Sufficient Substitute

Two years before I went to my first OA meeting, my husband and I bought our dream house. It had the high ceilings I considered absolutely essential to staying on a diet and losing the more than 100 pounds (45 kg) I needed to lose. Everybody knows low ceilings lead to claustrophobia, which leads to bingeing. High ceilings had to be the answer. My new house would be a pristine, binge-free zone!

Two days later I was bingeing to the point of pain and then sitting on the toilet in a locked bathroom. I did that for two more years before coming into OA.

In OA I learned I had to find a sufficient substitute for the food. Every diet I tried failed because I never found a substitute for the food. I was like a coiled spring, holding tight and managing to deprive myself for a while until I couldn’t stand the deprivation. Then the spring would snap, and I would be on a four-month binge until I tried it all over again.

In OA I found a substitute for the food. In- stead of using food to deal with life, I learned the Twelve Steps are the answer. They are my design for living the spiritual Principles and processes necessary to deal with every facet of my life abstinently.

I believe I took Step One many years before I came to OA. I knew I was powerless over food. I just was never willing to do anything about it. I simply stayed at “step zero,” living in the problem while waiting for somebody to come along and do something!

In OA I learned I only had to change one thing—everything! I started working the Steps in earnest. But I wanted to skip Step Three. How could I ever have a relationship with a Higher Power? That seemed too sim- plistic and unscientific for me. But I was told that skipping Step Three was not an option! Step Three was the key. If I continued trying to do it on my own, in my own way, without spiritual Principles, I was doomed to fail.

Because I was desperate for recovery, I acted “as if” until I suddenly found myself six months abstinent. I realized I had indeed undergone vast changes in my attitude and outlook on life. I was different. There was finally a power in my life greater than food.

Was I now done? Had I mastered this thing?

No, there was more work to be done. I learned that the Twelve Steps form a natural progression, each one necessary preparation for the next. I now know with absolute certainty that the Twelve Steps are like a string of holiday lights. If any single bulb is missing or burned out, the entire string doesn’t work. I can’t skip any Steps. My life depends on working all twelve to the best of my ability.

Maybe yours does too?

~ Gloria L.