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Power and Parasites

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Image by Trudy N.

A few years ago, I flew to Phoenix for a family funeral. My husband and I had lived in the Valley of the Sun for more than twenty years, and we loved everything, even the heat! During our time in this beautiful locale, we hiked a trail off Bush Highway in nearby Mesa, Arizona. The trail is 2.5 miles (4 km) long and weaves in and out of the cacti and mesquite trees that dot the landscape. During my stay, I was able to hike our beloved trail one more time.

This time, though, I noticed many mesquite trees were in decay. Some trees were actually folding in on themselves, as if they were forming a womb for protection. Their limbs were like crooked arms stretching upward in the hopes of finding relief from whatever was destroying them.

And then I saw the mistletoe. It was wrapping itself in and out of the branches, essentially smothering the trees with its huge vines and leaves. Many people do not know that mistletoe is a parasite. It attaches itself to a host plant and drains the life out of it. But when the host dies, so does the mistletoe, so in effect, the mistletoe commits suicide, but first it kills. Hence, the beautiful mesquite trees were slowly becoming barren of life.

This revelation allowed me to correlate my OA journey and the disease of compulsive eating to the host/parasite scenario I had witnessed. Compulsive eating is also a parasite. It will suck the life right out of me if I allow it. This disease attaches itself to my body and seeks to drain me of my sanity, my self-respect, my dignity, my health, and my soul. It had once been eating me from the inside out.

Today, I refuse to give in to this disease. Through OA and the Twelve Steps, through the fellowship, love, and support of my OA friends, the counsel of my sponsor, and the grace from my HP, I am beating this parasite at the door! I will not allow it to suck the life out of me. I will not let it kill my essence. I will not allow it to disfigure my body and darken my soul. I can arrest it and destroy it—if I am willing to admit I am powerless, if I am willing to turn it over to a Power greater than myself, if I am willing to work the Steps honestly, and if I am willing to humble myself.

I know in my heart, I will never look at mistletoe or my disease in quite the same way again because of a hike off Bush Highway in the Valley of the Sun.

— Trudy N., Ohio USA

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