Need to talk about Step 1 of OA - 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet Weight Loss Community


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Old 06-14-2007, 09:19 AM   #1  
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Default Need to talk about Step 1 of OA

Hey everyone. Just a quick recap - I have tried to attend twice an OA meeting but it hasn't worked out (long story), however, I did get the OA books and last night read step 1 (per Marny's suggestion - thanks Marny!!!)

I know that I am a compulsive overeater. That much is certain. And I have learned recently - accepted is perhaps a better word - that I don't have control over certain foods or portion sizes. So the first part of what I read in step 1 is good. However, the other part - about my life not being managable... Well, I'm having a hard time fitting that in. I have a GREAT life - I am SO blessed. My husband (is that what "DH" is?) is amazing - and I have two incredibly amazing boys (age 7 and 4). I am blessed that I just work part-time so I get to spend afternoons with my boys. Money isn't that great (because of the part-time) thing - and my house isn't as big as I would like - but that house allows me to stay home with them. So it's a good trade off. And those things are - superficial? Anyway, I know and live everyday like I have been blessed by God. It is the eating and food that I have trouble with. I have two older sisters - both were always heavier than me - and now they have both had gastro bypass. I know that gastro isn't for me because it would not solve my problem of obsession of food. I would still obsess about food - I just wouldn't be able to eat as much. That was a huge turning point for me - that I would still be obsessing even if I was thin. I very much am the - if I was thin, everything would be perfect. Thin people have no problems - how could they? they are thin! But I know in my heart that isn't real, but yet I still can't shake it. Also, all I see is my weight and I feel like that is all that other people see. I guess my problem with 'managing' my life is that for ANYTHING I turn to food. Bored - I eat - happy - let's go out to eat! stressed - man, I need food. I do not know how to manage my emotions. Just recently I discovered this because my clever little mind had actually told me - you're hungry. That is why you need food. I would get off the phone with a slightly uncomfortable phone call at work and think, oh, I'm hungry. I wasn't REALLY hungry - but it wasn't 'ok' for me to say - I want food to soothe me - so I believed I was hungry. This is a new revelation and I am trying to deal with it. Anyway - back to managing... I am a very organized person - 'if' I ever 'drop' the ball I totally freak out. One time I forgot that my son had a dr's appt and I totally freaked out - made my DH call and reschedule. I just couldn't face it. I don't remember, but I am sure I turned to food. So, I guess I feel like I 'manage' my life well - I am organized, efficient, etc - it is how I manage ME that is not so great. In any case, I am having a hard time accepting that my life is unmanagable. Does all that make sense?

Thanks for listening.
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Old 06-14-2007, 10:27 AM   #2  
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Scrappychick, I think this is what they are talking about.
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I guess my problem with 'managing' my life is that for ANYTHING I turn to food
. Sounds unmanageable to me! I have been a member of another 12 step program for 17 years. If you were in my group, I would be asking you if you have a sponsor. Do you? Are you going to meetings?
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Old 06-14-2007, 10:49 AM   #3  
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I haven't been a member of OA in years, it's not the right place for me right now, but I was a member for a long time.

Step 1 is about admitting there is a problem you need help with. Not much more than that. By admitting you are powerless over food, you are admitting that there is that one part of your life that is unmanageable, what you put in your mouth.

You can read more into the step if you like, but you don't have to. For now, it's okay to just admit that your food behaviours are unmanageable to you.

Val
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Old 06-14-2007, 11:32 AM   #4  
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The life being unmanageable is a tough one for most people in the beginning. It feels kind of like a slap in the face-- I read that the first time and thought, "What? Are you saying that my whole entire life is out of control? Everything? Are you saying that I can't do anything right? If I just had my food under control everything else would be fine."

What I've learned in program is that my life is NOT manageable by ME. It is manageable by God. When I try to control my life (manage it) myself, I do a lousy job-- even when I'm doing the very best that I can. God can do so much better than I can.

