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A Part Of

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My obsession with food was so disruptive, it required me to ignore my basic needs and the needs of others. I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about myself: what I was going to eat next, how I was going to use food to numb feelings I didn’t like, and when and where I was going to do it. I hadn’t been to a doctor in years because I was afraid of what she might say. I would forgo a manicure or pedicure to spend money on food. I could never hike or fit into a roller coaster seat; I wore a size 24 and had difficulty walking up a flight of stairs. I couldn’t be a part of group activities because of my disease. There was no balance of self-care and certainly no unity.

During my first year of OA, my personal struggle with food seemed to be all that mattered. I couldn’t even remember members’ names from one meeting to the next and was surprised when they remembered mine. Eventually, I realized that to truly heal I needed to find better balance in my life, which included concerning myself with the needs of others.

Living in Tradition One today reminds me to treat myself and others as spiritual equals. That parking spot belongs to others as much as it belongs to me. Things that seem insignificant may be very important to my boss or coworker. I no longer judge or discount others’ opinions because they are not the same as mine.

We all have the same spiritual potential. I have just as much to learn from a newcomer as a longtimer, if I make room for God in the relationship.

Simple tasks that people do without a second thought are, for me, carefully executed acts of healing and self-love. I turn to a Higher Power, above food and my old self-reliance, to do for me what I cannot do for myself. Getting right-sized on the inside using Tradition One has somehow caused me to become rightsized on the outside: As a spiritual equal, I get to take my true place in life as a mere person. Now I can ride my bike dozens of miles with my loved ones and kayak with friends for fun. No longer am I winded by a single flight of stairs. I learned in Steps Five and Six that I need a certain amount of rest, work, nutrition, and physical activity in order to be balanced and present for relationships with myself, God, and other human beings. Acknowledging my needs allows me to graciously acknowledge others’ needs too.

Today I know my OA recovery depends on an environment of mutual need and  trust in meetings, my workplace, and intimate relationships. When I am a part of these unified groups, I thrive. By considering others, I become a humble part of the human race. How will I strive for unity, knowing my own fate depends on it?

—Melissa K., San Diego, California USA

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