Home How OA Changed My Life Following Suggestions

Following Suggestions

5 min read

I’ve completed seven years of abstinence and recovery in OA, yet until recently had always been puzzled by this quotation from “How It Works”: “Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 59). Why simply “suggestions”? I had come to believe that my recovery depended on following these Twelve Steps to the best of my ability. To me, these were not merely suggestions, but mandatory keys to success.

Then, on my seventh anniversary, I suddenly understood. Someone shared that we receive daily messages and insights from our Higher Power. We can elect to follow these messages or not; we still have free will. However, if I use my own will to ignore those messages, insights, and, yes, suggestions, then I bring destruction on myself. I realized that Higher Power is not commanding me to put down the fork, just strongly suggesting that if I do, I will find relief from my compulsion to overeat. It is as if Higher Power is by my side, giving me suggestions that I can choose to follow or ignore according to my will.

“Sander, put down the fork.”
“Okay, God.”
“Sander, stop arguing with your wife.”
“Okay, God.”
“Sander, treat all around you with the honor, respect, and dignity that each is entitled to as a fellow human being.”
“Okay, God.”

In Step Three, I made a commitment to Higher Power that I would follow his suggestions, always and in all ways, to the best of my ability. In Step Eleven, I pray daily for knowledge of his will for me and for the power, strength, and will to carry it out. This has been the key to my success.

So again, why are Steps merely suggestions? It is because Higher Power has given me free will, and I can choose to ignore the Steps at my peril. No, I don’t believe he would strike me dead with a lightning bolt from heaven. I do, however, believe that if I fail to follow his suggestions and his will for me, I’d bring destruction upon myself. If I do follow his suggestions, though, I can be assured of freedom from obsessions.

Sponsees argue with me that they have a problem with Step Three because they would be giving up their God-given gift of free will. I explain that it was misuse of my free will that got me into my hopeless situation to begin with. So now I can use my free will to align with Higher Power’s. As the Big Book says, “Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. ‘How can I best serve Thee—Thy will (not mine) be done.’ These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 85).

— Sander B., Marietta, Georgia USA

  • The Silent Engine

    We gather in our meetings to share our experience, strength, and hope—I hear that expressi…
  • Able to Identify

    A simple definition of insanity is “unsound reasoning and judgment.” Where has my reasonin…
  • Surrender Happens 24/7

    When I came into OA, I was on the edge of a mental breakdown. I’d tried everything to stop…
Load More Related Articles
  • Low-Tech Outreach

    I am on my intergroup’s public information committee. We make flyers with a tear-off porti…
  • Available to Everyone

    Here are a few ways I carry the message to other compulsive overeaters. I print out OA’s C…
  • Radio-Active

    I was listening to a commentary about obesity on our local radio station. The commentator …
Load More By admin
  • True Freedom

    When a fellow OA member suggested I reflect on what true freedom looks like for me, I disc…
  • Uplifting Recovery

    I’m a group fitness instructor and have been for more than ten years. If someone told me w…
  • Lucky and Relieved

    This program has changed my life. It has taken away my desire to assassinate your characte…
Load More In How OA Changed My Life
Comments are closed.

Check Also

Low-Tech Outreach

I am on my intergroup’s public information committee. We make flyers with a tear-off porti…