Nourished from Afar

It’s 9:37 a.m., and I’m sitting in someone else’s car on the way to staff a one-week camp for my job. We’ve been on the road since 3 a.m., and we’ll probably arrive at the camp in another four to six hours. I don’t know these people well, and I’m tired. I’m already homesick and afraid of the responsibilities I will have in the week ahead.

Where does my mind go? I’m a compulsive eater, so I wonder about my next meal. “I’ve been awake for six hours. Isn’t it lunchtime yet?” (Breakfast was two hours ago.) “I have to switch time zones soon, so maybe I can justify eating lunch now.” “How can I make the time fly by until it’s time to eat again?”

Even after several years of abstinence, I instinctively turn to food for comfort and companionship—even my abstinent food. But food can never satisfy my loneliness, fear or discomfort.  Every meal ends. Food is meant for physical, not emotional, nourishment. Food can’t grin, hug, listen, give love or speak encouraging words. I eat it, and then it’s gone. It’s a lie from my disease that a few extra bites will make me feel better.

I turn to my God, pray and read my spiritual literature. I pull out Lifeline and read stories of recovery. I remember that my home group is meeting right now back in Chicago, and I visualize the room, faces and hugs. I can feel the warmth, love and acceptance in that room. I try to remember what section of the Big Book we’re on and imagine what the leader might say about it. Even from afar, I can feel the commitment to recovery and the loving support during the painful times. I can be myself, and I am loved. At 10:15 a.m., I’ll recite the promises and the Serenity Prayer along with the group. Even though I am in a car hundreds of miles away, my hand is in theirs and I am home!

Remembering my meeting and how good it feels to belong there will help me as I make the transition to camp. Only when I receive my “emotional and spiritual food” from God and OA do I have enough to give to the rest of the world.

Thank God for OA and that I will never be alone again!

Reprinted from Lifeline magazine