I joined OA in 1981 weighing more than 250 pounds (113 kg), and I’ve been abstinent for thirty-five years. Because of this Fellowship, sponsors, the Steps, the Tools, slogans, and a loving HP, I have been able to be peaceful with food. I have horrible examples of how I behaved be- fore program. For example, at our oldest son’s wedding, I actually argued to have a second dessert!
Here are examples of how I have negotiated abstinence since then:
At our second son’s wedding I had been blessed with steady abstinence.
My good friend said, “You aren’t even going to taste the special dessert?” I said, “You aren’t even going to take a sip of the champagne toast?” She’s an alcoholic, so I think she got my point.
To the many organizations that practically require a donation of home-baked goods, I always make the same reply: I do not bake, but I’ll be glad to buy something or give an equal amount of money. Most groups accept this, and I don’t have to make abstinence more difficult.
At Halloween, Christmas, and Easter, I avoid giving sweets; most children get so many sweets from others that they don’t need any from me.
When we moved to a place that has a famous local treat, I was asked to sample it just to see how great it tastes. My response was why torture myself by knowing how great it tastes when I have no intention of ever eating it again.
We wanted to celebrate New Year’s Eve with four couples, but the initial plan was to drink and snack until dinner at midnight, so we said we couldn’t come. They asked why, and I said I would probably make everyone uncomfortable by not drinking, not snacking, and not eating a midnight dinner. Miraculously, they accommodated me and planned an earlier dinner. I was grateful and surprised.
These examples should not imply that I find abstinence difficult or burdensome, but instead show that I have ways to stay peacefully abstinent. The idea that I’d ever be able to eat normally again has been smashed like the Big Book says (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 30). I also have a good, green memory of illness: the torture of cravings and compulsions, the self-hatred, the rages, the depression, the victimhood, and the insanity. Through the Steps, the Fellowship, and a loving HP, my cravings have been removed. As long as I continue to do what I have done every day for thirty-five years, I will stay peacefully abstinent.
I have weighed 130 pounds (59 kg), give or take a little, for many years. I hope my experience can be of use to others. I know it has been a help to me.
— B.D., San Antonio, Texas USA