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Fish Tale

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Flyfishing, catching and releasing a brown trout

The fish flips, flaps, and fights within the tangled mass of netting. It thrashes about, struggling, getting more entangled with each attempt to release itself. It rests, exhausted, for just a few minutes, then begins its futile attempts again. This goes on repeatedly for a long time. Eventually the fish hovers between awareness and half-consciousness. A cupped hand reaches down, cradling the fish as it begins flailing once again. A soothing voice says, “Hey, buddy, calm down. Take it easy. Let me help you here.” The fish fights and struggles, making it more difficult for the gentle hands to remove the strangling mess. Eventually, the fish succumbs to exhaustion and the hands are able to untangle the knotted snarls. They lower the fish to the water, tenderly releasing it to freedom.

This image came to me during a meeting as fellow members shared their thoughts and experiences of allowing a Higher Power to work in their lives. I realized I am just like the crazed fish, struggling, fighting, afraid to allow helping hands to reach me. I can’t see or understand what entangles me; I need the soothing, reassuring (but honest) words from other OA members and my sponsor to calm me down and help me face the disease I find myself trapped in. I find it hard to believe that I am going to be okay. I think, like the fish, that if I work just a bit harder I will find release. But God’s tender hands are reaching out, cradling me in love, removing the bonds of compulsive eating behavior. God provides a nurturing, caring community to help me. I simply need to “let go and let God.”

I am rather new in my quest for abstinence. In just a month I have gone from weighing 248 pounds (112 kg) to 239 pounds (108 kg) and, more important, my blood glucose levels have gone down. My terrible headaches have subsided and my neuropathy is so much better. I am grateful for each day of freedom from compulsive behavior with food. I am grateful for my new lease on life. But I had to “let go and let God” and allow God to work in my life through prayer, the nine Tools, the Twelve Steps and Traditions, and the wonderful fellow members of OA who journey with me in freedom.

— Sandy O., Omaha, Nebraska USA

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