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A Lead Counsel’s Deposition

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Surrender . . . surrender to the program, surrender to a Higher Power—for some reason, I have found it very difficult to surrender.

I am a man. I am an attorney. No one becomes an attorney by accident. It takes years of hard work and dedication. My profession is filled with strong-willed people who want to be in control. I am one such person. When I confront a problem, I solve it. When I’m confronted with a challenge, I rise to meet it. I am strong; I am intelligent; I am self-reliant.

But more than that, I am a compulsive overeater. For years, I tried to control my weight the same way I tried to control everything else in my life. I simply viewed my growing obesity as a problem I could solve by myself. I tried designing my own exercise and eating programs. I tried many of the commercial diets widely available today. All of those efforts worked, for a little while. I’d lose 20 or 30 pounds (9–14 kg) only to gain that weight back plus more. Even though none of my plans or schemes worked, this did not deter me. And while my waistline kept expanding, I continued to try to solve my weight problem on my own.

Then my doctor gave me bad news: I was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a constellation of adverse medical conditions that can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or early death. My blood pressure was elevated; I had high cholesterol and high blood sugar; and I was obese, weighing more than 100 pounds (45 kg) above my healthy weight. The hallmark of my life, professional and personal, was stress. My doctor told me there was a 50 percent chance that I would have a heart attack or stroke within the next five years. I was scared.

Still, I was convinced I could solve this problem myself. If I could just follow my diet, go to the gym, and stay focused, I was certain I could lose all my excess weight and restore my health on my own. I was wrong.

I began to feel desperation and despair, until one day out of the blue, my wife said to me: “It is time for you to be a hero for our family.” She asked me to consider OA. That night I made a phone call, and the next day I attended my first OA meeting. That was three years ago, and I still attend meetings routinely. Though I have not completed my weight-loss journey, I have found the willingness to surrender my will and my life to the care of God as I understand him. By working the Steps, I’ve learned that my need for control stemmed from my deep-seated fear of failure. By living the Steps, I’ve found that I need not fear failure, or anything else, ever again.

— R.S., Brentwood, California USA

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