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The Only Thing That Worked

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Hi, I’m Chris B., a compulsive overeater and powerless over food. I would not be alive today if I didn’t sponsor. I say this because it’s my truth, and I cannot keep what I’ve received unless I give it away. I used to weigh over 430 pounds (195 kg). I used to question whether I could sponsor someone or not. Did I have time? Could I be a good sponsor? The truth was, I didn’t know if I could handle it without going back to the food—I really was scared out of my mind to sponsor. That’s more than okay, and that’s who I was a few years back.

Today, with a spiritual awakening, a body weight in the 190s (86-90 kgs), and an abundance of love, peace of mind is my reality. I had to find out the hard way that sponsorship is not a hobby, nor is it a right possessed by select fellows with long-term recovery. It was not something I needed to wait to do until my life and program were comfortable and just right. Sponsorship is an amazing Tool that continues to teach me about myself, and it helps my own sponsor and other fellows stay sober with food—we help each other grow spiritually. Think about it: one sponsee can be the basis for hundreds of hours of powerful conversations; meetings; work sessions with the Big Book; outreach calls to other, more experienced sponsors; inventories; and so on.

What if a sponsee eats again or dies on my watch? I can’t go there. It’s not up to me. I have an obsession of the mind no matter what happens in life, and they have a Higher Power right where they need it to be. I have to be free of agendas, of how I think sponsees should be recovering and how fast. The Big Book has a set of instructions that led me to what I’d been looking for all the time I was in the food: the spiritual solution, the only thing that’s ever worked in my life. The spiritual solution can overcome my mind’s obsession with food. It happens when I pick up the phone and ask for help out of the obsession, during one phone call or many, however many it takes. Alone against my obsession, I am a grain of sand in a hurricane.

I wouldn’t be alive right now if not for my sponsor. Three years ago, seeing that I was in misery and suffering, he risked pissing me off when he got in my face and asked, “Do you have a sponsor?” He wanted to help me through it so that I could do the same with others—who will in turn do the same with still others—keeping this amazing power, and the fellowship we all crave, alive and well. I could not, cannot, recover alone.

I feared not having enough time if I raised my hand to sponsor. I was afraid twenty people would line up. I was afraid I’d get back into the food again if someone ate while they were on my watch. The truth is, not many people even asked me to sponsor the first month I raised my hand. Another truth is that it’s a lot of hard work to recover. Sponsees come and go. This is hard, but it’s reality.

I can be spiritually thirsty or sick throughout the day until intense work with another compulsive eater gets me out of my self-obsession. This intense work is one way to practice my purpose: to be of maximum use to God and the people about me. It’s something that continues to teach me who I am and how to love unconditionally. This didn’t start perfectly, without bumps, challenges, or uncomfortable conversations. How wonderful is it to get to work with other people and see them teach me about my own blocks and defects? To be able to help others altruistically and grow spiritually through the process? It’s a gift, and it enhances my life to be able to do so.

My fellows, I love you all. Consider my hand forever raised for being available to sponsor.

— Edited and reprinted from OA Today newsletter, St. Louis Bi-State Area Intergroup, November 2017

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