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When Desire Works

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Tradition Three works. I believe the best way to show it is to share what I was shown when I first arrived in OA.

All I wanted to do was lose weight while eating all my binge foods—was that too much to ask? I hated that I was unable to eat like my friends: they were skinny, yet here I was, 280 pounds (127 kg) and miserable. Thank God OA’s only requirement was a desire to stop eating compulsively.

I desired abstinence, though I had no idea how to achieve what seemed to come so easily to OA long timers. It took three months of trying and starting again before I finally hit bottom and got abstinent for good. Throughout this time, my sponsor led me through my craziness. I would call her and say, “I ate a cookie, but all my other friends were eating big pieces of the rich cake, so I think I’m fine.” She would gently say, “Well, that’s still sugar; we will start again.” That annoyed me so much! I just couldn’t see my madness.

But I had the desire, because I saw that the Twelve Step programs work. My way no longer worked for me, and I wanted to change so badly—I just didn’t know how to achieve abstinence. Tradition Three worked because I did not get kicked out or shamed for not getting abstinent right away. OA just told me to keep coming back. Finally, on New Year’s Eve, I hit my bottom; hopefully the only one I’ll have.

Because of this program and the ability to keep coming back no matter what, I finally became willing to do whatever it took. It was hard at first, but the rewards have been tremendous. Now, after seven years of cherished freedom, I am so glad that the only requirement is a desire.

— Edited and reprinted from OA Today newsletter, St. Louis Bi-State Area Intergroup, March 2016

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