Posted by: innerpilgrimage | March 1, 2017

Thirty Days (Thirty Daze?)

Well, it appears I have reached thirty days of food abstinence, holding to that food plan which lifted me out of a lifetime of obesity (with few short respites) just over seven years ago. And I’ve come to see that without meetings, I’m still having problems.

I had my weigh-in yesterday. I think it’s my 30-day-abstinent mark, based on an abstinence start date of 30 January 2017. I’m honestly surprised that food abstinence is working its physical miracle, since my emotional and mental and spiritual recovery is suffering without meetings.

January 30, 2017          233.8 lbs.

February 28, 2017        217.8 lbs. (-16 lbs.)


To be honest, that’s a considerable change over a month, more considerable than I hoped. In a little calendar, I have weight goals . . . well, less weight goals and more aspirations of losing 8 lbs. per month, or just under 2 lbs. per week. I’ve known for many years a one-to-two pound weekly reduction is considered very reasonable by the medical profession. So I am at the aspirational goal for the end of March and am being reminded that weight loss and illusions go hand-in hand.

What do I mean?

Well, I’ve been wearing size 38 waist pants for a couple of years, now. I know the waist size because I have an inseam about five inches longer than the average woman’s inseam of 29 inches. Essentially, every pair of women’s jeans are capri pants, like every woman’s long-sleeved blouse is a 3/4- sleeve.

The illusion is sourced from the knowledge when I started, the 38 inseam jeans I had worn were stretched some, and they were snug when I began. My son, whose inseam matches his 38-inch waist now, passed down all of his pants to me and bought longer ones. His pants, since he is an actual 38 instead of a stretched-out 38, were tight at the end of January. Very tight.

After a month, they fit properly. However, they’re not so loose at the waist that I can put two fingers between my waist and that they have to be held up by my hips–though they do droop by mid-afternoon. I’m burdened by an illusion that I didn’t lose enough weight, since they’re not slung on my hips. The other problem is that, when I was ascending to a size 38 waist jean, I was fitter on the way up than I am on the way down. Well, and fitter than I was on the way down the last time, too.

This is, I believe, an experiential lesson in why “Our Invitation to You” is so on point when it states that OA is not a diet and calories club. It’s not a weight loss program; it’s a life gain program. We gain a spiritually filled life; we gain a mentally clear life; we gain an emotionally true life. Weight loss can be a part of it, but OA’s about a whole healing and a whole health: physical, mental, emotional, and–most important–spiritual. Fellowship and literature (and the other tools beside a food plan) change from the inside while a diet program only changes the outside.

I haven’t communicated with the fellowship beyond this web journal. I haven’t read any literature. I haven’t reached out, and I haven’t used the plan of action consistently. I lost weight, and I’m still without the mental clarity I discovered by now when I worked program instead of worked to lose body mass.

It’s time to release my fears and walk into a room for experience, strength, and hope. It’s time to reach out my hand to a program buddy, since active sponsors are often overburdened with several sponsorees (sponsees) to help get to Step Twelve. It’s time for me to work it because I’m worth living a whole life instead of just a skinnier one.

And that’s the ESH I’m taking from these past 30 days.


  1. We eat in black and white so we can live in color… keep at it ODAT.

    • I love that! Thank you for sharing it, Karen. 🙂

  2. Hi great to read this…and the whole black and white of a food plan being a liberation to the color of our lives. It certainly feels that way today here…but yet again I struggle with commitment and think that a more ‘intuitive’ way might work better for me!!?? So not the case in my experience…intuition around food leads me into the gates of hell/obsession/worry and a shrunken life. Like you, I am on the cusp of returning to meetings which I do vitally need but resist. I am meeting a fellow member one to one this weekend for an informal meeting …its a start. I may make time tomorrow for a local OA meeting even though they do not follow my food plan…it would be a start. I am hoping I will not cringe at the rhetoric (my problem not theirs). Have a good day and inspiring to read of 30 days back

    • I think that’s great, Clare, that you’re doing a mini-meeting with someone in program. And I empathize about wanting to luck into a strong meeting, one which sends me out of the room with an overabundance of hope.

