In CeaHow Recovery, we follow the 2nd Tool which says,
We use Alcoholics Anonymous' "The Big Book" and A.A.'s "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" as tools of examination and release. Our writing assignments for the first 30 days are taken from them. When we substitute the words "compulsive eater" for "alcoholic" and "food" for "alcohol", we feel we identify absolutely. We believe that negative thinking is a large part of our disease, so we are learning, one day at a time, to abstain from negative thinking.
THE FIRST 30 DAYS
Q- Critical Nature of our Disease
A- The YoYo effect and its associated symptoms presents compelling evidence that my real obsession with food and inability to stop overeating has brought me to a turning point. I can continue and die from the symptoms or embrace a recovery program and live. I did not get out of control immediately. My obsession and powerlessness over food increased over the years. In elementary school my baby fat grew particularly in the belly, to the point of being called "sugar belly" when I was in junior high. A growth spurt, however, trimmed me down to a bean pole by my freshman year and I maintained 175 lbs. till 1970. Then I stopped smoking, another addiction, and got married and inched my way up to 200 lbs. Adding anti-depressants to help me fight depression and to sleep better caused a jump to 225 and I yoyoed there 225 to 250 till I divorced in 2000. Now severly depressed, taking 13 prescriptions and suffering from multiple phyical and mental issues, I self-medicated with food to feel better and reached a highest weight of 365 lbs in 2006. I just wanted to die and I could not care for myself. The psychiatrist who had charge of my case diagnosed me with major depressive disorder with ruminations and compulsions, and added that he did not think I would ever get better. My sisters actually said that in 2000 they thought I had come home to die.
Q- Fatal Nature of My Disease
A- The pressure of the excess weight produced ulcers in my feet and legs, many required hospitalizations, many included serious staph infections and complications. Compulsive eating put tremendous pressure on my legs and feet causing them to be swollen and inflammed reducing mobility. The excess weight aggravated my fibromyalgia - the acute and chronic pain severely limited and reduced my quality of life, deepened my depression, and increased my self-loathing. My vascular system was compromised, high blood pressure, meralgia paresthetica, varicose veins, stomach ulcers, gout, gerd, prostate inflammation and surgeries followed in rapid succession. I had to realize the accidents, close calls, my obesity could kill me if I did nothing but I did not know what to do. I am so physically and mentally weak that all I do is suffer and many times brings me thoughts of taking my own life. Life just passes me by. I am a bystander in my own life rather than a participant, always a victim, rarely a volunteer. My social relationships are diminished to non-existent because I think of myself as an unworthy disgusting fat body! I know I am insane in my thinking and actions, doing the same things over and over, always expecting good results. For more insight Read http://www.oa12step4coes.org/news/disease.html
Q- Insights and Understanding from Examining My Disease
A- I have been very slow to admit that I had a problem with food. I always thought that I just ate too much and exercised too little and all I had to do was cut back. Oh, I knew sometimes I'd have a craving for sweets or salty things and I'd pig out on them. I did love smorgasbords, any all you can eat places were, I thought, I could get the best best bang for my buck! It helped me admit that I had a real problem with food when I started having allergic reactions to seemingly everything. I had allergy testing done and I tested positive to all pollen from growing things, to cat and dog dander, roaches, dust mites and even yeast. Knowing that I was allergic to yeast was a real check up from the neck up. That allowed me to understand that I in fact was no different than an alcoholic who has an allergy to alcohol. For me donuts, pastries, cakes and pies were in jeopardy when I was around. I simply could not put them down until they were all gone and even then sometimes I would go out and buy more!
Q- The Deception of Others is almost always rooted in the Deception of Ourselves. What have we Done that reaffirms this idea?
