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Step 1 of Overeaters Anonymous: Managing Emotional Eating

This is the first post (Step 1) in my holiday tribute or Ode to the 12 Days of Christmas for Bulimics and Anorexics.  My goal is to provide a light and uplifting explanation to the 12 Steps of Overeaters Anonymous in this series of posts.

In Step 1 of the 12 Steps of Overeaters Anonymous it reads:

 We admitted we were powerless over food – that our lives had become unmanageable.

“My name is Polly and I admit that I’m powerless over fruitcake.”

Bad joke, I admit.  But that’s what it sounds like when you read that step literally.  Now here’s my interpretation (or translation):

“My name is Polly and I admit that my life sucks, I feel fat all the time, and want another body/life because I let food, my weight, and my stomach be the obsession of my thoughts every waking moment and I’m freakin’ exhausted trying to please others.”

Ha!  You can hear the surrender and release of resistance a bit more clearly in that one, yes?  Now that’s authentic.  There’s power in being your authentic self.  With finally getting real with what your life has come to and knowing you want – and honestly, deep down – deserve a better life.

It’s only when we finally decide we can’t take another day of living like an indentured servant to [insert trigger food here] and release the control food has over our thoughts and actions that we’re able to feel free.  We have to admit that food (or stomach in my case) is all we think about and our lives have become pitifully absent of love, happiness or connection to others because of it.

Ok, I said this would be an uplifting interpretation of the 12 Steps of OA and that sounds pretty somber.  Well, living in the grasp of an eating disorder is pretty freakin’ miserable. I lived with bulimia for 20 years and speak from experience that there were some dark days and lonely nights.

I know I know – where’s the uplifting part?!

Ready?  Here it is…

Life gets easier once you admit you have a food addiction.

Sounds strange that admitting and sort of succumbing to being powerless can be a relief.  It does and you can be free once you release the resistance.

This first post and step 1 of Overeaters Anonymous are all about admitting that you are powerless over fruitcake.  Uh, I mean food.

Your work this week if you’re up for taking on the 12 Steps of Overeaters Anonymous is to admit you’re powerless over food.  Your statement can sound a bit like mine did above, but it doesn’t have to.  Yours will reflect your situation.  It’s time for you to get authentic with yourself about what’s not working and what’s causing you to obsess – to binge and purge all the time instead of feeling joy and the love from others.

If you’d like to share your step 1 statement below in the comments, please feel free.

Get ready for my next post – Step 2 of Overeaters Anonymous (OA).  Here’s a preview:

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.