December 23, 2020
I’ve been talking about sponsorship with other oa’ers. I’ve been told by many old timers that you really get a lot from the program when you start sponsoring. In fact, my first long time sponsor told me that helping me helps her program. My current sponsor says that while I’m learning from her she’s learning from me. This reminds me of when I was teaching. There is a philosophy that if you know something well enough to teach it then you really have knowledge of that subject. I used to schedule tutor time for my students. I would have some of the higher level students tutor some of the lower students. Both students benefited. We also used to say that sometimes it takes a kid to teach a kid. That have that special kid talk that we adults have lost.
Anyway, I digress. Hope everyone is having a restful holiday even though everyone is (hopefully) isolating.
Words from Atiya:
December 12, 2020
I am resending this post that I sent out last year. It still applies. The only change (other than the date) is that last weekend I celebrated 14 years! Happy 12 Step Within day!
“WE, OF Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.”
–Alcoholics Anonymous, fourth edition, forward to the first edition, p. xiii.
Last Saturday I picked up my token marking 13 years of abstinence and recovery. At my meeting on Wednesday, I shared along the lines that the abstinence is great but the recovery . . . . Now that is phenomenal!
As someone who began eating compulsively when I was two or three years old, I would have settled for not wanting to eat certain foods in the first place. Not only do I enjoy this freedom today, I have recovered my spiritual nature; my sense of self; and the ability to give and receive love that is beyond measure. My adopted way of life works under all conditions and goes with me no matter where I find myself.
However, you choose to spend the next few weeks and with whomever you share your time, I hope that each of us will remember our daily spiritual self-care. The only way I was able to reach 13 years was by practicing spiritual principles each day, one day at a time.
Thank you for sharing your journeys with me so that I knew that it was possible!
Hugs and love,Atiya M.Raleigh-Durham, NC, USA919.302.1030 (no texts please)email@example.com
November 30, 2020
I didn’t realize that it had been a month since I updated the blog. For that I apologize. If there are any positives about COVID for me it is not having to deal with the giant Thanksgiving Day spread of food. I have a bit of abstinence under my belt now but I don’t think I would have been ready for that test. We usually have Thanksgiving at my great aunt’s house and she is an awesome cook. Besides the dinner, though, there are lots of little snacks here and there. This year I didn’t have that temptation. My aunt is not taking visitors except her daughter. She’s 95 and shouldn’t take any chances. I just came over to my parents’ house and just enjoyed a small meal and their company which suited me fine. I hope everyone else stayed safe and socially distant. We have to nip this thing in the bud. Anyway…..
Words from Atiya:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
I was introduced to this slogan by another member many months ago. Its wisdom really resonated with me and I shared it with others. Yet it was not until yesterday morning, during a meeting on Step Eleven, that I had a spiritual insight around these words. Most of my life, I wanted to go it alone. Going alone meant that I could go when, where and how I wanted. I could do it my way. I also liked to go fast! I would plow through food, money and relationships.
Not until I entered recovery, surrendered my food and began to work the Twelve Steps was I introduced to the concept of honesty. Through the lens of honesty, I began to realize that I choose to be alone, not because I truly liked it but because I was afraid of being hurt. Relationships were painful to me because I did not know how to do them, so I did them poorly. I hadn’t yet learned the concepts of acceptance, forgiveness and ability to trust that make loving relationships possible.
Early in my recovery, I also began to take time to be still, which helped to slow down my impulsiveness. In the stillness, I began to hear truths about myself – some of which no longer served me. Through the process of letting go, as I continued to work the steps, I transformed into a person who values togetherness. Today I have a community of people in my life who know, accept, like and love me! I am no longer afraid to show up in relationships with myself or others. As a result of this change in attitude, I now go far. For me today, going far is about going deeper into intimacy, going deeper spiritually. Today I know that even when I am by myself, I am never alone!
Thanks for being together with me.
