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Little Voice Said

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Eight weeks ago, I attended my first OA meeting. I’d researched OA and vaguely knew about a concept of abstinence, but that was about it.

After a bit more reading, another meeting, and devouring the Big Book and Twelve and Twelve, I realized I urgently needed a sponsor. After all, on reading the Twelve and Twelve, it seemed I was already through Steps One through Three and needed to be getting on with Step Four. I could sense it might be insufficient to work that one alone, so I drew breath, gathered my courage, and found a sponsor.

In our first conversation, we talked a little, but before I could tell her how far along in the program I was, she asked me to read aloud the first paragraph of Step One. Then she asked which sentence resonated most with me. I pulled one out and read it back to her. She said, “Right. Go away and write about that for next time we talk.”

I wanted to say, “No, no, it’s okay. I’ve done Step One. I accept I’m powerless over food and my life is unmanageable. I need and want God’s help. Let’s look at Step Four!” I didn’t want to waste more time. Didn’t she realize I’d been immersed in the material for two weeks and was a very fast learner? I was secretly horrified that if this was the pattern, it would take me at least two weeks to do Step One!

Something held me back. I knew she had more than twenty years of abstinence, and I wanted that too. And a little voice said, “Maybe you aren’t such a fast learner. Maybe you should listen to someone vastly more experienced? Maybe not be such a know-it-all?”

I took my sponsor’s advice. I moved slowly through the paragraphs. I found there was so much to write about, and suddenly I didn’t want to rush.

Eight weeks in, and I’m still on Step One. I’m in sight of the final paragraph, but several miracles have occurred. I have experienced a beautiful abstinence without fear for the last five days. I have learned humility and patience. I have had time to meditate and reflect on the true implications of Step One.

When I first rushed through the chapter in my initial excitement, I grasped it intellectually. Now, I have come to believe it in my heart.

— Gillian K., Leeds, England

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