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A Real Human Life

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Abstinence to me is the key to a better life. In the beginning of my precious abstinence, I remember being amazed at how much the resolution of my difficulties relationships and life in general was tied to simply not doing the behavior of compulsive overeating. I had always thought that the resolution would be mental or psychological realm. “No,” I marveled later, “It’s physical—it’s not practicing the behavior.” It’s funny that I’d never made the connection between my compulsive overeating and the despair and self-hatred I felt. Abstinence clarified that for me, as it has clarified a lot of things.

Today, some fifteen years later, food and eating have become less important to me, more right-sized. My connection to food and eating will always be disordered—that’s my reality as a compulsive overeater and I accept it—but it is much improved. While the disease is progressive, I believe that recovery is also progressive, and I look forward to further progress.

To me, progress means more involvement in life. My ability to participate in life used to be an unfortunate casualty of my disease, but now I’m pursuing personal interests. I’m enjoying a real human life these days, rather than a mere existence to be endured.

That’s why I see abstinence as the key to a better life: All I have to do is look around the rooms to see the miracles in my fellows’ lives. I too am one of those miracles, as I have often been told. Abstinence has given me friends, a connection to a Higher Power, the opportunity to know myself through practice of the Steps, and the privilege of being a positive force in the world and in others’ lives. Most especially, it has given me the chance to wake up happy and look forward to the new day. It has also given me the gift of being able to change and grow. The value of these gifts simply cannot be calculated.

I’m in my sixth decade of life now, and the future looks bright: full of spiritual and emotional growth within a community of others following the same path. How many other 62-year-olds can say that?

The abstinent life is quite simply a good life. A good, good life.

— Christina

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