Atiya M.Raleigh, NC, USA919-302-1030 (no text messages please)firstname.lastname@example.org
October 30, 2020
Greetings fellow oaers. I hope everyone is well during these turbulent times. I don’t know about you, but being in OA has changed my life. I’m more at peace, I deal with others better, and I’m not eating food that I refer to as crack that makes me binge. If I wasn’t in OA I might be dead or at least 100 pounds heavier or both. I’ve made lots of friends some of whom I pay (she knows who she is) and I’m so grateful. OA has helped me improved good friendships and relationships and get rid of relationships that are harmful. Whenever I get in a bad mood all I have to do is reach out to an OA’er. One of the things that I do to really realize how blessed I am is look at people that are less fortunate than me. I remind myself that I have first world problems. For example, I have a flat tire. First world problem. I can afford a car (a used one). I can afford insurance. I can change the flat. The roads in my area are driveable (somewhat). Anyway, just feeling some gratitude today. Here are some words of wisdom from Atiya:
Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
This morning I was able to attend my home group meeting, where we read Step 10 from Overeaters Anonymous Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, second edition. I shared that during my recent trip to Colorado, it was the first time in my recovery when I did not have daily access to my sponsor. Even on an OA service trip to Brazil many years ago, I was able to find an app that allowed me to call her through the internet. What I did instead while in Colorado for 16 days was call my sponsor when I had service. At other times I would dictate an email and hit send, trusting that it would go through the next time we did have service.
Almost 14 years in recovery, and sponsorship continues to be a vital tool for me. My sponsor is one of the ways that I work the Steps. She helps me to see outside of my (sometimes limited and narrow) perspective. Daily contact with my sponsor also enables me to practice honesty. For instance, one of the first days on our trip I was making my lunch and started to lick my knife. I stopped and said to myself: “We don’t lick utensils while standing.” The behavior stopped and I shared this with my sponsor via email. My food was peaceful the rest of the trip!
The spiritual principle of Step Ten is perseverance. Years ago, one of my sponsors pointed out that my perfectionism had turned into perseverance. It is this kind of loving reframe that I have gotten from my sponsors over the years, and one of the reasons why I am unable to work the steps alone – especially Step Ten. Absent spiritual balance, Step Ten becomes an opportunity for self-flagellation. In community, Step Ten becomes a tool for growth and healing, as well as a way to ensure that all important daily reprieve. 🙂
Thanks for reading me!
Atiya M.Raleigh, NC, USA919-302-1030 (no text messages please)email@example.com
September 17, 2020
Greetings fellow oaers. I don’t have much to add but I do have a new post from Atiyah below:
“Love makes me a channel of peace–that where there is hatred, I may bring love–that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness–that where there is discord, I may bring harmony….”
-AA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Step Eleven, page 99
A few months ago, my partner said that living with me was like living with an active alcoholic. Ouch! After initially denying (at least to myself) his version of reality, I finally came to see from his perspective. Although I didn’t mean to, I was (repeatedly) violating his boundaries which lead him to see me as self-absorbed. Ouch!
I shared with a friend about the situation with my partner. She gave me the assignment of reading the 11th Step prayer daily. I did some research and found that it is also called the Peace Prayer. I changed the language in my AA 12 & 12 to align with my current spiritual beliefs, and I began to read the prayer almost daily.
About two weeks later, I shared with my friend that I had been doing my assignment. I also shared a bit more about the situation with my partner. She then suggested that I read the prayer for both of us: “Love makes us a channel of peace….” which I started to do.
It has been just over a month and the change in my relationship has been astounding! We are more gentle, more playful and enjoying more lightness. We have had fewer conflicts surface and when they did, there would be almost no fighting to get through to a compromised solution. We’re even planning to spend 16 days traveling together in about two weeks. We’ll be in the wilderness so I likely won’t have cell phone or internet service. But I will be taking my Peace Prayer with me (perhaps even laminated)! “It works–it really does!”
