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Serenity in a Recovery Desert

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I recently visited Vermont, where I grew up. I was there for two weeks to see my mom and a few other family members and friends. Coming from Tucson, where there is a very strong OA community, to a place where there are only two OA meetings was challenging. So, I thought I would take the opportunity to share ten ways I maintained my serenity while visiting someplace with little program support.

I kept in close contact with my sponsor. I emailed her at the start of each day to center myself and become aware of my focus for the day.

I read program-related literature. I read Lifeline with every meal and a daily meditation reader every morning to be guided and to hear the message when I couldn’t hear it in person.

I prayed many times during the day. When I was agitated, I paused and asked for direction. I also prayed first thing in the morning and last thing before bed.

I meditated. I quieted myself for at least five minutes each day to stay grounded and present.

I followed my food plan, so I didn’t have to pick and choose. It was all there in black and white, so I only needed to take action and follow it as written.

I went to other Twelve Step meetings. (I am also a part of another program.) There, I could think in regard to food, yet share my experience, strength, and hope regarding that particular compulsion.

I maintained my physical activity. It would have been easy for me to make excuses while on vacation, so I found a gym there and stuck to my routine just as I would have at home. I went in the morning so I would still have time for family.

I looked for ways to be of service in my daily activities, asking what I could give to the situations and people before me.

I continued to take inventory of my motives, behavior, words, and thoughts. When old thinking and practices surfaced, I shared them with my sponsor and sought to determine what action was needed to practice doing better.

I practiced patience, tolerance, acceptance, and restraint with loved ones. The purpose of my visit was not to control or change them. I went to love them and offer my company. HP will handle the rest.

The trip was challenging at times, but these daily practices kept me sane and serene nearly the whole time. I am truly grateful to have been taught the Tools and given the gift of OA. Thank you for being a part of my recovery.

— Gina B., Tucson, Arizona USA

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