      To me, meetings are the living program in action, where ESH is supposed to bubble up like crystal clear water at a fresh spring. A good meeting sends me into the world with a lightness of spirit that gives me strength to work a strong program.

  3. thank you for having the courage to have a blog sharing your experience ! this latest writing prompted me to share my ESH.

    i have been in program since 2000, joined OA in 2003. i never left and in the beginning quickly took off the 100lbs. extra pounds i was carrying. i thought i would never leave…

    but in 2015 i became orthorexic (obsessed with “perfect” foods, and restricting and isolating, etc.) and began messing with my food, stopped going to meetings, calls, literature, etc. even praying and meditating, which i’d done the whole time. i relapsed horribly. for a whole year. i put on 50lbs.

    i finally went back to meetings last august. i was nervous, ashamed, fearful of judgment and rejection. i had forgotten that there is love in the rooms. given how i’d been treating myself, i’d forgotten that anyone could care or would care because i certainly didn’t. i had never had long abstinence, always brief lapses and slips over the years, so i’d get a year here or two and a half there but it was discouraging that i’d been in so long and couldn’t boast i had a decade of abstinence. but i knew always that it was better than the alternative: the insanity and misery of food addiction.

    to my surprise,in returning to meetings, i was greeted with gentle and welcoming kindness and didn’t feel judged at all. that was the first miracle!

    i began to go to 3 meetings a week again…began to chair 3 meetings a month. didn’t make calls or get a sponsor. got a white-knuckle abstinence. 3 1/2 months of that and lost it for a month…then on dec 20 of 2016 i told my higher power “i’m done, i want in, i want to be abstinent tomorrow. help me.”

    the next day i called someone i wouldn’t ever have thought to ask to be my sponsor. but we connected and she turns out to be the perfect fit…gentle yet i am accountable, honest. it felt very much like a god-thing. not of my doing. only surrendering to it and recognizing here was the opportunity i’d prayed for last night.

    now i’m close to 3 months again but the blessed, blissful difference is the white-knuckling is gone, i’m not watching the clock for meal times, instead i’m noting when i have to stop what i’m doing, (i e. enjoying life!) and start to make a meal. i have the long-missed serenity that is such a tremendous gift that comes from knowing someone, (who is emotionally safe!) cares about me, my food and my abstinence and is just a text or call away. together we are working out a new food plan and doing the relapse recovery worksheet a fellow member brought to a meeting, printed from the OA website.

    whoever reads this and is in need of healing i hope this helps. may you feel the helping hand of your HP today. i thought i was left for dead, and didn’t have another return in me. i can’t believe how great i feel, everyday. all the craziness is gone. and little by little my strength to face the emotions i was burying is stronger and stronger.

    • Wow . . . I read up on orthorexia, and I see both the behaviors and the resulting side issues in how I worked program (and still do). It seems counterintuitive that wanting to choose healthy foods could become a surrender issue, but hey–cunning, baffling, powerful, and persistent . . . right?

      I am so glad you walked into what sounds like strong meetings with members who worked a strong program. That’s what I want for myself, despite being afraid. I’m not afraid that they’ll hate me for relapse or weight gain; no place I’ve been has been more accepting of my eating disorder. My problem, I think, is that I keep walls up, hoping I was lovable enough that someone could sense my distress and break through–like the friend I had who died right around one of my OA anniversaries (my 4th, I think. It’s still too painful to look back at those entries here . . . )

      Oh, I am so happy that you’re getting the promises in your life already, and those days in surrender and serenity . . . nothing like them. Nothing at all.

      Thank you for your ESH, Grace. I love shares, especially those which remind us that there’s recovery after relapse–all we have to do is remember it works if we work it and that we’re worth it.


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