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Working the steps for a life of sobriety in Addictive Eaters Anonymous

Before I found recovery in Addictive Eaters Anonymous, I was never a great ‘people person’ because my addictive eating was the dominant thing in my life. Now, I would not call myself a social butterfly, but I am much more able to be sociable in the world, within my immediate and wider family, with our friends and in the workplace. It is nice to have that in my life now, but the programme and the things I do to get well are all equally as important. They include having a sponsor, the same sponsor I had when I first came in. I still spend a lot of time talking to other addictive eaters on the phone and going to plenty of meetings.

These days, I probably spend more time connecting with a Higher Power. I pray. I meditate. These are all things that have come along over the years and, for me, they all work together. Today, I accept that it is the way it needs to be for the rest of my life. I absolutely know that to be true. It has been a long time now since I have eaten addictively. I have had more years of sobriety than I did eating addictively. It would be easy to forget, except every time I have contact with another addictive eater and every time I go to a meeting, I remember. I find myself thinking, oh yes, this is still me. Remembering I am an addictive eater and still only one bite away from spiraling back into addiction helps me to keep doing what I am doing for my sobriety, and luckily for me, I love doing it. It is a real bonus that I love the practicality and the spirituality of the program. It all works so well together.

I found relief from pain by practising meditation

When I first discovered the 12 Steps of recovery, I was, and still am, strong about needing to work the Steps, but I never really persevered with meditation, which is part of the 11th Step. It just seemed too hard. Today, I understand prayer as talking to God and meditation as listening. It seems I was okay with the talking. I would talk, talk, talk to my Higher Power. At one stage of my sobriety, my prayers just got longer and longer. But I was never very good at listening because my thoughts kept encroaching. I thought I can’t do this and I would shelve it once again.

Over the years, I have suffered from a lot of migraines, for multiple reasons. About the time when I got to a chronic place with migraines, a local Step 11 meditation meeting started. I began attending right when I felt I had reached the end and did not know what to do next about the migraines. Since that time I have continued going to that meeting and based on my experience in the meeting, practising meditation at home. Now there are no migraines.

Through pain and action, I have found peace - everything working together for recovery

My mind has quietened down a lot from how it used to be. Today I try and stay more in the present. I believe a lot of my migraine problem was being out of the present. As soon as I felt a bit of a headache I would think, oh my god, is this going to be a migraine? I wonder how many days off work I will need to take? It would build up, rather than reduce in size. Then it would take off and leave me bedridden. So it was the migraines that encouraged me to persevere with meditation. I’m grateful for that today.

I am a person who seems to be pushed along by pain, different forms of pain. It does not necessarily have to be physical pain. Emotional pain also pushes me to do what I need to do to continue in recovery.

Through having conscious contact with a Higher Power, I have also learned to be a good listener. I have found I can be still and not jump in with words all the time. Today, I can just be, and not have to be doing something, whether it is with words or action. I can be still and know that, right now, all is well. I’m grateful for the life and the peace I have found by working the steps in Addictive Eaters Anonymous.

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