Although I did my best, for the first 15 years of being in a 12 Step fellowship, I knew I hadn't quite got it. Eventually, I met a woman at a meeting who talked about freedom from not just eating, but freedom from the obsession with food and from pills. And most of all, she talked about the joy of living without food, whereas I still focused on trying to control my weight. Attracted to that lady, I began phoning her. She helped me to see the simple, and effective solution that Addictive Eaters Anonymous offers. She gave me a food plan which made me very happy. At last, someone was telling me what to eat because, at that stage, I just did not know how or what to eat. This woman, who became my sponsor, told me how to eat, what to eat, and when to eat. I could have kissed her feet for helping me with this problem.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explained when I stopped using alcohol and food, then I would need to get down to the roots and causes of my problem. I would need to find a way of living life that did not revolve around food and alcohol and antidepressants, I needed a Power greater than myself. The Big Book makes it clear that I have to replace my old way of life with a Power greater than myself. So here was the answer to all my problems. Instead of trying to make things work by myself, why not try the only thing that's left, which is a Power greater than myself?
I had to choose: God is either everything or He is nothing
Sometimes I say, God. Sometimes I say Divine Intelligence. Sometimes I say the Spirit of the Universe. I know not what God is. It is beyond human comprehension but my beliefs have evolved. I remember I was on a food plan, driving to work thinking I had the best job in the world, yet still I felt self-loathing. Beneath it all, I heard a quiet voice that said to me, either God is everything or else He is nothing. What is your choice?
Now, by this stage, I had been phoning members with much more sobriety than me. Every day, I would call three or four people who were sober for 20 or 30 years. They kept saying the same thing to me, forget yourself, help other people, and find a Power greater than yourself. Go deeper, deep into the quiet, the quietness of life, that stillness of life, where the real Power comes from.
I spend time, a few moments each day, with my Higher Power
So on this day when my head was full of what is the boss going to think? I hope my colleagues have noticed what I did. I hope I get the best car to drive from the carpool. What do people think of me? These silly little things were plaguing my mind. The voice came in saying, you must believe in a Power greater than yourself. Immediately as I was driving to work, I decided, yes, I am going to stop playing. Then I started really cultivating a relationship with God, with Divine Intelligence. I am going to act as though God really is concerned about me, and how I help others. That is where it started for me. I visited my sponsor, and she helped me to go further with the quiet meditation, and with my relationship with God.
It has just grown from there. Like having a best friend, my Higher Power is with me all day long, encouraging me to breathe, relax, and take it easy. Enjoy, have joy. Don't take yourself too seriously. Like a best friend cannot be neglected, like my marriage, I must not neglect God. So I spend time, a few moments each day - nothing big, nothing major - cultivating and growing that relationship with that Power.
Through meditation, my relationship with the Spirit of the Universe keeps growing
Now I live in the north of Scotland, in Glasgow, and I wake up very early in the morning and meditate. It is dark because we are into autumn and winter. I sit in this armchair and open up my spiritual books including the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I read just one or two sentences, and then I breathe and start to meditate. I think, talk, and listen to God, to the Spirit of the Universe, that just keeps growing and growing.
That self-loathing, that wanting to please, that being bothered and wanting me-first, me-first that self-centeredness is dissolving slowly - I hope. It has been replaced by a quietness, a confidence and a knowing. Most of all, it is that I now know for sure that there is no other. There is no other way. There is only we and us and togetherness. It is as though sobriety, stopping eating and forming a relationship with God, has calibrated me to life, integrated me into the universe and the world where there is no more separateness.
Participating in life and not taking myself too seriously
I am no longer clinging to my identity, believing I have got to make up this false personality, so that I fit in. My head is quiet. But I still have to pay the bills, I still have to have a relationship with my friends and husband, and I am very much in the fellowship of Addictive Eaters Anonymous, I am still challenged by the weather and people who disagree with me. These days, I don't take myself so seriously. I rely upon Divine Intelligence to know what it is doing. It is not down to me.
Some people who find sobriety may withdraw from society, believing that meditation and sitting quietly by themselves, is what this life is all about. I have always known, however, of my responsibility, although that may sound like a heavy word. Rather, I enjoy being a neighbour, a friend, a member of AEA. My husband and I are more in love and are more invested in the business world than ever before. It just gets better. It seems like time expands and stretches.
I do believe if I keep sharing this miracle, that a Power greater than myself, the Universe, replenishes me, and helps me to receive more than I could ever have asked for. That is my experience in Addictive Eaters Anonymous.