Days until my 40th Birthday: 19
Abstinence from Compulsive Eating: 1 Month, 11 days (42 days)
Holiday Eating Season Countdown: 37 days
Happy Thanksgiving Day!
I was frustrated because no one in my extended family made an effort to extend themselves to my small clutch of family this year. We’re a life raft of a family weathering a storm without our greater family to even ask to include us. Today’s lack of communication from my family (no emails, no calls) lets me know how much value my husband, son and I have to my family and his.
While we are partially to blame, the years where I have clung to my family and wept are gone. Where I have been clasped-handed and hopeful to be invited to Thanksgiving and Christmas yet get either a half-hearted invitation, an invitation filled with hope we won’t actually make it, or no invite at all.
Unfortunately, I have anger against my family. Levels of anger which make it best I don’t email them, because I will say regrettable things. Or, worse, I will say the things I will never regret because this has been a lifetime of never being enough. Never. Being. Enough. Oh, and for being so fat they are embarrassed and ashamed to be around me (that was probably about 30 lbs ago, however).
Despite the unresolved anger toward my blood relatives (and I’m pretty sure the loss of my inheritance, which I hope they have to use for the most unpleasant of unpleasant medical expenses when they reach invalid nursing-home age) and my mother-in-law (sho conveniently forgot to show up for a visit once because she had a WoW raid), I am thankful for so much else.
(*Please allow me a moment of meditative calm while I try to work the bitter out by opening it up to my Higher Power to take away from me. . . *)
Actually, even writing this has eased the anger toward my parents. This is something I cannot control, and for my sanity, I’m not going to return to a family who jokes that they love my sister best because she lives farthest away. All of the time. And they don’t act toward my eldest sister and me like they’re kidding. They nicknamed my severely developmentally disabled niece after a signing gorilla. I don’t know what they call my epileptic niece, but perhaps she was spared because we’re not sure whether she will survive to 12 years old or not. They Christmas in Europe with the sister my mother likes best (I don’t know about my father, nor do I really care. He uses my husband for IT purposes and likes him a lot. Just not me.). And several times, when my sister and brother-in-law spent Christmas at my parents’ house, we were clearly unwelcome. Told not to come outright, basically, through my mother hemming and hawing about excuse after excuse why they need quiet and blah blah blah, lie lie lie–after I tried to invite my family there to make it a big family thing.
Come to think of it, why would I want to spend time with these people? Seriously. They really are unpleasant people who are judgmental, selfish, and unkind. The worst of me comes out whenever I’m around them: I either simper and grovel for love or I become just like them–judgmental, selfish, and unkind.
I really wish I had a sponsor right about now. I am too close to this, emotionally. Not sure if I am being judgmental, selfish, and unkind about them right now or if I’m just protecting myself and my family from toxic people. I bet the answer is somewhere in the middle.
Yet because of this broken family, I was able to find a family of tens of thousands of people to supplement the small family I have on my own (my two sons and my husband).
The family of OA has given me love2eatinpa to commune with like a sister. Her troubles I empathize; her victories I celebrate. Having her blogging on wordpress is like having a smart, savvy, same-aged sister in the neighborhood.
This year, I am thankful for finally walking into OA. This anger and sorrow I have is now manageable through communing with my Higher Power, not through food. I told my home group last night during my share that they are my family, that I was at my Thanksgiving feast right there–so thankful to have OA and to have them. And I am.
I am excited to go to meeting. It’s like having a family reunion with all the relatives you like and none of the ones you don’t. You know they understand because they just do. When you explain how frustrating something is, they nod because they have been there so often before.
We laugh in our meeting. Everyone has a great sense of humor. We cry in our meeting. Everyone has a great sense of sympathy and empathy. I love my home meeting so much because this group of the most unlikely people ever to get together does. And we relate on the most core thing in our lives: our powerlessness over food without our Higher Power and OA to help.
So this year I am thankful because I can see my ankle and wrist bones this year. I can wear 90% of what I own instead of 10% (like only three months ago). I feel better, I feel in control (by releasing it to my Higher Power–isn’t that wacky?).
I am thankful for the sanity I experience most of the time. I am thankful that I have a means to touch that sanity when things get overwhelming. I am thankful that I have people who know my pain and want me to feel safe and sane and wanted . . . and even loved.
I’m Jess, and I am a compulsive overeater. I encourage anyone looking to find a diet that works to just come in to three meetings. Three hours over three weeks. You don’t have to be abstinent during that time, just come see if maybe this is what you’ve been looking for.
I put my hand in yours
and together we can do
what we could never do alone.
No longer is there a sense of hopelessness.
No longer must we each depend upon
our own unsteady willpower.
We are all together now,
reaching out our hands for power and strength
greater than ours.
And as we join hands,
We find love and understanding
Beyond our wildest dreams.