Part of the reason I have enjoyed so much success with Overeaters Anonymous is because of their tools of recovery. You can read more about them here:
Service is the final tool of recovery. I have found a lot of solace in it. The Big Book says that when we are feeling bad, we are supposed to talk to someone about it immediately, make amends or meditate about which defect of character has surfaced and then find someone to help. They don’t specify that it needs to be someone in a Twelve Step program, you can help ANYONE. The lady next door who needs her sidewalk shoveled or lawn mowed, the friend who is moving, or even the stranger on the street who dropped his stuff all over the sidewalk.
Somehow, helping other people gets me out of my mind and into a mode that makes food less important. I don’t know if there has been any research on brain chemistry when people are performing service to others, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a release of monoamine neurotransmitters in the brain when people are making themselves useful to other humans. It makes sense that we would receive a “hit” of positive chemicals when we help others because that enables the species to progress as a whole. Especially, when you help someone of the “tribe” because then your own genetic material has a better chance of surviving. It makes sense evolutionarily.
The chemical “hit” from helping others feels better to me than the dopamine “hit” that I get from food. My only problem is finding people to help. Eating disorders are very isolating and it’s easy to find myself alone, without anyone to give service to. I have been working on increasing my sphere of friends, which helps me in other ways as well. For now, I give myself to service whenever the occasion arrives.
Overeaters Anonymous does not endorse anything on this entry or blog.
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