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Leaps of Faith

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Four years ago, I returned to OA after a three-year relapse. At 47, I weighed more than ever, but that wasn’t why I returned. I came back because I had finally accepted that my way was never going to give me the life I desperately wanted. I am a compulsive overeater and a restricter and bulimic. I’ve been all different weights in my lifetime, but none gave me a life “happy, joyous, and free” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 133). Today, I weigh 65 pounds (29 kg) less than my top weight, but more importantly, I have an amazing life, free of the regrets and struggles that kept me imprisoned for years. Recently, I had one of those countless spiritual experiences we get in recovery. It reminded me just what it means to keep coming back.

I was running along the beach and listening to an OA podcast. As a recovering bulimic, I no longer exercise to erase the damage I used to incur with food. Now, exercise is a joy and a time to connect with HP. But that day, as sometime happens, I’d become lost, spinning in fear and obsessing on something painful. Even the podcast, which minutes before had felt so powerful and inspiring, seemed flat. No longer in the present, I was in the “bondage of self” (p. 63).

But program teaches actions that release me from the prison of self-will and connect me with God’s will. I texted a fellow and described exactly how I felt. She replied, “Give it to God. You are a miracle. We are all miracles.” So, right there, in the middle of the dirt road, I got on my knees and talked aloud to God, sharing all the crazy, scary stuff inside my head. I let the tears run and breathed in God’s love.

As my eyes and heart opened, I gazed at the ocean and saw countless dolphins arcing among the waves, perfect symbols of God’s promise of a life happy, joyous, and free! I felt my obsession lift and fear wash away. I texted my fellow, and she replied: “God gave you a gift, and a smile.”

By reaching out to God and a fellow, I received the gifts of peace and serenity that only come from surrender. To that truth I keep coming back. So many times, I tried to control my food to get abstinence. I tried to clutch and claw my way through relationships and life. But effortless abstinence and freedom are not to be wished for, grabbed at, or achieved. They are gifts I receive when I become willing to come into the present with all I feel and humbly ask for help.

Today I keep coming back by taking actions that bring me out of the bondage of self and into reality and recovery. Thank you, OA! Thank you, God!

— Amy L., Central Coast, California USA

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