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Instant Gratification

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It was Saturday night, and I was on my own. I was driving home to have my dinner, but I was accompanied by plenty of thoughts about food and finding a way to have just a little something sweet.

After I got home and ate, I brushed my teeth and left my house to meet some friends at a social gathering. I knew there would be food, and I knew none of it would be appropriate for me to eat since I’d already had dinner. I was offered food repeatedly, including dessert, but something or someone said, “No thank you.” (It couldn’t have been me because my answer was, “Yes, absolutely—give me the whole thing.”)

I walked out to my car for a moment all the while thinking about the food that was available to me. I could not get it out of my mind. It was a good time to pray, so I did. Then, I sat down and asked myself if I really meant it—did I really want help and relief from the obsessive thoughts, or was I just giving a lip-service prayer before bingeing? I decided that I meant my prayer sincerely.

Some other people had shown up who turned out to be friends of Bill W., and when I returned to the gathering, I sat down next to one of them. Our conversation turned to sobriety, and I talked about myself as a recovering compulsive overeater. He was very interested, even captivated. He told me he had been praying for guidance about his food consumption, and I told him about OA meetings in our area. He showed up at a meeting a short time later.

I know he was sent by my Higher Power in response to my prayer asking for help to stay abstinent. I have always turned to dessert and other food for instant gratification and to make me feel better. Today, I am grateful to relate this story because I now have a different perspective on instant gratification. Thank you, OA and HP.

— Anonymous, Pahoa, Hawaii USA

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