HP Did for Me

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I was 19 and had been in OA for six months and abstinent throughout that period. I’d learned about a Higher Power but hadn’t felt the presence of one. I certainly didn’t believe it might be real for me. I accepted that it worked for other people, and I believed that they believed. But I was still willing and able to “act as if” there was an HP. Each day, I prayed for an abstinent day, and each day I got one. Slowly, the walls I had built around me were crumbling down.

I went on holiday that year and stayed at my uncle’s house in Miami. One day, I wasn’t doing anything in particular, when an overwhelming desire for food consumed me. My uncle was at work, so I was there alone with access to a kitchen full of food. As I’d always done before when this feeling came upon me, I walked into the kitchen, opened the fridge, and started planning what I would eat first. Then, this thought came into my mind: “You are about to treat yourself like a piece of junk.” I didn’t want to eat, but I felt I had to. The conflict inside me was horrific. I became desperate for that battle to be over. I’d never chosen differently before when faced with that kind of desire; I’d always eaten. I can’t explain how, but I shut the fridge door and decided to pray. I prayed “God, if you are out there, which I don’t think you are, you are going to have to do something and do it now because I am going to eat.”

I got up from my knees and picked up the phone. I called the number for OA in Miami. The lady who answered said some very random things; one was that she was very old and maybe this call was the one thing she was supposed to do in her life and perhaps once it was completed, she might die tomorrow. The conversation was quite surreal, and I didn’t really like it. I just wanted to get off the phone and eat. But when I put the phone down, I walked into the bedroom instead.

I hadn’t had a shower yet, so I decided to shower and wash my hair and then put on some nice clothes and make-up (I mean, who puts on make-up when they want to binge?). As I was finishing, I got the idea I should write to a Fellowship friend from home, so I started writing.

I remember writing, “I have no idea what I am writing or why, and I am scared about what I am going to do when I finish this.” As I signed my name, the phone rang. I had never answered it before since this wasn’t my home, and the last thing I wanted to do was talk to a stranger when I wanted to eat. But I found myself picking up the phone.

The man who called was from AA, and I’d met him the previous week at a meeting with my uncle. We chatted for a while, my head going crazy the whole time, telling me to eat, eat, eat. As I said goodbye, the doorbell rang. I had never answered that before either, but strange as it was, I opened the door. On the step were five teenage boys asking if I wanted to play basketball. In my head, I heard the word “no,” but out of my mouth came “yes.” I went outside and was still playing with them three hours later when my uncle came home from work. Guess what? I didn’t want to eat anymore.

I didn’t know it at that time, but I had sincerely prayed Steps One, Two, and Three. In that moment of surrender, when I didn’t even believe in an HP, he stepped in and did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. I have been abstinent ever since and been able to develop a relationship with an HP I now believe in—though I still don’t really understand, and that’s okay with me.

— Joanna C., Hereford, England

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