You said, "if I ever 'drop' the ball I totally freak out. One time I forgot that my son had a dr's appt and I totally freaked out - made my DH call and reschedule. I just couldn't face it." In program I've learned that "totally freaking out" is not healthy, and definitely isn't a sign of a managed life. When I have so much inner turmoil over something that I can't finish the process and have to turn it over to my husband... then my life is unmanageable.

The really cool thing is that the point of this step isn't that you need to be better at managing your life. Nope! Instead, the point of this step is to help you to see the need for a higher power in your life.

I had a sponsee who could only accept this step when she saw it as her emotional life is unmanageable. That worked for her.

My understanding of the steps and how they apply to my life have changed over time and as I've learned more about myself, God, and program.

What Step 1 means to you today will change and grow.

Once you are able to attend a meeting, you will have a group of people to share with you how step 1 works in their lives. It's no fault of yours that you are missing the "group" part of program. It will come, and you'll be more than ready. :-)
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Old 06-14-2007, 11:46 AM   #5  
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Thanks for your posts. gailr42 - I have tried to go twice to meetings - but for reasons it didn't work out (the first one that was listed on the website was actually an Al-Anon group rather than OA and then I went to the other group meeting and noone else came...) So, also - I do not have a sponser yet. I hope to when I am able to finally connect to a meeting.

I am sort of relieved to hear that having an unmanagable life doesn't necessarily have to mean what I thought it meant. I accept that I cannot manage my emotions. I am actually seeing a therapist (my dr referred me when I went to her about my compulsive eating) - it's been about 3 months. I just had a hard time with this part because it is like - well, that is the one thing that I do really well is manage my family. So, when I dropped the ball that one time (it does not happen often at all) I felt so awful. I am known for being responsible, so when I wasn't - it was hard for me to forgive myself.

I am looking forward to going to the other meeting (not the one where noone showed up) in a week or so. In the meantime I have thought about the online meetings - just to tide me over.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-14-2007, 01:09 PM   #6  
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Scrappy--I have often heard it said that in some ways OAs are the most responsible, functional people around. All of our ducks line up, we get lots done every day, other people look at us as pillars of strength and organization...but there's that ONE element, food, that we cannot control. Most times, when everything is going well, that problem is hidden. It's those times when we do accidentally drop the ball (as in your missed appointment) that you can see where the pain is.

To me that's what this sounds like: pain. It sounds like you beat yourself up, like you hold yourself to this impossibly high standard for taking care of everyone, and everything, else. The only way you're easy on yourself is by giving yourself food. Food is the symptom, yes, but food isn't actually the problem. It seems to me that more of the issue is that you feel unworthy unless you are perfect, and you have no space in your life for being human. Being human brings us around to our H.P.: we accept that we aren't perfect, we aren't super human, and there are some things where it helps to believe that someone/something else has our backs. At least for me, when I accepted that I was doing a really great job of managing most of my life but that some parts were out of balance is when I took the first step. I accepted that I am not perfect, and that it is unreasonable to expect that of myself. Possibly that way of thinking about it would help?
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Old 06-14-2007, 03:07 PM   #7  
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sidhe - actually, your post brought tears to my eyes. It is always so good to come on here and people know what you are going through - understand. Yes, I hold myself to an incredibly high standard - which of course is why I have felt like such a failure with 'dieting' (I hate that word and don't think it really applies - in truth for 4 years I have been trying to make lifestyle changes). I seem unable to offer myself grace - though I can easily do so for other people. I am an incredibly self-aware person. I know why I am the way I am - I just can't figure out how to change. Honestly, forever I have felt like others who just set their mind to do something - good for them but they have something I don't - I am lazy and just cannot do it. That is a bit why OA has been so eye-opening for me. I know it stems back to my childhood and my parents - when it was basically my responsibility to always have a smile on my face and not cause any problems. I have never EVER been good at telling people what I need - "no, I don't need anything - I'm no trouble" - no conflicts here. So I turned to food to get what I need. After all, it's always there. And I'm aware of it now, which is such a huge thing - but it is hard to change. It is a lifetime of old habits and while I know in my head and heart why things are the way they are - and that at this point - my parents are no longer responsible for me in that sense - if I want to be happy it is up to ME. But the everyday things that happen - well, it's like I need a step-by-step blueprint to remind myself that I am worthy. So I do need to change my way of thinking and keep reminding myself to give myself grace.
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Old 06-14-2007, 03:18 PM   #8  
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Quote:
it's like I need a step-by-step blueprint
What luck, because that's what you've found!