Thanks for reading me!
Atiya M. Durham, NC, USA919-302-1030 (no texts, please)firstname.lastname@example.org
September 9, 2020
Happy September fellow OAers! Hope everyone is safe and abstinent. I’m maintaining my abstinence and some weight loss. My numbers are looking good at the doctor. Thanks to HP. My sponsor always reminds me to thank HP.
At the Tuesday meetings (which are hybrid by the way) we listen to different speakers. I’m enjoying this speaker. On the tape one of the ladies referred to a Dear Abby article that appeared on June 22, 2004. I’ve put the link on the Pearls of Wisdom Heard in Meetings and I’ll put it here. Long story short, a young lady writes in to say she’s having a problem with food. Dear Abby refers her to OA (yay!) Here is a link to the article: Dear Abby letter.
I enjoy the Tuesday meeting because we listen to podcasts. As we always say, each meeting has its own personality. Podcasts help me stay in the OA frame of mind. As another member says, “I have an instant forgetter”. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m a compulsive overeater. I remember when I was just starting out and had a little bit of abstinence under my belt. I was at a party and put a piece of candy in my mouth. A couple of seconds later I was appalled at my action and spit it out. How could I forget? Today I remind myself of my disease and ask my higher power to help remain abstinent on a daily basis.
Thanks for reading my ramble. As you can see I write like I talk. Have a great September and stay safe!
August 31, 2020
Hello fellow OA’ers! Hope everyone is safe after that horrible hurricane hit. Imagine those poor people having to deal with covid now this. My prayers go out to them. Me and mine are ok. My parents had the neighbor’s tree fall on the telephone land (yes they have a landline but have iphones too).
I was off a few days last week because of said hurricane and decide to take a drive because I hadn’t been out of the house. While I was driving I said the serenity prayer to calm my nerves then I broke it down:
The first think I needed was serenity. Calmness. Then acceptance. Can I accept that a hurricane is coming? I don’t have a choice. But I can prepare for it. Courage. Can I change a hurricane? No, but again I can prepare for it instead of running around in a panic or just curling myself into a ball. Wisdom to know the difference. Well, with the hurricane I knew that I couldn’t do anything about that hurricane put just deal with it and its consequences. I find if I just apply this to everyday problems, then maybe life will get easier. I can’t control the weather but I can control how I react to it. Anyway, just some food for thought.
Take care and stay abstinent!
August 11, 2020
Hello fellow OA’ers! How is your August going? Anyway, I’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on with my mental well-being. I believe that since I’ve been abstinent I’ve been feeling all of my feelings instead of stuffing them down with food. I don’t like it. This is the stuff I’ve been trying to avoid. So I’m putting on my big girl pants and dealing with them. I’m talking to people, reaching and getting out of my head, upping reading my OA material, and making sure I pray and meditate. The prayer and meditation is pretty awesome. A great way to start the day. I admit that I’ve been slacking a little so I went back to doing it and guess what….I feel much better. Some wisdom from Atiya
July 28, 2020
Hello fellow OA’ers. I don’t know if many of you have Seasonal Affective Disorder but I do and these past couple of rainy and overcast days were getting to me. Usually when I get up in the morning I put on music. These last few days I just put on mellow jazz. This morning I put on some 80’s music, some hip hop and got out of my head. I did my prayer and meditation and when I got to work I read some program material. Doggone it if I didn’t feel ten times better! In other words, I was acting “as” if all that rain and overcastiness wasn’t bothering me. I also put up a few more healthy boundaries in my life. More from Atiyah:
Sat, Jul 25, 2020 5:06 pm
July 23, 2020
Hello fellow OA’ers. Happy summer. It’s here and it’s hot. I was thinking about how much my life has changed since I was in my teens and twenties. I worked jobs where I was outside so much in shorts that when I wore my swimsuit it looked like I was wearing thigh high stockings. These days I work inside and wear pants. I get paid more and the work isn’t as physically grueling. I’m still abstinent and grateful by the grace of God. I have a great support system and life keeps improving.
