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An “I Can” Plan

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Early in my recovery, I often heard longtimers say, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” My first sponsor drove home this idea by always encouraging me to call ahead and plan ahead for meals and events and to make backup plans, including knowing who to call for support. This instilled in me a desire to keep my food clean no matter what. Whenever I heard successful members share, they always related their recovery with putting their binge foods down first, and then making sure their clean food was right. I wanted what they had, and I still do.

Recently, I was confronted with a health issue that required major surgery and four to six weeks of recovery. When the surgery date was set, I had two weeks to finish work projects and prepare at home for my recovery. For those two weeks, I prayed for acceptance and courage; I went to my meetings; I talked and cried with friends; I “cocooned” with my husband; I asked God to help me let go of pet projects at work; I lined up nurse friends to help me change bandages and dressings; and most important, I prepared my food. I measured out abstinent food to take to the hospital in case their menu didn’t fit my food plan. I made a large dish and measured single portions to heat up. I labeled containers and baggies to remember the measured amounts they held. Then I spoke with my sponsor and other recovering OA members to ask them to be available and to pray for my medical team and me on the day of the surgery.

With everything that was going on for me emotionally and physically, I did not want to be faced with food issues. One thing I know for sure was that my disease of compulsive overeating likes to attack when I am vulnerable. When I am tired, overwhelmed, sad, or anxious, my disease tells me I don’t need to measure, or that a little extra food would make me feel better. My disease is a liar, and I knew if I failed to plan for those times of vulnerability, I would succumb to the lies. I would plan to fail.

Today, four weeks after my surgery, I sit in a pool of gratitude for all that planning. My food is clean, and I am grateful I did all that preparation and was given the willingness to stick to my plan. The peace of mind those measured meals brought me is priceless! During a time of pain, uncertainty, fear, and waiting, I did not have to make any food decisions or even think about what was next. It was all planned out and ready to go. There was no question for my disease to present. I was protected by the Principles of the program and the clear-headedness of living in the solution. Without OA, I have no idea what might have happened, and I have no desire to find out.

— Jessica M., Shillington, Pennsylvania USA

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