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First Aid

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One Saturday, I had a long to-do list of errands and wondered how to get it all done. My highest priority was to go to my home meeting, but I had an hour until it started. “Hey, I can get the grocery shopping done if I hurry.” This is the thought that crossed the brain of a person who tends to overcommit and underestimate available time and energy.

Since my husband had our car, I multitasked (getting exercise was also on the to-do list) by walking to the store with our portable pushcart. Though I shopped quickly, the checkout lines were longer than I anticipated. Walking more quickly than usual and pushing the full cart along, I did not see a raised crack in the sidewalk. When I hit that crack, the cart lurched. I took a tumble, and my arms and knees met concrete. Shocked and angry, I was a scraped, bloody mess. I arrived home a few minutes later, upset that I would likely miss the meeting.

While cleaning and bandaging myself, I had a sudden urge to guzzle a can of a diet soft drink. The drink is part of my food plan, but I realized I wasn’t thirsty—I just wanted to dull the shock and pain. To respect my abstinence, I did not drink the soda, and I resolved to get to my meeting, even late. Somehow, I got the groceries put away and arrived at the meeting in time to hear the opening Serenity Prayer.

At the meeting, I shared the lesson that life on life’s terms is occasionally unpleasant and painful. I had placed myself in a position to be hurt by cramming too much into an hour and becoming careless. Yet I was able to remain abstinent despite the physical and emotional pain of the moment.

I was powerless over the pain, but I practiced the principles of recovery by surrendering my will and desire to eat using Steps One, Two, and Three. I administered Eighth and Ninth Step help by giving myself first aid, physically with soap, water, and bandages, and emotionally with a meeting. An on-the-spot Tenth Step helped me understand the price of overcommitment, cramming, and rushing. My Sixth and Seventh Step were learning to give myself more time and surrendering my expectations about completing to-do lists. My Twelfth Step action was to share my experience at a meeting (and gingerly receive hugs). Later, I practiced my Fifth Step by calling my sponsor and discussing the experience and lessons learned. During our call, we also said the Serenity Prayer, an Eleventh Step act.

My cuts and scrapes healed, I got to work almost all Twelve Steps on this problem, and despite a tumble, my abstinence was maintained for another day.

— Mike B., Baltimore, Maryland USA

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