The coolest thing happened to me this week I received an email from another woman in Overeaters Anonymous who is living outside the US, in an area where there are no OA meetings to attend. She reached out to me for support.
What a rock star she is huh? We have been emailing a bit. The other day she asked me a great question, “What does your God look like and how did you find him/her/it?’ I would love to hear about your Higher Power if you wouldn’t mind sharing!” I was taken back, by such a deep and profound question than many people new to Eating Disorder Treatment have. I wanted to take some time to think about it and share it with all of you too.
For me, my Higher Power is what I call “God.” I consider God the foundation for my recovery and my life. He’s like, I guess you would say, “The man of the house” (well, my house anyway.) I believe that I can’t change jobs, date this guy, not that guy, not eat dinner or eat a pint of ice cream and not return phone callswithout consulting God, “The man of the house” first. I am an artist and by nature a very visual person. So I need to have a visual of what my God looks like and does, envisioning someone I share my life with and have to check in with works for me.
How did I find my Higher Power?
When I came into treatment for my eating disorder I did Step One of the 12 Steps which is “We admitted we were powerless over food and that our live had become unmanageable.” Which was completely true in my case, but you have to read my book for the details My whole life including my food was one big terrifying mess and it was my management of my life that got me
there. Doing Step 1 helped me to do Step 2 which is, “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Doing step 2 is a huge leap of faith for anyone. If you’re anything like me you tried to do everything in your power to stop your eating disorder yourself, you spent thousands of dollars on meds, doctors, dietitians and rehab, but when it came down to it the bridge between recovery and addiction was surrendering your life to God and BELIEVING that He could fix you. Sound a bit freaky? Yeah, I’m with you. It is freaky, but oddly…it works. Being humbled enough to say, “Show me a different way of thinking, being and living and show me how to do it.” Is a hard thing for someone with an addiction, but it also the most valuable tool needed to stop diseased behaviors.
What does it look like to have a Higher Power?
At first it’s very difficult to have a higher power. I found that I couldn’t do everything that I wanted, whenever I wanted and that was HARD! When I surrendered my whole life to God I surrender my meals, my time, my food, my faith, my friends, my family and my job to Him. My whole life is under His discretion. If I don’t want to eat a meal, I have to ask my Higher Power, “What should I do?” and my Higher Power usually says, “You need to nourish your body on a regular basis. Now let’s go eat dinner.” If I’m dating a guy who I just feel awkward and stupid around, I ask God, “What do you think of him?” and God will say, “I think you deserve to be around someone who makes you shine.”God is the healthy and protective voice of self preservation that I wasn’t born with. He is a voice that I would be dead in a gutter without.
What is your Higher Power like?
My sponsor is a smart woman. She wanted to make sure I would be able to recognize Gods voice when He spoke, so she asked me to write and draw what my God is like. This is the God of my understating. My God….
1.) Thinks I am beautiful no matter what size I am.
2.) Never yells or gets angry with me. He is patient and kind to me.
3.) Thinks I am really funny and cute.
4.) Likes chocolate.
5.) Wears flip flops and kind of looks like a wise hippie.
6.) Is always really relaxed and calm and calms me down when I am overwhelmed.
7.) Wants me to marry a man who respects me and himself.
8.) Thinks I am smart and intelligent.
9.) Likes it when I help out other women suffering from Eating Disorders.
10.) Thinks all women are beautiful just the way they are.
11.) Listens to people share their stories and troubles.
12.) Stays in the moment.
13.) Wants me to use my talents for good.
For me, I wouldn’t have recovery if it wasn’t for my higher power. I do rely on a group of women when I feel anxious about food, I do consult a therapist when I am having trouble in life and I do journal and take care of myself, but none of that would be possible unless I had my higher power telling me to do those things. Before I was in recovery or had a Higher Power I did things according to my rules. It’s so much easier to follow God’s rules and live in God’s world. Because in God’s world, everyone is beautiful, everyone is smart and everyone is worthy of kindness and love no matter what their size. I prefer that world and that thinking over my own diseased thinking any day.