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Sara Somers, Author of “Saving Sara: A Memoir of Food Addiction”

Beating Binge Eating Is Possible.

Do you have an obsessive-compulsive eating disorder? What can you do to stop overeating obsessively? Where can you turn to get help? Have you ever heard of the program, Greysheeters Anonymous?

The weight loss and diet industry have not had a lot of success in helping people to change their eating habits long-term. Still, people spend billions of dollars on weight loss programs in the hopes that something will work. Maybe various food plans and supplements will work for some people, but some of us need binge eating disorder support beyond what we can get from a commercial program.

Sara’s goal is to raise eating disorder awareness and help others to find help.

Sara Somers suffered from binge eating and food addiction for many years. Even when she found the ultimate solution to her problem, it took decades for her to find her way back and work the program successfully. Sara’s journey is fascinating. I recommend that you buy her book, “Saving Sara: A Memoir of Food Addiction,” and read her story. They say that all families are dysfunctional. And, we can learn to work on our problems when we can relate to someone else’s account and how they faced their difficulties. Read how Sara Somers overcame challenges in her life and is now living the life of her dreams in Paris, France.

Protect your recovery by learning to be assertive.

Part of learning to overcome food addiction is to learn to be assertive and not be a doormat for the people in your life. If protecting your health and sanity means that you can only eat certain foods and that you must measure your meals carefully, you must be able to do so without caring what other people say or think.

Here is the first step in learning how to stop binge eating.

Are you interested in a free program that is available to anyone who wants help in overcoming binge eating? I recommend reading Sara Somers’ book, which is not only a memoir of Sara’s journey; it also includes resources for you to use to get help from wherever you are in the world.

 

Below is a transcript of the podcast interview.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

Welcome to The Rehab on the Mental Health News Radio Network. I am Dr. Mark Leeds and I will be your host. Join me in exploring the world of addiction treatment. How can we improve the ways that we help individuals to overcome addiction? The goal of treatment is to save lives and help people to get back on track to a path towards success and happiness in life.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

The following is an interview with Sara Somers, author of Saving Sara: A Memoir of Food Addiction available now on amazon.com.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

Welcome to The Rehab Podcast.

Sara Somers:

Thank you. Thank you. It’s good to be here.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

I was just reading your blog before we came on. Sarasomers.com, Out My Window.

Sara Somers:

Yes, that was the one I first started and I’m doing it to try and keep a record of what’s the pandemic here and then I have a separate one that’s just about food addiction. That one is saving-sara.org.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

So that one’s directly related to the book.

Sara Somers:

Yes, exactly.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

And the book, I was looking at it on Amazon, it comes out this, or next month. May 16th?

Sara Somers:

May 12th, two weeks from today.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

Oh, wow. Congratulations. That’s great.

Sara Somers:

Thank you. Thank you so much. It’s been up on Amazon since August. It’s like, okay, already. Can we get here? They put it up a long time in advance. Not my book, but all books, I think.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

Yeah. It’s a good book. Thank you. I had the opportunity to read it already and I love the book. I wanted to ask you the difference between Overeaters Anonymous and GreySheeters Anonymous.

Sara Somers:

First of all, I owe a debt to Overeaters Anonymous because that was the first program I heard about and went to. At the time that I went in, they were transitioning from this one food plan, which was printed on a grey sheet, to what they call the Dignity of Choice. They had three different food plans and said, “Pick the one that you think would work for you.” It wasn’t until much later that I kind of shook my head and thought, if I could pick something that would work for me and be trusted to pick something that would actually really work, I wouldn’t need to be here. So I bounced around in those rooms because they kept letting go of structure instead of tightening it up. And for people like me, you’ve read the book, I think of myself as a pretty low bottom binge eater.

