Home How OA Changed My Life Honest-to-Goodness


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I love reading and learning about the Steps and Traditions through our Twelve and Twelve literature (I am brand-new to any Twelve Step program). When I read Step Five for the first time, this sentence really stood out for me: “Honesty is a key factor in our recovery from compulsive eating, and so we will want to develop this trait” (The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 51).

To fully understand that honesty is a key factor in recovery and something that I need to develop, I need to look at my past to see both when I was honest and when I was dishonest. I am amazed when I think about just how much I lied—to myself, to my Higher Power, and to those around me.

For today, I am learning how to react to current situations in a mature, honest way. Self-honesty has opened a new door in my life. It has given me relief from anger, resentment, and other emotions that were completely in my head.

At work, I used to lie to potential customers about why I did not finish their proposals, hoping they would relieve me of the trouble I would be in for being late. I did it again and again and again. If I had just told the truth about why I was late, they would have had more respect for me and understood me a little better. Then I would not have had the internal guilt and shame that led me to binge again and again and again. Let’s face it . . . addicts are the world’s best liars. We have been doing it for so long that we should be considered professionals.

Sure, I can be honest about what I ate today, but to be completely honest in everything I do and say is a tad bit scary. I am not used to living this way. I do not even know how to do this yet. Honesty is a new experience I embrace with an open mind every day. Since beginning in OA, I have found that the more honest I am—with myself, my Higher Power, and others—the better I feel and the happier I become.

It has been difficult, but the times I have spoken honestly, I have felt extreme relief. If I use the Tools laid out for me, I can succeed.

Keep coming back. It works when you work it, and you are worth it—so work it!

— Edited and reprinted from OA Today newsletter, St. Louis Bi-State Area Intergroup, May 2016

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