SOBRIETY IS SURRENDER pp. 64-65
Read page 64 starting with “At this point…” and stop reading at “And how exactly were we to do this?”
1. “We needed to surrender all feelings of control over our food and our weight and our exercise and our body shape in order to be sober in eating disorders.” What images or thoughts come to mind as you read this statement?
2. What feelings or emotions are stirred?
3. What feelings, emotions, thoughts or images are evoked by the words “sobriety” and “surrender?”
4. What does the word surrender really mean to you?
5. Do you have any feelings, emotions, images or thoughts that might stand in the way of you surrendering? Explain.
6. Read each statement aloud and then complete the sentence that follows.
a. I need to surrender all feelings of control over food.
i. I feel in control of my food when _________
b. I need to surrender all feelings of control over my exercise.
i. I feel in control of my exercise when _________
c. I need to surrender all feelings of control over my weight.
i. I feel in control of my weight when ______________
d. I need to surrender all feelings of control over my body shape.
i. I feel in control of my body shape when _____________
7. Has it become clear to you what you need to do in order to be sober from the “drug” of your eating disorder?
8. In order to be sober in eating disorders, I need to: _________
a. Make a list of what you specifically need to do. Don’t worry about the order, just list everything that comes to mind. It is important to remember that at this point we are not focusing on whether you are willing/able/wanting to do these new and/or sober things, but rather we are simply asking ourselves, “What is my Higher Power gently guiding me to do?” (OR if you do not feel any connection with a “Higher Power,” it may help to ask yourself, “If there was a power that could release me from the bondage of my eating disorder, what might this power guide me to do?”)
b. Now, Rank these things in a manner that makes sense and is meaningful for you. You can order them from easiest to surrender to more difficult, in the order you want Higher Power to relieve you from each one, by the severity of physical, emotional or spiritual harm they are doing to you, it doesn’t matter. Remember, there is no wrong way to do this.
Read pages 64-65 starting with “Let’s look at…” and stop reading with . “…Not one of us ever consistently ate in the way that human beings are intended to eat.”
9. “Operating out of self-will, not one of us practicing this disease ever adhered to the principles of healthful eating, of regularly nurturing our bodies with balanced meals.”
a. List the exact behaviors you do or have done that are not “nurturing” behaviors in regards to food; that are not ways of eating consistent with how human beings are intended to eat. Note, we are listing behaviors, not thoughts or feelings. Hang on to this list, it will be used in a later section.
Read page 65 starting with, “We saw other species…” and stop reading after, “Our self-will was enslaved by the mad tyrant that ruled our minds from the day we contracted our disease.”
10. Give some examples of behaviors you see others do that your disease will not let you do.
11. How does it make you feel to admit that the disease is taking away your ability to do that particular thing?
Read page 65 starting with “Reflecting on this…” and ending with, “To be sober in anorexia and bulimia we needed to surrender all control of our food and our exercise and our body weight and shape to the Creator, or Higher Power.”
12. Are you aware of any additional feelings, emotions, thoughts or images when you read the line “we needed to surrender all control of our food and our exercise and our body weight and shape to the Creator, or Higher Power?”
13. Do you recognize anything else that may stand in the way of you surrendering?
Read page 65 Starting with “Very simple, but clearly not easy…” ending with “For getting sober is the key to everything else that follows, the key to our entire healing process.”
14. This is an activity pulling everything you have been working on together. You may want to start it now and then continue over the next few days or weeks as you listen to other people share at meetings and when making outreach calls. Remember Higher Power talks to us in many ways and this exercise will give you a place to capture in writing what God/H.P. is saying to you at various times, through various people, and in various ways. Now, go back to your list of insane eating behaviors that you wrote in question #9. This activity will be done in four columns.
Column 1: Original list of behaviors.
Column 2: How are you thinking and feeling at the possibility of having to change that particular behavior? Answer this question for each behavior.