Sara Somers:

The reason GreySheeters Anonymous works for me is there’s structure. It’s very like AA. It’s a no matter what program. You do it this way no matter what. You don’t get on the slippery slope. You’re not partially pregnant. You’re not partially drunk. So it’s really appealing to me because it’s so much like AA and turns out I thrive with structure. If I have walls to bounce up against so to speak, I feel a lot of freedom. But if I am just told, “Well, just do what you want,” it paralyzes me and then I get scared and then I go eat. But I say I’m addicted to sugar and grains in hard form and liquor form, that my body’s like a distillery. You put that stuff in, it turns to alcohol and I’m off and running. Once I realized that, once I realized that I actually had an allergy, then I realized those kind of things weren’t going to work for me, but that didn’t make them bad.

Sara Somers:

OA and GreySheeters Anonymous, AA, they’re all free, you know? And sometimes I think people are a little scared of if it’s free, it can’t be very good. But nothing’s free. I feel like I’ve paid my dues. And you’ve read the book. I think I’ve paid my dues and I’ve earned my seat in this program and in AA. I just pray that people find what works for them. But I came into these 12 step rooms with a diet mentality. It turned out the only thing wrong with me was that I had this severe allergy to sugar and grains. I can’t put it in my body. If I don’t put it on my body, I don’t obsess about food. I don’t crave food. I do my no matter what. I just have specific amounts for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Sara Somers:

I’ve got a whole lot of freedom between my ears now because I’m not worrying about food and what I look like and what I’m going to eat or what I’m not going to eat. I got to move to Paris. I would never have been able to do that. So I’ve got a lot of freedom and a program that has a lot of structure.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

How do the 12 steps apply to a program about food and managing eating?

Sara Somers:

Well, we use the same 12 steps as Alcoholics Anonymous. I believe that I’m powerless over food, meaning the foods that have those sugar and grains in them, and that my life was unmanageable. And it was. If I wrote a timeline of my progressive eating when I was a child, a teenager in the ways that I couldn’t manage my life, you can see they were related. They got worse. The story of finding the quarter on the ice and then I turned into stealing my mother’s, had my mother’s wallet and lying and cheating. I couldn’t manage my life living like that because I was always on the run or looking over my shoulder, wondering who was going to catch me. People like me, it’s one thing to stop eating. Then it’s a whole other thing to say, “If you’re going to stay stop, Sara, you’re going to have to change your behaviors 180 degrees.”

Sara Somers:

And that’s what the 12 steps do. Whether you’re a drug addict, whether you’re an alcoholic, it doesn’t matter. They promise, if you don’t find a way to change your behavior from going that way to going that way, you will go back to your addiction. We each go through the 12 steps, sometimes more than once. I absolutely believe that that was true for me. I had been in therapy. I was a therapist. I think that I can kindly say the combination really is wonderful. I had some big problems so having the combination of therapy, plus this remarkable spiritual program that even with my very cerebral mind, I still think it’s full of miracles. I don’t ask questions anymore. They just seem to keep coming and my life keeps getting better. It’s been so long and yet I can remember as if it was yesterday crying and begging God because I could not stop eating.

Sara Somers:

That was a miracle to me. What I get from going to 12 step meetings is to be reminded to be grateful about that. It’s a gift. If I could have done it, I would have done it, so obviously I couldn’t, and to pass it on to another person. That’s why I wrote the book. I want to pass on that there is hope, there’s a solution. I think there are a lot of people, I heard Nicholas Kristoff talking to Bill Maher in February saying that obesity is one of the worst problems next to loneliness in the world now. That they expect by 2030, that 50% of Americans are going to be obese, not overweight, obese. It’s a real problem. So I wanted to write the book to pass it on. There’s hope. That if you identify with my book, there’s a good chance you’re like me and if you go try these programs, these GreySheeters Anonymous programs, there’s likely you’ll get help. And they’re not easy. It’s like learning a new language, you know? Being told you’re going to have to learn Chinese.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

I’m curious as far as, because I work in the field of medication-assisted treatment for drug addiction, and a lot of people are against that, even though it’s proven to be beneficial. And especially with the 12 step fellowships, pretty much all of them have no issue with medication treatment for addiction. It’s an outside issue. It’s between a person and their sponsor maybe. But Narcotics Anonymous stands out is that they have an official position against medication used for addiction treatment. Does GreySheeters Anonymous have any position on that, if people take medication for weight loss or for appetite control?

