Historically, I had always thought of January 1st (or better still 2nd) as the perfect time to start my diet, exercise program, lifestyle change. Unfortunately, for me and countless other compulsive overeaters, January passed without the change lasting for more than a few days – after all there were all those holiday goodies to “get rid of”. February was Valentine’s Day so no point starting until the 15th or 16th and why start a new endeavor in the middle of the month? March was my escape to warmer weather, and no one goes on a diet before vacation, better to wait until I got back. And on and on it went.
After years in the program, I have learned that each day is an opportunity for a new beginning. I no longer have to wait for a particular month of the year or day of the week to have an abstinent day. I have that opportunity every morning. Then after I have the first day, I need to use the tools and steps to hang on to it and have the next ones follow suit. I know many people in OA count days. That has never worked for me. I got too defeated if I have to return to day 1 after months/years of being abstinent. I am more successful when I take each day as an opportunity to abstain.
Thinking of new beginnings, I have often been down on myself for having a number of relapses over the 40 years I have been in and out of meetings. I regret the time I have “wasted” in the food. I regret the months and years I have spent sad and ashamed in my self-imposed prison. But rather than just regretting the past, I have had to learn from my mistakes – to learn that it’s never too late for a new beginning.
I could have left program because my disease told me I had gotten too old. I had lost my chance for happiness. Instead I got up one more time, brushed myself off and returned to the program. It was not too late for a new beginning. It’s been over 2 years with about an 80 pound weight loss since I came back. I’m not where I’d like to be physically but it’s light years better. Removal of my character defects is a work in progress but I no longer torture myself with food thoughts at every turn. I am experiencing the joy of living in a smaller body with a calmer mind.
I recently reduced my working hours to 21/week and am reveling in the time this affords me to do the things I enjoy. I have my slips and missteps but each day is a gift I am given and I can choose to bury it in sugar or live it to the fullest. For today, I choose the later. I still struggle with getting older but have come to appreciate each day. Regardless of your age, or any other perceived barrier, believe me. Your new beginning can start today.
By Annette A.