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I’m in an outpatient intensive program for food addiction. I’ve been going there three times a week for the last five weeks on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. But I went last Monday because my husband had a small surgery scheduled during my regular Tuesday time. This is where I met Dr Tom.  I’d met him the week before because I wound up going on a Monday during that week as well. The man fascinated me. He’s into feelings…what they mean… what to learn from them… what to do with them. I think I can learn a lot from this man.

But the first week. The week, I first I met him, he terrified me. It was like he had this laser beam pointed at each person in the room zeroing in on what they were feeling. One by one he pointed it at each person. The room was thick with emotion… thick with feelings.

I was terrified…

I don’t do feelings.

Then he pointed his laser beam in my direction. I was a dear caught in headlights… absolutely  frozen with fear. He asked me a question but I couldn’t assimilate it. All I could say was… “Whaaa?” Eventually I stammered out that I didn’t understand and could he ask me another one. He put the same question into other words but I still couldn’t assimilate. Then he was gone.

I was totally freaked out by this experience, but afterwards… curious. “What had happened? Why did that happen? Would it happen again if I came back?” My curiosity overcame my fear enough so that I arranged to come back the next Monday. This I did.

I was prepared for the worst. But the second group session turned out to be a little less nerve-wrecking than the first. For one reason, there were only two other people there besides myself. And the second reason; my case worker had taken him aside and talked to him about my reaction to the last time I was there. This time he understood my fears and so proceeded more cautiously. His laser beam softened a little. I could hear what he was saying this time. I could hear him enough to know that it was about how to look at, and handle…feelings.

I’m not going to go into the details of this second session. That would take too long to describe, but I think I learned a whole lot there this time… about the ‘feeling’ business. At the end of the session he asked us if we would write out three synopsis paragraphs of our lives.

What the major influences were from my childhood.

What the major influences were from my adulthood.

How I came to be sitting in my chair in this session

Here are my three paragraphs:

*  *  *

What the major influences were from my childhood.

I was influenced mostly by my parents, grandparents, aunt & uncle, three cousins, my two siblings, my teachers, other classmates, kids in my neighborhood, men I dated (really, only one-night-stands) and finally.. a rapist. Nobody seemed to like me. No one. There was not one single person I can say.. that liked me. Because of having this experience with all these groups of people I got the idea that I was not a very likable person and I learned to hate and loathe myself. Consequently, I think these are the two most difficult problems I face today…. self-loathing… extreme loneliness.

What the major influences were from my adulthood.

I’m an alcoholic. A righteous alcoholic. Alcohol became my only and most dearest friend. When I drank I was transported to a place I’d never known… Nirvana. Under it’s influence I found I was able to extract myself from all my self-hatred and replace it with a truer feeling… sadness. Under it’s influence I was able to cry like I never could sober. I only drank alone and would really let loose all the tears. I was a loner, crying drunk. But I have to say that sobriety had an even stronger pull on my adult life. Sobriety has been a teacher unlike any other. It has pushed and pushed and pushed me to learn things I never did in childhood. My only participation in my sobriety was; “You don’t drink… no matter what!!” , and this I did. I’ve climbed Mount Everest with my bare hands sixteen times over… to stay sober. By now I’m an expert at climbing that mountain. But I never have been able to overcome the miserable sense of self-loathing; nor my loneliness in this physical world.

How I came to be sitting in my chair in this session

God… whom I received in my second year sober… brought me here. I was just ‘going with the flow’. I’ve known for many years that all the junk food I was eating was playing a detrimental role in my recovery AA program. But, at the beginning of August, I was finally given the wake-up call (A.G.T. > A God Thing) regarding my use of junk food. It is because of this wake-up call that I became thoroughly motivated to get outside help. Because there was no Overeaters Anonymous (OA) to speak of in my area, I figured out a way to connect with Orange County California OA because I knew the group was strong there.  Through the help of my sister, who lives in Orange County (A.G.T.), I was able to get a phone list of sixty names of other OA’s from that county. Then I started making phone calls. Soon I was led to a girl who became my OA sponsor (A.G.T.). But when I began to communicate to her some of my background she told me she could deal with my food issues, but not with that aspect of my recovery. She ‘suggested’  that I seek outside help for these other issues (A.G.T.). I was already associated with a medical group so I called and was put in contact with this program (A.G.T.), and Anne… my case worker. Then, as it turned out, I had to come on a Monday instead of my usual day (A.G.T.). This is how I came to be sitting in my chair – and to meet Dr. Tom – and to learn about the world of feelings.

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