A nice OA’er sent in some items for the blog:
And some words from Atiya:
Saturday, July 11, 2020 – Spiritual Health
Hello fellow OA’ers. Happy 4th of July. I hope the holiday was an abstinent one for you. Sorry it’s been so long since I wrote. I usually blog when Atiya shares with me but she hasn’t in a while. I hope she’s ok.
Anyway. I’m back at work which means that I don’t go to OA meetings around the clock. That was one of the few pluses about being quarantined. It must have helped because I’m abstinent. That doesn’t mean that the world is back to normal.
Speaking of abstinence, I thought when I became abstinent that all my problems would go away (yeah right) just like I thought if I got skinny all my problems would go away (not that I’m skinny). Instead it has brought me clarity. The thing is, the last time I had a lot of abstinence, I got lazy and stopped working my program. I have come to some realizations that my sponsor and fellow oa’ers have been drilling in my head from day one.
- I have to work this program every day no matter what. As we always say in program -when you’re in the meeting your sickness is outside doing push-ups (mine is training for a triathlon).
- I have to commit to my program every day.
- I have to pray and meditate every day.
- It’s probably ok if I miss a day once in a while but I’m not making a habit of it.
- Footwork, constant footwork.
- I have to work this problem because my life depends on it and it does.
I think this sums it up:
It is easy to let up on our spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol (food) is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism (compulsive overeating). What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. How can I best serve Thee- Thy will (not mine) be done. Big Book pp84-85
Hello fellow OA’ers. I’m missing seeing you face to face in meetings but thank God for Zoom. It’s really helped me get through this pandemic. I hope you all are safe from this thing. I’ve heard lots of great things in meetings and wanted to share. An OA’er mentioned that in the old newsletter there was a feature about things heard in meetings. I’ll be adding an extra spot on the website just for that soon. Of course, if you would like to contribute you can respond on the website.
Wisdom from Atiya:
Someone sent me a blog entry: Thanks:
I come to the meetings…
It has been almost 2 years since I first walked into one of these rooms. I remember that feeling of fear and skepticism as I parked in the parking lot. I’d been to an AA meeting a couple times as a visitor but I’ve never thought I’d be coming to a meeting for myself.
In these last 23 months so much has transpired. I got abstinent, got pregnant, relapsed, started working a 12 step workshop, had a baby and then got abstinent again. This time I’ve stayed abstinent by some miracle. I’m thankful for the opportunity to even write about it.
Someone recently asked me how I define abstinence and as replied, “well, for me abstinence is….” and they interrupted me with a seemingly sarcastic giggle. As if to say—“Here we go again. Can someone PLEASE give me the cure-all?” That’s the essence of what I heard in their voice. It shook me a little bit. Isn’t that what I wanted? To be cured from this? Tell me what to do, I’ll do it! Don’t tell me your way, tell me THE WAY.
It really had me thinking….then suddenly a lightbulb went off. I got it! There is THE WAY. The steps. The program. That is the only way. Abstinence is our word for sobriety. It does not matter how we get there so long as we get there—any length. Just as we are all made uniquely and amazingly different—abstinence can be unique and different. What works for me may not work for you. I may not be able to touch a certain ingredient and you may have no issues with the same one.
The reason I believe I have this clarity and understanding is because I never quit coming to meetings or working my program of recovery. It doesn’t mean I’m cured or that the food doesn’t talk to me. I’m working hard to keep the talking to a whisper or quiet it for today. Most days it is silent and others it sneaks up on me. Those are usually the days when things don’t go as planned or life is hard. Those days the food starts to whisper in my ear—have one bite. Come on, just one. As soon as I hear it start to mumble I call a fellow. I make sure I can make it to the next possible meeting, I call my sponsor, I pray to my Higher Power. I am not helpless. I am worth it and I deserve freedom from this obsession.
