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Long Journey, Strong Memory

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Today my husband and I are living our retirement dream, thanks to OA and the Twelve Steps. My life is so different today than it was before program. Today, I have a life and food has its proper place, thanks to a food plan that works for me.

Two years ago, I relapsed after seventeen years of abstinence. It was seven weeks of pure hell. My disease had gotten much stronger, and I was as powerless as I’d ever been. When it got to the point that I had become so obsessed that I didn’t want to give up the food but I also didn’t want to continue being nauseous every night and gaining weight—25 pounds (11 kg) in that seven weeks!—I began to pray for the willingness to go back to OA.

It took a solid week of prayer and concentration on a spiritual truth that I had come upon: I was so focused on what I had to give up, that I couldn’t see what I had to gain. And that was a miracle because the last time I relapsed, in 1993, it took about a year to regain my abstinence. And that was after three and a half years of the hell of relapse.

Before I went back, I called a dear OA friend. We talked for an hour, and she agreed to meet outside and walk into the meeting with me. It was difficult coming back—I had obviously gained weight. And, it was humiliating to ask for a white chip after getting a seventeen-year chip the year before. But I did it, and my HP has kept me abstinent ever since, 640 days as I write this, one day at a time.

I would have never believed that I could start over at this point in my life, but miracles abound! I’ve just had to be willing. I shared about that at a meeting, and someone came up to me afterwards and said, “Recovery has memory.” Now I see that recovery has stuck with me, and I believe it’s because I had been growing and changing in the rooms for so long. I had a stable foundation to fall back on.

This time, recovery also required a change in my food plan. I had certain foods on my plan for years, but now my body can’t tolerate them if I am to stay abstinent. Giving up those food categories has removed the cravings. Thank you, HP!

The dream my husband and I are living today is traveling the country in a motor home. We’ve seen some wonderful sights, and our relationship has grown as well, even in close quarters, because we both work a program. I plan in lots of alone time, too, so I’m not sacrificing the independence on which I thrive. Part of our journey includes going to meetings, and it has been wonderful to meet OA members all around the country!

We plan to take a couple of years to see this beautiful country together. After that, we’re not sure what’s next, but I know that if I continue to work my program, more will be revealed.

— Patti S.

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