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Choosing A Discipline

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I work a pretty structured program and sometimes hear people talk about “rigidity” when they refer to things that I do gladly. It’s spiritually liberating, and has given me fourteen abstinent years so far, so I’m a happy boy.

I choose a disciplined approach because I made a deal with God that I would do my share to maintain a level of honesty and integrity. This allows me to trust my instincts and my intuition, two things I lost when I was eating compulsively. If I’m not devoted to getting the details right, then I’m just being lazy, especially considering what a mess I was before OA saved me. I was immature and selfish before I came into program. Today, I expect more than a quick fix for my feelings. Today, I exercise my free will to choose a thorough and painstaking approach to effectively deal with my disease. It’s not easy, but it is simple.

I consider God firmly in the middle of my specific choices around food: they’re not too small to be worthy of his consideration. Temptation is a challenge, an invitation from God to show him that I remember he’s directing traffic, not me. When I want to cut a corner, I’m witnessing the seeds of insanity. I’d be jeopardizing everything for the mistaken belief that I might need a little extra. It’s a risk-taking behavior that no longer has a place in my very gratifying life.

For me, growth now comes from facing inevitable change with open eyes and a willingness to apply myself from an emotionally balanced perspective. I can’t apply myself if I’m distracted by emotional hunger, fatigue, or the isolation that comes from not working the Tools sufficiently. I keep to the middle of the road, not the edge. I work to make choices in partnership with my Higher Power, and I try to imagine what he would have me do under the conditions of the day.

Recovery is a hard job and a big responsibility. But it was hard to be so sick too, and that’s pretty much the alternative to recovery at this point. I get to choose which one I want. If I choose diseased thinking, my ability to choose at all would vanish soon enough, and I’d revert to being the bitter person I was before I came to OA. So I choose my disciplines. I choose life.

— Neil

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