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A Mistaken Belief

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After almost ten years in OA and a physical abstinence of my own definition, I struggled with the fact that I was still stuck in obsession and compulsion around food. I had a way of eating that was more or less nutritionally balanced, but I still obsessed about knowing exactly what I was going to eat. I was alternating between control and restriction with an occasional indulgence in rich foods, all the while looking for some elusive magical answer that would rid me of my food thoughts.

I’ve been a member of another Twelve Step fellowship for more than ten years with continuous sobriety. I was eternally grateful and amazed that, very early in my sobriety, the obsession and desire to drink alcohol had been entirely lifted. I was baffled that my experience with food was not the same. I just did not seem to experience that same level of freedom with food, despite working the Steps numerous times in both fellowships.

About a year ago, I started working with a new sponsor, with a focus on using the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed.) and an emphasis on spiritual recovery. This has slowly revealed to me that, despite my surface-level surrender to a food plan, I’d been hanging on to various elements of control. I had a mistaken belief that my own willpower, rather than God, would keep me abstinent.

I came to believe that if I followed a spiritual program of action, laid out in the Big Book and supported by our OA literature, my food problem would be removed. And it is, provided I maintain a spiritually fit condition through prayer and meditation (and, for me, connection through service and fellowship).

Today, my abstinence is grounded in my meals as a sacred pause in my day. I aim to eat for health, nutrition, and love. I slow down and make wise, caring choices, with loving boundaries for portion sizes.

— Mary B., London, United Kingdom

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