Sara Somers:

We don’t have anything written down and as you said, everything is between a sponsor and a sponsee. If somebody asked me about taking medication specifically for appetite suppressant, I would suggest they didn’t because eventually they’d have to go off of it and go through the same thing, so why put it off? You know? Is it vanity, you just want to get thin faster? The other one that comes up is around sleep because a lot of people, when they first get abstinent and get sober have terrible sleeping problems, the racing in their minds. Again, we say unless you really have severe insomnia and go to a doctor and work it out with your doctor, we caution not to do it just to do it, just to get more sleep, because it’s better to try and get through these difficult things.

Sara Somers:

The thing that the drug addict, the alcoholic, the food addict, that we all have in common is we don’t like being uncomfortable and to the point where we use something. Learning to live with discomfort and finding out you’re not going to die, nothing’s going to happen. You’re just uncomfortable just like a lot of people in the world, it’s a huge lesson. Putting it off is all that’s doing is putting it off. People often come in, they’re excited, you know? I have a friend who says they’re at the corner of hope and desperation. They come in desperate and they hope they’re going to turn the corner and go to hope. So letting go of things right at that moment with hope, it’s a lot easier often. Waiting, I think it can get harder. So that’s my personal opinion, that GreySheeters Anonymous doesn’t have any kind of written opinion. I would never, if I met somebody, I would never think that I know them well enough that I could diagnose them and say, “You should or you shouldn’t.” I’d say, “What does your doctor say?”

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

Yeah. That’s a good way to see it is between a patient and doctor and a person and their sponsor when they have that kind of relationship.

Sara Somers:

Yeah.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

Is that something that when a person goes to GreySheeters Anonymous, these days they are going in a Zoom meeting, can a person find a sponsor fairly easily and get to work on the steps?

Sara Somers:

In AA, yes. They will get a sponsor, probably start on the steps right away. In GreySheet, We suggest you wait 90 days and get abstinent so that you’re building a pattern. You’re making it intuitive. You practice, practice. Just like we practice meditation, you practice doing weighing and measuring your food until it becomes much more intuitive. Because as I said, we don’t like to be uncomfortable and there’s a chance we’re going to get uncomfortable when we start digging deeper. I have a friend who says, “If you want to know why you ate, get abstinent.” It is so true because the stuff, you’re a doctor. This stuff just comes out of you. Some people just get so frightened of that, anxious. A lot of people just get enraged at everything, every little creek. It’s amazing.

Sara Somers:

So you don’t want to encourage someone to do something where they might have to go back, because who knows if they’d come back. These are such hard programs. So I tell my sponsees, let’s wait 90 days. It takes about 21 days for detoxing. Who knows how long it takes for an emotional withdrawal. That’s very personal. But after three months I think that people can start getting on the bandwagon and doing some steps, at least on a lighter level. You don’t have to go deep. You can wait, but definitely do them.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

Is it also recommended to start out by going to 90 meetings in 90 days, to go to a meeting every single day?

Sara Somers:

Certainly in AA that’s become … It was never written in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was never written down anywhere. It’s one of those folklore things. It’s come down through the ages and it’s been picked up by many in the 12 step programs. If I have a brand new person and she’s having a hard time getting abstinent, I will say, “Well, why don’t you go to a meeting a day?” Right now in the pandemic, it’s very easy to do it. If you’re actually having to walk there or drive there it’s harder. But I think it’s good for another reason, because we have brains that need to be washed, if you will. My brain thought so poorly of me, my brain was so accustomed to thinking a certain way about the world and a certain way about my family. I really needed it to be washed. So the more I heard other people talking about what they were getting, one, they talked about where they came from so they were reminding me what it was like to binge.

