The first blog post is the worst. It’s always full of overly long introductions and promises of regular posts.
Let’s be rebels and just pffffft all that, shall we?
On Sunday, I joined OA HOW. I’m also a member of EDA and AA.
OA stands for overeaters Anonymous. EDA stands for Eating Disorders Anonymous. AA stands for Alcoholics Anonymous.
Sometimes, my drunk and disorderly inner 23 yr old cringes at all the support I require to live a normal life; but then I remember how lost I was before I asked for help, I also remember how far I’ve come and how far I’d like to go. And then I think: this is better.
So joining OA should have come easily. Only it didn’t. I fought long and hard to avoid it. I resisted OA’s idea of abstinence because well, intellectually it didn’t seem right.
In EDA, we’re taught to rely on mindfulness or intuitive eating and base recovery around that. In EDA, attendance at meetings is recovery. There are no good or bad foods. No diet mentality, no restriction and no purging. But even if you continue to engage in those behaviours, attending means you’re still in recovery. The goal, in EDA, is to be able to be at peace around food, love your body and eat when your hungry and stop when you’re full.
So elegantly simple. It is such a kind, respectful and gentle model of recovery.
And it kinda seems like a “duh” moment, because isn’t that how normies approach food? Isn’t it obvious that’s the way one should recover?
Intellectually, EDA’s philosophy was certainly how I wanted to approach food.
But after two long years in EDA, I found myself back in the same place I was over a decade ago: steeped in acceptance, but rapidly gaining weight.
I am sober in AA. And I can look myself in the mirror and feel really fucking great about that sobriety. But the same doesn’t translate with food.
Even with two years, plus the seven from before, I am bingeing, gaining and even though I read all of Geneen Roth books, plus ALL the others, I am still overeating.
Why? Because I eat like I drink. There’s no off switch. The food or booze hits my system, and even though I promised myself I wouldn’t do it, I keep going. Because for me, there is never enough of a addictive substance for me. I am filling a deep seated emotional need, battling genetics, probably battling a food/sugar allergy and habit.
And so I am war with myself.And even though I practice what I preach in EDA, I’m ill engaging in the vigour spirit.
A situation that echoes my past a little too closely. Years ago, years before I started to drink addictive,y, I worked at an eating disorder clinic. It preached the same philosophy as EDA. Which is why I read all the books ever written, until 2000, about eating disorders, because it was part of my job.
I tried sooooo damn hard to live in that solution. Meanwhile I got bigger and bigger and felt more and more confused. How could I love thy self at any size, but continue to hurt myself with food. And why couldn’t I just STOP by doing the most obvious thing in the world. Eat when hungry. Stop when full.
What’s more, in the seven years I worked at the clinic, I never saw anyone with compulsive eating issues lose weight. I saw folks with anorexia and bulimia recover and their weight normalize. But never overeaters.
And yet, I’m still drawn to that gentle, mindful kind of recovery. So I went back at it, by joining EDA.
This is NOT about knocking EDA. I still love EDA.
But it is not working for me.
Like alcohol, certain foods trigger binges. Carbs and sugar do that for me. Don’t get me wrong, I can binge on anything. But something switches off when I abstain from sugar and refined carbs. Maybe it’s chemical. Maybe it’s not. But I have to find out if OA’s philosophy works for me.