Part 2, Dr. Tiebout; Grandiosity?

 Sally Ettari a/k/a Sally Atari, Singer and Song Writer, Blog, Music, Guitar Twelve Step Recovery, Speaker, Concert Artist,, sallyatari.comRound Two of Harry Tiebout’s Article: Grandiosity!

Dr. Harry Tiebout’s article, “THE ACT OF SURRENDERING TO THE THERAPEUTIC PROCESS” states: “In the compulsive overeater, there are two qualities which are characteristic of their personality:  Defiant Individuality and Grandiosity.This may very well explain the well-known fact the overeater is, among the not-so sick, the most UNREASONABLE and STUBBORN about seeking help or being able to take it even when she seeks it.  Both of these qualities operate in unconscious layers of the mind and the influence of both must be defined as:  That quality which permits the individual who has it to snap her fingers in the face of reality and live on unperturbed.” (Tiebout) 

Defiance and grandiosity, these are the two subconscious elements that drive the food addict and have kept us in the disease. The following are some of the more key and incredibly concise descriptions of the compulsive overeater and what keeps us for so long, in the disease. In the post, The face of defiance, part one of this subject, I learned about the character flaw of defiance that, working with denial, has provided an isolating internal atmosphere of control and power to keep me in the disease despite the pain and mentally compulsive behaviors that have held me prisoner to my self and my decision to stay in the sick mindset I lived in for most of my self-imposed prison with food.

 “Grandiosity, as structured in the psyche of the overeater, springs from the persisting infantile ego. . . grandiosity claims there is nothing it cannot master and control; on the other side, the facts demonstrate, unmistakably, the opposite.” (Tiebout). It’s grandiosity that kept me in the delusion that I could somehow control this disease.

“The dilemma of the overeater is not obvious.  Her unconscious mind rejects, through its capacity for defiance and grandiosity, what its conscious mind perceives.  Hence, realistically, the individual is frightened by her eating and at the same time is prevented from doing anything about it by the unconscious activity which can and does ignore or override the conscious mind.” (Tiebout)

The dilemma is that the world still doesn’t get that we even have an addiction just like alcoholism or a cocaine addiction. It’s 2015 and the world still doesn’t understand that there are three types of eaters… there is the ‘moderate eater’. (BB Pg. 20-21) They are so lucky that they have no interest in food and just eat to sustain their bodies.  Even then, in some cases, they are annoyed that they have to eat at all! Then there are Hard Eaters’ who like to binge on the holidays, on weekends (wings and pizza and ice-cream and more). These people can stop when they get full or when they want to lose a few pounds, they can pull it together! Weight watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutri-system, and a host of other diets will work well. They need some structure,  a plan and group support and they are on their way! But there are people like me who are food addicts! Like alcoholics, we have the allergy of the body and we have the mental ‘twist’, (BB Pg. 23, 24, 33, 35, 37, 42 and 92), the greater aspect of our disease (“the crux of the matter”  as the Big Book calls it on Pg. 35). The dilemma for me is that I didn’t believe me! And then, the world backed up my delusion and denial by saying, ‘It’s not that bad, you just need a diet and some group support.’ And I believed what they said because I wanted it to be true. But it wasn’t true! I have a sick mind and an allergy that led to obesity three times in my life.

One last thing, with regard to this article and then I will drop it! “With submission to a diet, which at best is a superficial yielding, tension still continues:  “There’ll come a day when I lose the weight, then i can eat again…” . . . The tools of phone, a plan of eating, a sponsor, meetings, writing, and reading and even anonymity: these are designed to induce surrender to the fullest degree possible so that defiance and grandiosity actually cease effectively to function. Some programs within OA use tools to help us “surrender” instead of yielding to a diet mentality.

“She senses a serenity, the possession of which frees the individual from the compulsion to eat.  In other words, an act of surrender is an occasion wherein the individual no longer fights life, but accepts it.” (Tiebout) Apparently by seizing the tools of the program, we become surrendered and then serenity (a peaceful state) ensues and leads to a mind-set that makes us willing to stop fighting and follow the ground rules, the guidelines of a program (such as  Sally Ettari a/k/a Sally Atari, Singer and Song Writer, Blog, Music, Guitar Twelve Step Recovery, Speaker, Concert Artist,, sallyatari.comHOW or FAA or ‘Gray Sheeter’s’  ect.)  and instead of submitting to a diet mentality, we are finally at peace with the disease and a plan for behavior modification because that’s what the tools give us, behavior modification.

Does this work as this article suggests? Well, I do believe ‘the tools’, as they are referred to in The Over-Eaters Anonymous (OA) Organization, have value and provide important behavior modification principles that I need in order to keep it clean. Structure, discipline, and accountability are helpful. But these do not provide the necessary treatment for the mental aspect of the disease I have. The A.A. Big Book is the treatment for the mental aspect of my disease. The tools, I believe, do teach and provide behavior modification to put in check the allergy of my body. We need each other. And as the Big Book tells us, we need to change in order to experience a transformation which leads to the personality change [sufficient to bring about recovery]! (BB Pg. 143 & Pg. 567)  ‘The tools’ provide us a structure for learning some of the things we have to do in order to put down the food. They include behaviors, such as anonymity, which we must stop to also help us put down the food. 

I embrace a way of living (not a temporary diet) that includes reaching out to fellows to support my new way of living (through the phone and meetings). I need a plan of eating and a sponsor who listens. Writing is a tool that works for me as it helps me get in touch with my subconscious mind. All of the tools speak to the power of the herd, the ‘we’ of the program. (BB Pg. 569 paragraph 2)

Here is what I know! I have been in OA for 32 years and I have done these various programs in for years. They are not the solution. God is the solution. The 12 Steps helped me to get unblocked and develop my relationship with God and my healing comes from Him; it’s a spiritual solution. The steps lead to “God Consciousness followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook.” (Ibid Pg. 567)  Never the less, weighing and measuring my food and nailing down a plan of eating is crucial to setting boundaries around food. Staying close to the ‘herd’ (through the phone and attending meetings) because I know that I can’t do it alone is also important. The tools do work to set healthy boundaries around the food and teach healthy behavior modification practices.

Lord, help me to humble myself and accept help today.  Thank you for providing me with a program of recovery, for leading me to understand the value of the steps and that I need You to heal my mind and soul- sickness!  (12&12 Pg. 44) You are a God of order and the tools lead me to eating in an orderly fashion.  Thank youBio, Sally Ettari a/k/a Sally Atari, Singer and Song Writer, Blog, Music, Guitar Twelve Step Recovery, Speaker, Concert Artist,, for leading me right where I am. I don’t know the end of the matter, but just for today, I am  willing.  

Your Daughter,

Sally Ettari a/k/a Sally Atari, Singer and Song Writer, Blog, Music, Guitar Twelve Step Recovery, Speaker, Concert Artist,,


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2 Responses to Part 2, Dr. Tiebout; Grandiosity?

  1. DB

    “They are not the solution. God is the solution.”

    Preach on sister! 🙂

  2. Hudi

    I love how you explained the article it gave me a whole new understanding or surrenderI! the prayer is so heartfelt thanks for being a part of my growth and recovery!!!

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