I am a slow learner, which has been a shock to me.
In school I was one of the first to learn to read, to grasp a new concept and to finish a test. In my professional life, I found it easy to learn new ideas and face new challenges. Yet I have been in the rooms for almost two years and am beginning to think I know nothing.
I've attended meetings, bought literature, got a sponsor, worked the Steps and done service, all the time searching for the elusive food plan everyone talked about. I had been in program nearly a year when I picked up Dignity of Choice and found it contained several food plans. How many times had I read it and never seen what it contained?
Everyone has his or her own process. Some find the beginnings of physical recovery in a short time. Others, like me, find physical recovery elusive. After all, I came here because of my eating problem. Am I not supposed to be focused on that issue and seeing some results by now? The longer I stay, the more the answer appears to be no. I must deal with the inner turmoil before physical recovery will be possible. I have not been gracious about this discovery.
Patience is one of the many things I'm beginning to learn. I've had little patience in my life, skimming across the surface of things looking for the "right answer" and then rushing off to the next thing. Patience hasn't been necessary. But as I work the Steps I have discovered that grasping and feeling concepts like willingness, gratitude and humility are necessary before I'll be allowed to move on. No longer will skimming be sufficient; I must learn to live. I had no idea I wasn't living until I began to do it. I didn't realize I was eating my weight in anger, fear, judgement, confusion and loneliness.
I want recovery to come in an instant so I can be off to other things, but it comes in its own time. It will occupy me on some level, one day at a time, for the remainder of my life. What a huge lesson this has been. Some days I am comfortable and even joyful with that thought; some days not so much.
I have been in these rooms for nearly two years, and I'm amazed at the dramatic changes in myself. As I've changed on the inside, my eating had changed. As I've changed on the inside, my eating had changed. I am more fully aware of what I do. I am grateful to be working this program, and I am willing to wait to see what tomorrow brings.
I don't see changes in the mirror yet, but that will come if I keep coming back.
This article appeared in LIfeline, August 2009, p. 10, Copyright Overeaters Anonymous Inc.
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