How I Started the 12 Steps


My life has crashed quite a few times: attempted suicide at 16, chronic debilitating depression and compulsive eating since childhood which caused 100s of pounds of weight gain & loss.

Disease also made college extremely difficult. My coping skills were nonexistent and suicidal ideation was heavy at times. I quit college 4 times and started 5 times. The restarting was always incredibly difficult.

The last time I restarted, it was different. I had surrendered to the fact that my depression was biological, not situational. I required medication to function optimally. I was diagnosed with biplolar II and properly medicated. I also fully engaged with talk therapy and found ways to more healthfully cope with depression.

Then I got pregnant. Due to the side effects of the medicine, I stopped in my 3rd trimester, but I continued talk therapy until my son was born in 2009. Looking back at the amount of food I was eating, I must have been depressed, but I was self medicating with immense amounts of food. Therefore, I didn’t feel that depressed most of the time. Disease was also telling me that I was normal; I didn’t need medication or therapy. I could this on my own. Besides, I was a full time working mom. I didn’t have time for therapy or medical appointments for the medicine.

Justifications led me away from the help I desperately needed yet stubbornly resisted.

In July 2014, I moved with my husband & son to New Orleans. I love the city, and I am very happy to be next door to my in laws. It is so wonderful to have family close and allow my son the blessing of knowing his grandparents.

The stress of moving intensified my eating which I recognized during a Suicide Prevention Walk in September 2014. I attended it with my mother in law and the speeches and music shared by suicide survivors shook my soul. I knew compulsive eating was a slow suicide by spoon. It would take me from loved ones as surely as an overdose or loss of blood. And my loved ones would hurt like these people were hurting.

I cried and resolved to find an OA meeting. Fear kept me prisoner for 2 weeks, then I surrendered my fear and walked shaking into my first meeting. I nearly hyperventilated when I shared the story of the Suicide Prevention Walk that caused me to attend a meeting. Surrender got me into the rooms and keeps me there though I struggle at times.

I am so relieved that Higher Power lifted my fear, so I could attend my first meeting. I felt an immediate change in OA. It has not been easy, but I have worked the program, and it has worked for me. I have released about 60 pounds, I think. I only weigh at the doctor, so I will know in 2 months when I go to psychiatrist for medicine evaluation.

Surrendering my illusions about Disease has also been incredibly difficult. Prayer & meditation – nurturing my relationship with Higher Power, Inner Wisdom, Mother & Father, God & Goddess, has been essential to my program.

We are not alone. Together, we get better.

Love & Light,

OA Alayna

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