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A Slow Surrender

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I am powerless over compulsive overeating and abstinent since September 13, 2014, by the grace of God. I joined AA on March 19, 1988, and OA shortly thereafter. I try to practice unconditional love and abstain from abusing foods that induce cravings, especially fat, sugar, and salt. I promised long ago that once I had recovery, I would do all I could to pass it on to others who still suffered.

Twenty-seven years ago, I surrendered at my first AA meeting. Somehow I knew I could never drink again, and I never have. In OA, surrender took almost twenty-five years. I slipped on a daily basis and binged occasionally, but I continued to use the Tools and the Steps. I kept coming back.

Step Three tells me to surrender to the God of my understanding. How is this done? I just stopped compulsively overeating, knowing I could never safely overeat again, that a slip was an insane choice. After three weeks of abstinence, the cravings left me.

I then worked the Steps and had a spiritual awakening halfway through Step Nine. In implementing God’s will, which I could now discern, the mental obsession largely left me. Still I look forward to its eventual, complete removal. It took me a long time to get this sometimes quick, sometimes slow part of recovery in OA.

I knew I could recover, I just didn’t know how. Then I heard that other male compulsive overeaters had recovered by using the Twelve Steps as described in the Big Book. So I focused on the Big Book. I also used the OA Tools of recovery, got a food sponsor, and weighed and measured my food. I slipped and slid, and then discovered what I was failing to do: surrender. I was still trying to diet and control my food.

When the miracle of surrender came, so did the understanding that a slip was not a sin or a mistake but a deliberate insane act. Once abstinence came, many other things I’d tried just fell into place: plans of eating, the action plan, putting cutlery down between mouthfuls, chewing not shoveling, shopping with a list, and cooking with healthy recipes.

I had not wasted all those years. I was practicing to become abstinent, and I was learning by attending meetings and listening to others. Eventually, I saw the message I needed, and a new light entered the dark world of this compulsive overeater.

I do not intend to hide that light. My wife and I may soon relocate, and once that is determined, I plan to join or set up a men’s meeting.

I am writing about how all this happened, so I can better carry this message to those who still suffer.

— Geoffrey N., Tasmania

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