Sara Somers:

I didn’t want to go back there. And then they were telling me what their lives were like, and they’re pretty wonderful. So then I wanted to come back. Now, in the beginning, my memory was 30 seconds, 60 seconds. It depended whether I … I’ve always kept a journal so I would write things down and read it, but my memory wasn’t great then. So I would pick up the phone and call people. We suggest that too for food addicts, that they pick up the phone and talk to people and ask them, “What was the hardest moment you had? What was the greatest moment you had?” Just find out, get your brainwashed.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

And that’s a, yeah, another thing I was going to ask you about as far as are able to, by going to meetings and getting involved, to build a support network of people that you can become friends with or talk to on a regular basis and call or have meetings with?

Sara Somers:

Absolutely. I like to say that we’re zebras and we’ve been running around with the lions out in the world and we didn’t see the other zebras, but now all the zebras have gotten together and they run in a herd. So we protect each other. We don’t want someone running out and maybe getting caught by a lion. So we’re very protective of each other. That doesn’t mean that we all like each other. I had the sense, I’ve always had this sense that we’re in a lifeboat together and who wants to be the one to rock the boat? It’s something that works. We want to help each other. If I met you out on the street, would I like you? I don’t know. I like a lot of these people and over time if you talk to someone enough, you kind of get your really good friends.

Sara Somers:

They’re on the same level. They have the same politics. You can’t bring politics into meetings. So you know. So I have probably about 10, 12 women that I feel very close to and that I know would answer the phone anytime of day if I called and want me to succeed and I want them to succeed. Then I have a whole bunch of younger women here in Europe that I kind of am a mother hen to, you know? They call me. I wouldn’t hang out with them I don’t think, but I care about them as if they were my family. I really feel like we go to the brink of death. It’s true, people understand that drugs and alcohol will kill you, and I believe that food will kill you also. It isn’t just the eating of food.

Sara Somers:

It’s the terrible fogginess you go into when you’re on a run and things you do, things you say. My worst fear is that I actually wouldn’t physically die, that I would just be like a walking skeleton. I wouldn’t have anything to give to the world. Nobody would really care about me and my heart would keep beating. I just can’t imagine any worse hell. So yeah, I am very protective of my girls over here and I’m very grateful for my friends that care about me. I have a lot of people that I know from just my life that care. They saw me as a person that was not particularly pleasant and they’ve seen that I’d become somebody different. They’re all proud of me. I’m going to try, I’m going to have a book launch Zoom party and every single one of those people was coming. They’re just so happy for me. I could just tell you, I could tell you a hundred things that are so wonderful.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

Oh yeah. In GreySheeters Anonymous do you have any kind of a key tag or a chip that you give out for milestones?

Sara Somers:

We do. Milestone’s 30 days, 60 days. We really try to keep away from the weight as the reason we’re there. That we’re there for our sanity. We have a saying that we came for the vanity and stayed for the sanity. That people have different bodies. If you just eat properly, you’re going to stop at a certain place and it depends whether you take up exercise, but there’s no half do’s except for what you put on the scale and in your body. But really we try to put the focus on living a better life and trying to take it off the food, take it off the weight. Because for me, just speaking personally, that’s all I did 24 hours a day was think about my weight, how ugly I was. I couldn’t walk by a window, a glass window without looking and wondering who that woman was.

