I have been thinking about how proficient I was at feeling bad, and how I am now learning to feel good.
My food compulsion started at age 7, which is when the worrying began as well as before-school stomach aches, bad dreams, fear at bedtime, and the chameleon-like behavior I developed to deal with people who were different from me or with whom I didn’t feel safe. The behavior and stress-related body reactions continued into my 49th year before God compassionately began removing them.
Feeling bad was so ordinary that when I felt free and good for the first time, it took several days to understand what I was feeling. When I celebrated my one-year OA anniversary, I asked my partner what he thought was the biggest change in me, and his response was profound. “You are no longer a little god,” he said. “You seem to trust the real God more than you do yourself now, and it has changed you for the better.” I used food, drugs, alcohol, pornography, gossip, lying, and chameleon-like behavior for so long that they became the norm. These behaviors all worked to varying degrees, but they also carried a magnifying power: an ability to increase the pain once they had gone past their usefulness in deadening and soothing. I believe God let me make those choices, knowing those well-practiced tools would bring so much pain that I would be forced to find new tools that would bring me home to my true self and to God. January 1, 2014, was the day the food obsession became the dominant force in my life—it became my god. I gained over 40 pounds (18 kg) in four months, and I spent almost every minute of every day obsessing about food. Mercifully, this lasted only until April 11 of that year, when God guided me into my first OA room. There I began to see myself, others, and life in general from another angle. OA was teaching me, without my consciously understanding it, how to feel good.
Today feeling good means eating just the right portions of healthy, whole food; drinking only water; experiencing authentic, loving intimacy with my partner of twenty years; lifting myself and others up with my conversation; and being honest with myself and others. I am learning how to feel good about being true to myself one day at a time.
I used to want things to stay the same, to be manageable and controllable. Today I see the benefit of living in harmony with the way life actually works, which is dynamic and ever-changing. I am learning to feel good even when I am feeling bad.
— Joe Z., Sacramento, California USA