Q: What is your story with Compulsive Eating?
A: I have always been a compulsive eater. When I was 1.5 years old, my mom put these sweets, baked by my aunt, in front of me to keep me quiet while she was cutting my hair. Next thing you know, I was drunk as a skunk as these were Rum balls. I grew up in an alcoholic home and it became the family joke that I was destined to become an alcoholic. I knew all about alcohol and took on that persona. No one realized including myself, that it was food. I was stealing, sneaking food, always planning around food, and used it to deal with emotions and feelings. I did not realize that it was a disorder until I attended an AA meeting and discovered I had a compulsive personality. I figured I was an alcoholic because my family said I was, even though I rarely drank. At the AA meeting, there was a birthday party and they pulled out all of the snacks – They said “help yourself”! I spent the whole meeting calculating how many times they were looking over at me, and calculated that if each person saw me only have 2 of each, then I could have 14 of them cause there were 7 people. And when no one was looking, I could sneak a few more in. As my mouth was full, I started looking around the room, and I saw a poster that said “Are you an overeater?” That was my moment and that’s was brought me to OA. It suddenly made sense that it was always food and compulsive eating.
Q: What made you decide to start the Intergroup?
A: I didn’t! I never decided to start the IG. It had already started before I realized what it was. When I started the first meeting, I did not even realize I was starting an OA meeting. We were just meeting 3 people, Nancy, Jenn and I, and the reading guided us that day. The reading just said we were walking in the footsteps of those that came before and leaving footsteps for others to follow. I burst into tears and realized it was us. That was to be the name of this meeting. I was 7 months into the program and still working the steps. Within 1 week, we had 2 or 3 other meetings. Next thing you know, we were a collection of meetings. Then, a member of OA asked me when I would register the meetings and register as an Intergroup. I didn’t know there were official channels to follow. It was a process of growth and it took almost one year for the Intergroup to become official. We had lots of people that had different experiences and we all came together to make it an Intergroup.
Q: What was the most difficult part of this journey?
A: Me! I was the most difficult part of the journey. I still didn’t have my recovery legs. I am surprised that Foot Steps has done as well as it has. I undermined every step of the way because of my own lack of knowledge of myself, program and recovery. It eventually came but it was hard. There was a lot of damage done to myself and others. I see the benefits of this now but at the time it made it challenging.
Q: What keeps you going after 4 years of Service?
A: I think the responsibility of service keeps me sane. It’s also been contributing to my insanity as sometimes it is too much service. But, it keeps me on track with my recovery. In the Big Book it says, we can pray for ourselves but only if it benefits others. So for me, service is about doing for myself what benefits others as well. That’s what keeps me sane. I have also come to realize that it’s my personal mission. Nothing is important to me unless it benefits others as well. I understand that it fits into every walk of my life, whether it’s with recovery or service, my family, my work, my art or my music. It benefits me but also benefits others. They go hand in hand.
Q: What inspires you about people?
A: The miracle of recovery and growth inspires me above all else. It’s so easy in this disease to get stuck in what we think we know. Myself included. When I see people stepping beyond what they know into something new, wondrous and wonderful, and seeing new opportunities in their lives. It inspires me. Witnessing the authentic selves emerge.
Q: What is your favorite meeting?
A: It depends in what period of my recovery. If you ask me that during my first year, the Newcomer meeting on Sundays was my baby, and I loved that meeting. Then, there was the Daily Reprieve meetings, at 5am EST, those were inspirational to me for a long time. That moved through to the Creative Reprieve meetings that I started. Those were really important to me for a while. Lately, what’s been really important for me are the meditation and 2-way prayer meetings. Those are my favorite at the moment. Like doing daily meditation meetings upon awakening. That’s where my recovery is right now.
Q:What is the most satisfying part of the Intergroup for you today?
A: Seeing it run itself. There are so many working parts and I don’t have to do all of the parts anymore. I did at the beginning, to get things started, and it’s so nice to relinquish that. Seeing all of the committees, seeing the bylaws and Policies and procedures in place and working so well. Watching our Virtual Intergroup meetings, that are more than one quarter of the size of WSBC which is held only once a year. We do this every month! We have not always done it well, but we sure are getting better at it as we go along. So, it’s not only watching all these working parts but watching the cogs starting to move together. People come in and they learn new ways, and add new ways. It’s the growth – beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
Q: How has service helped your recovery personally?
A: It’s really about my personal mission statement. I find it difficult to find value in making money for the sake of making money. But making a living in such a way that it benefits others, is what is valuable for me. In recovery, doing service that benefits others is valuable to me. Some of the days where I would have binged, just knowing that I had to lead a meeting the next day got me through that day. I use it as a tool. It’s one of the 9 tools but it’s also part of who I am. It’s part of my calling.
Q: What is one thing, one action you would recommend today to a struggling compulsive eater?
A: Get to a meeting! At Foot Steps, we provide meetings almost 24hrs a day with over 170 meetings a week. Just get to that meeting and sit in that meeting. And if you have to go to the one after that, then go. At least we have that tool in place for all of us to get through the next hour. That’s probably what motivated me from the very beginning. Even though, I did not know what I was going to create. When I first joined program, we were on 12step4coes with 7 meetings a day and if I had to go to all 7 to get through that day, I did. They were my lifeline.