Sweetie, you don't have to do this all at once. You don't have to just turn around one day and have everything "perfect". You never have to be perfect. One step at a time, just as well as you can. Be gentle with yourself.

At the end of each meeting, the Promises are read. The sentence that stands out to me the most is "We will comprehend the word 'serenity', and we will know peace." That peace and serenity will come, and it's the most valuable thing. Neither you nor I nor anyone has to be perfect. Once you understand that, your peace will come. Keep believing.
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Old 06-14-2007, 06:03 PM   #9  
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scrappychic, thank you for saying what I've felt for so long! Reading through this thread made me get teary because it so describes my life! I'm always in control...well, at least on the outside! But knowing that I'm not the only really, really helps! So, I hope it helps you to know that I'm right there with you...and we will get through this!!
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Old 06-15-2007, 10:20 AM   #10  
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sidhe - seriously, it's a step by step blueprint? I've only read the two steps so far! I will say yesterday I was starving and had to stop at our superwalmart for some groceries. A recipe for disaster for sure. But I stuck to just getting what I needed and then I was in the check out line. And of course there are sweets - candy bars (my old favorite) there and I wanted one SO badly. But - I actually said a little prayer about it - talked to my HP and asked God to show me what to do. I don't know what I expected, but just doing that helped me pass those candy bars by. Is that the sort of thing that happens? And I managed to stay on plan all day and it felt really, really good. Perhaps day 1 of abstinence. I still need to keep reading the book (12 steps) and I am wondering - should I read it all at once or just little by little? Thanks...

LilMama - SO NICE TO MEET YOU! You are right - we can do this!!! I can honestly say that for the first time in my life I really feel hopeful about it - because it isn't about weight loss for me this time - or not JUST weight loss - but it is about dealing with the problem behind the food.
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Old 06-15-2007, 11:56 AM   #11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrappychic View Post
sidhe - seriously, it's a step by step blueprint? I've only read the two steps so far! I will say yesterday I was starving and had to stop at our superwalmart for some groceries. A recipe for disaster for sure. But I stuck to just getting what I needed and then I was in the check out line. And of course there are sweets - candy bars (my old favorite) there and I wanted one SO badly. But - I actually said a little prayer about it - talked to my HP and asked God to show me what to do. I don't know what I expected, but just doing that helped me pass those candy bars by. Is that the sort of thing that happens? And I managed to stay on plan all day and it felt really, really good. Perhaps day 1 of abstinence. I still need to keep reading the book (12 steps) and I am wondering - should I read it all at once or just little by little? Thanks...
Just keep answering the questions, and try not to get ahead of yourself. Deal with what you have in front of you right now, deal with today. Try not to look too far ahead and REALLY try to not let yourself get overwhelmed. The steps will walk you through the process. As you answer the questions, you'll start to feel like you're more solid, you have something inside you to lean on.

I think it's FANTASTIC that you had a conversation with your HP and that helped you to not turn to the chocolate! GO TEAM YOU! I talk to my HP [briefly] before each meal. I basically say, "Okay, Afon, you're in charge here," and when I get the sense that I've had enough food I stop eating. And it's been working! When I was first abstinent I was eating whether or not I felt like I needed to--if that's what I turned over, that's the amount I ate. Then I had a chat with my sponsor and explained that sometimes I felt like I was "stuffing" the food in, and she said that as long as I watched for intentionally undereating, we could try my just "eating until I was full". In that time--35 days--I've lost 9 pounds.

Count your abstinent day. Abstinence is refined and changed as you go along. If you didn't engage in compulsive eating and you were aware all day, then I say it's abstinent! You're on day 2!
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