A- At an early age, I learned that the Bible says we are to be perfect in several places. Though I did not really understand what this meant, I took it to mean that God did not allow for mistakes, and if I made a mistake in my attempts to serve God then He would not love me. That set me on a determined course to be perfect in all aspects of my life. I soon realized that I could not always do everything perfectly and as a result I began to feel badly about myself. There was something wrong with me, I was broken, I had failed God and could not be loved. I wondered whether anyone else could love me either, including my parents. As a result of this thinking, I began to pretend that I was OK and was handling things in a perfect way. I was often told by adults in my small community, Johnny is such a good boy! I thought if I could pull the wool over everyones eyes (deceive them into thinking I was perfect) at least someone might love me. I have been pretending and deceiving others all of my life. Good boys don't overeat, so when I was around others I was on my best behavior and only ate what I was served. I would eventually find times when I could eat alone so I could "pig out" and that became a lifetime pattern. I was dishonest with others about waht I ate but in reality I was just lying to myself. Shakespeare wrote, "To thine own self be true and it must follow as the night the day, that thou canst not be false to any man. I violated that truth in spades. My life was lived in support of this principle. It is only since God lead me to CEA-HOW recovery that I have become able to be genuine with others. I think now I practice what I preach and what you see is what you get!
Q- Discuss the Substitution Method of Accepting God (Higher Power)
A- I thought food was my god. I felt sorry for myself all the time and felt a victim for my circumstances. I would turn to food rather than God for comfort. In order to obey the demands made by the food, I had to turn my back on God so I could abuse my body by eating constantly, thinking I was free to do and to eat whatever I wanted. This power and control I exercised in a God-like manner also applied to my smoking tobacco. I'd smoke, inhaling cigarettes, cigars and pipe until my body was saturated with nicotine, then I would eat compulsively to dissipate the nicotine so I could smoke more. I ate like there was no tomorrow, whole boxes of cereal, trays of sweet rolls, boxes of donuts, and whole pies and cakes - I was in control? I used sex as a higher power always thinking that because I had been deprived and had deprived myself, I was due and deserving to enjoy this pleasure. It was a human need after all and I so wanted to enjoy it though I really knew nothing about it. I derived my sense of acceptance and well being from my fantasies about women rather than from God. I have also used my mind and knowing myself instead of fully relying on God (FROG). I would equate thinking I would pray with actually being in a sacred place on my knees in prayer. Service to others has always been a substitute - I found my reason to live, my self worth, my well being by giving sacrificial service to others rather that turning my life over to the care of God asking, Father, Thy Will not mine be done. My service, I believed, actually would buy my spot in the world and my right to exist. I never ever believed that God had already created me perfect, in His image, and Christ by His Sacifice had made me worthy and of great value to fill my special place in the world.
Q- Belief means Reliance not Defiance
A- I have tried all my life to accomplish so many things- tried to do it all my myself. I had the wrong idea and thought the world revolved around me and my problems. I was not as successful as if I had turned things over to God and relied upon Him to do them in His own time. I really did not practice what I believed. I know that FROG (Fully Rely On God) must be my only guide through the pitfalls of life to success. Defiance is an outstanding characteristic of every compulsive eater. (page 31 AA's 12 & 12) Yes, true, we thought we knew better and could do it by ourselves and we spent our time dictating how things would go in our world. We were a house divided against itself and we finally understood the insanity of our thinking. The hoop you have to jump through is a lot wider that you think. Success in our simple program is not restricted to a small window of opportunity. We realize that no one has ever done it perfectly and that perfection is not our goal, only making progress, one day at a time. We truly hit the bulls eye when we realized that when we turned it over to God, our higher power, and became willing to go to any lengths necessary, we could only fail if we stopped working our program. Then and only then would God no longer be the driver of our lives. Our EGO would regain control and we would EASE GOD OUT of our lives!
Q- I am afraid and why?
A- 19 days into the first 30 days of abstinence, I slipped, picked up a breath mint at a checkout out lane. I used 9 of them and one day was looking at the back of the box and saw that the first ingredient as sugar. I had not done my due diligence in always reading the ingredient label of anything that had a label. I failed to honor the Sugar Rule which was stipulated in our Forever Abstinent Book: "Sugar in any of its forms must be listed (in the ingredient label) fifth or lower to qualify for use in our eating plan."
