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The Silent Engine

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We gather in our meetings to share our experience, strength, and hope—I hear that expression frequently. We talk about our experiences, and we share the strength we have found in program, in one another, in our literature, and primarily in working the Steps. All of this is so true and so valid. Yet, I have never—in all my thirty years of working and living this Overeaters Anonymous program—heard anyone talk about the vitality, the power, and the beauty of hope, which is so very fundamental in our program of recovery. Though I have come across the word “hope” in passing in our literature, I will frankly admit that it is from outside sources that I have come to recognize how hope has powered my recovery.

I came into OA beaten by decades of food addiction. When I sat in my home meeting and heard members peacefully sharing their struggles with food addiction, when I experienced their warm and loving welcome and support, and when they encouraged me to keep coming back and said I could find recovery here, I experienced true hope for the very first time. Here was hope to find a way out of this mire of a food addiction that filled and controlled my life. Here, people openly talked about it. Here, they admitted it. Here, they claimed they were finding a way to recovery and a new life. I wanted it!

Hope is spiritual, subtle, and powerful. We humans cannot live happily or prosper without hope. Now, after these many years of working the Steps with a sponsor, I have found new beauty and new strength. With the help of my chosen Higher Power, whom I call God, I now live in the firm promises of our program, promises which lead to a happy, peaceful life. I share with many new friends the joys in life that food addiction had once deprived me of.

I have learned that I must do my part daily, to the best of my ability, with the help of my Higher Power. I know recovery is one day at a time (sometimes it has seemed even shorter!), and I have learned to start over immediately when I slip. I cling to faith in my OA program, which gives me hope for today. Hope is the silent engine that powers my recovery so long as I do my part and strive to live in the “sunlight of the Spirit” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 66). Hope is a close sister to love (it was in the love of the group that I found hope) and a vital companion for life. We will face challenges, heartaches, all kinds of misfortunes—that is life—but we are supported by a God who loves us and fills us with hope. We can do better. We can be better. We can help others, and we can help our world, so lacking in hope, by our own experience and conviction that life is a gift to be treasured, valued, and shared. Service is a gift of our belief. We help each other, and we all grow.

The result, as Rozanne said, is that I am living a life beyond my wildest dreams. Today, I am totally different from the person I was when I was controlled by my addiction. I am peaceful, happy, and gradually working on my character defects with God’s help. Relieved of food chatter in my head, I am working to be useful and doing what I can for others. I choose to be grateful every day for the hope I have received, and I willingly share it by working the Steps and helping others in this journey. Thank you, OA, for the beautiful gift of hope.

— Anne M., Henrico, Virginia USA

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