I just finished the greatest game! Change Write Now, it was a challenge, a support group, a fun idea, and a major motivator all wrapped into one. Authors and bloggers Corrine Jackson, Sarah Nicolas, and Gina Rosati were the brilliant divas behind the idea. There is still time (by TODAY) to sign up for round two but more on that later.
I want to share how much this group helped to motivate me. First a big shout out to my group “Authors a Go-Go.” The Go-Gos (Shawna, Alexa, Heather and Amy) helped me make a major and important shift in my life. I should add that we WON the competition. What? What was our final team score? I have no idea. I checked the groups scores once halfway through and we were somewhere near the bottom. I actually don’t know which team actually had the highest group score. No, what I mean is we WON the competition. We all checked in almost every day for two months, gave a lot of support, received support, got to know each other, never passed judgement, learned to be gentler with ourselves, improved our health and basically kicked game ass.
Yeah. We. Won.
The thing I am most proud of and most grateful for is that the Go-Gos gave me the support to go to my first Overeaters Anonymous meeting. It is a twelve step group similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. I went to a meeting at the end of 1998 and was “sober” from eating sugar for a year. I was sober, but I never got a sponsor, I never did any step work, I just went to meetings and stopped eating sugar. Don’t get me wrong. That was a major accomplishment for me. I did not realize it at the time but I had no foundation. I was just white knuckling it.
The fall of 1999 I took a trip to Italy and the gelato called to me. OMG have you ever had gelato off the streets of Italy?! One bite turned into another and a few gelatos turned into several and several gelatos turned into a rationalization that I could handle eating sugar. By the time I came back to the states I was mired in a deep shame of failure. I had blown a year of sobriety. I could not face going to OA meetings and admitting my shame or failure. I stopped going.
I stopped going. I have been overeating for the last twelve years. Because I could not deal with my shame, my feelings, my compulsion, my pride.
For almost 6 months before Change Write Now I had been considering going back to OA. Instead I joined Weight Watchers. It didn’t work. I went back to thinking about OA. It was clear to me that my eating was out of control. I was literally stuffing my feelings down. I was gaining weight. I know how to eat nutritionally but knowledge did not help me.
I started the Change Write Now challenge and it occurred to me maybe I could get the group to help me get to my first OA meeting. I started talking about it. They supported me. I committed to find out when the meetings were. Not to go mind you. Just to find out when I could go. More time passed. I made the big commitment to go to my first meeting. The Go-Gos cheered me on. I missed the meeting. The Go-Gos said “You can do this!” I made another commitment. I was a wreck that Saturday. A freaking wreck! Seriously. Panic attack city.
I asked my wife Rose to go with me to the first meeting. I did not want to chicken out. Today was the day. She drove. I sweated. I walked in the room. Everyone smiled and welcomed me. Twelve years of shame lifted off my shoulders. I was back.
The first few weeks were hard. It was like my major defense mechanism jutted out it’s hip, snapped it’s fingers in my face and said “Ohhhhh no you didn’t. I’ll show you who’s the boss.” Yep. I was going to OA and binging my brains out on every piece of sugar that was not nailed down. The Go-Gos cheered me on. My OA group cheered me on. I opened up and shared more feelings.
I did not want another twelve years to go by. I kept with it. The Go-Gos kept cheering me on. I got a sponsor. I started setting boundaries for myself, ones I could succeed at. I found that if I expressed how I felt about something (anger, loneliness, shame) the driving compulsion to eat would leave me. It has been almost three weeks and I have not overeaten as a way to deal with my feelings. I have been sticking with my food plan. I am doing the step work. I talk to my sponsor every day. I go to meetings. This time I’m building the foundation. I feel a lot better about myself.
Thank you Heather, Amy, Alexa, and Shawna. Thank you Cory, Sarah and Gina. Thank you Rose. I’m doing the work but you all helped me get here.
I signed up for round two of Change Write Now. If your craving a “win” in your life then join me.