A favorite OA phrase of mine is “willing to go to any length” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 58). Practicing this has helped me stay abstinent, which for me is not eating foods with refined sugar listed in the first four ingredients, for twenty one and a half years. For me, this phrase means:

  • Attending at least two OA meetings per week. I usually help set up or stay after to talk to newcomers.
  • Working with a sponsor.
  • Being rigorously honest with my sponsor and home group.
  • Asking for help to stay abstinent, make decisions, and manage time.
  • Planning my food for the next twenty-four hours, committing my food plan to my sponsor, and preparing my food ahead of time.
  • Reading OA literature, preferably before breakfast.
  • Praying on my knees when I first get up. I say the Third Step Prayer and the Seventh Step Prayer. Praying on my knees keeps me humble.
  • Giving service, which is my gratitude in action. I’m an intergroup representative, an imperfect Lifeline representative, and a sponsor.
  • Taking time to listen to God, preferably in the morning. I sit still, breathe, and focus on one Principle or idea that I read in the literature that morning.
  • Reading food labels and donating non-abstinent food.
  • Staying connected when I travel, whether through meetings, the telephone, or online. Meetings are best.
  • Practicing Principles before personalities and giving love and tolerance, even if others aren’t doing it my way. If I am prideful, I create emotional separation from others and am unable to ask for support.
  • Reaching out to others. Compulsive overeating is a disease of isolation, so I’m less apt to beat myself up or think I am perfect if I reach out.
  • Attending OA events outside my hometown. Last year I attended a retreat that boosted my recovery and renewed old friendships.

By grace of a loving Higher Power and the power in the Twelve Steps, I stayed abstinent through attending college, dropping out of college, dating, becoming married, getting divorced, mourning my father’s death, and moving. Was it easy? No! While deciding to get divorced, I called my sponsor every day for two months because I was so shaky and tempted to eat. I’ve made calls or gone to OA meetings while at my worst, falling apart and crying. I’m sure I looked terrible, but I stayed abstinent.

I noticed today that I cooked too much food for the week—I’m nervous and fearful about finding a job. I need to turn this over to my Higher Power. I am willing to go to any length to stay abstinent.

Thank you for being part of this amazing Fellowship.

— Anonymous

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