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Priceless Peace

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Before I was halfway through my Ninth Step, I experienced, as the Big Book promises, a new freedom I’d never dreamed was possible: “Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th. ed., p. 84). I was free from the fear of financial insecurity. The feeling was new and odd. Much of my life had been spent in the pursuit of money and more money and, ideally, someone else who would provide that money.

Working Step Nine, I repaid several thousand dollars in amends. I didn’t stretch it out over time; I realized that my recovery was dependent on paying off my debts (mostly for stolen goods), and I wasted no time. With each payment and face-to-face explanation that I was doing this because I am a member of Overeaters Anonymous and I have to repay in order to stay clean, I felt immeasurably better about myself and about life. My home was emptied of stolen and “borrowed” goods; my bank account was emptied of money that wasn’t really mine anyway. Doing this meant not spending money on myself in the meantime—no buying new items or taking trips until my amends were fulfilled—but the joy and serenity I felt were priceless. It was like I had won the lottery! I had more money than I needed, even though I was earning less. My cup was surely overflowing!

Before I was halfway through my amends, I experienced the complete absence of desire for more money. I had a job and a place to live; it was enough. I had some money in the bank; I had enough. Within the year, I married someone who, still a student, brought no money into the relationship. (We’re still married thirty-six years later!) Eighteen months after that, I left my dream job, at which I earned more money than I’ve ever earned since, and returned to university to complete an advanced degree. Then my spouse and I agreed to share a job and live overseas, where we earned a minimal single income. We had two children and focused our lives on loving them, not through purchases but through opportunities.

Where had my desire for more money and more security gone? Why did I not worry or panic over these decisions?

These Twelve Steps are powerful and life-changing. To come to believe that God could restore me to sanity (Step Two) and to step trustfully into God’s care (Step Three) changed me forever. Then, after all the clean-up of Steps Four through Nine, there was nothing holding me back: no fear of not being rich and comfortable, no fear of what other people thought of my life decisions. Amazing!

Through living Steps Ten, Eleven, and Twelve for the past thirty-five years, I have been able to participate in the stream of life, responding to the next right thing as my Higher Power lets me know it through intuition, inspiration, and prayer. I still have little money compared to other folks, but I have priceless peace of mind and abstinence. Indeed, I have won the lottery of life and continue to be a winner each day, one day at a time, thanks to OA and God.

— Anonymous, United Kingdom

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