And the minute she said it, every single cell in my body revolted. I wanted to die. There was absolutely NO WAY I would go to one of those meetings. Never. Ever. Not in a million years, not if you gave me a million dollars. Never. Not if the room was full of hot, eligible bachelors. Not if it meant I would never overeat again. If I happened to be running down the hall of a burning building and the only way out was through an OA meeting, I'd burn up with the industrial carpeting. Not. A. Snowball's. Chance. In. Hell.
A simple suggestion, one that I could take or discard, and my whole essence was ready to drop a very small, very targeted nuclear bomb on the sweet, dear therapist who mentioned the idea.
Needless to say, ten years passed, and my relationship with food has remained interesting.
When I feel good about myself, food is my nourishment. When I feel bad, it's my comfort. And I think that's pretty "normal." But since I don't see anyone else eat, and can't get inside the heads of other eaters, I have no idea whether my relationship is dysfunctional or not. However, some part of me desperately fears that it is. Otherwise I wouldn't be willing to burn up with the carpeting.
So, last week, in honor of the Year of Yes! (well, ok the fourteen months of yes) and in an exploration of Risk, I went. And it was scary. And it was awkward. And the building had some truly horrid industrial carpeting. But what's most important is that I made it out the other side. Was I like some of the women in that room? Yes. We all had tricky relationships with food. Was I not like some of the women in that room? Yes. And for privacy reasons I won't say why.
What I was afraid of was the label. I was afraid of admitting that my relationship with food might have been "abnormal" or "dysfunctional" which would, by association, make me a failure. Yes, it was that simple. If I went to a meeting of people who had trouble controlling their eating and found I was like them in any way, I was a failure.
I'm pleased that I went, and I'm incredibly proud of myself for facing that silly little fear that's been holding me back for ten years. Will I go again? Not to that particular meeting. I'll try another one, just to see, but I don't particularly care for the 12 Step model.
So I'll throw it out to you: what are you afraid of? What one thing does your whole body create a violent reaction to when you consider doing it? And if you could do it safely, what would it take for you to do it?