The temptations to pick up (sugar, flour and quantities) were bad again. I was afraid the program was going to stop working and I would be back in the same old mess I had been in before. I was fearful that I was choosing the wrong foods to eat or eating them in the wrong combination and I started second guessing myself. As to why I was afraid - I only had 19 days in when I slipped. I had read that it takes at least 30 days of repetition to form a habit. Fear attcked me from many directions but most always because my ego had started running me down for being such a worthless failure.
Q- Why is it important to think of yourself?
A- Because I never had! I thought that was selfish so I always put others first. I now realized that I must put myself first. I realize that if my thinking can become so distorted over 9 tiny breath mints, then any of my insane thoughts or behaviors are possible. I resolved to be diligent and focussed on the basics of my eating program, conscientiously reading ingredient labels, even ones I had read many times before. I commited myself to be constantly on the lookout for any of the 357 different forms of sugar that I had found. [ http://http://bit.ly/2wzJ4Ka ]
I accepted now that there are no shortcuts or acceptable substitutions to my performing due diligence! Half measures truly availed me nothing.
For more help see:
Q- Write on dependence as you understand it. How can it lead to greater independence?
A- Dependence for me has changed from (1) relying on myself to relying on God to do for me what I could not do for myself. (2) Eating what I wanted when I wanted it and as much as I wanted TO following the CeaHow food plan as well as I am able. I realized I depended on foods to feed my addictions to sugar and grains and to drive my irresponsible behaviors and my self-medicating my pain with food. I finally accepted that none of that filled the emptiness within me and that there must be a better way to live than living to eat! Dependence in CeaHow has led me to freedom from obsessing over food. I have learned to accept in each new day that God will do for me what I could not do for myself if I would ask Him. I am asking gratefully.
Q- Discuss growth is a daily commitment. How can I grow daily.
A- Growth is a foregone conclusion. The direction the growth takes is a daily choice. Today, will I seek the good or follow my lusts - will I work my program or will I let it slide? Will I do the next right thing or follow the path of least resistance. Of all the things that I have learned, the greatest insight is that all things are spiritual! I am a spiritual being having a physical journey living but a short time here on the earth. God is the center of my universe. I am in God and God is in my body. God and I combine together for my good which is experience joy and live happy, joyous and free. I do this combination one day at a time. How can I grow daily? By using HOW as an action acronym - By choosing to live Honestly, Openly, with an attitude and positive mindset of Willingness to Change.
Q- Write on the idea that having taken Steps 1 and 2, that the degree of our success in our whole program depends on how we take Step 3.
Step 3 says, "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him."
A- I have realized that in my whole life I have never, truly, turned my will and my life over to God - not completely ever! It was always due to my feelings of estrangement from God. My lack of self-image and self-esteem and unworthiness and my self loathing made it impossible for me to turn anything over. Finding CeaHow has taken 72 years, a lifetime, in the making. Every negative, destructive thing that has happened to me or that I have done to myself has been necessary to bring me full circle back to God. I know now that God has all my life been doing for me what I could not do for myself. My success or failure from this moment on is totally dependent upon my ability to turn myself completely over to the God of my understanding. As the Big Book says, Half measures will avail me nothing! Poking God with a stick or nodding to God which I have done will do me no good - nothing but complete surrender will save me from myself. These shallow and demeaning actions will only damn me to the mediocrity I have always had, with the abundance of stinking thinking which relegated me to a life of depression, despair and insanity. My success in CeaHow will be measured by the degree that I am able to turn everthing over to God and fully rely on Him.
First 30 Days Questions in OA (Overeater's Anonymous)
First 30 Days Questions in SLAA (Sex and Love Addiction Anonymous) http://12sobersteps.blogspot.com/2014/04/30-questions.html
First 30 Days Questions in CoDa (Codependent's Anonymous)
Questions for Recovery from Addictive Behavior