Humility and Desperation

Before OA my life seemed hopeless. At 25 years old, I was financially, spiritually and emotionally bankrupt. I was a single mom and 250 pounds (113 kg), not my all-time highest weight but close. It seemed to keep getting worse. My life was not on the path I had envisioned as a little girl.

I now understand that was how my disease of compulsive overeating needed to progress to get me through OA’s doors. Although I made much progress and had plenty of physical recovery, it took me over three years in program to ask another member to be my sponsor. My program was slipping, and I wasn’t convinced I wanted a sponsor, but I asked anyway. She died a month later, still abstinent and in recovery.

She was an inspiration to me from the moment I met her. I have such fond memories, but one particular thing she told me has stayed with me. She said, “You’ll need two things to get and stay abstinent: the gift of humility and the gift of desperation.” She was right.

I was on a slippery slope at that time. I slid right down that slope into the hellish gates of relapse. Relapse is hell on Earth. It wasn’t until I was desperate that I became humble and things got better. How desperate was I? Desperate enough to do whatever was necessary, to go to any lengths to get recovery. Humility is going to an OA meeting and telling the absolute truth (rigorous honesty) about how I feel and what I am doing with food. It means admitting defeat and crying my eyes out if I need to.

I must have heard the tools read a thousand times over the last four and a half years at meetings, but when I became desperate and humble, I was willing to really hear them and (most important) use them. When I use the OA tools in my life, work the Steps (imperfectly), and take suggestions from other members who have what I want, it becomes easy to stay abstinent.

I now take at least 10 minutes a day (often more) to read, write and meditate—to center and remind myself of who and what I am so I don’t forget. I usually attend two meetings per week, commit my food in the morning and write it out at night. I also have a new sponsor with whom I am excited to be working. What a miracle! For today I am gratefully abstinent and progressing, which is what the OA program is all about! Thank God for the gift I received: the gift of desperation.

— Tobi H.
From the March, 2012 issue of Lifeline Magazine