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A Curse and a Blessing

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As a child, I loved this fairy tale: A girl is born, and a fairy gives her the “gift” of obedience. At first, she tries to protect herself by keeping her gift/curse a secret, but when her father remarries, her bossy, jealous stepmother and stepsisters quickly discover she has no choice but to obey. Her life becomes unmanageable. Stripped of free will, the girl does whatever she is told to do—she humiliates herself and hurts those she loves most. Her desperation drives her to run away from home and do whatever it takes to break the spell.

Thinking back on this beloved story, I see it as a metaphor for the spiritual sickness of compulsive overeating. My disease is the curse I was born with. But, as in all my favorite stories, the curse is a struggle and within every struggle is a blessing in disguise. If we are not growing, we are dying, and I had to die a thousand times to be able to say yes to life. I had to run from myself to find out who I am. I had to be desperate enough to find a solution. I had to be false; I had to lie, gossip, cheat, and steal so I could know the relief of a dignified life. I had to live under the tyranny of my disease in order to surrender to the unconditional love of my Higher Power.

Every day, I must choose to see compulsive overeating as a blessing, and I must act on this blessing by embracing the Tools of recovery and working the Steps to the best of my ability. My heart is filled with bottomless gratitude for the journey of recovery I’ve found in OA, and I marvel at the unfolding shape of my life.

— Ashley, New York, New York USA

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