Sara Somers:

It was a 24/7 job. And I’m so grateful. It was hard to do and I still find myself slipping back, but I know that it will only make me unhappy. So we have chips for putting the days together just like you would have a hallelujah if you started learning Chinese and actually had a conversation, that you’d done something hard. This is great. You’ve gotten this far. Then I think people tend not to get too into it after one year. The first year, if you make it through the first year it’s just wonderful.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

Now, as far as the friends and family, there’s a quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Bodybuilding Encyclopedia, which has always stuck with me, but he says, “If a friend gives you a piece of pizza, that’s not a true friend.” Now that’s true of friends and family, other people insist that you should be able to eat like them or you go out to a restaurant with your family and you want to eat the way that you know you should eat. You’re trying to stick to a program and they’re like, “Well, come on, you can have a little bit. This one meal isn’t going to kill you.” Or, “This isn’t going to make you gain weight,” or whatever. How do you deal with friends and family once you’re in the program and trying to explain it to them or to deal with, because eating is a social thing that we have to deal with all the time?

Sara Somers:

Well, there’s different aspects of it. There’s families where if you don’t eat mom’s food, she thinks you don’t love her. It’s just practically killing her. So that’s one thing. We lovingly say that GreySheeters Anonymous is like taking Assertiveness Training 101. You’re not going to lie down and be a doormat for anybody anymore just to make other people happy. They will begin to believe you when they see what happens. But what I used to do when I went out to dinner with people I didn’t know, is I would just say, “Look,” because I bring out my scale. I couldn’t tell you what four ounces was if you paid me a million dollars. So I say, “I don’t eat certain foods. I weigh everything. Anybody wants to ask me a question, you have one minute, then no questions because I want to enjoy my dinner.”

Sara Somers:

And people laugh and no questions. Nobody says a thing because I said it first. Usually if people push it, push me, they have a weight problem and they’re trying to come in the back door to find out if they can find out something from me without actually having to do what I do. So it’s a difficult one, but it is, it is the biggest problem women have in this program is asserting themselves and saying, “No, this is what I have to do and if you don’t like it, go cook your own food. I’m not going to stop you, just don’t stop me.”

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

That’s a huge issue. I think with all addictions is that a person I guess, involved with something that’s working for them and then down the road people come down on them. Everyone has an opinion and everyone knows what’s best for you and says, “Well, you’ve been doing that long enough. Let me tell you what to do now.” Or,” I think you’re done with that now. You’ve been clean long enough or you’ve lost enough weight.” You know? Even with addiction treatment for opioids, people quickly forget about where a person came from. They went from being completely hopeless to now functioning normally in society and even three months down the road, the family is like, “Well, I think you’re done with that treatment. I think you’re fine now.” So yeah, it’s hard to deal with friends and family and coworkers. Everybody has an opinion and a plan, but I think that’s great advice. Or not just advice, but I guess learning how to not be everybody’s doormat and let people walk all over you.

Sara Somers:

It’s interesting the way you’re saying it. It’s a way of thinking that you start somewhere and you get to a goal and then you’re fixed. I think that’s a way of thinking certainly that Americans have. So it’s not really the fault of people who think that and then in a way I have to take responsibility for my recovery and explain to people it doesn’t work like that. I have something that I’m never going to get cured of. I’m going to arrest it and it is arrested and I plan to keep it that way, but I’m not cured. I am this way. I am hardwired to self-abuse by eating food. And one day at a time I don’t do it.

Sara Somers:

We really, I think people in the program, I’m sure you’ve talked to a lot of them, but I think people in the program do not think I get somewhere and then I’m fixed, which is what WeightWatchers tells you. You know? Because I did Weight Watchers. Many times you’d get somewhere and then you get all those foods back that caused me to gain all the way back. But I think it’s a way of thinking. We say it to each other all the time. It doesn’t matter where you’re going. It’s the journey that counts. Smell the roses. Well, we’re actually saying something very profound that we’re not really paying attention to ourselves because this for me, this is just a journey. It continues to be a journey of self-discovery. The price I pay is eating a certain amount of food, putting it on a scale, my abundance of food.

