I am a compulsive overeater recovering a day at a time in OA, down 86 pounds (39 kg) and abstinent for almost ten years by the grace of God and this amazing Fellowship. I have been meaning to share my experience, strength, and hope in the area of sex relations for a while. Last spring and summer, I faced a very difficult obsession that took me by surprise. It wasn’t with food, but with a man. It began innocently with some flirting at work. Since I had been overweight most of my life, I hadn’t experienced much attention from the opposite sex, and it was extremely tempting to move forward with this man.

But I am an OA member who lives a spiritual life, seeking daily to do God’s will. Involvement with a married man would not be compatible with that at all!

So how did I face a temptation that for me was even stronger than the food? First, I shared the feelings I was having with my sponsor during my daily check-in call. Next, I shared at my meetings that I was flirting and obsessing and felt powerless over it. People who had similar problems came up to me, and when I needed to, I made outreach calls to them. I was not alone.

Another Tool I used a lot was writing. Writing got me through all the strong feelings I was having—I didn’t have to overeat or do the wrong thing. Above all, I didn’t want to lose my abstinence, and I knew in my heart that if I let flirting turn into an affair, I would lose it.

God kept me in his care during that time. Once, this man wanted to get me alone at work, and I got a sponsee call right at the same time! Another time he asked me to call him, but directly afterward, I got a text from a program friend who knew about my obsession. When he tried to kiss me, I said “no” (when I really wanted to say “yes”). That was God doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself.

The Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, says “If sex is very troublesome, we throw ourselves the harder into helping others. . . . This takes us out of ourselves. It quiets the imperious urge, when to yield would mean heartache.” (4th ed., p. 70.) During that time, I got three new sponsees. It seemed every time I turned around someone would ask me to sponsor them. God was stepping in and indicating that I should focus on the program.

To sum up the experience, I found I was just as powerless over a man as I was powerless over the food. When I applied the Twelve Steps to the situation, used the Tools of the program, and worked with others, the obsession was lifted.

I can maintain my abstinence and my integrity, and do God’s will, not mine. Thanks for letting me share!

— Heather S., Renton, Washington USA

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