When I was younger, in program, I used to cringe when I heard sayings like “A grateful heart doesn’t eat,” or “It is easier for me to stay abstinent than it is to get abstinent.” I had to fight my eyes from involuntarily rolling as I heard the words. These very sayings, and there are so many of them, are also the ones that I apply daily today.
I have relapsed numerous times since going to my first Overeaters Anonymous meeting in 1997. I would hear people say, “thin is not well,” and “I came for the vanity, stayed for the sanity.” My brain would contort into knots trying to compute how these sayings could be true. I honestly thought that being obese was my only problem and if I could just get thin then I would not have any problems. I told myself “Thin people do not have problems. And if a thin person says they have problems, then they are just whiners.” I honestly thought that my weight was the problem.
I could not wrap my head around the fact that everybody has problems, and it has nothing to do with body size. On June 25, 2012, as I struggled in the worst relapse I had ever had, I had this realization, “If I could be fat and peaceful, I would take that over thin and crazy like this.” At that point I was thin, in comparison to 324 plus pounds that I hit in my mid-twenties, but I was engaging in the most animalistic eating I had ever done in my life, and the craziest thinking as my disease was continuing to progress. The food had me by the throat. In this moment, I had a spiritual awakening, that let me understand how my overeating and weight were symptoms of deeper issues. They were not the problem; they were the result of the only solution I was ever able to find to ease the pain. Until it did not anymore, when I surrendered. I asked a fellow to sponsor me, and then did what was suggested to me, whether I thought it would help or not, and it always helped.
I have had so many wonderful things come into my life in the last 10 years. These are things that never would have happened without my abstinence. Getting my doctorate, getting married, going on all inclusive vacations, moving from teaching to administration, and so much more. While these wonderful things have happened, this is life, so trials and tribulations have come up too. I am grateful to know today that compulsively overeating is not the solution to any of my problems. The only solution is the same one that has helped me get and stay abstinent a day at a time. A relationship and the help of my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, that I have found through the 12 Steps. God does for me what I cannot do for myself. There are many things that have changed for me over these 10 years, but one slogan I live by daily, is just one of the ones that used to drive me crazy. “I don’t eat not matter what, no matter what, don’t eat.” Today I choose to turn my will and my life over to the care of God.