Column 3: What are others doing to change similar behaviors? Listen closely to others in meetings and during one to one conversations to hear how others changed an insane behavior into a sober one; that is what have others done differently instead of doing the unhealthy, self-destructive behavior they once did? If, after a few meetings or chats, you don’t hear anything that addresses the behaviors on your list, use the phone list to call others in recovery or discuss it with someone who’s recovery you respect.
Column 4: If you have a professional in your life how do they suggest you let go of the insane eating behavior? If you don’t have a professional in your life, try asking your sponsor, ABA buddy or other sober ABA member what their professional has suggested in similar situations. Notice if you disregard someone’s answer or feel like it doesn’t really apply to your behavior. Remember, you are not commiting to or even saying you will consider doing any of the things others have done, you are just gathering information.
NO ONE CAN DO IT ALONE PP. 66
1. Have you identified your need to surrender your food and weight to a Higher Power in order to get sober in a way that is meaningful to you?
a. If you have identified this need what was pivotal in your identifying this?
b. If you have not identified this yet what do you think you need to do in order to help you recover?
c. What are some practical situations standing in the way of you surrendering?
d. What would be some practical solutions to each situation? You may be able to ask the group to help brainstorm.
e. Which practical solutions are you most ready to try?
f. What are some of “the countless lies you tell yourself” that may not be helpful?
CAN GOD COOK? pp. 66
2. How can you be creative with the use of your professionals, sponsor, family members, friends, others of the community, waiters, and waitresses to help you surrender?
3. What would the above people need to do in order to help feed you?
4. What would you have to do in order to surrender “control?”
5. On a scale of zero to ten, where zero is not at all and ten is could not be more ready, how prepared are you to surrender? Explain.
6. What are some reasons/fears/rationalizations/illusions that have kept you from surrendering? If you are currently in surrender what reasons/fears/rationalizations/illusions did you have to overcome?
7. What would (has) lessen(ed) the strength of each of these illusions?
8. Make a list of foods you believe are “bad” for you and journal about if that is a reality or not.
9. Would you be willing to write a little statement to remind yourself of why you are surrendering? If so go ahead and do so now. If you are unwilling, take some time to explore why you are not willing to do so yet. Look at all your feelings around this prompt including the ones that tell you this is silly or unnecessary.
SURRENDER OF BODY WEIGHT pp67-68
10. Do you have any fears or reluctances about body weight? Explain or list them.
11. How do you feel when you read “When we are sober and stay sober, all of us end up at the weight we were created to be. What that number is is not our business to know. It is the Creator’s business. It is not wise for any of us to weigh ourselves or even know what our weight is if someone else is monitoring it.”
12. What are some strategies to decrease the likelihood of you learning your weight? For example: turning around backwards when at the doctor’s office or not owning a scale.
13. If you inadvertently learn your weight what can you do to keep from “fueling the mental obsession.”
SURRENDER OF EXERCISE pp68
14. What do you think about the text’s view that in the beginning everyone needed to give up all exercise?
15. If you have a sponsor does she suggest you change your exercise habits? If so, what is your response to her suggestions?
Read page 68 starting with “Continuing to exercise…” and ending with “…recover from anorexia and bulimia.”
16. What are your initial thoughts and feelings?
17. Are you willing to have these thoughts and feelings in order to obtain and keep sobriety? Explain.
SURRENDER TAKES WORKpp 68
18. What does surrender mean to you at this moment?
19. What are you able/willing to do that would be a sign to yourself that you are surrendering?
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE? Pp 68-70
20. Have you heard anyone give a suggestion of exactly how long one would have to surrender? What was that suggestion?
21. From the reading of the text, is there an exact amount of time or formula to know when it s time to quit surrendering? If so what is it? If not how does the text suggest you will know when it is time to no longer surrender?
22. Can you ever surrender enough?
UNTIL WE ARE FREE pp 69-70
23. What does “free” look like to you?