OA literature and the Twelve Steps say that finding God is the way to be free of compulsive overeating. Secular OA types don’t find that answer very helpful. So, what works for you?
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1. Clarity on the food problem:
2. Focus on the food solution:
Avoid certain foods (your problem foods)
Avoid certain food behaviors (make plans for high-risk scenarios like travel, holidays, eating out, etc.)
Get help with designing a food plan (nutritionist, MD, read books, etc.)
Weigh and measure some or all foods where volume is an issue
Get support to implement a solution
3. Get a sponsor:
4. Better awareness of self (personal inventory):
5. Structure and support:
I have also explored the idea of intuition over the years. I used to think it was this mysterious idea or thought that came to me perhaps through my heart or the wisdom of others or who knows. Now I just focus on ideas, thoughts, and information that seem helpful, and what it is called or where it is sourced is not so important. Perhaps it is just calm reflection when in a state of abstinence. If I choose behaviors that keep me abstinent and reasonably serene and help others, I consider that a success.
Also, abstinence does not have to be black and white. It can refine over time. Things can be tested and learned from. Self-honesty is key. At the end of the day, if I get to a weight I like and am mostly at peace with food, that is a win. If the rest of my life and relations with others improve, that is a home run. If I can help others achieve the same, that is a grand slam. We are all in this together and need each other’s help. Thus OA is a SUPPORT GROUP. It’s that simple.
—Alan S, Alexandria, VA USA
Structure for me means using these tools:
Outside sources include:
—Edie E, Northampton, MA USA
I wondered when I first came into OA how I could possibly be successful when I could not work the Steps as written. As much as my wonderful sponsor tried to help me translate all the god writings into a non-deity for my higher power, the rather heavy-handed theme running throughout many of the Steps is that you cannot be successful without the Judeo-Christian god. I also balked at the thought of turning over responsibility to another entity to handle this disease, as all aspects of my life are ultimately my responsibility.
I can remain abstinent with the help of other OA members, and by allowing my best self to make the healthy and kind decisions that lead to abstinence.
—Kathie S, Grass Valley, CA USA
My own comfort with “higher power” as a term (as an atheist) has been tied to my notion that the wisdom of the group (at its ideal best) is larger than my own reality and therefore higher. Or that “reality”—the natural world, science, being present and/or other real things outside the machinations in my own head—is bigger than me, so perhaps also a “higher” power.
But looking at the Steps and alternative versions—and trying to see past the evangelical/patriarchal/hierarchical roots of the Twelve Steps—I think the core thing I really need for my spiritual recovery may not be a HIGHER power, but an OUTSIDE power. Looking outward for new thoughts, answers, help, and support—and leaving the false internal reality of negative/obsessive/addictive thinking.
My definition of spiritual recovery is unrelated to deities, spirits, or mystical thinking—just healing and strengthening of the human spirit.
—Mark S, Santa Monica, CA USA
God is not the answer, in my opinion, because there is no god. There is no god to watch out for us and god to give our problems to. We cannot recover on our own. We need help from OA fellows, and we need the collective wisdom recorded in OA and recovery literature.
—Matt J, Emeryville, CA USA