Home How OA Changed My Life Denial, Defiance, Desperation, Destiny

Denial, Defiance, Desperation, Destiny

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I came into OA in 1994. I got a sponsor at my second meeting, went to three meetings per week, and had the great fortune of being “struck abstinent” within my first two weeks. I began working the Steps and had two years of good solid abstinence. That’s when I thought to myself, “I got this.”

I have since learned this is one of the most dangerous thoughts I can have and what I really had was complacency. Like it says in the Big Book, “All went well for a time, but he failed to enlarge his spiritual life” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 35). I didn’t “have it”; instead, I “lost it.”

After another year of attending meetings, calling my sponsor, and sporadically working the Steps, I managed to get one more year of abstinence and began sponsoring. I spent the next thirteen years abstinent about 80 percent of the time. Truthfully, I don’t recall what happened, but I never managed to string together more than a few days or weeks of abstinence. During this time, I went through a divorce, a move, and changed jobs several times, not always by choice. I didn’t even know how miserable I was, but miraculously, I kept going to meetings, except for what I call “one year off for bad behavior.”

What happened next? Because I continued to go to meetings, work the Steps, read the literature, and call my sponsor and other fellows, some of the program worked its way into my life through osmosis. I also met my now-husband, the love of my life, and we moved to another state.

The meetings in my new area are quite strong, and as I started attending them, I saw the recovery in others and said to myself, “I want what they have.” In one meeting, I said through tears, “I need a food sponsor.” A woman came up to me after the meeting and said she would sponsor me, but I had to eat the way she did. I was so desperate I said I would, even though she used a plan of eating that I did not want to try. The first day wasn’t so bad. On the third day, I thought, “I’ll do this one more day just to show them it doesn’t work,” but later that day, all my cravings went away because I’d stopped feeding them. In six months, I lost the 40 pounds (18 kg) I had gained back in the previous thirteen years. I added some foods back into my plan of eating so that I could stabilize my weight. That was seven years ago, and I’m still eating the way she does, one day at a time.

She next suggested I find a Step sponsor, and I took her suggestion about who to ask, a woman younger than me who hadn’t been in the program as long. I had seen my new sponsor’s self-discipline and strong program and knew that I could learn from her. She has been so generous with her limited time. What I have learned from working with her is how much denial and defiance I’d been in for most of my life, especially around the food and my character defects. I’ve learned that I have to work on my defects to stay abstinent. It’s been almost seven years, and I am still working on them one day at a time.

Today, I do a lot of service because I enjoy it and it keeps me abstinent. I am vice chair of our very active intergroup, I’m working on our region convention, and I’m participating in our region assemblies. I give service at meetings and sponsor two people. I also work full-time and have a daughter attending a local college. My life is fuller and more wonderful than I have ever imagined it could be.

Thank you, OA, and thank you, Higher Power. My last words to you who are reading this are these: I spent thirteen years in and out of relapse. If I became abstinent while full of denial and defiance, you can too. Keep coming back! We need you. — Carol, New York USA

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