Sara Somers:

Living in Paris is a dream for somebody like me because I walk. I fill out my little passport. They make me fill it out. What time did you go out? I have to carry it in my hand, walk down and there’s three vegetable markets with nothing but vegetables and fruit there. And I’m in heaven. I can eat everything. Next to it is a patisserie and my father used to say about this fancy accessories store in San Francisco called Gumps, he would say, “You have to treat Gumps like it’s a museum. You go in and you appreciate everything, but you can’t walk out with anything.” So I do that around patisseries because they’re beautiful here. It’s not like the United States. They’re gorgeous. I appreciate it and I don’t walk out with anything, but those vegetable markets where you can see all the colors, all the fruit and I can have everything. It’s a dream living here.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

You had mentioned your sponsees and women in the program. Now, women in addiction recovery can sometimes have a lot of difficulty, especially when they go to meetings and NA meetings are mostly men. I know a lot of AA meetings are also more men than women and they always say men stick with the men, women stick with the women. And there aren’t always a lot of women to stick with. You have to kind of look out for who you talk to. Is it different in GreySheeters Anonymous as far as the balance?

Sara Somers:

Well, in GreySheeters Anonymous the women outnumber the men a lot. But yes, the general rule of thumb is a woman’s should sponsor a woman, a man should sponsor a man. If you can’t get that, get a gay person from the other sex. The whole point is to not let something else get in the way of what you can get from a sponsor-sponsee relationship so that the general advice is a protection. So I know that here in GreySheeters Anonymous some men have sponsored women and some women have sponsored men. I’ve never heard of a problem. We do watch out for each other. I’m much older. I’m going to be looking out for the … There’s some young women in their twenties and thirties and all they want to do is get married. They forget what’s important and so I get on the phone, try and say, “Now, wait, wait. Like attracts like. Do you want to attract someone like you are right now or do you want to get to be a really good person and then attract someone?”

Sara Somers:

That usually pulls them away from hanging out with people. What I get from being in these programs is I get family. I get a deep, deep, spiritual connection with people. I’ve learned how to meditate. I’ve learned how to connect with a higher power that I’ve really come to learn how to trust. I know it sounds weird, but I really do. I trust sometimes more than people. I feel like I can navigate the waters of life because I was so deficient of all of that. I isolated. I was ashamed. I didn’t want people to know how abusive I was to myself. I didn’t think I was a good friend. People who loved me, I thought of myself as like a porcupine. I had so much to learn. This is the richest experience I’ve ever had and all I had to do was be a compulsive eater.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

Now, what do you think of therapy? What do you recommend for people that are in GreySheeters Anonymous that therapy is still also important to get to the root of childhood-

Sara Somers:

Oh yeah. Yes, I do. I was a therapist for 34 years and I think we don’t pretend to be somebody that can fix issues and people come in with some really difficult issues. If their sponsor is smart, will send them and say, “I can’t help you with that, but I think if you go to therapy, I’ll hold your hand and be with you while you’re going through it.” So yeah, I think the combination of therapy and the spiritual workout we get, it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

Yeah. As far as meditation do you practice any particular kind of meditation?

Sara Somers:

I change around. I did Vipassana for many, many years, mindfulness, and I think now of mindfulness is larger than meditation. I try to approach the world in a mindful way, which I find very difficult. But what I do every morning is I just sit quiet and I say a few program prayers. I repeat some of them in my own language so that I’m not just being rote. And I ask God to guide me, to help me be a better person, that I reach out to people instead of thinking about myself all the time and that I don’t need to be scared of life. But it works for me. I just use my own language. Most of the time I get something that I ask for. It’s not always what I thought it would look like, but I get something and my life just keeps getting better.

Sara Somers:

This whole thing with a pandemic, it’s kind of blown me away. I feel like the program has, a lot of people in the program feel this way, that we were so lost at sea one, being drunk, drinking, eating, binging, and then when all that was taken away from us, feeling totally lost and not knowing what was going to happen next. So it was very familiar sort of being said, “Go to your apartment.” Nobody knew what was going to happen next. We’re all told in the program plan ahead. So I went out weeks before the confinement and bought foods that I hoped would last me two months. I didn’t really think we’d be here two months, but here we are. I have not had a moment of anxiety. I don’t feel put upon. I feel safe. I feel like the French president really cares about the people that live in his country.

