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Abstinence is Possible

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I am new to OA. I’ve been with the program for 101 days. I first went to a meeting to support my daughter, but I was nervous and unsure about going. I’d heard about OA through a client who lost 100 pounds (45 kg) three years ago and kept it off. I asked how she did it and she said, “I gave up sugar and flour.” I was in awe. I told her, “I can’t get through one day without sugar.” As the words left my mouth, I realized that perhaps this was not normal.

After the meeting, I read everything in the Newcomer Packet and answered “yes” to eleven of the Fifteen Questions. I was stunned. Though I’d struggled with a 50-pound (23-kg) weight swing for more than twenty-three years, I never considered that I had a food disorder. But I remembered my daughter at 14 after her inpatient treatment for her eating disorder. She had said, “You hide desserts all over the place, you skip meals, you go up and down in your weight.” She was right. I had tremendous cravings for sugar. I’d put weight on, and then exercise ninety minutes every day and eat next to nothing to pull the weight off. It was hell trying to maintain a healthy weight.

In OA, I realized that just because my weight doesn’t swing 100 pounds (46 kg) doesn’t mean I don’t have this disease. In OA literature, including Abstinence, Second Edition, I read about getting honest with myself. I had already given up so many other foods to try to balance my moods. When I prayed for honesty about my triggers, I knew sugar had to go. I wondered how I could go a day without it. I was also afraid of being successful.

I made a pledge at my meeting to give up trigger foods for one day. I picked the easiest plan I could find: three meals a day with nothing in between. For me, eating three nutritious meals a day was hard enough—I was used to skipping meals so I could use those calories for sugar. It took multiple prayers, but once I made it through day one, I had to keep trying so I could tell the group I made it a whole week. I also wanted to show my daughter OA could work. It seemed impossible, but I prayed and prayed, “three meals, no sugar, no flour,” and made it through the first week.

Just last week, I received my ninety-day coin. I have lost 22 pounds (10 kg) and have hardly exercised. When I’m honest about my trigger foods and rely on my Higher Power, it’s possible for me to attain abstinence. I pray I will be abstinent for the rest of my life. I still have another 20 pounds (9 kg) to lose, and I still have tough days and cravings. But I have made it through three whole months, something I never thought I could achieve. I will keep on praying and working on it, a day at a time.

— Anonymous

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