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I'm not in OA, but my sponsor is.

I consider myself clean and sober in the 12-Step programs for over 20 years, although I don't really go to meetings or interact with the program anymore. (I can't deal with newcomers and I can't stand old-timers.) I was first taken to teen meetings of OA by my father shortly after he discovered it and had that first flush of success and decided THIS WAS THE ANSWER! Which it was, right up until he wasn't and OA became one of the many failures and retries on the weight-loss roller coaster than ended up killing him.



So as you may be thinking, I've got issues with OA. HOWEVER, they have nothing to do with the god thing. I don't know if OA is right for you, but if it isn't, it's NOT because of god. You can be agnostic, or atheistic, or an imperfect atheist, or Jewish/Hindu/any flavor of Christian/Buddhist, all or none of the above and the 12 Steps WILL WORK if you work them.

The problem with OA is virtually the same problem with Weight-Watchers: They both turn into personality cults. The whole "principles, not personalities" works brilliantly with Drugs, Alcohol, Gambling and all the other substances and behaviors where "pure" abstinence is possible. Food is not one of those things. OA essentially tells you "Hi. You're powerless over food. Here's your food-plan."

When my father and I were in OA, THE food-plan was a little ditty called "gray sheet," which was printed on (wait for it) a gray sheet. It was borderline starvation and I can still quote it by heart, and to some extent it still defines the way I see food, which is kind of sad. Given the "you're powerless/here's your food plan" dichotomy, it's inevitable that you will put your hope and faith and trust in the group leader who appears to have it together and lost the most weight. In the 70's and 80's a lot of these were the same women who had been Weight-Watchers group leaders until that stopped working for them. Very charismatic, power-house women, which was why they'd been awesome in WW and tended to be awesome in OA.

Until the relapse. Even the founder of OA, Rozanne S., went into relapse at one point and I remember hearing her share on tape where she talked about sitting in the back of OA meetings after her relapse, wearing a big coat to cover the weight gain.

On the other hand, you may be a redneck compulsive overeater, and OA might work for you. My understanding is that they don't make you do gray sheet or even the so-called "easier" blue-sheet anymore. Unfortunately when it comes to both OA and WW, my perceptions are stuck in the early 80's. When it comes to WW, I still think of #4 vegetables instead of points. My former manager Lynn is doing WW with all the new groovy apps and it's working for her, but I can barely deal with blogging to you guys, much less being in a room with THOSE WOMEN again.

But about my Sponsor...as you may remember, a few months ago, my friend/trainer/girl-crush Peggy, told me I needed to start using my foam roller and to text her before and after I did so and I joked that she was my foam-roller sponsor, with which she concurred.

After about two months of this, I asked for a consultation, in her capacity as a trainer, regarding the bete noir of my much-reviled gut. I expected her to suggest abdominal exercises or more itensity in the cardio area. She did the latter, but started with a thorough run-down of my daily food intake which raised the ugly spector of my night eating problem.

I've written about this before and it's been a problem all my life, intrinsically attached to all my love and other ambivalent feelings about my father. One reason he could never break the pattern was that he would wake up in the middle of the night and eat. We had a lock on the refrigerator because otherwise otherwise there would literally be no food in the house. On one occasion, he ate pudding that had the penicillin my sister was taking for some infection mushed up in it, EVEN THOUGH he knew the penicillin was in there and he was allergic to penicillin.

I don't know whether I inherited the behavior through the nature or nurture side, but either way, I do it, I've always done it, and even when I've managed to make it fruit instead of chazarei, it's still eating, it's still uncontrolled and it's still 200-300 calories on top of whatever planned/healthy food I might have during the day.

Peggy suggested I eat a tablespoon of peanut butter JUST before going to sleep. I was leery of this because of the 100 calories I know to be in a tablespoon of peanut-butter, but I really love and trust Peggy. (Girl-crush, remember?) So I tried it.

I'm still waiting up two or three times a night, usually in conjunction with peeing, with mouth-hungerm, zombie-brain wanting to eat. But I'm not. Sometimes I take a hot bath with herbal bath salts at two or three in the morning, but I don't eat and in the morning, I'm able to text Peggy and tell her I didn't eat. The obvious result is that in return for the extra 100 calories, I'm not ingesting anywhere from 200-300 worth of fruit AND my body has 6-10 extra hours to be digesting what's in there.

As with the question of WHY I night-eat (nature/nurture?) I don't know if I'm now NOT eating because the peanut butter actually works or it's the "sponsor effect," of not wanting to tell Peggy I ate, but I'm NOT EATING.

Today the Evil Scale God tells me I am 139 1/2 pounds. That means under 140. I have NEVER been 140 that I can personally remember. This may mean I'm around where I was the first time I tried to lose weight in my teens. I'm excited, ecstatic and kind of freaked out by this. I'm also a little sad.

I wish my father were alive to see it.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
strawberrytatoo
Feb. 26th, 2014 07:31 pm (UTC)
A friend once asked me to go to a OA meeting with her, and that you had to stand up and say 'hi i´m a compulsive over eater' and holy shit did that make me never want to go, ever.

I´m so happy for you that you're under 140, that is so amazing. Hitting a weight that you haven't been in forever is the most amazing feeling.

And go you for kicking the eating in the night habit! Stopping something that you've been doing for years is fucking hard. My 'thing' is binging while watching tv during the weekends. I think I just need to get a life and stop watching tv, because stopping that apparently isn't happening.

*applauds you*
karaokegal
Feb. 26th, 2014 07:41 pm (UTC)
I haven't declared victory over the night eating by a long shot. At the moment it's very much like early sobriety, complete with white knuckles, and I'm taking a lot of hot baths at three in the morning. If nothing else, I smell good.
cuddyclothes
Feb. 26th, 2014 11:50 pm (UTC)
Kudos! And what a fascinating entry on so many levels.

I did Weight Watchers twice, successfully. The first time was when it was a piece of diet toast with one piece of diet American cheese, eaten with a fork and knife. And yes, I know a lot of women, including my sister do WW successfully--at least while they're doing it. It stops working when you stop going. I stopped going to AA meetings at 8 1/2 years and I've been sober for over 14. OA...one meeting and I was OUTTA there!

That's so sad about your father. Did he die of a heart attack?
karaokegal
Feb. 26th, 2014 11:53 pm (UTC)
Official cause was congestive heart failure, but it was basically the abuse he'd put his body through in a lifetime of gaining and losing weight-sometimes as much as 100 lbs.

Do you watch Mad Men? The Weight Watchers scenes rang just so painfully true. I know I'm supposed to hate Betty and love Megan, but the only reason I have any reason in Season 5 is to watch Megan get her scrawny ass cheated on and for Betty to get some measure of happiness.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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