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Holiday Pocket Guide

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During holidays, I can almost feel the frenzy in the air: my fellow compulsive eaters’ worry. Holidays can bring stress, require travel, demand hosting duties, or carry us to strange kitchens and dining tables. Holidays confront us with our love-hate relationship with food and may require stocking up for family feasts at unfamiliar grocery stores. Great anticipation about being with loved ones mingles with dread about the raw emotions and dysfunctional behavior that such propinquity can provoke. Holidays disrupt familiar and trusted routines.

No more.

I am so grateful for a program that teaches me how to live abstinently with serenity and clarity of mind, using Tools, working spiritual Steps, and tapping into a Power greater than mine that sustains me. If I take certain actions daily, I can trust my Higher Power to reward my actions with “a life of sane and happy usefulness (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed, p. 130). Program teaches me to look at any holiday as just another day: a day to plan my food, eat what I commit, talk with my sponsor, pray and meditate, make outreach calls, attend a meeting, read program literature, write, and be of service. All I have to do is stick to my plan of abstinence, work my Steps, and use my Tools, and I will be okay—as okay as I’ve been all this time, doing these same things daily! So, no shaking; holiday or not, it’s just another program day.

The program literature that best encapsulates this philosophy and action plan for me is our pocket guide Just for Today. Reading this wallet card is like saying a simple prayer; it’s a meditation, a pick-me-up, a quick meeting, an outreach call. Just for Today sets forth the reasonable expectations and actions that make my program work. It reminds me to plan one day at a time rather than tackle all my problems at once; it tells me I’ll be as happy as I choose to be. Just for Today suggests I adjust myself to what is, strengthen my mind, exercise my soul, be agreeable, look good, and not find fault. Just for Today lets me know I have a program plan (even if I don’t follow it perfectly). It says I will meditate to get a better perspective on my life. Most importantly, it says I will not be afraid.

For me, the Just for Today wallet card is an extended Serenity Prayer that reassures me I can be abstinent by the grace of God, just for today, one day at a time. I have other favorites among our literature, but in a pinch, I’ll take that pocket-sized Just for Today to live holidays as joyously as I’ve lived other abstinent days. I know our OA program works if you work it. I’ve heard stories of miraculous recoveries. I am living one! No shaking, I say, a holiday is just another day—and we have the perfect plan for it.

— Edited and reprinted from SGVIE Briefs newsletter, San Gabriel Valley Inland Empire Intergroup, November/ December 2016

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