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Happy Dialing

5 min read

When I first came to OA, I was in an emotionally desperate condition. After decades of stuffing myself with food, I was highly motivated to avoid feelings. Fear of reality ruled my life, but suddenly the substances I used to numb out were gone.

I was in the toddler phase of learning to live life on life’s terms. Pretending I wasn’t emotionally distraught didn’t work, just like pretending I wasn’t a compulsive overeater hadn’t worked. Many days, I had to call ten to twelve OA members to make contact for program calls, and it took me a while to get the hang of calling at mutually convenient times.

I often phoned people while emotionally distressed, and I remember sobbing one day while making program calls. One kind woman who answered asked if I would say the Serenity Prayer with her. I agreed, but when we finished praying, she told me she was going to get off the phone and suggested I call another compulsive overeater.

She taught me something that day: OA friends can love me with healthy boundaries and in ways that are kind and safe. I learned support works best when I do not expect someone else to be a therapist. This woman and I still connect years later. Healthy boundaries didn’t separate us; they allowed us to live with more serenity.

Now, I’m learning gradually to feel emotions and look at the needs behind them. One day at a time, I’m growing mentally and socially and learning to use the telephone in new ways. When I make calls, I find it fun and helpful to focus on progress in recovery, uses of the OA Tools, and discussions of the Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and service. I’m learning to share my feelings and needs honestly without the negative thinking that kept me stuck in my disease. I’m also learning to listen with an open mind and share with others the gifts of recovery.

Today, I practice doing what I can when I can, as HP wills and to the best of my ability. When I can, I make phone calls and take phone calls. I’m learning to pay attention to my motives, learn from my experiences, and keep my mind and heart open. I’m also learning to let go of false guilt about not taking program calls when I’m working, meditating, or spending time with my family members—important parts of daily life in recovery.

The telephone Tool is teaching me to listen and share with an open mind and heart. It helps me learn humility and compassion, how to be right-sized, and how to live in harmony with others. These recovery skills help me in all areas, and I am grateful for these gifts that the telephone helps make possible. Best wishes and happy dialing in recovery!

— Alyson H., Rome, New York USA

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