Home Relapse Ending the Residual Battle

Ending the Residual Battle

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The knowledge of Step One is that I am truly powerless over food. To admit this deeply within myself took three years!

In my yoga class, I learned not to use my momentum to force a pose. Instead, I learned to take my time and build a strong foundation, grow into the pose up to my maximum ability, and then hold the pose for as long as I could. In OA, I’d been using the momentum of my willpower to try to thrust myself into abstinence. In my heart, I hadn’t built a strong foundation by admitting and accepting powerlessness, so I continued to relapse.

To find the starting point of deep and lasting abstinence, I had to find the ability to surrender to a Higher Power and listen to my inner knowing. Then I had to integrate that wisdom into my life. I had to get completely honest about the foods and eating behaviors that were causing me problems. And I had to go beyond admitting I am powerless; I also had to act as if I am powerless.

At my meeting last week, we were taking turns reading from Voices of Recovery, then sharing. After I read, I shared about fighting a battle inside: I’d been arguing with myself about amending my food plan, since I’d identified “healthy” foods that were triggering my illness. Part of my mind was urging me to drop these foods while another part was fighting back, saying, “No, I’m not ready. These foods are fine.” My illness did not even want me to acknowledge this inner argument or admit out loud that I knew I could do better. But I went ahead and shared my mental battle, so at least I could bring the fight into the open among my Fellowship.

Then it was my neighbor’s turn to read. Her voice rang out, “When the individual accepts, on an unconscious level, the reality of not being able to handle compulsive overeating, there is no residual battle” (Voices of Recovery, p. 150).

I froze on that page and read and reread it.

My conscious mind did not understand that sentence, but I started practicing. I began to pretend, when faced with food temptation, that deep in my unconscious mind I knew I was powerless over compulsive eating. Each time I did this, the battle subsided and the urge to misbehave mysteriously evaporated. This was a real breakthrough for me!

Now I’ve just come safely through a weekend of sketchy situations by using this exercise. With abstinence, the magic and miracles mount.

I need daily treatment of my disease in order to maintain recovery. My treatment consists of doing some kind of work with the Twelve Steps every day. Old ways of thinking can change to Twelve Step ways of thinking. I pray that my heart becomes more and more accustomed to admitting and believing in my powerlessness and remembering the repercussions of indulging in the illusion of willpower.

— Valerie O.

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