Sara Somers:

I followed directions, which I never did before. It’s just a different experience and I’m learning some things I would’ve never learned before. Paris, if you go out and walk in Paris, it’s the Paris from the 1930s. There’s no people out. It’s just remarkable. There’s all these silver linings that are happening. I’ve connected with people I haven’t talked to since college. That’s what I mean when I say life keeps getting better. A day happens and somehow people by getting on a meeting or by talking to someone, they help me sort of switch. We say an attitude adjustment, switch into something so we have an open mind and move forward. That’s what my experience, and I wouldn’t have this experience if people before me hadn’t told me they had that experience because it was something I wanted so I stuck with it. I stuck with the hard times so that I could get what they had.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

And you had mentioned stopping to smell the roses. Do you feel that makes a big difference, just maybe getting outside, breathing the fresh air, looking around, listening to the sounds around you? In a way that’s kind of a form of meditation. Do you find that that’s helpful to you to just meditate?

Sara Somers:

Yeah. I was lying in bed the other morning and it’s been beautiful in Paris, very spring-like, and I have a sliding door in my bedroom, so it was wide open. The birds were singing and there was not another sound, no kids, no nothing. I thought this is just like if I was sleeping outside in my sleeping bag. It was the most extraordinary experience. I thought if I just pretended I was outside on a trail somewhere, it’s … So for that moment I stopped to smell the roses. I love listening to the birds here. I have a little garden on my terrace so I’m not completely a flower-like, but we can go out for an hour and we’re not supposed to go more than a kilometer. I’m very lucky I have a park that is not closed. I go up there almost every day.

Sara Somers:

For the first time, I think the first time ever, I go on to the same place almost every day and seeing the flowers go from buds to grow to big flowers, and now the tulips are dying. So I’ve seen them go through their cycles and I don’t remember ever having watched that, at least in that part, because I’m too busy getting somewhere.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

I was wondering about the book. Is this the first book that you’ve written?

Sara Somers:

Oh yes.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

Good for you.

Sara Somers:

And probably last. They’re very hard to do. This one was hard because I was really going back through some tough times and bringing back memories. The teenage years were the hardest to write. But I’m glad I did it. I’m really glad I did it.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

Oh, I loved it. I know people are going to love it and I think it’s going to help people to make them aware of what’s out there for help because I don’t think a lot of people realize that we run around in circles spending money on different programs and trying different things and starving ourselves and the 12 steps are something that’s out there that can-

Sara Somers:

Yeah.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

It’s not just for alcoholics.

Sara Somers:

Yeah. I think a lot of people get stopped by the God thing. When AA was first started, it was fairly Christian and it has gone quite a ways from there, but they still use the word God. But I think every denomination now comes to 12 step programs, but people will find reasons to not come into something like this and hearing the word God is usually the one I hear the most. It’s too bad because it is a spiritual program, has nothing to do with religion. We got to find a name for whatever it is that has more power than me. And sort of for me, it’s now become an umbrella word. I like the word higher power. But that is the thing that I think keeps people out.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

Yeah. I would say that to my patients, the 12 steps are for some people it’s not for everybody, but of all things, things like God and prayer should not be the thing that stops you from going. Of all things, that’s something that-

Sara Somers:

They should try it before they condemn it. Unless you try it, you don’t know it’s for you or not.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

Sara Somers. Thank you for joining me today.

Sara Somers:

Thank you for having me. You were great to talk to. If you have any more questions, I love to talk about this. I love to spread the word, so happy to come back.

Mark Leeds, D.O.:

Thank you for joining us today on The Rehab on the Mental Health News Radio Network. I hope that you have found this show to be interesting and useful. If so, please subscribe to The Rehab Podcast and share on social media. I appreciate your taking the time to listen to The Rehab.

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