The first thing that came into my life when I started going to meetings in a 12 Step fellowship was some daily structure. Naturally, I am a very undisciplined person, a common characteristic of the disease of addiction. I just could not stick at things. One of the very first things suggested to me was that when I wake up in the morning, to read a few pages of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous and say a few prayers to start the day. That was the beginning of getting some order in my life. During the day, I went to at least one meeting and sometimes two, as I was not working at the time. At the end of the day, I said thank you to my Higher Power for the day. Another suggestion was that I get a job and become self-supporting. So I got a job and that added even more structure to my life.
As the years went on, I was still bingeing and vomiting while in the fellowship, but that basic daily structure always remained. When I got up in the morning, I did prayers and readings. I went to regular meetings and to work. At night I would say thank you to God for the day. It did not matter how much bingeing, vomiting, exercising, smoking, or whatever else I was doing, I kept those disciplines in my life.
I got so sick and tired of all the bingeing, vomiting, exercising and smoking
I gave up the vomiting and exercise and I ended up getting fat. Eventually, I put my hands up and said, okay I can not do it anymore. I asked for help from a sponsor and the addictive eating stopped. I started having a lot more contact with people and doing service in the 12 Step fellowship. I started spending more time with my family. Life became more meaningful, filling the gap where food had been before.
Accepting and reconnecting with my own concept of God
In Step 11, I heard about the idea of a God of your own understanding. As a child, I went to Sunday school and, as a teenager, I returned to the church. I got quite heavily involved in a youth group. I was baptized as a Christian and I lived like that for a couple of years before I went down the path of drugs and alcohol. I deviated off track and started experimenting with other substances as part of the starving that I was doing at the time. When I came into a 12 step fellowship I was familiar with the concept of God, but I thought that, since I could choose my own understanding, I would change my God to nature or another concept. But no matter how hard I tried to change my beliefs, I could not do it. Eventually, I decided the concept of God I had was fine with me and I did not need to change it. I still have the same Christian God. I feel like God is revealing more of His character to me as the years go on and it helps me.
A gentle God in every area of my life if I can let go
The 12 step fellowship of Addictive Eaters Anonymous has helped me to understand that the disease of addiction centres in my mind. It is not so much about the substances of food, alcohol, drugs, or compulsive exercise. The problem with addiction stems from the wacky thinking that leads to the need to pick up the first one - whether that is a drink, a bite, a cigarette or a drug. I have come to understand that part of me and to accept that more and more.
As an example of addictive thinking, the other day, I enjoyed a lovely family meeting with my sisters, brothers, and my father online. During the lockdown, we had started getting together in this way. The next day, when I woke up, my mind was saying so-and-so didn't get to speak enough during our get-together. You spoke too much and that person might be upset and this person might think that. Blah, blah, blah, you need to ring and see if they are all fine. My mind was so busy with all this that I started feeling anxious about it. This started as soon as my eyes opened in the morning, while I was still in bed. Then I asked myself, what if everything that happened was as it was supposed to be and everybody who spoke wanted to. What if I didn't speak more than anybody else and I don't need to ask anybody how they are. I can just get on with the day and trust that everything is okay.
I believe these second sane thoughts come from the God of my understanding, a gentle God that allows me to get on with the day and enjoy my life. God takes care of that type of thing. I got on my knees and said, God, I give you this person and that person. I give you that phone call, that situation and everything that happened. I trust that if I'm supposed to do something, you will make it known to me. I will let it go. Then I spoke to my sponsor about it. She said that sounds just fine and I thought, yeah okay, that is my Higher Power working for me. It is truly wonderful that I do not have to believe everything that comes into my thinking. Instead, a Higher Power can speak through the intuitive voice within me.
I am reconnected with life again
I am a member of Addictive Eaters Anonymous. I am sober, in recovery from addictive eating. Having grown up in the 70s, in the era of disco, I still find myself enjoying dancing and disco music. At the moment, while I’m in lockdown in a bubble with my husband, we have been enjoying a bit more time together. Yesterday we went to the park and kicked a football around, which was fun. I am enjoying the slightly slower pace of life in lockdown. It is a different time for everyone, but there are some pluses with it all and there is so much to be grateful for in my sobriety.
Thank you to Addictive Eaters Anonymous for giving me those little daily disciplines early on, which have reconnected me with my Higher Power and with life again.