These zoom meetings have been a saving grace for me. I’m so thankful for them and I’m thankful to be able to connect to my fellows still.
Coming to meetings, even in relapse, elbows deep in a bag of junk, even saying out loud—I’M IN THE FOOD—not one person turned their hugs and love away. I was embraced, encouraged, and loved even in the mess. That’s what gave me hope. Initially, I didn’t want to come to them for fear of being rejected or disappointing people with my woes of being in relapse. “Look at them, they will judge me.” Who was I to try to imagine the outcome!?!?
When I worked steps 4-9 it was glaringly clear that perfectionism, and expectations were 2 of my top character defects. I predicted how people would see me and already made up their minds about me before even thinking about seeing them. When I started to have a spiritual change those defects were lessened and lessened. I do not fear not judge my fellows. We are in this together.
I’m forever grateful for the meetings being alive and well, even in this chaos. I’m thankful I can talk to my fellows. They all help keep me abstinent. I hope I can be there for others, too.
Thanks for letting me share: Tami M.
Hello fellow OA’ers
Sorry this been so long in coming. It’s amazing to me that I can find time to write this blog when I’m working full time but give me lots of time and I get nothing done. I’ve stayed pretty abstinent until Easter weekend. I guess my feelings were hurt a little because my mom didn’t want me to come over. My head understands: she is a diabetic and she 75. Both factors put her at risk for getting the coronavirus. My feelings and my heart don’t understand. Usually I spend time with both parents on most holidays. Easter is usually spent with my partner and me visiting with my parents and one or both of my siblings visiting also. I’m very close to my family so for me to spend Easter at home felt strange and lonely. If it were up to my dad everything would have gone on as usual. He is still working his part time so life for him is close to being normal. Anyway, thanks to the Zoom meetings, I’ve been getting in more meetings than normal. If you haven’t gone to any Zoom meetings they are very user friendly. You can call or go online to join. Thanks for the oa’ers that have given service to set this up and to lead meetings.
Speaking of service, the topic has come up in several meetings I have attended. Service can be helpful to keep this fellowship going. Service as in taking the key to a meeting can make sure you go to that meeting. Service can be large or small. Service can be helping to put away chairs, leading a meeting, contributing to a topic. For me, service helps me understand OA on a deeper meaning. What do you think about service? Several oa’ers have said that their sponsor has been asking them to do service.
A fellow oa’er shared the slipping and sliding tool. It’s something that’s been around but she thought it would be relatable in these times where we have to quarantine in place. The link is right here:
She also shared this picture and named it Spiritual Powerwashing:
I know I’m behind because I have 3 blogs of Atiya’s to post:
Whatever we call them, they mark our achievements and are goals for us to look forward to. This week marks seven years since I came back to OA, and stayed. At one of those first meetings, a fellow received a 30 day coin. She was SO excited! She shared how hard she had been working and how long it had taken for her to get to that point. I hadn’t even figured out what abstinence was, let alone could I imagine being abstinent for 30 days, but seeing her joy and celebration gave me hope.
Last night I picked up a 90 day coin. It’s not the first time, but I think it might be the last time. I have a bowl of coins at home, and when I stack them up, I have LOTS of desire coins, a fair number of 30 day, fewer 60 day, fewer still 90 day, and even a couple six month and a 9 month. In the past, I would pick up a coin, hold on to it for a couple of days, then it would go into the bowl. This time, starting with the last desire coin I took, it stays in my pocket until replaced by the next milestone. In the past, I have looked on that bowl as my failures. Now, I see my past achievements! I’ve done this before, I can do it again! Even If it was only for 30 days, I did it! I was abstinent for those 30 days. I CAN be abstinent for another 30 days, just one day, one hour, one minute at a time.
