I am debating rejoining OA. I have been in and out of the rooms quite a few times. I think what has made me leave before is the strictness of the program, and that is what is holding me back from rejoining this time. I have had some difficulty following a food plan, it seems so rigid. I have a tendency to rebel against structure not just with food but in my life generally. I feel confined, chained when I am limited in what I can eat even though I think OA is a great program especially with the threefold concept and the group support and I have had success with it, 90 days abstinence. I also feel awkward contacting a sponsor everyday even though I know they can be my partner in recovery. I feel like they can be overbearing and like I need their approval which upsets me.
I'm really not sure what to do. I don't drive but a friend of mine who does drive and who is in OA has offered to take me to a local OA meeting if I am serious about the program. I need recovery but I do seriously have those reservations.
It may not be conventional, but I think you can create your own food plan without any kind of backlash. I, for example, count calories, which means I can eat a little bit of everything and don't feel that restraint you were referring to. It's up to you to decide what kind of restrictions are appropriate for you. I, for example, can't eat sweets as anything but a drug, so I have to restrict them. But I think as long as you have thought it through and have a definitely plan, the others at OA shouldn't begrudge you for it.
As far as a sponsor goes, it's up to you to pick one. You don't actually have to have one, if you don't want to.
What you describe sounds like a HOW meeting or something similar. You might want to visit several different meetings--many people do NOT follow a specific diet given to them by a sponsor, or call in their food or call their sponsor daily. It really depends on what YOU need to work the steps. As another person gently challenged you--are you sure the reason why you are resistant is because you know that you really DO need that structure? 90 days abstinent is a major accomplishment--but if it's someone elses' abstinence, that will only work for a finite amount of time.
I have an excellent, supportive sponsor who challenges me when I need it. She is willing to have me call or email my food into her every day--but doesn't require it. (And I don't do it either. I keep track for myself, and if I've been having a hard time white knuckling, I can show her and see if she sees a pattern I don't, but that's as far as it goes) She shared her eating plan with me when I was in the process of making mine--but I don't follow her eating plan, and she made it very clear that I needed to make one that *I* needed. In my home group, just about everyone has a different eating plan. We have some HOW people (very structured), we have big book study people (less focus on the food, more on the steps), and a myriad of other paths.
I don't have a rigid food plan, in the sense that it can't change. I can eat many things that people I know have chosen not to eat; I have some interesting danger foods that most people I know can eat without any problems but send me into an all out tailspin, so I've decided to not make them a part of my plan. To be honest, most of my plan of eating is more about behaviors than restrictions (for example, I know I must not eat in the car by myself). Other people I know are just the opposite.
If you're not getting what you need from your sponsor, then it's okay to look for a new one (I've been told that many many times, including from my sponsor who told me at our first meeting to never worry about offending her or anything like that if I needed to make a change, because most people do change sponsors several times and it's to be expected as you grow and change). If the "feel" of a particular meeting is not supportive for you, then it's okay to go to a different meeting! (I've attended all kinds of meetings--some that I loved, some that I am sure would not work for me long term, and that is totally okay)
All that being said...if you're not willing, and you don't believe OA would do you good right now, then there's nothing wrong with you! OA will be there if/when you decide that you're scared/reservered/worried/skeptical but willing to go! If you are willing, then why not check out as many different meetings as you can, and see if there is one that feels like "home?"
kelly- Thanks, I appreciate that insight. That helps a lot and is good to know that I am free to choose my own food plan. I think I have some good, healthy, reasonable guidelines on what my food plan would be. It helps to know that I am not restricted to any particular food plan and I think a sponsor would be a good guide in choosing one. Thank you!
martini- Thanks for your reply. I hear what you're saying about what I am describing could be a first step issue, but I think I have already understood and acknowledged the first step. When I was an active OAer I was working on the third step. I understand that I will never be able to eat like 'normal people' with food, that's probably why I have such trouble with diets because 'normal people' don't go off on eating binges which is not part of a diet and consistently break their diets with overeating, restricting and other behaviors. I know that there are some foods that if I bring them into my possession, I will overeat and possibly binge on them. It's a reaction to them and some people have described that as an allergy in OA.
While I understand that OA recommends a food plan, I find that if it is too strict, I rebel. This is not just an OA thing, it is something I need to further work on in therapy as to why I rebel against structure in general in my life. I know that if a food plan is too loosely structured it leaves room to go off of and that's not conducive to recovery either. I think something like kelly was suggesting would make sense where I could choose the food plan and yet it would be healthy and sensible. I would run it by a sponsor first too. Thanks so much for your interest in this topic and your candid, helpful reply!
tigerchild- Thanks for your reply. It's interesting, I didn't think that I was following the HOW method. In my experience HOWers follow a more strict program and maybe that was too much for me. I'm limited in the number of meetings that I can attend because I don't drive or live in a big city so there are only two that I could see myself getting to with an OA friend aside from online and phone meetings. Maybe I do need that structure, maybe I need a balance, like you said, if its not my abstinence then it won't work.
So, may I ask you, when you say that your sponsor doesn't require you to email or call in your food daily, do you mainly work with her for the steps? Or what does she mainly help you out with (if I am being too personal, please forgive me), I am trying to understand because every time I have worked with a sponsor it has been about emailing in a food template, food amounts or plans or steps.
As I was saying to martini, I agree that there are some foods that us overeaters have a lot of trouble with, not to stereotype but in general I think that overeaters have problems with certain foods. I agree that there has to be a right 'fit' with a sponsor. I'm not sure if OA is for me right now or not, it could truly benefit me a lot, but on the other hand I have a lot going on in my life right now and I'm not sure if I can take it on until things settle down.
In my opion OA is simply a tool, and you are the user of that tool, so you use that tool as you see fit to your advantage. In addition find a sponsor that suits you, and your personality, it should be someone you get along with and is a partner not an overseer. God Bless.
Hi, I agree that maybe you went to a OA How meeting instead of a regular meeting. I haven't been to an How meeting in a while, it wasn't for me. Just my opinion, it was too rigid and you had to be on there plan to be abstinent and weren't allowed to share at meetings unless abstinent. Anyway, i saw too many people suffer overwhelming guilt. Something i have felt all my life. However i would recommend regular oa to anyone.
I finally chose a food that I could live on the rest of my life. Basically my food plan is my new life style and so far I have followed it for 10 months now.
Good luck, and remember the slogan, take what you need and leave the rest.
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