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The Path of Totality

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In August last year, parts of the United States witnessed a full solar eclipse. There was roughly a 70-mile-wide (113 km) “path of totality,” and the lucky individuals along this path got to experience an awesome phenomenon. At first, I didn’t understand the hype, but my daughter lives near Nashville, which was in the path of totality, so she invited us to be part of it all. I am so thankful we went because we got to experience this breathtaking event as a family. It left me pondering deep thoughts, which I enjoy (though it leaves my family shaking their heads sometimes). I thought a lot about the phrase “the path of totality.”

The people from my hometown weren’t in the path of totality. Their comments about the partial eclipse they saw went something like this: “It was neat, I guess.” “Argh, overrated!” “Actually disappointing.” “Kind of cool, but unimpressive.” Some emphatically expressed on social media that they were glad it was over so people would shut up about it. Overall, they just did not have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But we did!

Now let me tell you what we witnessed in the path of totality. We sat on my daughter’s front lawn listening to an eclipse playlist of her favorite tunes. We sang and laughed as we waited. We had our little eclipse glasses—we put them on and got to watch the moon slowly creep over the sun. That was cool.

Then it happened. Right there in the middle of the day it became nighttime: the stars came out, the crickets starting chirping, the temperature dropped, and the sight of the sun engulfed by the moon was a sight to see! We just sat in awe and amazement, then we exclaimed and shouted, and yes, we even howled. It was beyond what we’d ever expected. God truly is amazing, isn’t he?

This experience has taught me there are some things in life that should be done in totality. It’s all or nothing, or we miss some of the awe and blessings. One thing I’ve learned that I need to do in totality is work the OA program. Working only part of the program is “kind of cool, but unimpressive.” But the path of totality in OA—now that is really something!

Of course, it took effort to reach the location for eclipse totality. We researched, traveled, and dealt with obstacles (like heat and traffic) along the way. But once we set out on the path, all we had to do was look up to the heavens and let our highest Power of all do the rest. And we sat in awe of what God did that day.

Since I’ve come to OA, some of the obstacles I’ve had to face are trying to get to meetings and finding a sponsor. I kept traveling and searching and reading. At a website for online OA meetings, I found a sponsor through an email list. She has been absolutely amazing. I have never met her, but I feel we have a friendship bond already.

I am new to OA—I’ve actually been in program and abstinent for ninety days today. I’ve lost 26 pounds (12 kg), but more importantly, I’m gaining a happier, healthier me. Although I am new, I can tell: this program is more awesome and amazing if it is worked in totality. Someone said to me, “When you get a sponsor, that’s when it gets real.” Well, isn’t real what we really want from program?

Program is working for me because I’m all-in, in totality! I read the literature daily, I write, I got a sponsor and I’m working the Steps with her guidance. I’m telling you, the path of totality is where it’s at!

— Lisa N., Alexander City, Alabama USA


For Discussion and Journaling

In the story above, the writer did some deep thinking about the difference between being partially in our Twelve Step program of recovery and being all-in. Think about your program—working the Steps, maintaining the Traditions, using the Tools, applying the Concepts, and understanding the spiritual Principles and write about how all-in you are in your OA program. Next, write about the results you are seeing now, and what your results might be if you can do more in your program.

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