Tuesday, September 11, 2012

OA - Sponsor (168.8) - Meeting #5 (and pic of Sophie)

I asked a woman at my OA meeting to be my sponsor last night.  Ami (my sponsor) is a friend of my new friend Kelly. 

Kelly and I have talked at length a few times now.  We have a lot in common from a food history and control & perfectionism issues; she has suffered depression as I have.  We are different in other ways--she's an extrovert and knows tons of people, she's comfortable (or at least appears to be on the outside) having a lot going on (has 3 kids, all of them in more than one thing, is very active in her church.  She's always got someplace to be), and tells me she is a neat freak at home.

So when Kelly suggested that Ami would be a good sponsor, I watched and listened to Ami carefully.  The idea of finding a sponsor is to find someone who has what you want.  Ami has kids, is 41, is self-employed (sells cosmetics at the top level of the company, enough so that she has a very nice car) and has been abstinent for 18 years.  She's beautiful but not a super model, and very approachable.  She has insecurities she has to work through (had a great conversation with her last week).  She has a busy life but makes this work.  She has what I want.

Yesterday I thought a lot about whether I was ready for a sponsor.  I have been abstinent* for 13 days, which to me means I'm WILLING to do this.  When I went to my first 3 meetings, I didn't even know if I was willing.  I knew I was powerless over food and my life was unmanageable, but it wasn't until I got out of the food that I could think straight. 

I decided to get a sponsor NOW instead of waiting, because I feel like I'm on that tender edge of success--I've lost 6 pounds (my high this time was 174.8), I am not having cravings, I'm dealing with daily emotional crises without turning to food.  BUT.  I feel like it could all slip away in a blink.

A sponsor will help guide me on how to hold on.  Actually, it's probably more like how to LET GO and LET GOD, instead of "holding on."  Because the whole deal is IT'S NOT ME who creates success.  It's my higher power working through me.

That's part of steps 2 and 3, which I am not working on yet and which are still hard for me to wrap my head around. I am self sufficient and prideful.  I have a lot of work to do to surrender those things.

Vickie commented on my last post about why people get upset with OA.
When people get themselves upset with OA, it is never over the meetings. It is always over sponsors and food. And usually they get themselves upset to the point that they stop going to meetings. Are people too hasty in thinking they have to have a sponsor? Or too hasty in choosing a sponsor? Do you think it is possible to clean up ones own food and go to the meetings regularly for support?
Very good questions, which I don't have enough experience yet to answer.  What I do know is OA is a program with specific steps and tools.  The people who work the steps and use the tools--tools include a plan of eating, sponsorship, meetings, telephone, writing, literature, action plan, anonymity, and service--are generally successful. 

My instinct tells me that people who struggle as you describe may have pride issues. They want to do it their way.  They think they know better than someone on the outside.  I have been reading a book by OA that is composed of recovering food addicts' stories.  Many, many of them started OA, failed, and came back and worked the program differently the 2nd time.  And many stories are the "I did it my way, and I failed" type.

The disease of food addiction is one of ISOLATION. The disease wants you to be alone, wants to hold onto the sugar and excess fat.  All of you know what I'm talking about. 
People in AA talk about how the disease wants to kill you. It's odd to think of a disease in the 3rd person, almost as a living thing.  But it feels right to talk about it that way, once I started identifying myself as an addict.
One of the hardest parts of this is breaking out of the isolation of my disease.  Every meeting I go to, a hard little piece falls away and softens the isolation.  I will have to TALK to people to get better.  Not an easy thing for me.  Not having a sponsor, in my mind, is a way to keep a big piece of isolation in place.  And that allows a toehold to remain for the disease to creep back in and take over.

*OA's Definition: "Abstinence is the action of refraining from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors while working towards or maintaining a healthy body weight. Spiritual, emotional and physical recovery is the result of living the Overeaters Anonymous Twelve-Step program.” Many of us have found we cannot abstain from compulsive eating unless we use some or all of OA’s nine tools of recovery to help us practice the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions." 

My definition is 3 meals a day with no compulsive overeating.  My definition also includes "perfection is not possible." Perfection sets me up for failure.  I have not been perfect.  I had a Luna bar one night at 10 pm because I had a very light dinner, was still awake, and my stomach was growling.  I felt awful 30 minutes later--and it was just ONE LUNA BAR!  Weird how my body is adapting already to the different way of eating. 

I have had an afternoon snack a few times--usually an apple and a Luna bar, when I've had an early lunch and expect a late dinner.  I have had very scant dinners when it's been a busy night; I am simply NOT EATING after 8-8:30 pm, no matter if I've had dinner or not.  If I put any food in my mouth that late, I am setting myself up for a binge.  Even healthy food.  It's not about trigger foods for me then--it's a trigger situation.

I had to share this picture of Sophie. It's a cast picture for the production of Winnie the Pooh she's in at the end of this month.   That Mona Lisa smile melts my heart.  She is growing up so fast (11 years old now).


Jill said...

Thirteen days is very impressive!! I think you will do very well with a sponsor - it's so much easier to go through a scary situation when there's someone there to hold your hand.


Vickie said...


Very good answer to my tough questions.

And with that (good) attitude, even if your sponsor becomes unavailable or you two out grow each other or whatever at some future date, it sounds like you will be able to find a new sponsor without damning the whole process.

Sponsors might be like personal trainers or favorite class instructors, losing one and gaining a new one might be part of the growing process.

I have read a lot of 'throw the baby (self) out with the (OA) bathwater' posts and/or comments in my day. A LOT.

Sometimes it may have been conflict of personalities.

Sometimes it might have been ego (as you said) showing from either or both ends.

A lot of the time, I suspect, it was the newbie having a hard time with one of the steps and using drama/excuse/whatever to avoid dealing.

Very good post.

Smiled at all your comments on my blog.

I found the link for your engagement story and put it next to your comment in case anyone wants to read it. I was pretty sure I had posted it and found it easily. I may even have been posting it every year. I have a lot of collections that rerun each year.

I write at least one book review a week now. Almost always classics at this point. But I am going to try a contemporary British author group next week to see what I think.