know that many religions would not think that Yoga is a practice that should be undertaken because it takes away from seeking and finding God when you are seeking strength within yourself.
I am a person that tries to seek power within myself. I want to be strong both physically and mentally. I am not saying I can't have God in my life because I want to be internally strong. However, I don't think there is anything wrong with having both.
My issue with the term "God" in OA, is this overwhelming thought that I am going to be shamed for not being religious enough. Now, I recognize that the term God could be used to mean a "higher power" within the person--and just place the word to signify that. I was introduced to this concept by Geneen Roth in Women Food and God. But it is still quite startingly to live the 12 steps in faith of "God".
The Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous
1.We admitted we were powerless over food — that our lives had become unmanageable.
This I can admit to, and this is the very statement that makes me want to go to a meeting and work hard to change my life around. I am powerless. I have my moments of strength, but it is overshadowed my greater moments of weakness.
2.Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
I do believe that there is a higher Power. But I also feel that there is a Power within myself that is locked deep inside. I need that Power to be released to keep me consistent with eating healthy and moderately, so I may finally lose weight; but most importantly, keep it off indefinitely.
3.Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Hmmm. This is where I start to have trouble. This is where I start to panic and feel like I will disappoint Him and myself for not living up to His expectations. I don't want to turn over control to God. I felt like I did that as a child when I was sent to Him for training and practice in Catholicism. I fell away from Catholicism's consistency to live my life within the high morality and values I was taught, but with an independence gained from just learning and living my own life on my own terms.
4.Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
I think I've been doing that all along. I try to search within and figure out "why" I behave in that manner and I've been brutally honest with myself.
5.Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
I know that I share a lot of my "truths" in this blog. However, it is still anonymously. You don't know me personally, and despite all the frienships made, we don't reveal every nitty gritty detail. I do talk about it to my husband on occassion. I have a work buddy that I talk to openly when we go for our walks.. I know why I do this. I have taken inventory of every aspect of my life in order to find meaning in my behaviors, and I've been willing to share that openly. However, I will say that I am not openly honest about the sneaking of food, the sensation of gulping down a Snickers or a saucer cookie, and the extreme guilt and frustration as the consequence of that food addiction. I've often prayed to God to deliver me from this behavior and to Jesus to give me strength at every moment of overwhelming-ness.
6.Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Maybe. I ask Him daily to help me with these feelings and compulsion to eat. I ask Him to help me with all the "problems" that drive me to eat more than my physiological needs. But, a huge but, I don't know if I am entirely ready for Him to remove all the defects of character. Why? Because that means I must submit to Him; to a religion or a consistent practice of going to Him and seeking Him out. I think it is what I said about "shame" for not being religious enough, not devoted enough, not loving enough (to myself, maybe), not "good enough", not deserving enough, and not worthy of His time and care. The list can go on and on without an end in sight.
7.Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
I don't understand how I can ask Him to help me remove all my shortcomings and the problems that drive me to eat, but can't submit to His will and guidance. But I desperately want the shortcomings to be removed so I can get peace from these thoughts and feelings. I want the layers of fat (my outside expression of shortcomings) to be peeled off so I can enjoy this life.
8.Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
Wow. Where do I start with this one? Honestly, I feel like there are a lot more people that need to make amends to me. Yes, I can rationalize whom I've harmed, but I feel more victimized. Maybe that is the problem. I don't think of the things I may have done to others, but focus and dwell on what others have done to me. My mother worked too much. My father abandoned me. My husband works to much. My husband moves me too often. I can go on and on with this one, but must study whom I've harmed over the years of my food addiction: my children for giving them an unhealthy and unsound mother during my depression and addiction to food; my mother for sneaking food in contradiction of her rules; my husband whose lived with a ballooning wife that chooses food over his love.
9.Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Must I? How? Well, for starters, I can actually work hard to stop overeating and admit to them and apologize when I have done so. In my inventory of people, I don't think my making amends would injure them; except the children who may in turn learn about food issues from my revelations. I think it would bring us together.
10.Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
Yes. I will. This blog serves as my personal inventory and admission of wrong doing. I will do more of that. And I will be more honest with myself and others about the impact and consequence of my overeating. One thing hubby can tell you is that I hate to be wrong. I am a know-it-all.
11.Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
I need more help with this. Prayer and meditation is a constant. I ask for help through my silent prayers to God, but I need to "[understand] Him" and learn more about "knowledge of His will for us". I have a general understanding of what this means. And I am certain that an OA meeting will help me with that, but I am afraid to commit because I fear failure and disappointing Him--which in turn fails and disappoints my mother who introduced and ensured that I receive religious training. Let's call this a teetering Catholic's Guilt.
12.Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
I can most certainly do this. This blog is a place to carry on the message of compulsive overeating and the physical and emotional detriment it creates. I will try to practice this principles daily, but there are many concerns and reservations from diving deep into OA.
I have troubles making meetings. I have a lot of obligations to this family. While it may be easy to say that I am most important and must make the time, it is not easy with 3 kids, full time job, and a husband who travels for many days at a time. The meetings are varied to many locations that are a little further away from home and are in a place of worship (again a palpitating hesitance that I have). There is one close to me at 7:30 p.m. I want to make that meeting . . . someday.
In the meantime, I will keep reading, praying, planning, and putting steps into practice.
Have you attended an Overeater's Anonymous meeting and what did you think?