My OA Retreat + 2 poems: Addict & Rejoice

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The silver chip I received at my first OA meeting 39 days ago hung over my heart. My anxiety escalated as my OA friend & I navigate the Mississippi dark for St. Mary's of the Pines, our weekend retreat.
Another car parked at the same time as us, and friendly OAs showed us the hall where the welcome session had just started. Anxiety continued to pummel my spirit. The struggle with denial beat through me, and I prayed and took comfort in the presence of some familiar faces.
The next day was a picturesque fall day. Clear blue skies and warm weather beckoned me outside after the first session. I walked to the labyrinth and tucked my writing journal in my pocket after rereading my half finished poem. I wrote it back in 2001 and it echoed in my brain as I walked:


carb crack queen
get me a fix
down at the
BK, DQ, Mickey D.

ravenous guilt, slab of shame.

tuck in tight jeans, girl -
erupting flesh.
keep it down, girl.
keep it down.
keep it down girl.
keep it down.

tightrope, jump rope,
take me back to Momma.
umbilical calorie cord
siphons love to me.
we're no pretty packages,
ribbons bowed for Daddy.

mass anchors deep fears.
childhood friend hangs at the hip,
jiggles -

warm flaccid embrace.

what do I do, with or without you?
blubber bloated girl,
best of all friends. blubber bloated girl,
you loving me makes me hate me,
but can I really be -
with or without you?

hatred is low, comfortable, easy,
cocoons me constant
warm barbed wire flesh blanket.

As I walked, I prayed to Goddess to take from me the denial, to help me be teachable. I thought about my decades long struggle with food and negative body image. I thought about the irrational response I have to food. I prayed. I cried, and I prayed some more.

When I reached the center of the labyrinth, I fell to my knees sobbing out for the Goddess to help me. What is the answer for the food Addict? What is the answer for me?

I took out my pen to write as inspiration coursed through me. I finished the poem I started in 2001.

this slow suicide by spoon
sickens me, terrifies me, calms me,
whispers, "You don't matter -
take refuge in food."

But I say from my corner,
huddled in despair,
"Food is not my friend. 
Blubber bloated girl
may be all I know, but now I know I can be free."

I walk into the rooms,
place my trembling hand in the Fellowship
and my anxious heart in the care of Goddess.
Today, I say,

"My name is Alayna, and I am a compulsive eater.
Abstinence is the only solution."

After completing the poem, I dried my tears and walked the labyrinth to return to the retreat. During the next share, I astounded myself when I read my poem in front of dozens of people. My body shook with fear as I spoke. Then tears almost made me hyperventilate as I shared. The reception of my share was so generous and sweet. Several people even asked me to please submit the poem to Lifeline, the OA magazine.

I felt embarrassed by the praise but glad to help someone with my writing. Writing and sharing it certainly helped me. Knowing my words touched someone as much as they did me helps me not feel so alone.

The next morning, I took the Cosmic Path (a trail with plaques marking historic events throughout the scientific and Christian history of Earth). I smiled, I hiked and I hugged a tree. The anxiety over abstinence and eliminating my trigger foods was gone from me. I gave gratitude to Goddess for freeing me and leading me to OA.

I pondered my share and wondered at myself. Me, the same girl who panic attacked her way through an interview? I really got up in front of a big room of people and read my poetry?

Then Goddess spoke to me again! I couldn't believe it when another poem came onto the page. I read it to my new OA friends and somehow wasn't terribly nervous. Yeah, I was nervous but praying calmed me as I told them...........


Rejoice, O, Rejoice
for what has been lifted from me!

Rejoice, O, Rejoice
for joy and serenity!

Rejoice, O, Rejoice
for the knowledge I can be free!

Rejoice, O, Rejoice
for the fellowship and empathy!

Rejoice, O, Rejoice
for the Creator of all that was and is to be!

Rejoice, O, Rejoice
for the knowledge that we can be free!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    OK, so I read this long after you wrote it, but I had to tell you its power & beauty really brought the tears. You have so much to share, dear friend. I hope you are still writing and getting the support that brings you peace and joy.

    Blessed Be, emoticon
    1933 days ago
    You're in my prayers. thanks for sharing your heart with us. emoticon
    2342 days ago
    2343 days ago
    emoticon Words cannot express how proud I am of you for having confidence enough in yourself to share your beautiful thughts with your friends and here on SP. It speaks for so many, but most importantly, for YOU.

    You have many in your corner to support you.

    2343 days ago
    Wow! What an intense and cathartic experience. Great writing, and thank you for sharing.
    2343 days ago
    Deep and insightful... how tied up in our body image our identity is. One of my biggest fears in stripping the weight was "who will I be, when I'm not the fat sister any more?" "Will there be any THERE, there, when I get there?"

    These kinds of thoughts are part of facing it. You have much courage and strength... more than you know, and your higher power will guide you to where you need to be, and the next steps to take.

    Sanity comes with abstinence! emoticon
    2343 days ago
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