These days any time I’m wearing something with pockets, I have three tokens in one of them. Every day. One is a coin with the serenity pray on one side and a tree on the other. When struggling with my concept of a higher power I remember, I can’t control the sun coming up in the morning, and I can’t make a tree grow – there has to be some power greater than me making that happen. The second says “Every little thing is gonna be alright,” because, yes, every little thing IS gonna be alright. The third is my most recent recovery coin to remind me how far I have come, and that I CAN do this. There’s no money in my pocket for junk food, there’s no junk food in my pocket 😉 but there are these reminders. I am not alone, it’s going to be OK, and look what I have achieved so far!!!
Hello my fellow OA’ers! Sorry I have been slacking on the job but I have some notes from other OA’ers:
“Compulsive Overeating was concentration on food; Abstinence is concentration on Recovery.”
I know it’s been a while because I have 3 messages from Atiya:
When I arrived at my first OA meeting in November 2006, I weighed 240 pounds. I had just purchased a new wardrobe in size 18/20. After I surrendered my food to my higher power and began to work the steps, I had a weight release of approximately 5 pounds a month and approximately 90 pounds in total. I began to wear a size 6 and even fit into some size fours. During the weight release, my menstrual cycle stopped. I begin working with my dietitian (with the knowledge of my doctor and sponsor) to re-gain some weight in hopes that my cycle would naturally resume. I continued to weigh and measure my food. I almost always felt very full and bloated after my meals. Eventually, with a weight increase of about 10-15 pounds, my menstrual cycle resumed. I was able to still wear most of my clothes.
About seven years ago I began another part of my journey: surrendering the food scale (which I will likely share more about when I send out my reflection on perfectionism). My weight dropped almost immediately as I stopped eating until I felt very full and instead learned to stop eating when I felt comfortable (about 80% full). I once again easily fit into size 6 clothing. Over the years I also stopped weighing my body and instead used my clothing as a guide. I felt comfortable in my body and enjoyed being a size 6. Since I stopped weighing my food, I have continued to eat the same foods, in the same amounts (or less). The few times I inadvertently saw my weight, I weighed the same. In the past two years or so, my body seemed to shift and my waist expanded. Initially I responded to this change in my body shape with a lot of profanity and disbelief. When I finally begin to accept the reality, I slightly increased the amount of time I spent doing cardio and started doing sit-ups. The biggest blow has been although I can still fit into my size sixes, I feel uncomfortable in some of my clothes (and truth be told, have for some time). And when purchasing clothing items recently, I chose the size 8 because they fit better than the size 6. I also (reluctantly) admit that the last time I inadvertently saw my weight several months ago, it was about 5-10 pounds heavier than I previously thought. So where does this leave me? In a place of humility. By all accounts, I am still skinny and very much a healthy body weight. And, I don’t have the same body I did when I first had a weight release 10+ years ago.
–Alcoholics Anonymous, fourth edition, Into Action, page 86
When I first heard this phrase, my interpretation was that God gave me a brain for me to use (thus, to think). Later on I had a spiritual awakening and understood another interpretation: that God gave me a brain for God’s use (my thoughts serving as spiritual guidance). This new understanding was revolutionary for me because I spent so much time before (and during) recovery finding fault with my thinking. I would demonize my thinking if it were not “perfect.“ Due to the spiritual work around my thinking, mainly through working the steps, I began to trust myself and my thinking.
This was not an overnight matter. Yet eventually I came to accept my thinking as being a part of me and responding to unhealthy thoughts with gentleness (instead of condemnation). This new attitude towards my thinking has been especially important for me over the past two weeks as I have experienced severe mental health challenges. I was able to respond to even the most pain thoughts with compassion. I was able to continuously take the next indicated action. Gratefully I came through the dark and painful days and have reached the shore once again. I am still mentally fragile, so I continue to treat myself and my thoughts with gentleness and kindness.
Thank you for all who have shown me the way and been by my side through it all. May we all be well together.