It happened the first time more than four decades ago when I realized I had exhausted all efforts to control my weight. Though I’d fashioned my life as the advisor, giver, and helper, I had to surrender to needing help from others. In desperation I joined my first twelve step program.
Next came surrender to a second recovery program, for codependency, followed five years later with surrender to the fact that, though periodic, I was just as alcoholic as all the patients I’d been treating for the previous twelve years. Entering each new recovery program was a milestone in realizing that I was not as accomplished as I’d imagined. Each new beginning required new surrender.
Recovery brought new challenges and losing weight brought its own denials. Coming down from size 18 pants, I could not imagine myself as thin. I kept buying size twelves and altering them. A recovery partner took me shopping and helped me muster the courage to try on size 10. It was a milestone, and now in size 6-8, I am not as scared or blind to my healthier size and weight.
As I became clean in all areas of my life, I could clearly see pockets of dishonesty in my associations. My work situation was unethical. I confronted, and consequently threatened the unscrupulous psychiatrist who supervised me. I was promptly fired and thought I would die. Despite my sponsors sing song quote of “when one door closes, we open a window,” I was enraged and devastated. A great milestone was my decision not to “sue the SOB,” as we determined my recovery could not weather the stress.
That decision to surrender my rage and righteousness provided me time to reach more milestones than I could have foreseen. I finished my PhD dissertation, opened up eating disorder treatment centers, and wrote a best-selling book. I became a media personality and national lecturer and never looked back.
In later years, milestones have been the births of three more books with more to come, meeting the love of my life with whom I travel the world on great adventures. I’ve experienced and a personal surrender to aging and accepting. Future milestones will be accepting the new person I’ve become and realizing I actually deserve the gifts I’ve been given. For this, I’ll need to surrender my limitations.