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All the Way In

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Image by Joanne H.

A couple of months ago, I was out walking my dogs when I received a call from one of the many names in my contacts list to which I’d given the last name only as “OA.” I answered and was happy to chat with an OA fellow whom I’d met several years earlier in the town where I’d first attended meetings. Even though I had moved three years ago, this particular woman had made outreach calls and texts to me periodically as part of working a strong program herself. During this conversation, she asked me very casually if I was abstinent.

Struggling at the time with the recurring bouts of unmanageability that accompany a relapse (even though I was living in the delusion that I was abstinent), my response was, “I’m not sure?”

The woman on the phone shared her experience with me about listening to a speaker talk about “entire abstinence.” The conversation ended, and though I was still not convinced I was actually in the midst of relapse (I discovered that later), the call had sparked my interest. I’d known this fellow member for several years now; I knew she worked her program like her life depended on it. I mean, who makes outreach calls to people who moved away years before? People working a strong program do, that’s who.

I wanted what she had, but I still couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I was in relapse. My disease is so good at the “cunning” component, it’s only now when I look back that I can see my relapse started at least two years prior, when I thought I could control a specific ingredient (sugar). Hindsight makes it so easy to see where things went wrong; but at the time I was living in the cycle of “thinking I was kinda abstinent.”

So I listened to a recording of that talk on “entire abstinence” and was thrown a punch in the gut: I was not abstinent. I was in relapse, and I’d been in relapse for years! The reason my life was so out of control was because I was back in the food: the diets, the overexercising, the fasting, the bingeing, the calorie-counting, the macro-counting, the re-feeds—all the insanity. It had all crept back in after I’d picked up the sugar years before.

I listened to that talk a couple more times before calling this woman back a few days later. I asked her to be my sponsor, and she agreed enthusiastically.

That was seventy-three days ago. What I have experienced in the last seventy-three days can only be described as “we will be amazed before we are half way through” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th. ed., p. 83)! Although I’d been coming to OA meetings for nearly five years, I’d never fully come “all the way in.” I was happy to attend meetings, make outreach calls, and even sponsor. I had a healthy body weight, but as anyone who has “been there” knows, I was just as insane as ever. I’d never even worked the Steps with a sponsor, the very heart of the recovery program!

What has happened since that call has been a lot of hard work—grueling at times. Living a life without the crutch of food has been a painstaking process to say the least. But here’s what I do know: something I’ve never experienced before is happening. I’m recovering from the disease of compulsive overeating, one day at a time.

I think that Higher Power knew exactly what was playing out when he put that woman in my life years ago, planting the seed of sponsorship for when I was ready. I am excited about my life as a recovered member of Overeaters Anonymous, and you better believe I will use the sponsorship Tool on a regular basis!

— Becca R.

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