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Mountain Call

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I’ve always loved hiking and being in the mountains. When I gained enough confidence after three years of working an OA program, I signed up for a seven-day mountaineering trip. We would hike over snow and ice in the Canadian Rockies, carrying all our equipment and food and staying in alpine huts along the way. I was one of the least experienced in the group, and certainly the least fit, but I was told I’d be able to handle it.

After we set out, thick snow cover made conditions more difficult than expected. I was constantly being reminded what precautions to take and what to do if faced with crevasses, rockslides, or avalanches. Thanks to program, I became aware that fear was threatening to take hold of my mind, and I knew what to do. Whenever I noticed fear moving in, I’d hand it over to God, praying and even singing my prayers. I also spent a lot of time thanking God for everything I could think of: no accidents yet, patient team members, good weather, incredible panoramas, and so much more.

I was the slowest, so to avoid slowing everybody else down, I was excused from carrying the group’s gear. I felt I should be contributing, so I looked for other jobs I could do. I started cleaning the huts, preparing meals, fetching water, and carrying out garbage. After a few days, I was thoroughly enjoying myself and feeling elated. I could see so many parallels between program and this incredible experience we were living. I felt like I was flying. On the last day, I was sad to see it end.

Eight months later, the elation I’d felt in the mountains was long gone, but I continued to work the Steps. One weekend, I attended an OA workshop designed to help members strengthen their programs. I came away with one main idea: I needed to start reaching out to other members. Making phone calls was something I’d always  avoided, both in and out of program, because I was so afraid of being a nuisance. I asked God to remove my fear and started calling. I called members I knew were struggling and people I hadn’t seen at meetings for a while. The first few calls were difficult, but then they got easier. God helped me pick the people I should phone and find the right words to say.

After a few days of phoning, I became aware of a strange feeling. It was elation! I’d felt this same elation on that mountaineering trip months before. I wondered at this and tried to find similarities between the two very different situations. In both, I’d faced my fears, trusted God, and tried to help others. So that feeling I’d enjoyed actually had nothing to do with being in the mountains; it had everything to do with how I was living life.

I came to OA because I wanted to stop bingeing. I never expected it would change my whole outlook!

— Anonymous, Canada

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