Well, here we are starting a new year. I love January, it is the month I celebrate the beginning of my recovery in January 1967, when I was blessed with the gut-level experience of Step One. I knew, finally, after many years of resisting the idea with my list of reservations, that I am powerless. At that time I identified alcohol as my current drug of choice. Over the next 48 years of continuous sobriety, I have been able to identify many mood altering activities that had to be addressed in order to get connected with my Higher Power–and stay connected!
Certainly, as we all know, I got in touch with the idea that I am powerless over certain kinds of food. Ten years after my recovery began, in January 1977; Janet G. came up to me after a meeting and said: “Do you know you talk about food and diets all the time?” I didn’t. She went on to say: “There is a program for that.” “Is it a twelve-step program“, I asked? When she assured me that it was, I joined up and got abstinent in January 1977. After one brief (one candy bar) relapse, I’ve stayed abstinent since August 1977. At that time, my gut-level Step two experience took place. I knew without reservation that I must be abstinent from addictive trigger foods in order to have an orderly, productive, sane way of life. The food was making me crazy!
I am not sure when I had my powerful Step Three experience, but I do remember what happened. I was so sick of my character defects that I prayed: “Take me and change me, I cannot go on like this. I can’t stand myself.” The great gift there was that I realized that the only thing that stood in the way of a peaceful life was me! The good news was that I could change. I have used all of the tools at my disposal to change and grow in order to stay abstinent, and I stay abstinent in order to change and grow.
Gratefully, I have the inventory steps to help me with the detective work of discovering what is going on in my operating system. What can I conjure up today to screw up the works? There is always something going on. You know about progress, not perfection, right? As time passes, the defects and shortcomings become very subtle. Something can crop up when I am reading the headlines, scrolling through Facebook, or just sitting around reminiscing. Little bits of anger, fear, or guilt can surface to get in the way of my spiritual journey. It is so much fun, identifying and dealing with these defects. It is like getting the upper hand over the ego. There you go again Edging God Out! Not for long, because I am on to you and I have tools, support, and the God of my understanding to rely upon. And I get to make amends too. By making direct amends I get to restore and rectify the damage I have done. There is real freedom in doing that. Then there are living amends—I get to live according to the principles of the program: honesty, hope, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, restitution, perseverance, spirituality, and service.
Recovery is such a good deal. For me, God’s will has been way beyond anything my finite mind could imagine. Whenever the phone rings or an email shows up in my mailbox, I can clearly see that God’s calling. I have been invited to share my message in Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Australia, Mexico, Ireland, and lots of the US states including Hawaii. Five publishers asked me to write a book on Food Addiction, and none of them even knew I was literate. I have talked to Russian and African food addicts on Skype. Right in the middle of writing this article for the newsletter, I got a call from New York City. It was amazing and the woman didn’t even know who she was calling. She had my number listed as Kathy Sheppard. After we had talked for a long while, she said: “Kay!?” It didn’t matter, our talk was awesome. Every day is a new awakening, experience, beginning. This life is really “beyond my wildest dreams.” And all I really have to do is trust God, weigh my potato and answer the phone.
Praying your 2015 is Happily Abstinent, Kay